Spotted: Awesome Brewery Container Garden | greenUPGRADER

Already used containers are a great way to reuse. Old milk containers, water bottles, and soup cans can be used as well when planting your garden. The reusable items can be painted to add a creative touch, doing this could cost more $ and may not be the greenest option. However, there are recycled paints that are sold for a cheap price at the Habitat ReStore. We have a very small yard so expanding to pots are needed. We have onion bulbs that need planting and searching for a reusable container will be beneficial for the limited yard space we have. This will help our family reuse and create a nice display for our plants.


A New York brewery and cafe is growing lots of its own of food in a discarded keg container garden.The Brooklyn brewery Sixpoint Craft Ales features damaged kegs and reclaimed bathtubs full of edibles like eggplants, strawberries,

via Spotted: Awesome Brewery Container Garden | greenUPGRADER.

Solar panels to be fitted in all Japan’s new homes and buildings by 2030

Japan is expected to announce plans to make it compulsory for all new buildings and homes to be fitted with solar panels by 2030.

Japan is expected to announce plans to make it compulsory for all new buildings and homes to be fitted with solar panels by 2030.

By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo 1:53PM BST 24 May 2011

Naoto Kan, the prime minister, is expected to confirm the “Sunrise Plan” initiative in a statement on the nation’s energy policy at the forthcoming Group of Eight Summit opening this week in France.

Mr Kan is expected to tell other leaders that Japan will continue to use nuclear energy following industry-wide improvements on safety standards, according to Japanese media reports.

However, he is also expected to highlight the nation’s future efforts to boost the use of renewable energy sources, in particular solar power for which the nation is already among the world’s top users.

The exploration of alternative energy sources is timely, following the recent closure of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant due to its sensitive position on a fault line and the ongoing repair work at the tsunami- hit Fukushima plant.

The crisis resulted in Mr Kan recently announcing plans to halt the nation’s plans for nuclear expansion and redshift policy focus towards renewable energy sources.

The Sunrise Plan builds on earlier solar plan initiatives, including a target of using solar power energy in 12,000 schools as part of its School New Deal, with the company Kyocera Corporation already installing panels in over 1,200 establishments.

Millions have also been spent encouraging home solar power use on a domestic level, with one initiative involving utilities having to purchase excess solar power from homes and businesses for higher amounts than standard electricity rates.

Other energy sources being investigated by the government include geothermal, wind, biomass and hydropower, as the nation explores ways to increase its energy independence.

via Solar panels to be fitted in all Japan’s new homes and buildings by 2030 – Telegraph.

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Expanded Partnership with Industry to Advance Next-Generation Automotive Technologies

US Drive
Washington, DC – U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced U.S. DRIVE, a cooperative partnership with industry to accelerate the development of clean, advanced, energy-efficient technologies for cars and light trucks and the infrastructure needed to support their widespread use. This partnership is part of DOE’s broad strategy to expand the availability of advanced vehicles to American families to help protect them from future spikes in gas prices and reduce our nation’s reliance on imported oil. Formerly known as the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, U.S. DRIVE – Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle efficiency and Energy sustainability – brings together top technical experts from DOE, the national laboratories, and industry partners to identify critical research and development (R&D) needs, develop technical targets and strategic roadmaps, and evaluate R&D progress on a broad range of advanced vehicle and energy infrastructure technologies.

“Government-industry partnerships like U.S. DRIVE can quicken the pace at which affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles reach and succeed in the commercial market,” said U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu.   “By bringing together the best and brightest in government and the automobile, electric utility, and fuels industries, we can develop promising, innovative technologies that move rapidly from the lab into cars on the road, along with the infrastructure to support them.”

Today’s announcement of U.S. DRIVE marks the addition of two new members that bring additional focus on electric-drive vehicle technologies to the partnership.  The Electric Power Research Institute and Tesla Motors will join DOE and long-standing industry partners that have renewed their strong commitments to collaborative, pre-competitive R&D.

via Department of Energy.

Maker Faire 2011: Modular Guitars by Praxis Turn Just About Anything Into a New Guitar

Praxis Guitars

Praxis Guitars are made to be modular, with all of the electronic components within one plate that can be swapped out on different bodies or different necks. They’re made from recycled and salvaged materials, whenever possible, and since it’s possible for you to reattach pieces to different bodies, you can also upcycle old items and give them a new life. For instance, even an old schoolbook was transformed into a body.

Not only are the materials and concept TreeHugger-friendly, but so too is the whole business model.

For More Check Out: Maker Faire 2011: Modular Guitars by Praxis Turn Just About Anything Into a New Guitar : TreeHugger.

B-cycle hits the streets of Madison

Trek will launch its public bike-sharing program, B-cycle, Sunday with four bike kiosks. Thirty-two more kiosks, housing a total of 350 bikes, are planned by next month.

The initial locations are all downtown, close to the Capitol Square: Wisconsin Avenue and East Mifflin Street, South Hamilton and West Main streets, North Park and Spring streets, and West Wilson Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, says Trek spokesman Eric Bjorling.

Three different passes­ — daily, weekly and annual — are available to rent the bikes with a credit or debit card at the kiosks. The rates are still being discussed.

via B-cycle hits the streets of Madison – Isthmus | The Daily Page.

Google Has Now Invested Over $400M In Clean Power

Google Wind Power

  • World’s Largest Oregon Wind Farm: Google is investing $100 million in the world’s largest wind farm, the 845 MW Shepherds Flat project under construction in Oregon.
  • North Dakota Wind Farm: Google is investing $38.8 million into 169.5 megawatts worth of wind projects developed by NextEra Energy Resources in North Dakota.
  • East Coast Wind Farm Backbone: Google has invested part of the fund for an east coast transmission line that is meant to link offshore wind farms, and which recently got an approved rate of return for the project at 12.59 percent.
  • Wind Power from Iowa Wind Farm: Google’s first deal for its subsidiary Google Energy — which can buy and sell power on the wholesale electricity markets — plans to buy wind power from 114 MW of wind energy via a wind farm in Iowa owned by NextEra Energy Resources.
  • Wind Power from Oklahoma Wind Farm: Google’s second deal via its subsidiary Google Energy is to buy 100 MW of power from a wind farm that’s under construction in Oklahoma by NextEra Energy Resources.
  • BrightSource’s Solar Thermal Project: Google plans to invest $168 million into a solar thermal project being built by startup BrightSource Energy in California’s Mojave Desert.
  • Solar German Project: Google is investing €3.5 million ($5 million USD) into a solar photovoltaic farm in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, which is near Berlin.
  • Greentech Startups (these are small investments): Google (through a combo of Google Ventures and has invested in at least nine “greentech” startups, including battery maker ActaCell, electric vehicle maker Aptera, efficient car maker Next Autoworks, geothermal company Alta Rock, neighbor-to-neighbor car sharing company RelayRides, weather insurance company WeatherBill, smart grid company Silver Spring Networks, biofuel maker Cool Planet Biofuels, and efficient power gear conversion tech startup Transphorm.

For More: Google Has Now Invested Over $400M In Clean Power: Cleantech News and Analysis «.

Legendary Air Force Thunderbirds Give Camelina Jet Biofuel a Workout

thunderbirds use biofuel

It’s showtime for camelina, a modest, weedy little plant that has started to make a big splash in the biofuel world. The U.S. Air Force took camelina under its wing a couple of years ago and tested it out on the A-10C Thunderbolt II, and it must have done pretty well because for the first time ever a camelina based jet fuel has been used by the Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s official aerial demonstration team. The decision to use camelina for the Thunderbirds is significant because it underscores the U.S. military’s evolving mission of bringing new sustainable technology to the civilian world. Appropriately enough the first show with camelina took place for the Joint Services Open House last week at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

For More: Legendary Air Force Thunderbirds Give Camelina Jet Biofuel a Workout – CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views.

Welcome To Nature Reel

Hey everyone, welcome to our new site! Sarah and I came up with the idea to share interesting stories, links, and ideas that we find  on the internet that impact our communities near and far. Primarily we will be focused on positive content that centers around the environment, sustainability, and other words of activism. We may also post tips, tricks, and general geek wisdom that may be beneficial to your everyday life in this fast paced world of technology as the yin to the natural yang.

The site is in the beginning stages and will have a facelift in the near future as we continue to build on our ideas.

May 26th Natural Step Webinar

May 26th Natural Step Webinar

Enlisting Others: Bringing About Participation in Sustainable Community Planning with guest speaker Sarah James

via May 26th Natural Step Webinar.

This is a great organization for people that are interested in promoting and creating sustainability in the Fox Valley.      I am looking forward to coordinating a booth with students from the Fox River Academy at the upcoming “Green Market” that will be taking place once a month at Appleton’s local Farmers Market.

I will keep in touch with our growing progress!