Cool Green Morning: Tuesday, December 1

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Published on December 1st, 2009  |  Discuss This Article  

Would a smiley face on your energy bill inspire you to save energy? You may say “no,” but a real-world example found that smiley faces and frowny faces actually make a big difference in energy use. It’s all good, cheerful news in today’s Cool Green Morning, so what’s stopping you? Read on.

  1. Photovoltaics that work underground… huh? But yes, scientists have indeed created solar panels powered by optical fibers that only need to be exposed to the sun at the very tip.
  2. Maybe you said “hogwash” to underground solar panels, but what about the new plan to power 100 percent of our energy with renewables by 2030? It could be a pipe dream, but the researchers proposing the plan say it’s worth considering.
  3. A new species of tree snail, dubbed Crikey steveirwini in honor of the legendary croc hunter from Australia, is just one of hundreds of new species recently discovered around the world. Scientific American’s Extinction Countdown takes a look at some of the highlights. 
  4. CleanTechnica calls it a “sustainability twofer”: a company has found a way to recycle scrap tires and scrap concrete blocks — at the same time — into a material that can be used for landscaping, erosion control and wetlands restoration.
  5. It may sound elementary — think gold stars on your first-grade homework — but an experiment in California found that emoticons on energy bills, along with information about neighbors’ energy use, helped reduce consumption by 40 percent.
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