Archive for the ‘Green business’ Category

Hawaii businesses: Save energy plus LED exit signs

March 31st, 2014
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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.

Making the LEED list

February 18th, 2014
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Aulani, a Disney Resort, at Ko Olina, is the largest LEED certified project in the state. LEED Silver. Courtesy image.

Aulani, a Disney Resort, at Ko Olina, is the largest LEED certified project in the state. LEED Silver. Courtesy image.

For the first time, Hawaii has made the U.S. Green Building Council's list of "Top 10 States for LEED."

Hawaii placed ninth in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The list highlights regions around the U.S. that are at the forefront of the movement for sustainable building design, construction and operation. The goal of LEED-certified spaces is to utilize less energy and water, reduce carbon emission and contribute to a healthier environment.

"Hawaii's recognition as one of the top 10 states for LEED buildings speaks volumes about the vigorous and progressive actions taken by our government, education, hospitality and military communities," said Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie. "The state is committed to fulfilling its clean energy goals, and I applaud all of those involved for their continued commitment toward energy efficiency."

Some Hawaii projects that became LEED certified in 2013:

>> Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa at Ko Olina, LEED Silver

>> Punahou School  Omidyar K-1 in Honolulu, LEED Gold

>> Kaiakea Fire Station in Kapaa, LEED Silver

>> Maui Community College Science Building, LEED Gold

>> Hickam Air Force Base F-22 composite repair facility, LEED Gold

>> Howard Hughes Corp. Ward Village, LEED-ND (neighborhood development) Platinum

According to www.gbig.org, Honolulu has 172 green buildings and about 3.2 million square feet of LEED certified space (most of it at the gold level).

Illinois got the top-ranking spot, with 2.29 per-capita square feet of LEED space in 2013; Maryland was second with 2.20 per-capita square feet; Virginia came in third, with 2.11 per-capita square feet.

California and New York tied for fifth place with 1.92 per-capita square feet of LEED space in 2013.

A Pono Home

February 10th, 2014
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Pono Home is a Honolulu-based startup offering to "green" your home, making it more energy- and water-efficient. It's an interesting idea. After all, many of us know what should be done, but how many of us get around to doing it?

Sometimes we just don't know where to start. Oftentimes we procrastinate.

Part of what Pono Home offers is the convenience as well as the expertise of knowing how to green your home.  And they do it for you. (I would be perfectly happy to have someone else clean out the refrigerator condenser coils).

I'm a green columnist, so of all people, you would think I know how to green a home.

Getting a solar photovoltaic system was a big step in that direction.  But having a solar PV system isn't an excuse to just hog up energy in your home, either. I don't know everything. And the water bill only seems to be going in one direction these days — up.

There are plenty of great resources on the web, as well as free workshops by Hawaii Energy. Even HECO gives you plenty of tips through guides like "101 Ways to Save" and "Cool Tips" as well as in its monthly newsletter. For a guide on what to look out for in household cleaners and beauty products, the Environmental Working Group publishes guides posted free online.

Here are a few tips I didn't know (from Pono Home's learning resources link for energy efficiency):

>> Did you know storing potatoes with an apple help reduce spoilage? Or that you should leave tomatoes at room temperature with the stem facing down?

>> Did you know that keeping the fridge and freezer two-thirds full results in a 5 to 10 percent reduction in electricity use? (from greenlivingideas.com)

>> It's best to turn off fans when not in the room. Fans only cool you, not the room.

Till the end of February, Pono Home, one of the startups selected by clean tech incubator Energy Excelerator has an indiegogo campaign that allows you to get the service while contributing $20 to an environmental non-profit of your choice, including SEEQS, the Blue Planet Foundation, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, and others.

Sandalwood Legacy Trees

January 28th, 2014
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The sandalwood, or iliahi sapling, is now part of Hawaiian Legacy Hardwood's sponsorship program. Courtesy image.

The sandalwood, or iliahi sapling, is now part of Hawaiian Legacy Hardwood's sponsorship program. Courtesy image.

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods of Paauilo, Hawaii, is now offering the rare, endemic sandalwood – or ‘iliahi, as part of its sponsorship program.

The sweet smelling ‘iliahi, found only in Hawaii, was harvested nearly to extinction a century ago. ‘Iliahi are not easy to grow, according to Heidi Bornhorst in "Growing Native Hawaiian Plants: A How-to Guide for the Gardener," because it is often difficult to find the seeds.

It is also slow-growing, with wood that is considered very valuable. HLH does not plan to harvest the trees.

"The simple fact is that because it is so slow-growing, if you are planting it for harvest, you better be planting it for your grandkids," said CEO Jeff Dunster. "And yes, in fact we are planting it for our grandkids, and everyone else's grandkids too."

The Legacy Tree program offers the public the opportunity to get involved in the reforestation of Hawaii through sponsorships. Sponsor a Sandalwood Legacy Tree to celebrate an event, honor an individual or memorialize a loved one.

The sponsorship of a sandalwood legacy tree is $100, with $20 going to the charity of the giver's choice (plus $1 which goes to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust).

HLH celebrated the planting of its 200,000th native koa tree on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii island in May 2013 three years after the program was launched. The goal is to plan 1.3 million koa treesKoa legacy tree sponsorships are also still available for $60 (with $20 going to a charity).

Each tree can be tracked through HLH's Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system, basically a computer signature, which keeps tabs on the tree's growth, maintenance and geology.

Visit www.HawaiianLegacyHardwoods.com or call (877) 707-TREE to learn more.

 

 

 

Solar parking arrays

January 23rd, 2014
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Covered parking solar array at Liliha Square provides shade and lowers electricity costs. Courtesy image.

Covered parking solar array at Liliha Square provides shade and lowers electricity costs. Courtesy image.

There's a cool new trend in Honolulu's parking structures.

RevoluSun just installed a 155-kilowatt solar PV system atop a carport at Liliha Square Shopping Center. While it's not the first carport solar array for Oahu, it's a growing trend among Honolulu commercial property owners, according to the solar company.

It makes sense.

After all, why not use the top space of a parking structure as a way to lower your utility costs while providing shade?

RevoluSun can also create a custom-designed cover for an open parking structure.

Last year, the company created a shaded, waterproof roof for the top level of the uncovered parking structure at AIPA (Airport Industrial Park Associates). The 280-kilowatt system helps AIPA save money on its overall electricity costs.

"Essentially, business owners are killing three birds with one stone," said RevoluSun principal Eric Carlson. "by creating shade from the hot Hawaiian sun and in some cases, a waterproof roof from our frequent Hawaiian drizzles; the solar panels generate clean, renewable electricity; and saves the owner money on their electric bills."

Other parking structure solar systems by RevoluSun:

>> Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, 280-kilowatt system.

>> HECO Ward Avenue Charging Station, nine-panels, with a battery storage system.

RevoluSun, Surfrider clear 400 lbs at Sandy's

July 17th, 2013
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RevoluSun donated this sandsifter to help sort out plastic marine debris from the shores of Sandy Beach on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

RevoluSun donated this sandsifter to help sort out plastic marine debris from the shores of Sandy Beach on Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Volunteers from solar company RevoluSun and the Surfrider Foundation cleared more othan 400 pounds of marine debris and litter at Sandy Beach on Saturday (July 13).

While most people focus on large litter at beach cleanups, looking for cans, bottles and plastic bags left behind, this cleanup focused on small trash and microplastics that are more difficult to pick up.

Within an hour and a half, volunteers picked up more than 2,000 cigarette butts, 300 beverage containers and single-use food containers, along with plastic bags, polystyrene packaging, fishing nets/ropes, batteries, drug paraphernalia, condoms (yuck!) and more.

This year, RevoluSun also donated a mobile sand-sifter developed by local contractor Jason Tucker Hills (cool!). It's designed to clean sand by pulling out microplastics or plastic debris — small plastic particles generated from industrial pellets used to manufacture plastic products as well as plastic broken down from plastic products left from both land-based and ocean-based litter.

It was the fourth year in a row that RevoluSun partnered with the Surfrider Foundation's Oahu Chapter for the annual Sandy Beach cleanup.

Roselani's goes green behind the scenes

December 12th, 2012
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Producers of Roselani Ice Cream have taken steps to reduce waste at its plant in Wailuku, Maui.

Producers of Roselani Ice Cream have taken steps to reduce waste at its plant in Wailuku, Maui.

Maui Soda & Ice Works, best known as the producers of the popular line of Roselani Ice Cream, has taken a few steps to make its Wailuku operations greener. They've been making ice cream from scratch since 1932.

The company — working with University of Hawaii-Maui College students — set up recycling bins for mixed metals, mixed papers and miscellaneous recyclables plus invested in a cardboard and shrink wrap compactor which makes recyclable bales.

Maui Soda has reduced the amount of its trash going to the landfills by about three-quarters and lowered its trash bill.

"I think it is a win, win situation for everyone," said Brian Carvalho, who handles plant maintenance. "Recycling helps our environment and as a plus side you can also make a little bit of  money."

The UH students will also analyze the Wailuku plant's lighting system  to improve Maui Soda's overall energy efficiency.

Let's hope other companies will be inspired to recycle, if they haven't taken a few simple steps to do so yet.

Keeping it Green Hawai‘i Awards

September 26th, 2012
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Islands Naturals Market & Deli, past recipient of the "Keeping It Green Hawai‘i" award, offers a display teaching kids about recycling. Courtesy Photo.

Islands Naturals Market & Deli, past recipient of the "Keeping It Green Hawai‘i" award, offers a display teaching kids about recycling. The store became plastic grocery bag-free in 2008 and recycles everything from receipts to paper, cans, jars and bottles. Courtesy Photo.

It's time for the "Keeping It Green Hawai‘i Awards" again.

Recycle Hawaii and Earth-Friendly Schools Hawaii are seeking nominations for the awards this year, which will be recognized at the America Recycles Day Concert at the Palace Theater in Hilo. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 31.

Nominees must meet at least three of the following criteria: Practice the 3 R's of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," protect our native Hawaiian forest, promote organic farming, develop alternative energy, support sustainable industry and green building practices; implement energy and resource conservation practices; and create open space 'greenways.'

Other criteria include supporting youth programs with service learning projects designed to protect our natural resources, educate the community about climate change and honor and respect native Hawaiian gathering rights and cultural practices.

Past award recipients include the Volcano Art Center, Island Naturals Market & Deli, Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and Hilo Coffee Mill.

Visit www.recyclehawaii.org or call 808-969-2012 for more information about nominations.

Greening the Kaimuki Y

August 9th, 2012
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The RE Project: The Extreme Green Makeover team talks to 3rd- and 4th-graders at Kaimuki Y about energy efficiency.

The RE Project: The Extreme Green Makeover team talks to 3rd- and 4th-graders at Kaimuki Y about energy efficiency. From L to R, Punahou grads Devon Nako, Colby Sameshina, Julian Juarez, Gordon Lai and students at the Y.

Before heading off to college in a few weeks, six students who recently graduated from Punahou will have made an impact on the Kaimuki Y on Waialae Avenue and students there.

The "RE Project: The Extreme Green Makeover" was part of a project for the Student Global Leadership Institute last summer. The theme last year was energy; this year it's health.

Their initial goal was ambitious.

They were aiming to completely retrofit the Kaimuki YMCA into a model for sustainable living, complete with solar heating systems, energy efficient appliances and lighting. They bartered with companies to supply some of these items, seeking to make a trade.

The list included a solar PV system, a solar pool water heater, Energy Star fridges, LED lamps and CFLs, energy efficient stove, power strips, auto-flush toilets and other green technology.

The four parts of the project were to 1) contact people in the community 2) complete an energy audit 3) retrofit and renovate the Y and 4) promote and educate.

Darren Kimura, president of Sopogy, volunteered to complete an energy audit of the Y last fall.

Hawaii Energy stepped up to the plate and offered some of the items in exchange for every additional 1,000 likes the team brought to its Facebook page. So an e-gauge is now part of the deal.

Just last week, the students were back at the YMCA talking to third- and fourth-graders about energy efficiency. They talked about oil and where it comes from (not anywhere in Hawaii), ways to save energy at home and what an EnergyStar appliance is.

Students, donning green hats, walked around the facility to hunt for high-energy users at the Y, identified by a paper lightning bolt. They looked at air-conditioners, the refrigerator and computers. What part of the Y uses the most energy? Turns out it's the swimming pool.

To demonstrate the difference between an incandescent light bulb and CFL (compact fluorescent light), student volunteers went up to turn a hand crank. It takes a lot more cranking to get the incandescent bulb to turn on, much less effort to turn on the CFL. They learned what a smart strip was, and how it could save energy if devices are plugged into one that shuts off automatically at night. They even learned a little bit about global warming, beach erosion and sea level rise.

Kaimuki Y student colors a page with a tip on how to save energy at home.

Kaimuki Y student colors a page with a tip on how to save energy at home.

Afterwards, students colored pages with suggestions on how to save energy, like: "Turn off lights when not in use" and "Remove plugs when not in use" to laminate and take home.

Noa Hussey, the Y's branch executive, said the facility is exploring ways to become more energy efficient and cut back on energy costs. Some of that can happen with simple steps and others might take more investment and time to accomplish. The gears have started rolling, thanks to the project.

"The Y is about youth development, healthy living and social responsibility," said Hussey. "So this is actually the socially responsible thing to do."

Hawaii Energy agreed to supply an e-gauge, which helps monitor how much energy is being used in the facility - but it may take some time before it gets installed. The team is still anticipating that it will obtain a solar heater for the pool and replace the fridge and freezer in the kitchen with EnergyStar appliances.

What they certainly have accomplished is a new way of thinking and increased awareness among students and staff at the Y.

Though the students won't be passing on the project, they've jumpstarted something positive and hopefully it will continue — and they'll go on to make positive changes in the world. All are interested in sustainability for the future.

Gordon Lai heads to UC Berkeley to study business, Colby Sameshina will pursue environmental studies at Tufts University, Devon Nako studies business (with a possible focus on the green energy sector later on) at Creighton University and Julian Juarez heads to Willamette University. Whatever they do later in life, they'll make a difference.

For updates on the RE Project, visit the Extreme Green Project Facebook page.

Brewing beer with solar

March 8th, 2012
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Kona Brewing Co., organizer of the Kona Brewers Festival on Saturday, chose to go solar in 2010 with this 229-Kilowatt (KW) solar array. Courtesy Photo.

Kona Brewing Co., organizer of the Kona Brewers Festival on Saturday, chose to go solar in 2010 with this 229-Kilowatt (KW) solar array. Courtesy Photo.

It's almost time for the 17th annual Kona Brewers Festival, a celebration of beer and cuisine on the Big Island this Saturday (March 10). So what's green about beer in Hawaii?

In 2010, Sunetric installed a 229-kilowatt solar energy system for the Kona Brewing Co.'s flagship brewery and pub, which started the Brewers Festival in 1996.

Here are some interesting figures on Kona Brewing Co.'s solar array:

  • Produced 314,563 pints, or 2,537 kegs, of hand-crafted brew to date.
  • Produced enough wattage to power 76 average residences each day.
  • Conserved 734 barrels of oil to date; the equivalent of 4,498 trips around the Big Island.
  • Prevented 691,132 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 2,425 mid-sized cars off the road.
  • Saved Kona Brewing Co. $209,416 in electric costs in 2011 alone.

The Brewers Festival raises funds for environmental, educational and cultural causes. To see a list of beneficiaries, visit Sunetric's blog (and is giving away iPod Shuffles and other prizes to help raise awareness). They include everyone from The ACF Chefs de Cuisine Kona Kohala Chapter to the Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii.

Sunetric is also bringing its Watt Wheels mobile solar energy station (a bright blue Honda Element retrofitted with three 230-watt SunPower modules) to power one of the festival's stages.