Green Tech Regional Report: 8-3-11

Once again it’s time for the Green Tech Regional Report, a round-up of news about clean technology from around the country. This week we’re not only looking at developments in the solar and wind fields, but at the rising popularity of reclaimed materials used in home and building projects, as well as an electric tricycle that is anything but child’s play.

In Asheville, North Carolina, a company has created Fast, Far Recumbent (FFR) Trikes, electric tricycle vehicles for commuters. These vehicles blend electric-powered engines with pedal power, making them clean, fast, and a good way to get a little exercise while still getting to work on time. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports on the product, as well as the process of its invention.

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When you think of Arizona, you tend to think of sun, and though Arizona has its share of solar facilities, it’s also an ideal location for wind farms. Currently, negotiations are underway between Edison Mission Energy, the Salt River Project (SRP), and the Navajo Tribal Authority. The wind farm, located in the northeastern part of the state and to be called Boquillas Ranch, would supply power to SRP and be owned by the Navajo Nation, and would be the Nation’s first wind facility.

In Michigan, wind farms are yet again the source of controversy as the Ogden township supervisor and clerk have recently come under fire for approving construction of a wind farm. Detractors say that the officials signed an agreement to construct a wind farm without taking into consideration the position of its opponents, and were more interested in “personal financial gain.” The clerk and supervisor, however, say that their decision was made with consideration for the well-being of the people.

In Colorado, the Douglas County School District is in the final stages of installing solar panels in 30 sites, including the roofs of elementary, middle and high schools, and at the south end of a football stadium. The district has a 25-year contract with Xcel Energy, and is expected to generate 108 million kilowatt hours and save $5.5 million during that time.

A team consisting of students from UT Dallas and the Texas Christian University won the Undergraduate Educational Impact Award, one of the top prizes in an international competition held in Rio de Janerio. The competition, in which 13 teams from nine countries participated, was to come up with a design for a solar-powered water-purification system to be used in developing nations.

Use of recycled and reclaimed materials is on the rise across the country, thanks to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores, where people can drop off unwanted, used items, and builders, artisans and regular bargain hunters can use them again for projects. It’s estimated that the ReStore in Albany, NY, has saved over a million pounds of material from going into the landfill in its 10-year operation.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.

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