Archive for July, 2016

Reinventing the wheel

July 12th, 2016

The Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki has for years been the collection point for plastic debris and litter, which in turn flows into the ocean, not to mention the site of the worst massive sewage discharge of 48-million gallons of untreated wastewater in 2006.

Now, three non-profit groups — Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, 808 Cleanups and the Surfrider Foundation — are hoping to bring the Trash Water Wheel to Honolulu's Ala Wai Canal. The solar-powered wheel, which a Baltimore, Md. non-profit brought to its Inner Harbor two years ago, has reportedly removed more than 350 tons of litter there.

Baltimore water wheel powered by solar panels and currents. Courtesy

Baltimore water wheel powered by solar panels and currents. Courtesy

It kind of looks like a covered wagon with a spinning wheel and array of solar panels on top. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore says it is capable of picking up 50,000 pounds of trash per day using a combination of old and new technology. Two booms direct trash and debris toward the front of the water wheel, which moves it up a conveyer belt (powered by the water wheel and solar panels) and into a dumpster.

Hawaii's three non-profits recently launched an indiegogo campaign seeking to raise $6,500 to conduct a feasibility study (plus offer donors various perks). The goal has been surpassed in less than 10 days.

Kahi Pacarro, director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, says he has met with state and city officials, who agreed the project should be a priority for Oahu but requires a feasibility study first. All funds beyond the goal will go towards the actual water wheel. If the feasibility study ends up determining that the water wheel is not feasible for Honolulu, the funds will be split between the three non-profits for perpetuating their missions of cleaning Hawaii's coastlines.

The indiegogo campaign runs until Aug. 19.

Posted in Conservation, marine debris, Ocean, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reinventing the wheel

Free energy kits

July 6th, 2016


The Blue Planet Foundation, in partnership with Bidgely, an Energy Excelerator portfolio company and Hawaiian Electric, is offering free home energy monitoring kits to 750 homes across Oahu.

The software kit allows participants to measure how much energy their homes and specific appliances – like the refrigerator or water heater – are using at a given time via an app.

It will also include tips and fun energy challenges that participants complete for the chance to win prizes.

The pilot program's goal is to equip households and businesses with the tools they need to take control of their energy choices, and shift power consumption patterns to better match renewable energy supply as well as reduce peak energy demand.

"We're making the invisible, visible," said David Aquino, Blue Planet's director of innovation. "Many residents get a $200 energy bill at the end of the month and have no idea how, when, or where that energy was used."

Blue Planet will schedule and provide free installation of the energy kits which will involve hooking up a device to the circuit breaker box (should take no more than 30 minutes). The Bidgely HomeBeat app will display in-home energy consumption and the breakdown of energy use by each appliance, via a smartphone or online, with real-time alerts.

Bidgely has launched similar programs in other parts of the U.S., including in 2014 with Pacific Gas & Electric in northern California, which found that monitoring appliances yielded up to 7.7 percent in energy savings among about 850 participants.

Results from the Oahu pilot program should be released at the end of the year.

Visit to schedule an installation.

Posted in Blue Planet Foundation, Energy | Comments Off on Free energy kits

808 Cleanups Volunteers

July 1st, 2016


You've got to hand it to them.

Volunteers for 808 Cleanups are out there, spending their time, efforts and energy on cleaning up on any given day of the week — from Nanakuli to Hawaii Kai. From the depths of the ocean to the summit of Koko Crater . For them, Earth Day really is every day and instead of complaining, they're actually TAKING ACTION.

Recently, 808 Cleanups co-founder Michael D. Loftin has been posting what motivates these volunteers to do what they do. Maybe they will inspire you.

"It's my pleasure to share what you've told me in your own words," he wrote on Facebook. "Why you are a member of 808 Cleanups. It is my honor and privilege to know you and work with you on cleanups."

Below are just a few of the volunteers out of hundreds, from all walks of life, who share what motivates them. Find these posts at Inspired? Here are 10 ways to get started.

NalaniU‘i Tector, Nanakuli


Uncle George, Pokai Bay


Jay Lee, Honolulu (Old Stadium Park)


Joanna Fletchall, Kailua Beach Park


Mary Eileen, Waimanalo


Brian Connors, Koko Crater


Posted in beach cleanup, Green non-profits, Lifestyle, marine debris, Volunteer | Comments Off on 808 Cleanups Volunteers

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