Jun 30, 2009
The building’s owners, leasing agents and architects said Wednesday that they are literally taking environmental sustainability to new heights with a $350 million retrofit of the 1970s-era modernist building — and the turbines are only the tip of the transformation. The plan, to begin immediately, aims to reduce electricity use in the tower by 80 percent over five years through upgrades in the glass exterior, internal lighting, heating, cooling and elevator systems — and its own green power generation.
In such a huge tower, with 4.5 million square feet of office and retail space, 16,000 windows and 104 elevators, the project is bound to be one of the most substantial green renovations ever tried on one site, planners said. The Sears Tower is significantly larger than the 102-story, 2.6-million-square-foot Empire State Building, for instance, which is also undergoing renovation to reduce energy consumption.
“If we can take care of one building that size, it has a huge impact on society,” said Adrian Smith, an architect whose firm designed the Sears Tower renovation. “It is a village in and of itself.”
Buildings are among the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. After the retrofit, energy savings at the Sears Tower, which is to be renamed the Willis Tower this summer, would be equal to 150,000 barrels of oil a year, officials said. The savings are expected to help redeem some of the project’s cost, which is to be financed through private equity investment, grants, debt financing and government funds.
The Sears Tower plans to open a first-floor center to educate the public about the redesign, and hopes to serve as a model for other aging skyscrapers around the world, officials said.
By SUSAN SAULNY
Published: June 24, 2009
Go to Walletpop for the original post.
Jun 29, 2009
One of the downsides of living in the country is that there is poison ivy in them thar trees and bushes. I swear, if I just look at it I get poison ivy.
The picture at the left is: Poison Ivy in Summer.
Classic poison ivy in full swing. Some leaves are notched. Some leaves are not. New leaves are shiny and still somewhat reddish. Older leaves are duller.
Some not so fun facts :o)
How do you get poison ivy? From touching it, or touching something that has touched it, like your clothes or your dog. You normally get it from touching the leaves. I have not only rubbed up against it, but I have been splattered with sap from poison ivy when using a weed eater. The worst case I ever had was from when I was burning some brush, and inhaled the smoke. In that particular case, I did need to get some corticosteroid tablets to combat the systemic effect.
Why do you get poison ivy just from rubbing against the plant? There is an oil, called urushiol, that causes an allergic reaction after the first sensitizing exposure (my sensitizing exposure was when I was five and I played with my tonka trucks in it). The oil is in the leaves, vines, and roots. That's why tearing out the vine is so dangerous - it releases lots of urushiol. The oil from poison ivy is extremely stable and will stay potent - essentially forever. You can get a rash from clothing or tools that have the oil from last summer, or even from many years back. So if you don't remove the oil by washing, using alcohol to dissolve it, or by just hosing off with a hard spray from a hose - assume it will stay forever.
Poison Ivy Myth Buster: Once you have the rash the oil has been absorbed and you can't spread it to others or elsewhere on yourself. If you get big blisters filled with liquid it is mostly water and will not spread the rash even if they break.
If you want to learn more, or get grossed out by some wicked rash pictures, go to http://www.poison-ivy.org/index.htm.
Jun 28, 2009
No, this trend isn't part of a new prize promotion, although it is worth asking what, exactly, the company has been putting into its snacks.
In Shelbyville, Tenn., for example, one of Frito Lay's products apparently inspired a couple to go face-to-face in a battle royale. Their weapon of choice? Cheetos.Yes, Cheetos. The little orange squiggles of corn, oil, and fake cheese are, apparently, a major incitement to violence. Apparently 40-year-old James Earl Taylor and 44-year-old Mary S. Childers were involved in "a verbal altercation" that escalated until the two were hurling puffy cheese crunchies at each other. Authorities charged both Taylor and Childers with domestic assault, and both were released on $2,500 bail.
As if the Cheetos assault incident wasn't enough, in Oklahoma, an employee of Frito Lay ran afoul of the law when he allegedly purchased the affections of a prostitute in return for a case of Doritos. The snack-loving woman, Lahoma Sue Smith, was parked in an area known for prostitution, and alerted police to her presence when she began "trying to catch a date" by flashing her headlights. Her customer, who hasn't been named, apparently didn't have any money. However, Smith was willing to exchange her favors for the chips, which were valued at $30. When officers approached Smith's car, she and her passenger were not fully dressed. The police charged Smith with prostitution and driving on a suspended license.
The main gist of the original entry is included here, but to get the full humor, and to give credit to the original author, please Walletpop.com, click here.
Jun 27, 2009
Jun 26, 2009
The beetle, native to East Asia, arrived in Detroit some 10 years ago, probably by hitchhiking in wooden crates or pallets. Since then, it has killed more than 25 million trees across the upper Midwest and in Ontario.
New York has more than 600 million ash trees — all of which are now at risk.
If we don’t, America’s national pastime — and natural landscape — could be vastly different in just a few short years.
Emily Manley is a marketing specialist for The Nature Conservancy in New York. The original posting at Nature.Org can be found here.
Jun 25, 2009
In a recent study, researchers took a group of people and exposed them to a controlled amount of solar-type radiation. They then gave half the group a cocoa drink rich in bioflavonoids, and the other half a "fake" cocoa drink with little nutritional value.
Result: Those taking the higher flavonoid drink had a 15-25% reduction in UV-induced redness. They also had increased skin thickness, increased blood flow, and less skin roughness.
So, yet another reason to eat lots of colored fruits and vegetables, green tea, and cocoa. Personally, I am thinking a little more red wine in my diet :o)
Jun 24, 2009
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Jun 16, 2009
You never know, you could even qualify for a utility rebate and/or state tax incentives as well. Not only is this good for the environment and your tax bill, but it should save on your utility bill as well. A Win-Win-Win proposition :o)
So how does it work, you ask? If you purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, roofs and heating and air conditioning equipment, in your existing home, you can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500 for improvements you actually "place-in-service". The time frame for the work is 1/1/2009 through 12/31/2010. However, be careful, for some improvements, the credit applies only to the equipment costs.
So if you were fixin to get ready to think about such a project, the time to act is within the next 18 months. You can go to www.energystar.gov for a complete summary of the Energy Efficiency Tax Credits available.
Jun 15, 2009
Choose a goal and go! Decide what change you wish to make, and determine what you are going to do right this moment to make it happen. For example, if your goal is weight loss, go and climb the stairs five times and drink two glasses of water. Go ahead, I'll wait.........
Take a step toward your goal each day! When you look at yourself in the mirror each morning, take a moment to contemplate the progress you have made toward your change, have a two second celebration, and then decide what you will do today to build upon that progress. For example, if your goal is to start saving more money, you could spend some time each day researching coupons on-line, and start building a collection.
Choose reality over fantasy! Take the time you're tempted to spend dreaming about changing your life and use it to make some changes instead. For example, instead of sitting down to watch TV, why not spend some time on the book. Turn off unhelpful automatic responses! Our natural reactions can stand in the way of making positive change. Two of the biggest to overcome, in my opinion, are being impatient and procrastinating. Change takes time, and habits take at least 21 days to change. Healthy weight loss means only a couple of pounds per week. It may take some writing classes before you learn the proper technique. So make sure you return to the second tidbit above daily at keep your affirmation positive. A good way to combat, or identify if you are feeling inadequate, would be to keep a journal (paper or on-line). Patterns will emerge, or if you choose the on-line path, you will have a built in support group.
Find a Support Team! You do not have to do this alone. See suggestion above about on-line support :o) Find a peer support group or a person that has already made the change you are endeavoring. If you goal is specific such as savings, consider a financial planner. If it is health related, find a coach or organization.
Review the day's progress each night! This forces a reality check - did you make progress or did you experience some missteps. If your goal was to be more patient, did you get frustrated at a checkout line, or did you browse one of the fine magazines there for your gawking pleasure :o)
Share your growth! The positive feedback you receive will help you maintain your momentum.
Plagiarized from May 1, 2009 Bottom/Line Personal interview with Gary Null.
Jun 13, 2009
Jun 12, 2009
As the intensity of these human influences has increased, they have at times led to significant threats to the health of our ecosystems. Now our ocean and coastal resources face a new generation of challenges, and these challenges are only growing in their urgency.
To successfully address these challenges, and to ensure that future generations can enjoy healthy and productive ocean ecosystems, the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have committed to a new comprehensive, regional approach, creating the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean. Our five states will work to maintain and improve the health of our ocean and coastal resources, and ensure that they continue to contribute to the high quality of life and economic vitality of our region’s communities well into the future.
We rarely hear the good news about what our politicians are doing to take care of mother nature, kudos to these five governors. If you want to read the MARCO agreement, click the link here.
Jun 11, 2009
My schedule has me working a shift rotation, where you do three weeks of days, three weeks of nights, and so on... When we are working, it is a twelve hour shift, plus turnover time, but we also get 2-6 day gaps. Not the best schedule, but the sliver of silver lining is that when I get off for the day, I am done. No outstanding work hanging over my head (quick, duck :o), and when I am home, no pile or work looming over my shoulder.
The picture above shows the main generator, with the internals removed and sent offsite to be repaired. You can see all the scaffold in the background, we basically took the low pressure turbine all the way down to base concrete, and are re-machining and reassembling now. You can see the scale of the metal pieces, all large castings that need lots of weld repair. For such a large machine, it is amazing that the tolerances are 1/1000 of an inch. Now, we use lasers for alignment and measurements [thinking evil sea bass here :o)], and it makes me wonder how it was done in the olden days.
As we say, we are in a marathon, not a sprint, and we have months to go before we spin again. I go up on the turbine deck when I can, but this picture to the right is where I spend my time now. This is the the Outage Control Center, where I am the Shift Outage Manager when I am there, (head [enter your own epithet here] in charge), responsible for driving work and removing the proverbial roadblocks. It is kind of like the Maytag Repairman, mostly quiet, there for when a crisis rears its ugly head, and then there is a flurry of activity before I pull my head back into my shell.
Hope your week is going well, I am in the middle of my weekend, and my workweek resumes Saturday night.
Jun 10, 2009
Of all the strange practices that dominate our culture, America's obsession with green, grassy lawns is the most ridiculous-- and perhaps the least sustainable.
Jun 8, 2009
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Jun 3, 2009
Courtesy of www.despair.com. I have signed up for their blog, so not only do you have to suffer through the Sunday Silliness entries, but there will be occassional entries due to their blog feed.