In the mid 1960s, IBM advertising touted that the “Office of the Future” would become “paperless” with the advent of the computer age. At first, the opposite happened. Dot matrix printers spewed out more paper than anyone ever predicted to ensure hardcopy backup and provide office workers with tangible working documents. Concurrently, office copiers began gobbling up paper at an unprecedented rate.
Since then, it’s all changed as society has become comfortable with digital information. Every day there is greater transition from paper to electronic information in every sphere of personal and commercial life. While we will never become paperless, we are certainly on a course to becoming less paper dependent, at least in the area of communications.
The United States Postal Service is a good barometer of the decline of paper. The amount processed each year is down by more than 20 percent in volume since its peak in 2006. Hardest hit have been first class mailings – bills, letters and promotional offers, mostly replaced by email, on-line banking and couponing. Daily newspapers continue to decline as they lose readers to online periodicals and televisions’ local news reports. ...read more
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Recycled plastics enter rooftop solar energy
The green community likes nothing better than integrating recycled materials into renewable energy and sustainability projects. It’s a double-down sustainable solution that appeals to solar developers, public utility commissions, community sponsors and, most of all, to commercial and residential buyers.
That’s one reason why more rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels are being mounted on plastic bases using both 100 percent recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE) and mixes of virgin and recycled resins. These bases, often referred to as mounts, units, pods or tubs are primarily used on flat, membrane commercial rooftops.
Each mount holds a single, standard-size PV panel usually 39” x 64” tilted at the most productive angle to the sun, depending on latitude. In the lower 48 states, the angle can range from 5 to 15 degrees and up to 30 degrees in Canada. On roofs, the mount is placed directly on the membrane. The plastic tub is then filled with loose stone or concrete blocks to hold down the mount. Weight of the ballast is determined by location windload. Over 300 lbs. of ballast are used in severe wind conditions. PV panels are bolted to the mounts. Mounts have weep holes for water and air vents to relieve heat build-up. Rows of mounts can be wired and bolted together side to side, and end to end to form an array.
There are other types of commercial rooftop systems such as SunPower’s solar roof tiles, which are factory assembled units that combine a PV panel in a plastic mount. Tiles are interlocked on a roof to form an array. ...read more