'Green curtain' will take up one side of latest retail store, save energy
Apple's latest Japanese Apple Store, the Omotesando location in Tokyo, may feature a "green curtain" of vines covering one side of the building in an effort to reduce cooling costs. The foliage will cover a majority of an all-glass wall, and block sunlight from heating the interior of the building -- which will reduce the cost and need for air conditioning to keep the space cool, according to Mac Otakara.
Company may actually sell power to Duke Energy
North Carolina's Utility Commission in Raleigh has approved Apple's application to build a 4.8-megawatt fuel cell for the company's Maiden data center, the largest privately-owned such fuel cell in the country. The cell will consist of 24 energy servers provided by Bloom Energy, and will use conventional natural gas off the grid to power itself. Apple will offset the natural gas by buying or producing and equal amount of biogas locally.
Mid-range Android phone features solar charger
A hands-on video of LG's solar-powered Optimus Sol has leaked on YouTube. The LG E730 OPTIMUS Sol is similar to the solar-powered prototype shown at MWC earlier this year. The source says the smartphone has a 3.8-inch AMOLED display and a 1GHz processor. The E730 in the video had Android 2.3.3 and LG's custom user interface.
New units use power-saving WD Caviar Green drives
Western Digital has launched an update to its line of Mac-styled MyBook Studio external hard drives. The new units are available with power-conserving WD Caviar Green series hard drives in 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB capacities, and have both FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 interfaces. The drives' brushed aluminum exterior helps eliminate the need for an internal fan, which reduces noise and extends drive life. The drives are also compatible with PCs but must be reformatted.
Targus: laptop pads, bags
Targus is demonstrating new products at both CES and Macworld Expo. In San Francisco, the accessory maker unveiled a new line of "eco-friendly" laptop cases and bags for the Aluminum MacBook Pro and at CES, Targus is touting a new line of laptop cooling devices for PCs and Macs.
Zipcar widget for iPhone
Zipcar -- which says it's the world's leading provider of cars "by the hour or day" -- has released a widget to help iPhone users locate the nearest available vehicle. Designed as a green alternative to car ownership, Zipcar provides a network of cars in many areas of the country so users can rent as needed. Users can also arrange carpooling by sharing real-time location data via the iPhone. The company says its users tend to be "early adopters" so iPhone technology is good fit.
Autodesk acquires GBS
Autodesk has acquired the assets of Green Building Studio (GBS), further consolidating the market for Mac-based architecture software. GBS' web service will soon join the Autodesk product family, while the GBS team will continue selling, training, and supporting architects as they use the GBS web service to design carbon neutral buildings today and in the future. Autodesk also plans to continue support for the Green Building Studio web service and carbon neutral building design training. The gbXML schema will remain an open industry standard, and the GBS web service will continue to be available to any other BIM software.
NewerTech green RAID
Newertech on Thursday unveiled its first “green” storage device promising significant energy savings. The Guardian MAXimus eMax is a triple-interface 5400rpm 1TB external drive with a 64MB buffer. NewerTech claims the "plug & play" device uses 15-50 percent less power than competing products while providing the speed and low-noise features sought by creative professionals looking for a back-up solution. The device also supports Time Machine.
Apple last in industry
Apple has been ranked the worst among all major PC vendors and other large electronic firms in the fight against climate change. Climate Counts this week released its second annual Company Scorecard hoping to create a "simple, easy-to-understand ranking of companies would motivate both companies and consumers to step-up their efforts on climate change." Apple was ranked in last place among the list of 12 electronics companies, while companies such as IBM, Canon, Toshiba, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard were near the top of the electronics industry. Top honor went to Nike, which passed last year’s high scorer, Canon, to become the top scored company among the 56 companies evaluated. Apple was the only electronic company to receive a "Stuck" designation, with a recommendation as a choice to "avoid for the climate-conscious consumer," because the company has taken "meaningful action against climate change."