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  1. Categories: Environment

    Purchasing new appliances? Some important things to consider:

    There’s a direct link between making smart, energy-wise choices in new appliances and the amount of money you’ll ultimately save on your energy bill. And of course, using less energy is also good for the environment.

    Appliances and many other consumer products are long-term investments. Choosing a less expensive appliance with a low energy rating may seem like a good deal in the short term. But it’s smarter to consider the lifetime cost of an appliance not just the numbers on the price tag.

    ENERGY STAR is the gold star of energy efficiency. You’ll find it only on appliances and products that have made top grades in rigorous energy efficiency tests. ENERGY STAR is a symbol you’ll see on products around the world and here in Canada. It’s a symbol worth looking for and purchasing. Making the right decisions now will mean saving money and using less energy in the long run.

  2. Categories: Environment

    Volkswagen Focusing on Natural Gas

    Volkswagen, Europe’s largest vehicle manufacturer, believes it has a special responsibility to reduce global CO2 emissions. That’s why they’re producing natural gas powered vehicles. Building automobiles that use natural gas, biogas (gas from renewable resources refined into biomethane) and e-gas (synthetic methane) as fuel will substantially reduce emissions, especially when combined with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

    Why is Volkswagen going with natural gas? Because it’s abundant, clean and affordable. Natural gas is abundant in supply and available in sufficient quantities in many countries. And, compared to gasoline or diesel, natural gas emits about 25% less CO2 during combustion. Natural gas also provides customers with the advantage of lower running costs.

    Volkswagen currently offers 6 natural gas models in Europe: Caddy, Caddy Maxi, Touran, Passat Saloon and Passat Estate. This year’s new Golf will also be offered with a natural gas engine.

    Would you buy a natural gas powered vehicle if they were readily available in Canada? Tell us in the comments section below.

    [Source: Viavision, No. 1, February 2013, at http://viavision.org.uk/ftp/1034.pdf]

  3. Categories: Business

    HSR Goes to Gas

    The high costs of diesel fuel has led the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) to begin switching its bus fleet from diesel, to being fuelled by clean and affordable compressed natural gas (CNG).

    “The bottom line is the diesel fuel market has just exploded,” said Douglas Murray, manager of transit fleet maintenance.

    A transit fleet report noted the cost per litre of diesel has risen to more than a dollar from about 75 cents since 2009, with steady increases projected for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, the cost of CNG has generally declined over the same period, and is predicted to keep dropping until about 2017 “and then to inflate after that time, although at a lower rate…than diesel,” said Murray.

    Though only 35 of the HSR’s 221 buses are currently powered by natural gas, an analysis of fuel costs, maintenance expenditures, and other factors resulted in a recommendation to switch to natural gas as the fleet’s main fuel.

    Availability of fuel was also a consideration, with new extraction methods making large supplies of natural gas available within North America. In fact, Hamilton is one of many municipalities looking at making the switch to natural gas.

    Have any thoughts about switching diesel-burning bus engines to clean and affordable natural gas? Let us know in the comments section below.

    [Source: Hamilton Spectator, 29 Jan. 2013, at http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/877093–hsr-buses-going-back-to-natural-gas]