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Daily Archives: 10/02/2012



Lady Bird Johnson Middle School foi construída em uma área de 45.600 metros quadrados; construção inclui turbinas eólicas, painéis solares e outras tecnologias avançadas


As grandes turbinas eólicas produzem apenas 1% da energia necessária para abastecer toda a estrutura. (Fotografia: Divulgação)

O estado do Texas é conhecido nos Estados Unidos como o centro das tradições “countries”. Agora ele também está famoso por abrigar a primeira escola do país a produzir de maneira limpa toda a energia necessária para o seu funcionamento.

A Lady Bird Johnson Middle School foi construída na cidade de Irving em uma área de 45.600 metros quadrados, que facilitou a produção de energia renovável de diversas maneiras: eólica, solar e outras tecnologias avançadas que foram incluídas na construção.

O escritório Corgan Associates, de Dallas, liderou a equipe de arquitetos que construiu a escola, usada não apenas como sala de aula, mas também como referência em sustentabilidade e eficiência energética. Esses diferenciais da instituição de ensino são percebidos em cada detalhes, desde as 12 turbinas eólicas gigantes instaladas na lateral do prédio, até a grade curricular.

Por mais incrível que possa parecer, as grandes turbinas eólicas produzem apenas 1% da energia necessária para abastecer toda a estrutura. O restante é obtido a partir de 2988 painéis solares instalados no telhado. Eles são equipados com tubos cilíndricos que captam a luz do sol em 360 graus, aumentando potencialmente a capacidade de aproveitamento energético. Toda a produção excedente é direcionada para a rede de distribuição local.

Ter energia limpa disponível não seria suficiente para tornar a obra sustentável. Por isso, os arquitetos se preocuparam com a eficiência de todo o edifício. As bombas de calor geotérmicas auxiliam o sistema de arrefecimento, tornando-o 30% mais econômico. A equipe usou paredes isoladas e construiu um grande dossel nas laterais do edifício para bloquear o sol quente do Texas, mesmo assim, foram usadas muitas janelas para permitir a iluminação natural dentro das salas de aula.

Como a escola é considerada um laboratório de aprendizagem, a grade curricular inclui aulas sobre eficiência energética. Assim, os alunos do ensino fundamental podem estudar as diferenças na produção de energia solar em um dia nublado, em comparação a um dia ensolarado. Enquanto isso, os estudantes de ensino médio podem aprender a calcular a produção média geotérmica da escola. A instituição é equipada com uma plataforma de observação, onde os alunos podem examinar as placas fotovoltaicas, e monitores de energia estão espalhados por todo o corredor, para que os estudantes possam ver exatamente a quantidade de energia utilizada pela escola.

A Lady Bird Johnson Middle School está em busca do selo LEED, concedido às construções sustentáveis pelo Green Building Council.

Fonte: Exame / CicloVivo
Original: http://bit.ly/yxyqL2


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Thousands of homes and businesses may now be able to claim higher payments after the government fails to overturn earlier ruling that cuts were illegal


HomeSun solar panels. Thousands of homes and businesses may now be able to claim higher payments. Photograph: Simon Burt/PA

The government lost its appeal on Wednesday against a judge’s ruling that its cuts to solar power subsidies were illegal, suggesting thousands of homes and businesses will now be able to claim the higher payments.

Three court of appeal judges unanimously rejected the government’s appeal. The government could still appeal for a second time, directly to the supreme court.

Announcing cuts to the solar feed-in tariff payments in October, ministers said the cost of the panels had dropped and unless the subsidy was also cut, the available funding for a range of low-carbon energy technologies would be rapidly exhausted. But in December, a high court judge ruled that the government’s handling of the cuts was “legally flawed”, following a challenge by two solar companies, SolarCentury and HomeSun, plus Friends of the Earth.

On 19 January, the government said that if it lost the legal case, they would fund the higher rate payments for any panels installed by 3 March. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) expected this to affect about 3,700 homes and businesses.

Daniel Green, chief executive of HomeSun, said: “Almost everybody except Decc have appreciated the potential and importance of the solar industry – from the National Trust, the Church of England through to the CBI as well as the British people. Surely this must be the point at which Chris Huhne stops taking the side of the big six energy companies and realise that solar is part of our future.”

Friends of the Earth had called the government’s action at the court of appeal a waste of public money. The group’s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said on 4 January: “Trying to appeal the high court’s ruling is an expensive waste of taxpayers’ money. The government must expand the scheme – with all the tax revenue the scheme generates, this can be done at no extra cost to bill payers. Ministers should end business uncertainty and protect jobs with a clear plan to reduce payments from February – in line with falling installation costs.”

In October, the cuts to the solar scheme – from 43.3p per kWh of energy generated to 21p – were leaked online. The climate minister, Greg Barker, defended the cuts as necessary to protect the scheme in the long term. “The plummeting costs of solar mean we’ve got no option but to act so that we stay within budget, and not threaten the whole viability of the Fits [feed-in tariff] scheme.”

The cuts prompted a furious backlash from the solar industry and green groups, with the chief complaint being the speed of the changes, which were to come into effect just six weeks later, on 12 December. Critics also drew attention to the fact that the consultation did not end until 23 December – over a week after the changes were proposed to take place.

In December, a cross-party group of MPs said in a strongly worded report that said the reductions were “clumsily handled”, had threatened jobs and could have dealt a fatal blow to the scheme, because the changes required homes to meet the C-rated energy efficiency standard before becoming eligible for the solar feed-in tariff.

Author: Damian Carrington
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://bit.ly/xSxPwk


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O novo automóvel conceito da Renault será apresentado no próximo Paris Motor Show, em outubro deste ano. Além do desing arrojado, essa máquina é considerada uma prova de que as preocupações ambientais podem estar aliadas ao amor que muitos devotam pelos supercarros: o motor do DeZir é elétrico.

Esse aspecto, no entanto, não rima com baixa velocidade. De acordo com a Renault, o automóvel tem uma forte aceleração, que o faz chegar a 100 km/h em apenas cinco segundos. E o seu baixo peso (830 kg) permite que o carro viaje por 160 km sem recarregar as baterias de lítio, situadas atrás dos bancos.

Quem assina o design é o holandês Laurens van den Acker, que está sendo considerado um profissional promissor dentro da Renault. Apaixonantes e futuristas, as linhas do carro expressam sensualidade, com um acabamento em um vermelho brilhante – aliás, vermelho é a cor associada à paixão. No interior do veículo, as formas são macias e leves e a cor predominante é o branco.

Autor: Diogo Max
Fonte: Exame
Original: http://bit.ly/AcyT8j


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An expedition to a tiny South American country has revealed more than 40 species that scientists believe to be new to science.


The crayola katydid has been so-called because of its vibrant colouration

The expedition to the pristine tropical forests of Suriname was led by the charity Conservation International.

The collaboration between scientists, indigenous people and students recorded 1,300 species in total.

The team is now working to confirm which of these weird and wonderful creatures are newly discovered species.

Among those they believe to be new to science are the “cowboy frog”, an amphibian with white fringes along its legs, and a spur-like structure on its “heel”.

Another colourful addition to the scientific record is a a cricket, or katydid, that has been named the “crayola katydid” because of its bright colouration.

One of the new finds – an armoured catfish that has bony plates covered with spines all over its body to defend itself from the giant piranhas the inhabit the same waters – was almost eaten by one of the expedition guides.


The armoured catfish has spines all over its body that protect it from piranhas

Fortunately, before the guide had a chance to tuck in, the scientists noticed the fish’s unique characteristics and preserved it as a specimen.

The three-week project was part of Conservation International’s ongoing Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), which has been in progress for more than 20 years.

RAP director Dr Trond Larsen explained why this area of Suriname was so special.

“As you fly into the area, you travel for 100s of mile and often [don’t] see a single road – just continuous forest,” he told BBC Nature.

“It’s one of the last places in the world where you can find that wilderness.”

Dr Larsen pointed out that conservationists often focused on places that were “already on the brink”.

“We take these wildernesses for granted,” he told BBC Nature. “But unless we focus on them now, they won’t be like that for long.”

The team have already helped the local people to designate an area of the forest as a “no take zone”.

The eventual plan is for this area to become a small nature reserve.

This could safeguard native wildlife, ensuring that indigenous people are able to hunt sustainably, as well as encouraging ecotourism.

Author: Victoria Gill
Source: BBC Nature
Original: http://bbc.in/y6wgwr


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