5/10/2013 12:40:02 PM

Good News Friday {EPA Awards Biggest Loser, GM Signs Climate Declaration, Tesla Wins, Solar Window Socket}

It's Friday and we want to share some good news. There's a lot of doom and gloom out there regarding climate change--and there should be. It's a serious problem that we all need to be taking action on.

But on Fridays, we like to highlight some of the good news, and focus on what people and communities are doing right now to reduce their carbon footprint and help polar bears.

  • It's the fourth season of EPA's "Biggest Loser"-style Battle of the Buildings. In the 2013 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings building owners and managers, associations and service/product providers, and commercial tenants compete to cut their energy waste with help from EPA's ENERGY STAR program. EPA will award the biggest energy loser, or the building or space that reduces its energy use the most. Back by popular demand, any building or space that achieves a 20% reduction or more will also be eligible for recognition. Last year, competitors who reduced energy consumption saved an average of $25,000 and reduced their energy use by eight percent! Feeling inspired yet? 
  • And in the private sector, General Motors is the first major U.S. automaker to sign a "Climate Declaration," asserting that responding to climate change is good business.
  • "We want to be a change agent in the auto industry," said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs. "As our world faces issues like congestion and climate change, we are at the forefront in transforming the way we move, from building more efficient vehicles to partnering with car-sharing start-up Relay Rides."
  • In other car news, Tesla Motors just received a glowing review from the most trusted reviewer around, Consumer Reports. CR has called the electric Model S the "best car they've ever reviewed" and given it the highest rating they've ever given, 99%. The review follows news that Tesla crushed their first quarter earnings report. The company has delivered 4,900 electric cars during the quarter, more than the 4,500 they expected, and consistently building around 400 a week. They expect demand for the Model S to exceed 15,000 per year in the U.S. and 30,000 worldwide.
  • Sure, there are a few kinks to be worked out, but the designers behind the clever and unfussy Window Socket are onto something: A solar converter-charger that serves as an outlet on windows, not walls. The creation of Korean designers Kyuho Song and Boa Oh, the Window Socket is a portable, suction plate-based solar converter-charger that functions as a standard (at this point, European) plug. Stick it on any window - at home, in the office, car windshield, commuter train - where there's decent sunlight, and the device automatically starts converting sunlight into electric energy. Once fully charged - it takes about five to eight hours - remove the Window Socket and you have yourself a handy-dandy little outlet-on-the-go. Right now it maintains its charge for just 10 hours, but it's a start. 

Have a great weekend!

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