Archive for March, 2014

Hawaii businesses: Save energy plus LED exit signs

By
March 31st, 2014



Universal LED Exit sign from www.simplyexitsigns.com.

Universal LED Exit sign from www.simplyexitsigns.com. Swapping to an LED exit sign can save a business substantial electricity costs plus qualify for a $40 rebate from Hawaii Energy.

Attention, Hawaii businesses.

Did you know swapping out your older, incandescent exit sign for an LED one can save you $80 to $100 a year? It's a no-brainer. Plus Hawaii Energy's offering up to $40 in additional incentive to businesses that do so from now until May 31.

An Energy Star LED exit sign uses only about 44 kilowatt hours annually compared to 350 kilowatt hours for an incandescent sign — about 87 percent in savings.

It's as simple as that.

The exit signs, a legally-required safety feature in case of an emergency, are on 24 hours a day throughout the year.

Businesses must complete an application and submit a paid invoice or show proof of purchase to qualify for the incentive.

Also, Hawaii Energy is offering small businesses and restaurants an opportunity to replace their old lighting with newer, energy-efficient ones for free from now until June 9. Incandescent bulbs and halogen lighting are swapped out for CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

To qualify, businesses must have an individual meter and be on an electric rate schedule G, or occupy a workspace of less than 5,000 square feet. Restaurants on any electric rate schedule or of any size can qualify.

Pagoda took advantage of Hawaii Energy's lighting retrofit program to save costs. Courtesy photo.

Pagoda took advantage of Hawaii Energy's lighting retrofit program to save costs. Courtesy photo.

Pagoda Floating Restaurant participated in the program, and expects to save about $14,400 a year.

Visit www.hawaiienergy.com/retrofit to apply.

Lighting can account for nearly half of a retail businesses' overall electricity costs at 48 percent. For offices, it's about 27 percent, and for restaurants, about 18 percent.

Hawaii Energy's Small Business Direct Install Lighting program, launched in July 2011, has helped 1,790 small businesses and restaurants throughout the state — from hardware stores to surf shops, art galleries and bakeries. The program provides free consultation, lighting and installation.

Hawaii Energy is a ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program serving the isles of Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, Molokai and Oahu.

Visit www.hawaiienergy.com/lighting or call 839-8800 to learn more. On neighbor isles, call 877-231-8222.

Posted in Energy, Green business | Comments Off on Hawaii businesses: Save energy plus LED exit signs

Rain garden workshop

By
March 26th, 2014



 

Rain gardens help filter rainwater runoff. Learn how to build one at a free Waikiki Aquarium workshop March 25. Photo courtesy Hui O Ko‘olaupoko Facebook page.  www.fb.com/huiokoolaupoko

Rain gardens help filter rainwater runoff. Photo courtesy Hui O Ko‘olaupoko Facebook page. www.fb.com/huiokoolaupoko

The Waikiki Aquarium hosted a free rain garden workshop from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25.

Rain gardens help stop water runoff, the greatest source of pollution of Hawaii's streams and coastal waters, by allowing storm water from impervious surfaces to collect, briefly settle, then infiltrate into the ground.

They mimic natural processes by treating and infiltrating storm water into the ground and evaporating it back into the air.

Todd Cullison, executive director of Hui O Ko‘olaupoko, provided instruction on how to create a do-it-yourself rain garden. A free manual is also available at www.huihawaii.org/rain-gardens.html.

The workshop, supported by the state Department of Health's Clean Water Branch and Hardware Hawaii, brought awareness to the importance of natural vegetation designed to absorb and filter rainwater from heavy tropical storms.

Visitors to the aquarium during the month of April also receive 100 tote bags with rain garden information and instructions for teachers to give their students.

The Waikiki Aquarium itself will also be home to a rain garden to be revealed at its annual Mauka to Makai Event on April 19.

To learn more, visit www.waikikiaquarium.org.

Posted in Gardens, Green events, Water | Comments Off on Rain garden workshop

World Water Day

By
March 19th, 2014



wwwd-logo

World Water Day is Saturday, March 22.

There is, perhaps, no more important resource than water, earmarked as one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent, according to the United Nations.

Water, a resource we so often take for granted, is not an infinite resource.

That message hit home for California residents, who were urged to conserve water amid severe drought conditions this year.

In Hawaii, we are just as vulnerable. In particular, the health of our forests plays a key role in maintaining our water supply, which is vital to agriculture and tourism. See "The Rain Follows The Forest," a video by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, to learn more.

Here are some ways to celebrate World Water Day in Hawaii this year:

>> Plastic Free Hawai‘i Beach Cleanup, check-in 8:30 a.m., cleanup from 9 to 11 a.m. at Kahuku Beach, James Campbell Wildlife Refuge. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Visit www.fb.com/PlasticFreeHawaii.KHF or email plasticfree@kokuahawaiifoundation.org.

>> Rain barrel catchment workshop. From 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 12 at Halawa Xeriscape Garden, 99-1268 Iwaena St. Collect rain water to reduce the amount of drinking water used for irrigating landscapes. Offered by the Board of Water Supply and Friends of Halawa Xeriscape Garden. Cost is $35 for lecture and a pre-drilled, 55-gallon water catchment barrel and hose bib (or $5 for lecture only). Call 748-5363 or email workshops@hbws.org to register.

>> Opt for a reusable water bottle. Last week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to ban bottled water from city property and events and food trucks. Many national parks like the Grand Canyon have also taken this step. Many people drink bottled water because they believe it to be of higher quality, but that may not be the case, say environmental advocates. Tap water is regulated by the EPA, and bottled water by the FDA. According to Ban the Bottle, 24 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. is either Pepsi's Aquafina (13 percent) or Coke's Dasani (11 percent) —  both of which are simply purified municipal water. A high-quality filter may help you save money and bottles.

>> Build a rain garden. Rain gardens help stop water runoff, the greatest source of pollution of Hawaii's streams and coastal waters. There's a free manual online from Hui o Ko‘olaupoko. Also, if you want to learn more, the Waikiki Aquarium is hosting a free rain garden workshop from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25.

>> Support companies that support clean drinking water — Freewaters footwear, MiiR water bottles and Cascade Designs.

Posted in Water | 1 Comment »

Looking for monk seal artists

By
March 14th, 2014



Can you paint, draw or sculpt a Hawaiian monk seal? Kermit, the monk seal, above. Star-Advertiser file photo.

Can you paint, draw or sculpt a Hawaiian monk seal? Kermit, the monk seal, pictured above. Star-Advertiser file photo.

Attention, student artists!

The Wyland Foundation is teaming up with the Monk Seal Foundation to host the first 'Conservation through Art' contest starting Monday, March 24.

All students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to participate and to display their artistic talent and ocean awareness to one of the world's leading environmental artists, Wyland.

ArtContest

The theme is "The Hawaiian Monk Seal, a living treasure."

Students are invited to create images of Hawaii's critically endangered monk seal through paint, drawing, collage or sculpture.

Art mediums can include chalk, charcoal, clay, crayon, marker, paint, pen, pencil or watercolor. All work must  be your original creation. Only one submission per student.

Students register and submit their original artwork online. Deadline is April 11.

One winner from each grade will be selected by a panel of artistic judges, including Wyland, Doug Perrine, Patrick Ching and Matt Sproat. An overall 'best of show' winner will also be selected. The 14 winners, which will each receive prizes and awards, will be announced in late May.

Winners' artwork will be featured in a 2015 calendar, with the 'Best of Show' on the front cover.

The goal of the contest is to engage and inspire students to learn more about the Hawaiian monk seal and its unique role in Hawaii's ecosystem.

The Hawaiian monk seal, endemic to Hawaii (meaning found only in Hawaii), has existed in the archipelago for 13 million years.

Their population, estimated at 1,100 today, is at a critical low.

Hawaiian monk seals face diverse threats, including entanglement in marine debris, food limitations, shark predators, infectious diseases, human disturbance and habitat loss.

This is a pivotal time to save the monk seals, a living treasure, from extinction. So get your canvas out, and create!

The Monk Seal Foundation's gallery can provide inspiration. Visit www.monksealfoundation.org/artcontest for more information.

Posted in Contests, Hawaiian monk seals | Comments Off on Looking for monk seal artists

Clean energy jobs

By
March 12th, 2014



Star-Advertiser file photo.

Workers install a solar photovoltaic panel on to a rooftop. Star-Advertiser file photo.

Let's hear it for clean energy jobs.

Hawaii ranked no. 3 among the top 10 states for clean energy job postings last year, and was also among the top 10 in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a report by nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

California ranked No. 1, followed by Texas at No. 2.

But there's certainly room for improvement.

The E2 report cites a survey revealing overwhelming public support for solar energy as well as opposition to a hookup fee in Hawaii. HECO, meanwhile, seeks approval for six more renewable energy projects in the state.

Click here for the Brookings fact sheet detailing clean job growth and wages in Hawaii. Brookings ranked Hawaii 45th among 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of its overall size (with 11,113 clean jobs). The estimated median wage in Hawaii's clean economy is $42,235 compared to $38,615 for all jobs in Hawaii.

Among the statewide facts the E2 report listed for Hawaii:

>> Hawaii has 916 megawatt hours of renewable generation, with the potential for 2.9 million Gigawatt hours (equal to 1 billion watt hours)of renewable energy.

>> A sampling of Hawaii job announcements include positions for a solar facility on Kauai, a retrofit of state airports, a wind farm on Oahu and a solar farm at Kalealoa.

There was no mention of Oahu's rail transit project.

Nationwide, Environmental Entrepreneurs tracked more than 78, 600 clean energy and clean transportation job announcements in 2013. Solar power generation was the year's top sector, with more than 21,600 jobs announced. Other strong sectors included building efficiency and public transportation.

"Our report makes it clear," said E2 executive director Judith Albert. "When we invest in clean energy and clean transportation, we put people to work in every corner of the country. Whether it's a new wind farm in Iowa, an energy efficiency retrofit in Massachusetts, or a utility-scale solar array in Nevada, these projects require American ingenuity and labor. The sector is helping stimulate our economy."

See the full report at www.CleanEnergyWorksForUs.org.

Posted in Energy, Green jobs, solar | Comments Off on Clean energy jobs

Bottle Caps

By
March 10th, 2014



Students at Lanikai Elementary are participating in Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Looks like they even have a special collection container. Courtesy photo.

Students at Lanikai Elementary are participating in Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Looks like they even have a special collection container. Courtesy photo.

I've had a bag full of bottle caps for some time. I know the city doesn't take them for recycling in the blue bin (only No. 1 and No. 2) in Honolulu. So, honestly, I was hoping to recycle them somewhere convenient.

And now that opportunity is here, with the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's first Hawaii School Bottle Cap Collection Challenge. Visit kokuahawaiifoundation.org/bottlecapchallenge to find a list of participating schools.

Each participating school collects plastic bottle caps from the community and turns them in by March 31. Schools will submit a collection report online and also document the process with photos, videos and blogs.

The school that collects the most caps for recycling wins a special performance by musician Jack Johnson (the foundation’s co-founder).

The challenge, which started Feb. 1, is open to all Hawaii schools, from pre-school to high school. More than 50 schools, so far, are participating, mostly from Oahu, but also from Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. New schools are still welcome to register.

The foundation partnered with Method and Preserve to send the plastic caps to California, where they will be recycled into new products, including Method’s Ocean Plastic bottle and Preserve’s cutlery, plates and cups.

At Kokua’s beach cleanups over the year, volunteers have collected more than 25,000 pounds of waste, including thousands of discarded plastic bottle caps.

Can your cap be recycled?

The Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation has a collection guide. Look for the No. 5 inside the triangular recycling symbol, which stands for a rigid plastic called polypropylene.

These usually include caps that twist on to shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles, as well as vitamin and medicine cap lids, the flip top caps on ketchup and mayonnaise, and peanut butter jar lids.

The recycling challenge is not accepting plastic pumps with metal springs, margarine tub lids or metal lids.

Happy recycling!

Recyclingcaps

 

Thanks, Kermit

By
March 9th, 2014



Kermit the monk seal with National Geographic crittercam mounted on his back at White Plain Beach in February 2014. Photo courtesy Barbara Billand, Monk Seal Foundation volunteer.

Kermit the monk seal with National Geographic crittercam mounted on his back. Photo courtesy Barbara Billand, Monk Seal Foundation volunteer.

First of all, let's say thanks to Kermit the monk seal for giving us a peek into his under-ocean life.

Kermit, an approximately 20-year-old male monk seal who hangs out on the leeward side of Oahu, is part of a three-year National Geographic crittercam project conducted by NOAA Fisheries. The camera was mounted on his back between Feb. 7 and 14.

Students in Castle High School teacher Dani Padilla's marine science class got to get the first peek at footage gathered from Kermit's crittercam in February. You can get a peek, too, via this link courtesy National Geographic and NOAA Fisheries.

While five groups (of about four students each) watched 30-minute video clips, the project will gather more than 200 hours of footage to pore through (swimming, sleeping, playing, eating). The students are enlisted to help scientists put together a short video to present to the community as well as to be the future voice of monk seals.

It's a great idea — taking science out of its "scientific research bubble" and out into the community.

"I think the main takeaway for my students was the first hand experience watching un-touched footage," wrote teacher Dani Padilla in an e-mail. "They got to DO rather than be told. They were not just having the 'facts' fed to them through the grapevine. Instead, they were the ones collecting the data and watching a monk seal pass up hundreds of fish before he decided to eat anything...."

FTR MONK SEAL IN CLASSROOM 19

Castle High School teacher Dani Padilla with students as they examine footage taken from the National Geographic crittercam mounted on Kermit the monk seal's back. Photo by Craig Kojima.

Only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals, known as ilioholoikauaua (dog running in the rough seas in Hawaiian) remain in the isles today, with their population in decline. They are a native species found only in Hawaii, and protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. The state of Hawaii considers the intentional harm or killing of a seal a third-degree felony.

Now, back to Kermit. You can't help loving Kermit when you see him. Monk Seal Foundation volunteer Barbara Billand, who provided the courtesy photo above, admits he's her favorite of the many monk seals she keeps tabs on. He's often found at White Plains Beach, snoozing in the sun.

"He's a very cool seal," she said. "Very laid  back, a gentleman."

Monk seals can live between 25 to 30 years, dive for an average of 6 minutes when feeding and eat a varied diet of fish, octopus, crabs, shrimp and lobster. They grow up to seven feet long and weigh 400 to 600 pounds. They can also travel long distances.

While the monk seals may not be keen about having these crittercams attached (who knows what they would say if they could?), NOAA scientist Charles Littnan said in a Feb. 12 FB post that the new technology will provide valuable data about their foraging behavior (more than satellite tags and scat analysis can offer) as well as their habitat. It also offers potential solutions for fisheries.

It can also help dispel myths about the critically endangered monk seals, one of them being that they consume a lot. First-hand footage can show, rather than just tell the community these facts. "I'm not trying to create love for the seals," said Littnan, "Just knowledge, with the facts."

Here's a great link to Hawaiian monk seal myths vs. facts.

If you're interested in learning more about Hawaii's monk seals or volunteering, check out the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program's Facebook Page. If you see a monk seal sleeping on shore, do not approach, touch or feed it. If you see one in distress, call 888-256-9840.

Posted in Hawaiian monk seals, Marine Life | Comments Off on Thanks, Kermit

Invasive Species Awareness Week

By
March 5th, 2014



The invasive coconut rhino beetle could destroy half of the state's coconut trees. Courtesy photo.

The invasive coconut rhino beetle could destroy half of the state's coconut trees. Courtesy photo.

Coqui frogs. Little fire ants. Coconut rhinoceros beetles.

You name it, we've got it here in Hawaii. We're talking about invasive species that can do great ecological and economic damage.

So on Monday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie kicked off the second annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. It's an enormous problem for the state, high enough priority for Gov. Abercrombie, who has proposed up to $5 million to meet the operating costs of invasive species programs.

"We are experiencing a biological crisis involving a multitude of invaders ranging from the fire ant and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can harm our animals and trees, to parasites attacking coffee crops," said Gov. Abercrombie in this year's State of the State address. "Each represents a deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, natural resources, and economy, and I ask the public's engagement in addressing this menace."

Crowdsourcing seems to be the new trend in tracking invasive (as well as endangered) species these days. The state is asking people to participate in Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week by participating in efforts to survey all coconut trees  in the isles for the coconut rhinoceros beetle.

Adult rhino beetles bore into the crowns of coconut trees to drink the sap, leaving a distinctive v-shaped cut in the leaves when the fronds grow out. They could kill half the coconut trees in the state.

You can help by going to the Project Noah website or downloading the app. The Beetle Buster Team from the University of Hawaii will assess the presence or absence of the pest across the state.

There are also volunteer opportunities to combat invasive species across Hawaii:.

>> Help OISC remove invasive plants, Ardisia virens and Stromanthe tonckat at Lyon Arboretum 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 8. Email oisc@hawaii.edu or call 286-4616. RSVP required.

>> Pull weeds on the offshore islet of Moku‘auia Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday, March 8. RSVP required.

>> Remove invasive manuka plants from Manana Trail 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Contact koolaupartnership@gmail.com. RSVP required.

 

Posted in invasive species, Volunteer | Comments Off on Invasive Species Awareness Week

Mother and baby whale

By
March 3rd, 2014




Capt. Dave Anderson of Dana Point, Calif., captured this beautiful footage of a mother and baby Hawaiian humpback whale off the waters of Maui during a recent trip in February. Stay tuned to the second half of this five-minute video, which starts with a dolphin stampede in Dana Point.

He captured the footage by drone – or quadcopter — during a vacation on Maui. The mother and baby approached his boat off Maui, says Capt. Dave, and he made sure to maintain a respectful distance while capturing the footage.

"Putting it together the way I did will, I hope, raise awareness of these animals in a way that hasn't been done before," said Anderson, owner of Capt. Dave's Dolphins & Whale Watching Safari.

Anderson, who produced the documentary "Wild Dolphins & Whales of Southern California," also says it shows the great potential drones can have for wildlife filmmakers. He's excited about the possibilities the new technology can offer.

"I have not been this excited about a new technology since we built our underwater viewing pods on our whale watching boat," he said.

Three days after getting a quadcopter, Anderson said he was filming the dolphin stampede off Dana Point, Calif. He also captured some beautiful footage of a gray whale, but had a mishap in which he lost the quadcopter after it nicked an antennae and dropped in the water. Now he makes sure to put a flotation device on his quad.

There is also footage of three gray whales migrating down the coast off San Clemente, Calif.

On Maui, he said he parked his boat a distance from the mother and calf to watch them, spending pretty about a half day out there. A male escort whale was also out there, watching after the pair. He deployed his quadcopter (a DJI Phantom 2 with a small GoPro) four times — at 15-minute intervals each.

From the surface, it looked as if the mother was diving down and leaving her calf behind. From the drone, Anderson saw that the mother whale was just resting right under the surface of the water, with the calf hovering nearby.

"They were just interacting with each other in such an intimate way," he said. "I think the most beautiful part of that film is what I shot in Hawaii."

Anderson, a whale watch captain with nearly 20 years of experience, also warns others to only attempt filming by drone if familiar with whale behavior and laws. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association  is currently reviewing drones and their use around whales.

Learn more at dolphinsafari.com.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives