Monday, August 26, 2013

EPA's New Climate Change Video Series Supports President Obama's Climate Action Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution

The series supports President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and highlights benefits of reducing energy consumption
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a new series of short public service videos on climate change. The videos cover a range of topics related to climate change, including its causes and impacts, actions Americans can take to reduce their impact, and the benefits to the economy of addressing climate change.
The new video series supports the President’s Climate Action Plan by encouraging American families to reduce the amount of energy they consume, cutting down on their utility bills and protecting people’s health.
On June 25th, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change. A warming climate can adversely impact water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems as well as health and safety of Americans and the nation’s economy.
These videos show that there are simple things that all Americans can do to help.
Watch the video series:
Download broadcast quality video:

 Learn more on climate change:
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NOAA Says 2012 Hottest Year on Record Globally: What Are You Doing to Save the Planet?

State of the Climate in 2012 - report cover.
The 2012 State of the Climate report is available online.
(Credit: NOAA)
Worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record according to the 2012 State of the Climate report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The peer-reviewed report, with scientists fromNOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., serving as lead editors, was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries (highlightsfull report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice, and sky. 
“Many of the events that made 2012 such an interesting year are part of the long-term trends we see in a changing and varying climate — carbon levels are climbing, sea levels are rising, Arctic sea ice is melting, and our planet as a whole is becoming a warmer place," said Acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “This annual report is well-researched, well-respected, and well-used; it is a superb example of the timely, actionable climate information that people need from NOAA to help prepare for extremes in our ever-changing environment."
Conditions in the Arctic were a major story of 2012, with the region experiencing unprecedented change and breaking several records. Sea ice shrank to its smallest “summer minimum” extent since satellite records began 34 years ago. In addition, more than 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet showed some form of melt during the summer, four times greater than the 1981–2010 average melt extent.
The report used dozens of climate indicators to track and identify changes and overall trends to the global climate system. These indicators include greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature of the lower and upper atmosphere, cloud cover, sea surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean salinity, sea ice extent and snow cover. Each indicator includes thousands of measurements from multiple independent datasets.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Neonode Introduces New and Inexpensive Sensors for Home Appliances

Neonode Inc., (Nasdaq:NEON), the optical touch technology company, announced today the release of its new, radically low-cost and groundbreaking Single Side Sensor (SSS), part of Neonode's Multisensing(R) family of touch and proximity solutions.

Touch Enabled Water Dispenser
Photo Credit: Neonode, Inc.
The Single Side Sensor is developed explicitly to add touch functionality to low-cost, high-volume consumer products. With an unsurpassed ultra-low BOM cost of only $1 (US) in high volumes, it is specifically designed to meet the aggressive price requirements in super cost-sensitive product segments.

This new and inexpensive sensor enables manufacturers to add touch input to a wide range of products, including wearables, low-cost printers, home appliances, toys/games, and gesture sensing mobile phone sleeves & accessories. These products are characterized by a rapid turnover and shorter life cycles.

"This is a dream come true! We can now deliver a BOM level for basic touch solutions we thought to be impossible just 12 months ago. As a technology licensing company we're clearly thrilled about the huge opportunity our innovation brings to manufacturers, who are struggling to add value, differentiate and make ends meet within the fast-growing low-end mass-markets," says Thomas Eriksson, CEO and Co-founder of Neonode.

The new Single Side Sensor integrates Neonode's NN1001 controller, optics and a small PCB, which reside on only one side of a display (or any type of surface). Consequently, this new solution requires substantially less hardware than Neonode's high-end touch solutions, which in turn lowers the Bill of Materials to an absolute minimum. In addition, this new solution can also be used in combination with Neonode's other proven and high-end technologies, for example the recently launched Circular Touch for wearables (

Touch Enabled Stove
Photo Credit: Neonode, Inc.
"I am convinced that our Single Side Sensor fulfills the manufacturers needs for compact, cost-efficient and fast time to market touch solutions, and I am happy to say that we covered a milestone in leading the market trend of non-hardware, software-only touch solutions," Eriksson concludes.

Neonode's new Single Side Sensor is built on the company's latest technology and will initially support up to 7-inch displays, with a roadmap to reach larger sizes.

About Neonode
Neonode Inc. (Nasdaq:NEON) develops and licenses the next generation of Multisensing touch technologies, allowing companies to differentiate themselves by making high performing touch solutions at a competitive cost. Neonode is at the forefront of providing unparalleled user experiences that offer significant advantages for OEM's. This includes state-of-the-art touch technology features such as low latency pen or brush sensing, remarkably high speed scanning, proximity-, pressure-, and depth sensing capabilities and object-size measuring.

Neonode's patented Multisensing technology is developed for a wide range of devices such as mobile phones, tablets and e-readers, toys and gaming consoles, printers, white goods, wearable goods and advanced automotive infotainment systems. Neonode, the Neonode logo, Multisensing, and zForce are trademarks of Neonode Inc. registered in the United States and other countries. Liquid Sensing, It Makes Sense and AlwaysON are trademarks of Neonode Inc. For more information please visit

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These include, but are not limited to, statements relating to expectations, future performance or future events, and product cost, performance, and functionality matters. These statements are based on current assumptions, expectations and information available to Neonode management and involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Neonode's actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.
These risks, uncertainties, and factors are discussed under "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in Neonode's public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time, including Neonode's annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K. You are advised to carefully consider these various risks, uncertainties and other factors. Although Neonode management believes that the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are reasonable, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be fulfilled. Forward-looking statements are made as of today's date, and Neonode undertakes no duty to update or revise them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Homeowners Need to Know About LED Lighting

What are LEDs?

LEDs, or light–emitting diodes, are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. LEDs are a type of Solid State Lighting (SSL), as are organic light–emitting diodes (OLEDs) and light–emitting polymers (LEPs).

How is LED lighting different than other light sources, such as incandescent and CFL?

LED lighting differs from incandescent and compact fluorescent lighting in several ways. When designed well, LED lighting can be more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting.
LED lighting products use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passed through semiconductor material illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. The heat produced is absorbed into a heat sink.
Common LED colors include amber, red, green, and blue. There is actually no such thing as a “white” LED. To get white light the kind we use for lighting our homes and offices, different color LEDs are mixed or covered with a phosphor material that converts the color of the light. The phosphor is the yellow material you can see on some LED products.  Colored LEDs are widely used as signal lights and indicator lights, like the power button on a computer.
LEDs are now being incorporated into bulbs and fixtures for general lighting applications. LEDs are small and provide unique design opportunities. Some LED bulb solutions may look like familiar light bulbs and some may not but can better match the performance of traditional light bulbs. Some LED light fixtures may have LEDs built–in as a permanent light source.
LED light fixtures
LEDs are “directional” light sources which means they emit light in a specific direction, unlike incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs which emit light — and heat — in all directions. For this reason, LED lighting is able to use light and energy more efficiently in many applications.
Incandescent bulbs produce light using electricity to heat a metal filament until it becomes “white” hot or is said to incandesce.  As a result, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat.
In a CFL, an electric current flows between electrodes at each end of a tube containing gases. This reaction produces ultraviolet (UV) light and heat.  The UV light is transformed into visible light when it strikes a phosphor coating on the inside of the bulb. Learn more about how CFLs work.
LED Basics
The useful life of LED lighting products is defined differently than that of other light sources, such as incandescent or CFL. This is because LEDs typically do not “burn out” or fail. Instead, they experience lumen depreciation, where the amount of light produced decreases and light color appearance can shift over time. Instead of basing the useful life of an LED product on the time it takes for 50% of a large group of lamps to burn out (as is the case with traditional sources), LED product “lifetime” is set based on a prediction of when the light output decreases 30 percent.
LEDs and Heat
Because LED lighting systems don’t radiate heat the way an incandescent or halogen light bulb does, the heat produced from the power going into the product must be drawn away from the LEDs. This is usually done with a heat sink, which is a passive device that absorbs the heat produced and dissipates it into the surrounding environment. This keeps LEDs from overheating and burning out. Thermal management is probably the single most important factor in the successful performance of an LED product over its lifetime because the higher the temperature at which the LEDs are operated, the more quickly the light will degrade, and the shorter the useful life will be.
LED products use a variety of unique heat sink designs and configurations to manage heat, so they may look very different from each other. Regardless of the heat sink design, all LED products that have earned the ENERGY STAR have been tested to ensure that they properly manage the heat so that the light output is properly maintained through the end of its rated life.
By Energy Star

Saturday, August 3, 2013

ENERGY STAR Teaches Homeowners How to Air Seal and Insulate Their Homes

Sealing and insulating the "envelope" or "shell" of your home — its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors — is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR estimates that a knowledgeable homeowner or skilled contractor can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.
To Seal and Insulate with ENERGY STAR:
  • Seal air leaks throughout the home to stop drafts,
  • Add insulation to block heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer,
  • Choose ENERGY STAR qualified windows when replacing windows.
If your attic is accessible and you like home improvement projects, you can Do-It-Yourself with help from our DIY Guide to Sealing and Insulating with ENERGY STAR. The Guide offers step-by-step instructions for sealing common air leaks and adding insulation to the attic.
You can also hire a contractor who will use special diagnostic tools to pinpoint and seal the hidden air leaks in your home. AHome Energy Rater can help you find contractors that offer air sealing services in your area.
In addition, there are qualified contractors that participate in local Home Performance with ENERGY STAR programs across the country.

Sealing Leaks

Many air leaks and drafts are easy to find because they are easy to feel — like those around windows and doors. But holes hidden in attics, basements, and crawlspaces are usually bigger problems. Sealing these leaks with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping will have a great impact on improving your comfort and reducing utility bills. Click on the house diagram to see common air leak locations that you should aim to seal.
Homeowners are often concerned about sealing their house too tightly; however, this is very unlikely in most older homes. A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house. If you are concerned about how tight your home is, hire a contractor, such as a Home Energy Rater, who can use diagnostic tools to measure your home's actual leakage. If your home is too tight, a fresh air ventilation system may be recommended.
After any home sealing project, have a heating and cooling technician check to make sure that your combustion appliances (gas- or oil-fired furnace, water heater, and dryer) are venting properly. For additional information on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues related to homes, such as combustion safety, visit EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Web site.

Adding Insulation

Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are several common types of insulation — fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), cellulose, rigid foam board, and spray foamReflective insulation (or radiant barrier) is another insulating product which can help save energy in hot, sunny climates.
When correctly installed with air sealing, each type of insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.
Insulation performance is measured by R-value — its ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values mean more insulating power. Different R-values are recommended for walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces, depending on your area of the country. Insulation works best when air is not moving through or around it. So it is very important to seal air leaks before installing insulation to ensure that you get the best performance from the insulation.
To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation. The recommended insulation level for most attics is R-38 (or about 12–15 inches, depending on the insulation type). In the coldest climates, insulating up to R-49 is recommended.

Sealing Ducts

Duct Sealing GuideIn houses with forced-air heating and cooling systems, ducts are used to distribute conditioned air throughout the house. In a typical house, however, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks and poorly sealed connections. The result is higher utility bills and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.
Because some ducts are concealed in walls and between floors, repairing them can be difficult. However, exposed ducts in attics, basements, crawlspaces, and garages can be repaired by sealing the leaks with duct sealant (also called duct mastic). In addition, insulating ducts that run through spaces that get hot in summer or cold in winter (like attics, garages, or crawlspaces) can save significant energy.
Additionally, if you are replacing your forced-air heating and cooling equipment, make sure your contractor installs the new system according to ENERGY STAR quality installation guidelines. A quality installation will include a thorough inspection of your duct system, including proper sealing and balancing of ductwork, to help ensure that your new system delivers the most comfort and efficiency.