Category Archives: Well-Being – Natural

Well-Being, Natural Well-Being, Sustainability, Environment, Rene Dubois, Water, Solid Waste, Public Policy, Recycling, Life Cycle Analysis

World’s biggest battery installation

JAMESTOWN, Australia—Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk may have overpromised on production of the company’s latest electric car, but he is delivering on his audacious Australian battery bet.

An enormous Tesla-built battery system—storing electricity from a new wind farm and capable of supplying 30,000 homes for more than an hour—will be powered up over the coming days, the government of South Australia state said Thursday. Final tests are set to be followed by a street party that Mr. Musk, founder of both Tesla and rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, was expected to attend.

Success would fulfill the risky pledge Mr. Musk made in March, to deliver a working system in “100 days from contract signature or it is free.” He was answering a Twitter challenge from Australian IT billionaire and environmentalist Mike Cannon-Brookes to help fix electricity problems in South Australia—which relies heavily on renewable energy—after crippling summer blackouts left 1.7 million people without power, some for weeks.

Mr. Cannon-Brookes then brokered talks between Mr. Musk and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has faced criticism from climate groups for winding back renewable-energy policies in favor of coal. South Australia notwithstanding, the country’s per-person greenhouse emissions are among the world’s highest.

South Australia’s government has yet to say how much the battery will cost taxpayers, although renewable-energy experts estimate it at US$50 million. Tesla says the system’s 100-megawatt capacity makes it the world’s largest, tripling the previous record array at Mira Loma in Ontario, Calif., also built by Tesla and U.S. power company Edison.

Quantified Water Movement (QWM)

Think FITBITS for water. The Quantified Water Movement (QWM) is here to stay, with devices that make real-time monitoring of water quality in streams, rivers, lakes and oceans for less than $1,000 per device.

The Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania is leading the way, along with other center of excellence around the world. Stroud has been leading the way on water for fifty years. It is an elite water quality study organization, renowned for its globally relevant science and scientist excellence. Find out more at www.stroudcenter.org.

As a part of this global leadership in the study of water quality, Stroud is advancing the applied technologies that comprise the “quantified water movement” – the real-time monitoring of water quality in streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.

QWM is very much like the “quantified self movement”(see Post on QSM. QSM takes full advantage of low cost sensor and communication technology to “quantify my self”. In other words, I can dramatically advance my understanding about my own personal well-being win areas like exercise, sleep, glucose levels in blood, etc This movement already has proven that real-time reporting on metrics is possible at a very low cost, and on a one-person-at-a-time scale. Apple Watch and FITBIT are examples of commercial products arising out of QSM.

In the same way, QWM takes full advantage of sensors and communication technology to provide real-time reporting on water quality for a given stream, lake, river, or ocean. While still in a formative stage. QWM uses the well-known advances in sensor, big data, and data mining technology to monitor water quality on a real-time basis. Best of all, this applied technology has now reached an affordable price point.

For less than $1,000 per device, it is now possible to fully monitor any body of water, and to report out the findings in a comprehensive dataset. Many leaders believe that less than $100 is possible very soon.

The applied technology ends up being a simple “data logger” coupled with a simple radio transmitter.

Examples of easy-to-measure metrics are:

1. water depth
2. conductivity (measures saltiness or salinity)
3. dissolved oxygen (supports fish and beneficial bacteria)
4. turbidity (a sign of runoff from erosion. Cloudy water actually abrades fish, and prevent fish from finding food)

Training now exists, thanks to Stroud, that is super simple. For example, in one hour, you can learn the capability of this low cost equipment, and the science as to why it is important.

In a two day training, citizen scientists and civil engineers alike can learn how to program their own data logger, attach sensors to the data logger, and deploy and maintain the equipment in an aquatic environment.

All of this and more is illuminated at www.enviroDIY.org.

Rene Dubos

Rene Dubos made a lasting impression on me. Reading his books and essays, I recall even today his humanism, optimism, and his insistence on localism.

He held the highest rank in the field of microbiology, but what I remember most are his writings on environmentalism.

CREDIT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/René_Dubos

René Dubos
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

René Jules Dubos

Born
20 February 1901
Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France[1]
Died
20 February 1982 (aged 81)
New York, New York, U.S.
Nationality
French-born naturalized American
Fields
Microbiology
Institutions
The Rockefeller University (formerly The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research)
Alma mater
Rutgers University
Known for
Isolation and first successful testing of natural antibiotics
Coining the phrase “Think globally, act locally”
Notable awards
E. Mead Johnson Award (1941)
Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1948)
Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction (1969)
Cullum Geographical Medal (1975)
Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (1976)
René Jules Dubos (February 20, 1901 – February 20, 1982) was a French-born American microbiologist, experimental pathologist, environmentalist, humanist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book So Human An Animal.[2] He is credited for having made famous Jacques Ellul’s environmental maxim, “Think globally, act locally” (penser global, agir local).[3]

Dubos devoted most of his professional life to the empirical study of microbial diseases and to the analysis of the environmental and social factors that affect the welfare of humans. His pioneering research in isolating antibacterial substances from certain soil microorganisms led to the discovery of major antibiotics. He performed groundbreaking research and wrote extensively on a number of subjects, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, and the mechanisms of acquired immunity, natural susceptibility, and resistance to infection. Aside from a period from 1942 to 1944 when he was George Fabyan Professor of Comparative Pathology and professor of tropical medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, his scientific career was spent entirely at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, later renamed The Rockefeller University.

In later years, Dubos explored the interplay of environmental forces and the physical, mental and spiritual development of mankind. The main tenets of his humanistic philosophy were: global problems are conditioned by local circumstances and choices, social evolution enables us to rethink human actions and change direction to promote an ecologically balanced environment, the future is optimistic since human life and nature are resilient and we have become increasingly aware of the dangers inherent in natural forces and human activities, and we can benefit from our successes and apply the lessons learned to solving other contemporary environmental problems.

Dubos is often attributed as the author of the popular maxim “Think Globally, Act Locally” that refers to the argument that global environmental problems can turn into action only by considering ecological, economic, and cultural differences of our local surroundings. This motto appeared for the first time in 1978, six years after Dubos served as advisor to the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment.[4] In 1979, Dubos suggested that ecological consciousness should begin at home. He urged creation of a world order in which “natural and social units maintain or recapture their identity, yet interplay with each other through a rich system of communications”. In the 1980s, Dubos held to his thoughts on acting locally, and felt that issues involving the environment must be dealt with in their “unique physical, climatic, and cultural contexts”. Dubos’ approach to building a resilient and constructive relationship between people and the Earth continues to resonate.[5]

For the academic years 1963–1964 and 1964–1965, he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies of Wesleyan University.[6] He served as chairman of the trustees of the René Dubos Center for Human Environment, a non-profit education and research organization that was dedicated in his honor in 1980. The mission of the center, which was co-founded by William and Ruth Eblen, is to “assist the general public and decision-makers in formulating policies for the resolution of environmental problems and the creation of environmental values.” Dubos remained actively involved with the Center until his death in 1982. He also served on the board of trustees of Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1949 to 1952.

Early life and career[edit]
Dubos was born in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France, on February 20, 1901, and grew up in Hénonville, another small Île-de-France farming village north of Paris. His parents operated butcher shops in each of these villages.[7] He attended high school and the National Institute of Agronomy in Paris, and he received a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1927.[1] Dubos began his career in microbiology in 1927, when he joined Oswald Avery’s laboratory[8] at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Avery was looking for a microbe that could break down the polysaccharide capsule of a deadly strain of bacterial pneumonia in the same way that soil bacteria digested decaying organic matter in the woods. Dubos identified a bacterium that secreted an enzyme that broke down polysaccharide.[9] In 1939, with the help of Rockefeller Institute biochemist Rollin Hotchkiss, Dubos isolated the antibacterial agents tyrothricin and gramicidin from the bacterium Bacillus brevis that killed or inhibited Gram-positive bacteria and tested their bacterial, chemical, and clinical properties. These antibiotics remain in limited use today. In 1942, before antibiotics were in general use, Dubos warned that bacterial resistance should be expected.[10]
In 1948, Dubos shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with Selman Waksman for “their achievement in studies of the antibiotic properties of soil bacteria”.[11] A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he served as an editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine from 1946 to 1972.
Legacy[edit]
• In 1998, the René Dubos Center for Human Environments donated a large portion of its environmental library and archives to Pace University. The collection consists of works by Dubos as well as those of other leading environmental scholars, some of which have been annotated by Dubos himself. According to Robert Chapman, professor of philosophy and coordinator of Pace’s Environmental Studies Program, “Pace now has many of Dubos’s own research books from the Rockefeller University, and this means that we can not only look at his writing, but we can also do an analysis of where his ideas come from and what influenced him.”
• In 1979, the René Dubos Center purchased 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land in North Castle, New York, with donations from foundations. As a condition of the purchase it agreed to keep the property in a natural state. Nevertheless, in 2002 it attempted to sell the land to developer Michael Cappelli, who planned to develop luxury homes there. The Center filed legal action in 2007 to attempt to complete this transaction; however, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo opposed the move, and the State Supreme Court ruled against the Center in that year. In 2009, the controversy was resolved when the Center agreed to sell the land to the village of Mount Kisco, New York.[12]
Awards and honors[edit]
• Recipient of the International Center in New York’s Award of Excellence.
Books[edit]
• The Bacterial Cell in its Relation to Problems of Virulence, Immunity and Chemotherapy, 1945, Harvard University Press
• Louis Pasteur, Free Lance of Science, 1950, 1960, Charles Scribner’s Sons, Da Capo Press 1986 reprint of 1960 edition: ISBN 0-306-80262-7
• The White Plague: Tuberculosis, Man, and Society, 1952, Little, Brown, and Company, Rutgers University Press 1987: ISBN 0-8135-1224-7
• Biochemical Determinants of Microbial Diseases, 1954, Harvard University Press
• Man, Medicine, and Environment, 1968, Praeger
• Mirage of Health: Utopias, Progress & Biological Change, 1959, Rutgers University Press 1987: ISBN 0-8135-1260-3
• Pasteur and Modern Science, 1960, Anchor Books, American Society of Microbiology edition with new chapter by Thomas D. Brock, 1998: ISBN 1-55581-144-2
• The Dreams of Reason: Science and Utopias, 1961 George B. Pegram lectures, Columbia University Press
• The Unseen World, 1962, The Rockefeller Institute Press
• The Torch of Life: Continuity in Living Experience, 1962, Simon and Schuster, Touchstone 1970 reprint: ISBN 0-671-20469-6
• Man Adapting, 1966, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-00437-0, enlarged edition 1980: ISBN 0-300-02581-5
• So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events, 1968, Scribner Book Company, Transaction Publishers 1998 edition: ISBN 0-7658-0429-8 (won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction)
• Reason Awake, 1970, Columbia University Press, ISBN 0-231-03181-5
• Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet, 1972, coauthored with Barbara Ward and United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, W W Norton & Co, ISBN 0-393-06391-7
• A God Within, 1973, Scribner, ISBN 0-684-13506-X
• Of Human Diversity, 1974, Clark University Press, ISBN 0-914206-24-9
• Beast or Angel: Choices That Make Us Human, 1974, Scribner, hardcover: ISBN 0-684-17608-4, paperback 1984: ISBN 0-684-14436-0
• The Professor, the Institute, and DNA: Oswald T. Avery, His Life and Scientific Achievements, 1976, Paul & Company, ISBN 0-87470-022-1
• The Wooing of Earth, 1980, Scribner, ISBN 0-684-16501-5
• Quest: Reflections on Medicine, Science, and Humanity, 1980, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, ISBN 0-15-175705-4
• Celebrations of Life, 1981, McGraw Hill, ISBN 0-07-017893-3
• The World of René Dubos: A Collection from His Writings, 1990, Henry Holt & Co, ISBN 0-8050-1360-1
As editor[edit]
• LIFE Science Library, including authorship of one of its 26 volumes: Health and Disease (1965), with Maya Pines

Collected papers[edit]

The collected papers of Dubos from 1927–1982 including correspondence, lecture notes, book and article drafts, laboratory notebooks, photographs, audio and video cassettes, and films, are stored at the Rockefeller Archive Center.
References[edit]
1 ^ Jump up to: 
a b Montgomery, Paul L. (February 21, 1982). “Rene Dubos, Scientist And Writer, Dead”. The New York Times.
2 Jump up 
^ “The Pulitzer Prizes: General Nonfiction”. pulitzer.org. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
3 Jump up 
^ “Quotes Uncovered: The Real McCoy and Acting Locally”. Freakonomics. Retrieved 2015-06-15.
4 Jump up 
^ Moberg, Carol L. (2005). René Dubos, Friend of the Good Earth. ASM Press. pp. 160–163. ISBN 1-55581-340-2.
5 Jump up 
^ Revkin, Andrew C. (June 6, 2011). “A ‘Despairing Optimist’ Considered Anew”. The New York Times.
6 Jump up 
^ “Guide to the Center for Advanced Studies and Records, 1958–1969”. Wesleyan University. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
7 Jump up 
^ Hirsch, James G.; Moberg, Carol L. (1989). “René Jules Dubos”. Biographical Memoirs, Volume 58. National Academies Press.
8 Jump up 
^ Dubos, René (November 1, 1956). “Oswald Theodore Avery, 1877–1955”. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 2: 35–48. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1956.0003.
9 Jump up 
^ “Gramicidin: Ushering in the Scientific Era of Antibiotic Discovery and Therapy”. Rockefeller University Hospital. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
10 Jump up 
^ Dubos, René (1942). “Microbiology”. Annual Review of Biochemistry. 11: 659–678. doi:10.1146/annurev.bi.11.070142.003303.
11 Jump up 
^ “1948 Winners”. laskerfoundation.org. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
12 Jump up 
^ “Attorney General Cuomo Approves Sale of Rene Dubos Property to Town of Mount Kisco, Protecting Open Space and Water Supply” (Press release). New York State Office of the Attorney General. June 4, 2009. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
External links[edit]
• Works by or about René Dubos in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
• Frank Ryan, M.D., The Forgotten Plague: How the Battle Against Tuberculosis Was Won and Lost, 1992, Little Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-76380-2 includes chapter on Dubos, puts his work in context of fight against TB.
René Dubos, Of Human Nature (1968)

Electric Buses

Article on Electric Buses reprinted below

I have some comments after the article – but first, here is the article from the link above:

All-Electric School Bus Hits the Road

Big yellow waits in the wings for its smaller counterpart to make (electric) inroads.
by Katherine Tweed
March 04, 2014

When it comes to energy efficiency, schools are a relatively easy target. There is a natural synergy between educating the next generation and teaching sustainability and efficiency, whether it’s telling kindergartners to turn off lights when they leave a room or running sophisticated energy efficiency competitions between graduate school departments. Schools often own the buildings they occupy, making it easier to swallow long-term paybacks for efficiency retrofits.

When it comes to moving students to and from school, however, there has been less progress. The nearly half a million school buses in the U.S. are inherently more efficient than single-car drivers, but transportation efficiency gains end there for many school districts. Most youngsters (and bummed-out high schoolers without wheels of their own) are waiting at street corners and the end of driveways for practically the same yellow bus their parents rode to school (the addition of seat belts notwithstanding).

Not so for one group of kids in San Joaquin Valley, Calif. Starting in February, the Kings Canyon Unified School District becameone of the first school districts in the nation to order multiple all-electric school bus to transport students. The bus is a modification of Trans Tech Bus’ SST model, with an electric powertrain from Motiv Power Systems, which also provides electric powertrains to other heavy-duty vehicles by dropping its new technology into existing chassis. A few years ago, Smith announced the availability of an electric school bus with Trans Tech, but it did not gain success in the marketplace. 

“In this way, we are answering the call of the transportation industry to build reliable EV trucks that fit seamlessly into the existing diesel truck manufacturing and service infrastructure,” Jim Castelaz, founder and CEO of Motiv, said in a statement. “We are absolutely thrilled to see the Kings Canyon all-electric school bus on its route, transporting students, without exposing them to diesel exhaust. I hope that by the time my daughter is ready to go to school, she will be able to ride clean, zero-emission school buses like this one.” 

Many states across the U.S. already have anti-idling laws that apply to school buses to cut down on air pollution. But there is often an exception when the buses need to be powered on to run the heat or air conditioning. The federal government has also ensured that school buses will have to become more efficient in coming years. President Obama has introduced the first fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles during his time in office, which will now become even more stringent.

Even with the more efficient use of the buses and gains in gas mileage, they could still be an attractive fit for electric powertrains. Like other fleet vehicles that have gone electric, such as Proterra buses in San Antonio, Motiv’s garbage trucks in Chicago or FedEx’s delivery trucks, school buses have prescribed routes that can work well with a limited battery range.

School buses often sit idle for part of the mid-day and overnight, which could allow them to participate in demand response or frequency regulation markets, as that option becomes more widely available. Frequency regulation might be more realistic than demand response, since school buses are on the roads during the afternoons when peaks usually happen in summer. In PJM and Texas’s ERCOT, there are already pilots to allow fleet EVs to participate in the energy markets. One Chinese electric bus manufacturer operating in California is calling for utility rate redesign that would further incentivize electric transportation.

And then, of course there are, the children. Many parents don’t like the idea of their kids sucking diesel exhaust as they climb on and off a bus every day? In theory, it sounds like a win, but some school buses have already gotten much cleaner than they were a generation ago, and the electric school bus comes in at about twice the cost of a traditional diesel bus. Like other heavy-duty vehicles, there are also other low-emission options, such as natural gas, to choose from.

“Kings Canyon Unified School District has taken major strides to reduce diesel particulate emissions by as much as 85 percent with the installation of diesel particulate filters and the use of low-sulfur diesel fuel years before the mandates, plus converting one-third of our school bus fleet to clean-burning natural gas,” Jason Flores, transportation director for KCUSD, said in a statement. “Going electric with these new green school buses is just one more important step in KCUSD’s ongoing portfolio of measures to protect our children, serve our community and be good servants of our environment.” 

Like other EVs, one advantage of the electric school bus is that its lifetime operating cost is far lower than that of its conventional counterpart. If diesel prices continue to rise, the savings only get better, especially if battery breakthroughs can lower the cost of electric transportation.

“The buses cost about twice as much as a comparable gas bus, but cost one-eighth as much to fuel and one-third as much to maintain,” said Castelaz. “Over the life of a school bus, two to three times the cost of the vehicle is spent on fuel and maintenance.”

Electric municipal buses are more common, but all-electric school buses have struggled to make inroads. In the 1990s, Westinghouse tried developing technology but it was never commercialized. Some other all-electric school buses have been piloted but not used for daily transport. One all-electric school bus was put into operation at Mid-Del Technology Center school in Oklahoma. It is unclear as to whether it is still in operation. There are also other efforts underway in New York City and Chicago to test out electric school buses. 

The pilot for the buses in California was funded with $400,000 from the California Air Resources Board AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program Electric School Bus Demonstration Project. The smaller buses are outfitted with four or five battery packs for a range of 80 to 100 miles. According to Motive, when incentives for zero-emission buses are combined with battery leasing, the buses cost the same or less than conventional buses, making the long-term cost far lower.

The goal, however, is not just to electrify smaller buses, but to enable big yellow to go green too. Castelaz said there has been some interest from fleets in full-size electric bus fleets, and Motiv has the technical capabilities since it has outfitted other heavy-duty fleet vehicles, such as other buses, with electric powertrains.

The smaller buses were a natural place to start, according to John Clements, retired director of transportation for KCUSD, who is now an active clean fuels advocate in California. He noted that larger buses could be an option if there is interest based on the pilots. Kings Canyon has two buses, and federal highway funds will purchase two more for California pilots.

“They will be available to public school districts to try out at no risk to them,” said Clements. “In this way, we hope to educate districts about going electric and make it easy for them to experience for themselves.”

=============== ARTICLE ENDS HERE================

The key is:

“The buses cost about twice as much as a comparable gas bus, but cost one-eighth as much to fuel and one-third as much to maintain … Over the life of a school bus, two to three times the cost of the vehicle is spent on fuel and maintenance.”

So a moon shot for the US is: could we create an electric bus industry that, along with natural gas busses, eliminated diesel busses in the US by 2030? Could 50% of all busses by 2030 by electric?

The specific objective would be to scale the industry so the capital is 1.5x rather than 2x, and the operating costs are one-eight or less, not one-third to one-eighth.

The point is – this could be great economics for a school district. Let’s take an example. If a school bus cost $150,000 instead of $100,000 (for example), and operating costs became $1,000 instead of $10,0000 per year, then the savings of $9,000 would become a savings of $90,000 over ten years – more than paying for the extra capital.

So could there ever be a day when:

1.Public Service Commissions have a “electric school bus rate” – available only at EV charging stations of school busses (which might even have proprietary charging connections to ensure that only school busses could access the charge).
2. Authorize bonding authorities to have a “electric school bus bond” – which would allow school districts to issue 15 year bonds dedicated to buying electric busses at tax-free municipal bond rates (which are very, very low – like 2% interest or less). These bonds might have a sweetener that would make them very attractive to bond-holders – a kicker that gave bondholders half of the revenue received from the sale of electricity by busses back to utilities during peak period.
3. Authorize school districts to enter into performance contracts that pledged all operating savings for 15 years in exchange for upfront capital to buy the buses. This is an exciting option, possibly an alternative to bonds. If option 1 pricing would be put in place, smart money might actually happily offer funds this way!

The School Bus Rate would mandate utilities to charge pennies (possibly nothing?????) for off peak charging and double or triple rates for peak charging (to ensure that chargers were turned off during peak time). It would also specify a (high) price for electricity that utilities would buy back electricity from school buses during peak hours – after school hours.

So school boards, mayors, governors and other electeds would proclaim that they are using a fleet of batteries in their state to shave the state’s peak – and thereby avoiding massive capital costs for new generating capacity that ultimately is charged to taxpayers.

Smart Meters Globally

Energy companies are using the ‘Internet of Things’ to increase efficiency and save billions

JOHN GREENOUGH

Aug. 26, 2015, 10:20 AM
BI Intelligence

The lowly energy meter is becoming a leading device in the transition to the Internet of Things.

Government officials and utility executives are creating smart energy grids that will help make energy use more efficient, provide real-time billing information, and reduce the number of workers needed to check meters.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we size the smart meter market globally and in regions and countries through the world. We look at how smart meter installations will create smart energy grids that have a significant impact on energy usage and cost saving. Additionally, we conduct a cost-benefit analysis looking at how much it will cost to install smart meters and weigh it against the monetary and non monetary benefits the devices can provide.

Access The Full Report By Signing Up For A Full-Access Trial>>

Here are a few of the key findings from the BI Intelligence report:

Globally, we estimate the smart meter installed base will reach 454 million this year and more than double by 2020, making it a leading IoT device.
Asia will lead the transition to smart energy grids, followed by Europe, North America, South America, and Africa.
China has aggressive smart meter plans. Beijing is expected to have 100% of its residential homes equipped with smart meters by the end of this year.
The cost of installing these smart meters will be over $100 billion. But the financial benefits will reach nearly $160 billion.
There are three primary security risks associated with smart meters: physical risks, electrical risks, and software risks.
In full, the report:

Provides a regional breakdown of the smart meter market and includes forecasts from the major smart meter countries within that region.
Includes an analysis of the savings generated from smart grids
Provides an average cost of installing a smart meter over the next five years.
Assesses the other benefits to IoT-based meters and grids beyond revenue gains.
Discusses the security risks of smart meters and provides solutions from leading tech firms.
To access the full report from BI Intelligence, sign up for a 14-day full-access trial here. Full-access members also gain access to new in-depth reports, hundreds of charts, as well as daily newsletters on the digital industry.

NOW WATCH: This small landfill in New York turns trash into electricity for 400 homes

More: Internet of Things Energy Costs Energy Report Smart Grid

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/companies-utilities-save-with-iot-2015-5#ixzz3jxXhMpjJ

Neuroscience of Walking in Nature

NYT reports on Stanford studies about the “Subgenual” Prefrontal Cortex activity associated with “brooding” and mitigating brooding via walking in nature:

NYT on How Nature Changes the Brain

======= EXCERPTS =======

Then the scientists randomly assigned half of the volunteers to walk for 90 minutes through a leafy, quiet, parklike portion of the Stanford campus or next to a loud, hectic, multi-lane highway in Palo Alto. The volunteers were not allowed to have companions or listen to music. They were allowed to walk at their own pace.

Immediately after completing their walks, the volunteers returned to the lab and repeated both the questionnaire and the brain scan.

As might have been expected, walking along the highway had not soothed people’s minds. Blood flow to their subgenual prefrontal cortex was still high and their broodiness scores were unchanged.

But the volunteers who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths showed slight but meaningful improvements in their mental health, according to their scores on the questionnaire. They were not dwelling on the negative aspects of their lives as much as they had been before the walk.

Future Watch: Home Electricity Power Shaping

Like the quantified self movement (my Nike Fuel Band and my Apple Watch), and like the quantified car movement (my Tesla and my Ford Escape Titanium), I am ready for the quantified home movement.

I have a specific interest – but it falls under the general class of the “smart home” or the “internet of things”. For the latest on these trends, check out:
Business Insider on Smart Home

Specifically, I am ready for “power shaping”. Here is how it will work:

The subject is: can you take greater control of the power you consume in your home? Can you shape it to who you are and what you need?

For example:

– If I leave home for a week, can I turn the water heater down to lukewarm, and turn it back up a hour before I project I will arrive back into the home?

– If I leave home for an evening, can I turn the lights off except for three that I choose, and then turn the lights back on when my smart phone detects that I am a mile from the house?

– if peak power pricing starts at 4 and ends at 7, can I turn off my draw from the grid and turn on my draw from the PowerWall battery in my garage? And can that then trigger a recharge of the PowerWall when prices are cheapest, between midnight and 6 am?

– if the US Weather Service predicts, three days before, that the sun will be bright and hot from 9 am to 6 pm, can I plan to use solar power to the maximum? I choose to draw all of my electricity from solar during that time period, and then to add any left over to recharge my PowerWall (or sell back to the grid). In fact, I will set s goal for myself that I will be 100% solar 50 days this year, 70%+ solar 100 days, and 50%+ solar 150 days – without any inconvenience to myself or my family. Also, my goal is to be 100% “off peak draw” (only draw from the grid during off peak periods) 300 days this year.

– my goal is to reduce electricity draw by 30% and cost by 40% (by shaping my draw to off peak). This saves $1000 per year.

Process is entirely driven by default choices. The most basic default is “keep on keeping on”.

But there are other defaults – that I can buy or download.

For example, my power consumption can be driven by “expert user algorithms” that others say are awesome. I take advantage of what some geek has figured out about electricity usage.

Then, I “opt in” over time, and I learn about algorithmic capabilities, assets that I own (like solar panels), and needs that I have.

Apps are evolving to support this future. Take “COMFY”, for example.This is from NYT:

A couple of computer scientists have developed a smartphone app that proposes to solve that problem by making people the thermostats. Users can tell the app, called Comfy, whether they are hot, cold or just right. Over time, it learns trends and preferences and tells the air-conditioning system when and where to throttle up or throttle back the cooling. So far it’s used in a dozen buildings, including some of Google’s offices and some government-owned buildings, for a total of three million square feet. The developers claim Comfy-equipped buildings realize savings of up to 25 percent in cooling costs.
“We have a lot of data that people are most comfortable if they have some measure of control,” said Gwelen Paliaga, a building systems engineer in Arcata, Calif., and chairman of a committee that develops standards for human thermal comfort for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, or Ashrae.

How Tesla will Change Your Life

This is an extraordinary article: in length (it is very long) and in breadth (it covers the universe, beginning with first principles), and in quality (it is lay person readable).

How Tesla Will Change Your Life

The article is actually one article of four. Here is the first, all about Elon Musk: