Sunday, May 22, 2011

Greenpeace's Greenfreeze

I discovered Greenpeace's Greenfreeze initiative a few years ago in graduate school, and thankfully their progress has gone far beyond popular reporting, or progressive news reports for that matter.

F-gases were directly responsible for 17% of man-made climate change in 2005. CFCs such as Freon, which you've probably heard of, have been banned. However, the HFCs that were presented as the "environmental alternative" to CFCs by chemical companies have had a similarly grave impact on the environment -- which is why we need to eliminate them now.

Our first big success on natural refrigerants came in 1992, when Greenpeace developed an alternative refrigerator that did not use the extremely potent greenhouse gases HFCs and HCFCs. Greenpeace obtained orders from 70,000 Germans for the non-existent refrigerator in just three weeks, which in turn encouraged a manufacturer to actually build it. In the subsequent 17 years, over 300 million refrigerators utilizing this technology have been sold in Europe, Asia, and South America by leading brands including Whirlpool, Bosch, Haier, Panasonic, LG, Miele, Electrolux, and Siemens. On October 29, 2008, General Electric announced its intention to manufacture and sell a GreenFreeze-style refrigerator in the United States.
100 million domestic refrigerators and freezers are produced annually globally. Between
35% - 40% of the global fleet production is Greenfreeze. All major European, Japanese and
Chinese manufacturers now produce Greenfreeze refrigerators. The technology now dominates
the market in Europe, Japan and China. It is also produced in Latin America, in Argentina and
Brasil. Greenfreeze has not yet entered the market in the USA or in Canada.

The world's cooling industry has to be converted to natural refrigerants. If we are successful, F-gases will be a thing of the past within five years. On September 29, 2008, at scoop shops in Boston and Washington, D.C., Greenpeace and Ben & Jerry's unveiled the freezer of the future. It will, of course, keep pints of Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia as cold as ever, but it will also help keep the planet cool by eliminating the use of the potent chemicals known as HFCs. At the end of March 2009, PepsiCo Inc. announced they will be testing greener vending machines which will reduce their environmental impact, a move celebrated by Greenpeace.

In December 2009,
Coke announced
that 100 percent of their new vending machines and coolers will be HFC-free by 2015. Coca-Cola is using two HFC-free solutions: hydrocarbon refrigeration is used in smaller refrigeration equipment and carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in larger equipment. Coca-Cola committed to use its scale to aggregate demand and encourage supply as a means of accelerating the transition to HFC-free refrigeration equipment.

We're also currently working with a consortium of global companies to change the world's refrigeration and cooling. We've used carrots and sticks with these businesses, and our efforts have resulted in surprising alliances.
Refrigerants, Naturally! was founded by Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Unilever in 2004 to encourage the elimination of F-gases from refrigeration and cooling. We work with these companies and many others by pushing for rapid change and constantly reminding them of the consequences of inaction. Just as importantly, we try to ease their way to a green solution by educating and developing the market and changing the policies so that the choice for natural refrigeration is also a profitable choice. It's expensive to retool a factory and there are many ways to mitigate these large investments.
from, and more at

UK Phone Coop et al

A BIG WELCOME to any and all viewers.  After all, once we get beyond the profit motive to responsible accounting, friendship is what we've got, you, me, and them.
         What follows are some excerpts from information about a UK Baywind Co-op project, the UK Co-operative Party, a US Maryland Solar Co-op, and a US solar project involving an Electric Co-op.  All the excellent social and ecological economic theory of E.F. Schumacher, Herman Daly, David Ellerman, and so many others is only in its full context when real world examples are referred to.

Phone Co-op values
The Phone Co-op is the fastest growing consumer co-operative in the country and now has over 13,000 customers. This is because they give their customers what they want: a low cost service, backed up by ethical, green values your values.

As well as using recycled stationery and power from renewables throughout the business, they offset their CO2 emissions resulting from the connecting of their customers phone calls. 75% of the mileage covered on business trips last year was by less environmentally damaging forms of transport such as train and bus.

The Co-operative Party is the Party of social justice.
We believe that people will achieve more by working together than they can by working alone. We support the efforts of those who seek success through that co-operative endeavour.
We believe that the only way to create a just and fair society is through power being spread evenly throughout society, and not arbitrarily based on wealth, class, gender or race.
We work to promote co-operatives and all forms of mutual organisation….
Ethical values and a deep sense of social and environmental responsibilities are reflected in the way they conduct their business. The consumer co-ops pioneered the concept of responsible retailing and have always campaigned for greater consumer protection. Today co-ops champion fair-trade products and offer a solution in the fight against exploitative labour practices, among other projects. 
We are an association of 50-plus homes in the Mt. Pleasant community of the District of
Columbia. We are committed to deploying solar systems on each of our respective homes. The
systems we propose to install range in capacity from 2 to 3 KWs, enough on average to power
30% of our annual electric needs. Our membership is inclusive, running the gamut of age,
income and ethnicity. In this respect we are representative of the city as a whole. Our aim is to
reach out to all our neighbors in Mt. Pleasant. At the very least, with the right incentives, we
anticipate being able to have solar installed on 100 homes in our community in short order.
Concerns about the environment, potential power shortages in the near future, and escalating electricity prices are driving us to install solar.
In an effort to renew their commitment to environmental sustainability and energy conservation, SMCPS entered into a 15 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Perpetual Standard Solar, enabling SMCPS to host the solar installations without any capital outlay. The PPA will provide SMCPS a projected 30 percent offset of their current electricity consumption. Perpetual Standard Solar partnered with Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Inc. (SMECO) to purchase the solar renewable energy credits (SRECS), contributing to the project’s financing.

“As more and more solar projects are developed, SMECO customer-members will benefit from locally produced power that helps the Co-op meet its goal of investing in renewable energy. These types of projects fit with our portfolio of environmentally friendly energy products, and they provide alternatives to traditional energy supply,” said Sonja Cox, SMECO’s CFO and Senior Vice President of Financial, Economic, and Employee Services. “We are enthusiastic about working with St. Mary’s County Public Schools and Standard Solar on the George Washington Carver Elementary School project, which is the largest solar project on the Co-op’s system to date.”