Category Archives: ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝ

Ο Ιούλιος του 2019 ήταν ο θερμότερος μήνας όλων των εποχών

Ο Ιούλιος του 2019 ήταν ο θερμότερος μήνας όλων των εποχών σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, ανακοίνωσε σήμερα η αμερικανική Υπηρεσία Ατμόσφαιρας NOAA, η οποία επιβεβαίωσε με τη σειρά της τις εκτιμήσεις της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, που δημοσιεύτηκαν πριν από λίγες ημέρες. «Το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του πλανήτη γνώρισε μια άνευ προηγούμενου ζέστη τον Ιούλιο, με τις θερμοκρασίες να ανέρχονται σε νέα επίπεδα ρεκόρ κατά τη διάρκεια του θερμότερου μήνα που έχει ποτέ καταγραφεί» επισημαίνει η αμερικανική υπηρεσία, διευκρινίζοντας ότι η ζέστη ρεκόρ είχε ως αποτέλεσμα «την τήξη των πάγων στην Αρκτική και Ανταρκτική σε ιστορικά χαμηλά επίπεδα». Σύμφωνα με τη NOAA, η μέση θερμοκρασία του πλανήτη τον Ιούλιο ήταν 0,95 βαθμούς πάνω από τον μέσο όρο του 20ου αιώνα, τους 15,8 βαθμούς Κελσίου, γεγονός που καθιστά τον μήνα αυτό τον πιο ζεστό που έχει ποτέ καταγραφεί από το 1880. Ο θερμότερος μήνας που είχε καταγραφεί πριν ήταν ο Ιούλιος του 2016. «Οι εννέα από τους δέκα πιο θερμοί Ιούλιοι έχουν καταγραφεί από το 2005, με τα πέντε τελευταία χρόνια να είναι τα πέντε πιο ζεστά έτη» υπογραμμίζει η υπηρεσία. Η Αλάσκα γνώρισε τον θερμότερο μήνα Ιούλιο από τότε που ξεκίνησε τις μετρήσεις το 2005. Πολλές χώρες της Ευρώπης κατέγραψαν νέα ρεκόρ θερμοκρασίας, ενώ ο Ιούλιος του 2019 είναι ο θερμότερος μήνας που έχει ποτέ καταγραφεί σε ολόκληρη την αφρικανική ήπειρο. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Ο Ιούλιος του 2019 ήταν ο πιο ζεστός μήνας όλων των εποχών

Ο Ιούλιος του 2019 ήταν ο θερμότερος μήνας όλων των εποχών σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, σύμφωνα με την αμερικανική Υπηρεσία Ατμόσφαιρας NOAA, η οποία επιβεβαίωσε με τη σειρά της τις εκτιμήσεις της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, που δημοσιεύτηκαν πριν από λίγες ημέρες. «Το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του πλανήτη γνώρισε μια άνευ προηγούμενου ζέστη τον Ιούλιο, με τις θερμοκρασίες να ανέρχονται σε νέα επίπεδα ρεκόρ κατά τη διάρκεια του θερμότερου μήνα που έχει ποτέ καταγραφεί» επισημαίνει η αμερικανική υπηρεσία, διευκρινίζοντας ότι η ζέστη ρεκόρ είχε ως αποτέλεσμα «την τήξη των πάγων στην Αρκτική και Ανταρκτική σε ιστορικά χαμηλά επίπεδα». Σύμφωνα με τη NOAA, η μέση θερμοκρασία του πλανήτη τον Ιούλιο ήταν 0,95 βαθμούς πάνω από τον μέσο όρο του 20ου αιώνα, τους 15,8 βαθμούς Κελσίου, γεγονός που καθιστά τον μήνα αυτό τον πιο ζεστό που έχει ποτέ καταγραφεί από το 1880. Ο θερμότερος μήνας που είχε καταγραφεί πριν ήταν ο Ιούλιος του 2016. «Οι εννέα από τους δέκα πιο θερμοί Ιούλιοι έχουν καταγραφεί από το 2005, με τα πέντε τελευταία χρόνια να είναι τα πέντε πιο ζεστά έτη», υπογραμμίζει η υπηρεσία. Η Αλάσκα γνώρισε τον θερμότερο μήνα Ιούλιο από τότε που ξεκίνησε τις μετρήσεις το 2005. Πολλές χώρες της Ευρώπης κατέγραψαν νέα ρεκόρ θερμοκρασίας, ενώ ο Ιούλιος του 2019 είναι ο θερμότερος μήνας που έχει ποτέ καταγραφεί σε ολόκληρη την αφρικανική ήπειρο. naftemporiki.gr με πληροφορίες από ΑΜΠΕ, ΑFP Let's block ads! (Why?)

The QR Code’s New Role in Gathering Safety Information

What once took safety personnel hours and sometimes longer to complete, what was once forgotten, placed aside until later or simply avoided because of time, can now be done with the swipe of a cell phone, ensuring not only machines and work environments remain hazard free, but the employees working there are also safe. Unfortunately, the safety professional on most sites is wearing a variety of hats, forced to complete a slew of other responsibilities including everything from front desk reception and HR services, to payroll and maintenance requests. And there are machines needing an inspection or audit in every manufacturing firm or job site across the country. Done on paper, the task can take hours, days or even weeks to complete. How much did the machines and work environments degrade in this time? Are employees at risk of being injured now, or even worse, killed? The commonality of this sequence is shocking and leads to countless injuries, OSHA penalties and even death. A 2019 study by the AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department illustrated this toll of neglect, showing employers reported nearly 3.5 million workers experienced work-related injuries and illnesses in 2017, while the true number each year actually hovers between 7 and 10.5 million due to limitations in the injury reporting system. According to the data, there is widespread under-reporting of workplace injuries. But a digital side-by-side replacement of the standard hard-copy is now available. What was once done with pen and paper is now completed in nanoseconds with your pointing finger and touchscreen, meaning the only difference is input. Using an iPhone, Tablet or mobile touch device, QR codes can seamlessly replace the paper versions of audits, incident reporting and observations, guaranteeing not only a safer work environment for employees, but building a fatter bottom line and saving on an endless amount of manhours.   Just imagine yourself as safety professional for a large manufacturing firm with more than 100 fire extinguishers in need of monthly inspections. Are they full? Are they properly tagged? Are they legible? Are they in their proper place? As outlined by OSHA, fire extinguishers must be readily accessible by employees in the event of a fire, and depending on your facility’s fire hazards, extinguishers with different ratings will be required in different locations. The ratings include Class A, B, C, D or K, with each one addressing a different type of fire cause and subsequent burn, whether it be flammable liquids, metals and gasses or ordinary combustible materials like cloth, wood, paper, rubber or plastic. What happens in the case of an audit or surprise inspection? What happens when your machines, walkways and fire extinguishers fail the OSHA sniff test? Did they uncover any faulty equipment, unsafe environments or inaccurate documentation? They will not forgo any fees or penalties because your company’s safety professional, whether they’re wearing other hats or not, ran out of time. Did they use the correct form? Was it filled out correctly or was it simply stored and ignored? Unfortunately, “pencil-whipping” to complete checklists is a common occurrence and potential safety issues are always bubbling under the surface here. In addition to drastically cutting down inspection times and ensuring a good report from a surprise audit, employee observations of safety issues are now opportunities rather than a cumbersome hinderance on the shop floor. Making note of a potential safety issue while passing from one department to the next is now as simple as swiping your hand while you pass by. And should someone get hurt, there is no getting out of a report. When someone is injured on the job, OSHA demands accurate records are kept or face serious fines and penalties. Nonetheless, when a person is hurt, the last thing someone is thinking is paperwork. The speediness and timeliness of your incident is paramount because the information is fresh, the people involved are there, and any story is bound to change the longer it lives. It’s simple too. Click, scan and done. Using QR codes to record and report safety issues not only provides online accessibility to data and immediate notifications of relevant information, they are customizable, consistent and make safety issues workable in real-time while offering trackable accountability. Global aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin are utilizing the technology to avoid a severe clog in their on-boarding contractor process. At one time, contractors moving from one site to another were required to retake the original orientation each time before entering. As one can imagine, this had a negative impact on the firm’s abilities to maintain deadlines and an efficient bottom line with their on-boarded work. By utilizing a customized QR code technology, the defense firm now has a system in place capable of delivering and validating contractor training while also making transcripts immediately available online and on-site. Large construction companies like RCS Grading are implementing the technology to guarantee their fleet of vehicles and equipment across the region are maintained and repaired in a timely manner. Today, maintenance is notified instantly as issues arise, making sure the sum of the contracting firm’s equipment and vehicles remain in perfect working order, to not only complete the job correctly but to keep the men and women operating the machines are safe.  As technology goes, so does industry, and so too must safety. Recording and reporting safety issues by the touch of a finger is worth more than time and money, it safeguards a company’s most prized investment - their employees. Let's block ads! (Why?)

How Warehouse Robotics Reduce Worker Injuries

It's increasingly common for warehouse managers to implement robots to supplement their human workforces. These specialized machines are able to productivity levels high while maintaining consistent output. Warehouse executives often decide to invest in automation solutions when they want to ramp up production without needing to hire new workers and go through the onboarding process with them. While robots meet production demands, they also serve the dual purpose of reducing workplace injuries related to lifting, falls and other hazards.   1. Reducing Lifting Injuries The majority of warehouse workers are familiar with lifting materials using equipment or by hand. Even when employees receive training with proper lifting techniques, accidents can happen, and musculoskeletal-related injuries are not uncommon. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) examined the incidences of musculoskeletal injuries that require taking time off from work. The organization clarified that these types of injuries happen due to overexertion or repetitive motion. The agency found that the part of the body most affected by musculoskeletal injuries varied depending on the occupation. Back injuries comprised the majority of injuries, accounting for for 38.5% of all musculoskeletal incidents suffered at work in 2016. Warehouse robots could assist with alleviating workers of injuries caused by physical fatigue. Many of these machines are specifically designed to lift heavy objects.   2. Increasing Efficiency While Maintaining Safety Robots have a variety of intelligent features that help them stay aware of obstacles in the environment while moving. a team at NASA built three robots plus the software needed to operate them. The machines are particularly well suited to facilities like shipping warehouses. They can transport a cart loaded with items to the place where a human worker loads the stuff onto a truck for off-site distribution to its destination. The associated software that controls the robots knows where the packages are in a warehouse, as well as the trucks used to transport things where they need to go. It can identify any areas where there are backups and respond accordingly. This capability keeps things running smoothly while avoiding bottlenecks. A triple-check safety feature developed by NASA and Carnegie Mellon triggers robots to automatically shut down before making contact with a person or object. The designers of this robotic system say workers could apply it to any piece of moving equipment without needing to invest in new machines. That aspect could also increase safety, since it allows people to keep working with the machinery they already know well.   3. Minimizing Incidents of Falls From High Levels Falls frequently are associated with warehouse injuries. One common scenario is that workers fall after using forklifts to reach items on high shelves. The construction teams tasked with building new warehouses often look for ways to maximize available space. As e-commerce brands continue to expand their offerings to meet expectations, they need more room to keep those items organized. Some companies find that vertical structures that extend several stories into the air work best. That's particularly true in cases with limited space, such as crowded urban areas. Locus Robotics, a warehouse automation solutions provider, builds machines that allows workers use forklifts less often or not at all. The company develops robots made to work in warehouses that span multiple levels instead of just one. These machines reach things that are too high for humans, then bring the items down for warehouse workers to take. This setup doesn't eliminate the possibility of falls if someone slips or trips on something while walking. However, it eliminates the amount of work employees need to perform at dangerous heights.   4. Managing Worker Fatigue Issues Worker fatigue is a problem that's only partially exacerbated by the type of job performed. Although employees fatigue more quickly when performing exceptionally physically demanding or precise tasks, off-the-job factors may be at play too. For example, if a warehouse worker is a new parent, they may not be getting adequate rest. Unmanaged insomnia may also contribute to tiredness at work. A 2017 study examined the link between worker fatigue and occupational accidents and injuries. It found that people are most at risk when they don't take breaks often enough and when breaks are too short. Moreover, the risk rises if a person works a shift exceeding 11 hours, or one that occurs at night. Another advantage of robots is that they can work for long stretches without stopping. They also don't show the declines in performance that can happen when people start to get tired. If companies notice injury reports associated with people performing certain tasks or working during particular hours, they could investigate the issue and see if it's worthwhile to invest in robots to make worker fatigue less problematic. For example, a collaborative robot could work alongside a human and handle the tasks in a warehouse that are the most physically demanding for people. Companies still need to give humans adequate rest breaks, of course. But robots can cut down on the chances of humans getting pushed to their limits too often. There are numerous ways that warehouse professionals can boost the safety of workers with help from robots. As technology continues to progress, more opportunities undoubtedly will be developed and implemented. Let's block ads! (Why?)

The next generation of disruptors

It’s one thing to understand conceptually that the world is changing in rapid, complex and unpredictable ways. It’s entirely different — and equally, if not more, important — to position your company for those changes, especially if some of them are poised to disrupt your business and industry and, perhaps, the global economy.This week, I find myself called to hone in on one particular strategy for changing with the times before the times change you: Engaging directly with the innovators that are uniquely poised to disrupt the status quo. This isn’t a new concept, of course, but it’s one that’s gaining new urgency in a climate-changing world. Consider some story lines we’ve been following in recent years: Big Auto has embraced that the future is about mobility, not just car ownership — with Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen and others making major investments in ride-hailing companies, e-bikes, autonomous vehicles and other technologies. Big Oil is making moves into the new carbon economy, too, such as the recent announcement of a joint investment by Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures in Carbon Engineering. Apparel companies are finding circularity fashionable, partnering up with companies such as Yerdle to jump on the recommerce marketplace bandwagon.Behind all these is the next generation of clean-economy startups. That’s where we come in — and you, too.  Behind all these is the next generation of clean-economy startups. That’s where we come in — and you, too. We’ve just posted the latest tranche of contestants for our VERGE Accelerate pitch competition — all vying for the right to show their stuff from the main stage at VERGE 19. We source these companies via nominations from our readers as well as our own network of partners, such as Plug and Play, Techstars and Prospect Silicon Valley, all of whom have programs designed explicitly to connect large companies with early-stage startups through industry-focused initiatives. (My friend Ryan Kushner (a.k.a. The Accelerator Guy) authored this super not boring guide, in partnership with New Energy Nexus, to demystify the landscape of incubators and accelerators, including who they are, how they differ and ways to participate in their programs.)With that, I am incredibly excited to shine a spotlight on the 38 semifinalists for this year’s VERGE Accelerate. The community voting window is open, which means you can peruse their inspiring and compelling 60-second video submissions and cast your votes to help determine who gets to pitch at VERGE 19 in October. We’ve organized the semifinalists into three categories:Beyond VERGE Accelerate, we’ve got other showcases in the works for VERGE 19 designed to connect entrepreneurs with investors, corporate partners and the broader VERGE community, featuring startups working in carbon removal, the future of food and our broader Startup Showcase.I encourage you to watch the VERGE Accelerate semifinalist pitches and cast your votes, but also to step back and ask yourself the bigger-picture questions: In what ways are these turbulent times poised to disrupt your own company and industry? Where are there opportunities to invest in or partner with startups to get ahead of those disruptions? Who are the potential allies, within and outside your organization, to drive this?And what role do you want to play?Let's block ads! (Why?)

Facing contradictory demands? Use them to launch exponential progress on climate change

Climate change is arriving faster and harder than expected, and our sustainability strategies are not equal to the challenge. Why? Our well-meaning sustainability decisions commonly make only incremental improvements or backslide to business as usual. Current trajectories won’t sustain most organizations for long — let alone save the planet.We must make course corrections that accelerate progress exponentially. That will happen only when organizations in every sector work smarter to make sustainability a business-enhancing necessity, rather than a supplement to mainstream business strategies.Seemingly conflicting demands for business results and sustainability place decision-makers smack between rocks and hard places. The far-from-optimal effect is that people succumb to a common cognitive bias: feeling they have to choose one clear option, to the neglect of the other.Making an either/or choice resolves the conflict temporarily, but it avoids the high-valu­­e alternative: to find better options sitting beyond the obvious ones. This is where sustainability efforts often fall short, and where vast potential awaits discovery.Win/lose and even win/win thinking bring disappointing, inefficient harvestsAuthor James Collins uses the phrase "tyranny of the or" to signify the tensions and constraints of either/or thinking in the face of conflicting demands. Business vs. environment is a long-standing example, as is long-term investment vs. short-term results. Short-term numbers still drive most choices. But even "both/and" decision-making efforts often yield cursory and fleeting results, plucking mostly just low-hanging fruit.  Such win/wins fall short of potential for many reasons including:1. After initial disagreements, people avoid further conflict by settling for mediocre compromises that no one opposes vehemently.2. Finding an alignment in which a business case can support a modest sustainability option is satisfying, and that ends the discussion, saving the extra time and effort of seeking even better alternatives.3. Favoring one competing element over another relieves the immediate conflict because the decision is made and done with.Inevitably, the underlying issues resurface later. The net is that we could’ve done better, and the conflicts and inadequate environmental performances continue. These solutions arise via stimulating conversations that wrestle explicitly with the conflicts and tensions inherent to complex challenges. Sadly, untapped are the upsides available to realizing Collins’ "genius of the and"— successfully pursuing both purpose and profits. Third options, and even better fourth and fifth options, are discoverable via more complex, nuanced and creative thinking. These solutions arise via stimulating conversations that wrestle explicitly with the conflicts and tensions inherent to complex challenges.So — if not conventional either/or thinking, then what?Use a paradox mindset to build an ambidextrous organizationOnly smarter both/and thinking will gather the prolific harvests we need. Managers and organizations can achieve this by adopting a paradox mindset, which knows that contradictory elements or tensions signify integrative potential. Even though the conflicts are uncomfortable, decision-makers acknowledge, confront and relish the challenge.Actively and strategically working through competing pressures creates a culture that values and effectively pursues a paradox approach to uncovering the genius of the and.  Bigger wins start with explicitly identifying sustainability’s inherent tensions, and then applying paradoxical thinking to create maximum ambidexterity. To be ambidextrous is to competently pursue, merge and attain two inherently conflicting goals. Organization theorist James March immortalized this concept for management scholars, describing the need for firms to simultaneously exploit what they know best while also exploring for new knowledge and possibilities. To be ambidextrous is to competently pursue, merge and attain two inherently-conflicting goals. Without ambidexterity driving exponential course corrections, we don’t sustain single organizations, let alone the planet.The paradoxical thinking inherent to ambidexterity is not just for lone decision makers. Far easier, more effective and higher-leverage is to generate new options by discussing with other people. Together, explicitly state the various tensions people feel, and exchange different perspectives, relevant expertise and ideas.  Hit a lot of singles by finding sustainability actions that can be supported with a reasonable business case, but also collaborate insistently and over time to hit more home runs. Some innovations are incremental, and some are radical; accelerating the sustainability curve requires both/and, as created via paradoxical thinking.  The extra time and effort can pay off handsomely because the process will generate smarter decisions and better results, and become embedded in the culture.  More profound problem solutions create more sustained progress, and future challenges grow smaller, relative to what otherwise would lie ahead. This is easier said than done, of course. But it is doable by engaging collaboratively in paradoxical thinking, and by creating and sustaining a culture that worships the smartest possible decision processes. Thoughts and comments such as "We have just two options" and "We have no choice" can serve as useful prompts in a smarter search for the best possible scale and scope ideas. Keep working the problem by asking again for better solutions until the well honestly runs dry. It is doable by engaging collaboratively in paradoxical thinking, and by creating and sustaining a culture that worships the smartest possible decision processes. Over time, such decision-making processes enact ambidextrous strategies capable of optimizing financial and environmental, and short- and long-term, outcomes. Sustainability conversations move from shallow, peripheral one-offs to a legitimate strategy contributing to both desirable business outcomes and positive social impact.Sustainable impacts accumulate and escalate over time through multiple both/and decisions. Actions that contribute to sustainability can reveal new strategic reasons and tactics for expanding mainstream business activities. The strategies begin merging and feeding off one another. Learning along the way, lessons move down, up and across the organization, and spread through inter-organizational collaborations.Pushing ambidexterity top-down is a powerful driver. Meanwhile, mid- and lower-level operational decisions driven by paradoxical thinking can coalesce over time into ambidextrous business and corporate strategies.   Remember the bigger picture   Andrew Hoffman, scholar of sustainable enterprise at the University of Michigan, sees sustainability as an accelerating change in competitive dynamics that demands strategic repositioning. Managers who prefer to can remain agnostic about climate science and politics, but they must recognize realities and consider sustainability a core element of — not peripheral to — mainstream business.The challenge currently is to work smarter and accelerate our sustainability trajectory. Technological solutions are readily available and improving, but the key now is for more innovative leaders in all sectors and at all levels to collaborate within and across organizations.Driving the decision processes that drive ambidexterity, from the top and middle and below, is a type of leadership that can propel exponential improvements in sustainability cultures, practices and impact.Let's block ads! (Why?)

How many hours-of-safety do our homes have in extreme weather?

How many people in your community are at risk during extreme weather events? The heat waves wracking the nation right now can cause heat exhaustion, heatstroke, dehydration and even death. Last year over 90 people died in Quebec (over 50 in Montreal) due to a heat wave. During Chicago’s famous 1995 heat wave, over 700 people died. When the power goes out — which often happens with extreme temperatures — the problem becomes dramatically larger.With fans, air conditioners and refrigerators unable to provide any relief, the question is clear: How long can a home maintain the last comfortable temperature it had before conditions inside the home match the extreme conditions outside the home?This is what we’re calling hours-of-safety, which can determine the difference between safety and danger.Critical hours to understandThe difference between 20 hours of safe and comfortable in-home temperatures and only five could be the difference between life and death for vulnerable populations. It makes the difference between staving off heatstroke until the power is returned, allowing time for family or neighbors to arrive and provide support, or buying time to evacuate. We need to understand our homes in terms of the hours-of-safety they can provide when the power goes out to reduce the amount of time people are exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures. We need to understand our homes in terms of the hours-of-safety they can provide when the power goes out to reduce the amount of time people are exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures. While there has been considerable work to define metrics (PDF) for the resilience of the electricity grid, little work has been done on how long buildings are able to maintain healthy temperature levels. Homes vary widely in their ability to maintain comfort during these events, and we need to start making our homes better prepared. Fortunately, making homes more efficient and safer can be accomplished while providing other benefits such as lower energy bills.The growth of extreme weather eventsToday we’re seeing extreme temperatures happening more frequently across the country, and the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events will grow over time. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) projects (PDF) that by 2100 the United States will experience almost 30,000 heat-related deaths every year if current levels of carbon dioxide emissions persist.Last weekend, 50,000 New York City customers lost power and 6,000 still did not have power more than 24 hours later. In 2016, outages tended to average around four hours during major events — in some states between eight and 20 hours — and that’s the average, meaning some events last longer. Between January and June, over 2.9 million customers were out of power for a total of 684 hours as a result of outages caused by severe weather.Extreme temperatures are particularly a problem for lower-income housing, vulnerable populations and people living in social isolation. This is exacerbated by the fact that low-income housing is often poorly insulated and very drafty. Extreme temperatures are particularly a problem for lower-income housing, vulnerable populations and people living in social isolation. Hours-of-safety is just as relevant during cold weather events as during heat waves: When it’s hot outside, leaky and poorly insulated homes can’t keep out the heat; when it’s cold outside, they can’t keep out the cold. Last winter many regions were struggling with polar vortex after polar vortex that hammered communities with extreme cold conditions. As temperatures plunged in the Midwest up to negative 31 degrees, at least 21 people died and many more were affected by frostbite and hypothermia. Thus, hours-of-safety is a year-round problem.Smart building strategies can make a differenceCity governments and other policymakers should consider how to support better community resilience and safety by addressing this need. Fortunately, the building industry can play a role in equipping our cities to be more resilient against extreme heat and cold through a variety of strategies. The Resilient Design Institute (PDF) defines passive survivability as "a building’s ability to maintain livable conditions when sources such as electricity, water, or heating fuel are cut off."Considering hours-of-safety can help improve the passive survivability of a building and help save lives. The main thing that determines how many hours-of-safety a home has in extreme weather power outages comes down to two things: how well insulated the home is; and how much air leakage the home has between the inside and the outside. Passive design strategies such as a tighter envelope and more insulation also can help make buildings more efficient and resilient in both cold and hot temperatures. Passive design strategies such as a tighter envelope and more insulation also can help make buildings more efficient and resilient in both cold and hot temperatures. Implementing features such as cool roofs and thicker walls can contribute to buildings that stay comfortable for longer in the event of a power outage.A study from Passive House Institute U.S.(PDF) found that lower window-to-wall ratios and natural ventilation are helpful in maintaining favorable conditions during summer outages. In warm climates, simple changes such as adding white paint could lower roof temperatures (PDF) by as much as 86 degrees and indoor temperatures by 3.6 degrees to 9 degrees. Having thick walls can help buildings maintain moderate indoor temperatures. For example, residents of Brooklyn living in a house with highly insulated walls maintained an indoor temperature of around 60–72 degrees although outside temperatures dropped to almost 0 in the 2014 polar vortex.A more efficient building envelope can be combined with other resilient design strategies, such as islandable solar PV systems and battery storage, that can keep systems going during power outages even at times when the sun isn’t shining.These components provide a significant added value during extreme weather events that will become only more common over the next century. Society needs a way to consider that value alongside energy cost savings. This will help us understand if our buildings are prepared for the extreme weather events that unfortunately are becoming more frequent. Understanding the hours-of-safety that our homes provide can give us peace of mind or at least clear parameters on how we need to respond to emergencies.Let's block ads! (Why?)

Protecting Factory Electrical Enclosures from Summer Heat

The threats that make enclosure thermal management necessary to begin with reach the height of their destructive energies all at once, once a year, in the summertime. While some logistics of manufacturing become vastly less complicated in the summer sun, several interrelated changes in the weather threaten the critical electronics that allow production lines to operate. These factors—heat, debris, and moisture—must be planned for and neutralized. Fortunately, with the right equipment, staying ahead of summer conditions to ensure maximum uptime requires relatively few and simple interventions. Best practices for getting the most out of electrical cooling equipment in the summer months center on two basic steps: set up equipment right and perform preventive maintenance. Setting Up Thermal Management Equipment for the Summer Months The most important decision that a piece of thermal management equipment can make is whether to turn on or off. If it fails to start when it gets too hot, the efficiency of electrical components in an enclosure will degrade, causing short-term inefficiency and shortening component lifespan. Less often considered by facilities managers, however, are the effects of overcooling. These become more pronounced in the summer, especially if equipment is incorrectly set up. The threat of humidity is simple: if moisture exists in an electrical enclosure and that moisture cools too much, it will collect on components. Wet components, then, can short circuit. In high humidity ambient air conditions, this threat grows, and summer brings higher humidity. However, the change between winter and summer humidity varies by geography, as does how high summer humidity gets. So, should factories in different locations change the settings on their cooling equipment to offset these differences in humidity? Counterintuitively, probably not. Enclosure “cooling” is not necessarily about cooling. Thermal management of electrical enclosures is designed to maximize electrical efficiency by maintaining heats in a specific band—about 80–105° F. Efficiency for most components dips on either side of that range. As a result, the dip-switch controlling cooling equipment upstart depends relatively little on external factors. Commonly, maintenance and engineering personnel will experience a hot, humid day and check on their electrical enclosure and, finding it hot, will adjust the temperature set-point down. The first good reason for not changing the set-point applies year-round, namely that doing so might cool the enclosure to the point of decreasing component efficiency. However, this attempt at troubleshooting bears particularly negative implications in the humidity of summer. Cooling equipment is designed to evaporate condensate for a specific range of temperatures. Set the temperature too low, and condensate evaporators can be overloaded to the point of overflow. This endangers electronics with short circuit, and can even create hazardous working conditions, since water can puddle on the floor. Best practice number one for maximizing electronics efficiency with thermal management in the summer: do not alter the temperature set-point of cooling units. Preventative Maintenance Protects Electrical Efficiency in the Summer Diligent preventive maintenance protects the long-term efficiency of machinery throughout a factory, but the way thermal management equipment interacts with the environment means that seasonal change places particular importance on preventive maintenance at specific points in the calendar. Luckily, preventive maintenance for cooling equipment tends to be relatively simple and quick. To understand the importance of this work, consider the essential pieces of a thermal management unit. It will have some sort of air intake, a process of changing the state of that air, and an outlet. The change process hinges on fans, that move the air faster to change air temperature, and coils, that transfer heat to or absorb heat from the air. Each part of this chain, taking ambient air and making it air that cools the enclosure, is subject to wear and tear, and a failure at any point could render the entire system inefficient. The most critical element of any preventative maintenance program for air conditioners, fans, or other thermal management solutions ensures the efficiency of the part of the system that actually cools the air. For air conditioners, cooling units, air to air heat exchangers, and other solutions, the functional part is the coil. To preserve efficiency, simply remove all build-up and blockage on coils. Blockage impedes the transfer of heat energy between the coils and the air. Unable to efficiently heat or cool, blocked coils can cause enclosure overheating. Though a straightforward solution, performing this task regularly can extend the lifetime of a compressor from one year to ten. For fans, check to make sure they are spinning at the appropriate rates. If sluggish, the likeliest fix is to replace the capacitor. Of course, all this maintenance serves to protect the electrical components in an enclosure. Without it, a would-be 10-year lifespan to a component can drop dramatically. It can fry in just a few summers. Because the outlet of the system into the enclosure conveys processed air, it usually does not require much maintenance. Perhaps the most obvious maintenance is for the most visible part of these systems: intake. Usually, fan filter media should be changed out regularly, every two to three months or when dirt is impeding airflow. Some fans feature high-tech filter mats that optimize airflow and extend service life, making filter changes less common of an occurrence. So investing in the right equipment can save maintenance time and costs. Nevertheless, filters should always be checked in spring and summer, because of humidity and increased debris in the air. Likewise, air conditioning unit and cooling unit air intake fins should be cleaned, although wide condenser fin spacing can make equipment maintenance-free in this regard. If air intake is inhibited by accumulated dust and dirt, less air can access the air processing stage, diminishing the efficiency of these systems. With less air, fans spin harder to create the same effect on the enclosure environment, wasting electricity and decreasing their lifetime. Best practice number two for maximizing electronics efficiency with thermal management in the summer: perform preventative maintenance – and especially clean coils. Beyond Preventive Maintenance: Equipment for Efficient Thermal Management Depending on a facility’s cooling equipment, these steps could lead to getting the most efficiency out of inefficient units. Beyond preventative maintenance and setting up equipment correctly, manufacturers should consider high-efficiency cooling options. Nevertheless, for most factories, the biggest thing to remember as the days get longer and the air gets hotter is that simple preventative maintenance of thermal management equipment will keep electronics efficient for less downtime. Consider creating a calendar reminder at the end of spring, and for every couple months, to check equipment and clean important parts. Chris Marlow is an application engineer at Pfannenberg, a global manufacturer of thermal management, liquid cooling solutions and signaling technologies. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Job Descriptions Evolve as Robot Collaboration Increases

How will AI and IoT reshape the way we work in 2030? Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future teamed up to explore this in a report "Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future".  Business leaders, 3800 of them around the globe, were asked to gauge their predictions and preparedness for the future. By 2030, the partnerships between man and machine will become especially close, says Gartner. They will be more immersive than ever and “help us surpass our own limitations.  Fueled by exponential increases in data, processing power and connectivity,  new possibilities will open up." So how will all of this affect the way we work? Leaders are unsure.  While 50% of business leaders agree that automated systems will free up their time, just as many 50% don’t agree. Of those that see automation lessen the workload they feel they can offload these areas; 1) Inventory management 2. Financial admin (i.e. invoices, POs) 3. Troubleshooting 4. Logistics/supply chain (i.e. delivery drivers) 5. Administration (i.e. scheduling meetings, data input)  6. Product design  7. Customer service 8. Marketing & communications 9. HR admin (recruitment and training) 10. Medical/health diagnoses Whether this new working environment will lead to job satisfaction isn't clear either as only 42% believe they’ll have more job satisfaction in the future by offloading the tasks they don’t want to do to machines. Opinion is also split on whether workers will be more productive due to more collaboration with machines. And only half think they will learn on the job with AR.  However, there is complete agreement on the fact that human and machines will work as integrated teams.  More than eight in ten (82%) leaders expect humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organization inside of five years (26% say their workforce and machines are already successfully working this way Looking at the future needs of the workforce and how  technical skills will fit into this scheme, 56% say schools will need to teach how to learn rather than what to learn to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet (corroborating IFTF’s forecast that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet) - but 44% disagree. In conclusion, across the results of the survey, these differing viewpoints could make it difficult for business leaders to confidently prepare for a future that’s in flux. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Γκρέτα Τούνμπεργκ: Διασχίζοντας τον Ατλαντικό για το κλίμα

Μια νέα σελίδα στην προσωπική της μάχη για την προστασία του πλανήτη γράφει από σήμερα η νεαρή σουηδή ακτιβίστρια Γκρέτα Τούνμπεργκ. Η 16χρονη θα διαπλεύσει τον Ατλαντικό με ιστιοφόρο. Καιρού επιτρέποντος το μεγάλο ταξίδι θα ξεκινήσει το μεσημέρι της Τετάρτης από το Πλίμουθ της νότιας Αγγλίας. Διασχίζοντας τον Ατλαντικό με το ιστιοφόρο Malizia, η Γκρέτα και οι λοιποί επιβαίνοντες αναμένεται να φτάσουν σε δυο περίπου εβδομάδες στη Νέα Υόρκη. Τη νεαρή ακτιβίστρια συνοδεύουν ο γερμανός ιστιοπλόος Μπόρις Χέρμαν, ο συγκυβερνήτης του Πιέρ Κασιράγκι, ο πατέρας της καθώς και ένας σκηνοθέτης και σεναριογράφος που θα καταγράψει και θα απαθανατίσει τον διάπλου. «Δεν ανησυχώ καθόλου για την ασφάλειά μου», είπε η νεαρή Γκρέτα, «διότι γνωρίζω ότι πρόκειται για ένα πολύ ασφαλές πλοίο και ότι το πλήρωμα, οι ιστιοπλόοι είναι πολύ έμπειροι». REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS Συμμετοχή σε συνόδους κορυφής και διαδηλώσεις Το υπερατλαντικό αυτό ταξίδι δεν γίνεται φυσικά για λόγους αναψυχής. Πέρα από το ισχυρό μήνυμα που στέλνει με το μηδενικών εκπομπών ρύπων ιστιοφόρο, η διάσχιση του Ατλαντικού έχει και αμιγώς πρακτικούς λόγους, αφού η Γκρέτα Τούνμπεργκ δεν χρησιμοποιεί για τις μεταφορές της το ιδιαίτερα ρυπογόνο αεροπλάνο. Από το Σεπτέμβριο αναμένεται να συμμετάσχει σε μια σειρά συνόδων κορυφής, εκδηλώσεων και διαδηλώσεων για την προστασία του κλίματος. Μεταξύ άλλων θα συμμετάσχει το Σεπτέμβριο στη Σύνοδο Κορυφής των Ηνωμένων Εθνών για το Κλίμα στη Νέα Υόρκη αλλά και στην ετήσια Παγκόσμια Διάσκεψη για το Κλίμα που θα πραγματοποιηθεί το Δεκέμβριο στη Χιλή. Στο μεσοδιάστημα θα συμμετάσχει σε διάφορες εκδηλώσεις διαμαρτυρίας και θα έχει σειρά συναντήσεων με άλλους ακτιβιστές, μεταξύ άλλων σε Καναδά και Μεξικό. Δυο εβδομάδες με τα απολύτως αναγκαία Ως ιστιοπλοϊκό αγώνων το Malizia δεν διαθέτει ανέσεις για τους επιβάτες του. Όλη η ενέργεια που απαιτείται για την πλοήγηση και την επικοινωνία παράγεται από τα ηλιακά πάνελ. Επίσης δεν υπάρχει τουαλέτα και ντουζιέρα. «Δεν είναι ιδιαίτερα πολυτελές, αλλά δεν το χρειάζομαι, το μόνο που χρειάζομαι είναι ένα κρεβάτι και κάποια βασικά πράγματα. Πιστεύω ότι θα έχει πλάκα, θα έχει επίσης πλάκα που θα είμαι έτσι απομονωμένη […] και περιορισμένη». Το υπερατλαντικό ταξίδι συμπίπτει χρονικά με την πρώτη επέτειο από την έναρξη της οικολογικής δράσης της Γκρέτα Τούνμπεργκ. Στις 20 Αυγούστου του 2018 η τότε 15χρονη διαδήλωσε για πρώτη φορά ενώπιον της σουηδικής Βουλής αξιώνοντας πιο φιλόδοξους στόχους για το κλίμα και την τήρηση των στόχων της Συμφωνίας του Παρισιού. Έτσι γεννήθηκε το παγκόσμιο μαθητικό κίνημα Fridays for Future που κατεβάζει πλέον κάθε Παρασκευή χιλιάδες μαθητές στους δρόμους πολλών μεγάλων πόλεων του πλανήτη. «Ελπίζω με αυτό το ταξίδι να καταφέρω να ευαισθητοποιήσω περισσότερο τους ανθρώπους, να ενημερώσω και να μεταφέρω τα επιστημονικά δεδομένα ώστε οι άνθρωποι να καταλάβουν τι ακριβώς συμβαίνει με το κλίμα και την οικολογική κρίση». Let's block ads! (Why?)