Tag Archives: energy

Good energy: non-traditional partnerships generate power

When it comes to employing alternative energy sources  and focusing on improved energy efficiency, Shaw Contract Group is in good company. Electric car company Tesla is partnering with several companies, including Jackson Family Wines for the pilot program of  its new industrial battery product, due to officially launch later this summer (a residential version is also underway).

In addition toLEDS in the fermentation room using Tesla’s battery packs for its operations, JFW employs solar arrays at it’s facilities – and the combination will potentially open new doors for self-sustaining systems.

All told, the company has 21 of the commercial PowerPack batteries across six of its wineries, which were installed from late last summer to early this year. By February, they accounted for 4.2 mW of production, or 8.4 mWh of total energy storage capacity.  (For more details, read  the complete fastcompany article ).

Solar is recognized as a mature, reliable energy source and a viable long-term investment. Shaw Contract Group’s carpet tile manufacturing facility in Cartersville, GA, features one of the largest commercial solar panel installations in the southeast – generating 1.4 million kilowatt hours of power annually (approximately 100 homes) which helps power the facility and its processes.  Company wide bench marking for our footprint is published annually in Shaw’s Sustainability Report.

Solar Panels

 

 

 

 

 

 

Viva the alternative! Design is good energy.

 

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Feng Shui

For thousands of years, Chinese emperors consulted with powerful mystics for guidance about how to rule. These men and their knowledge were kept secret, even as they helped shape the fate of dynasties and the landscape of an ancient empire. They were masters of “feng shui,” or “wind water,” a belief system grounded in the concept of living in harmony with one’s surroundings.

Feng shui practices have long been used to design buildings, from palaces and tombs long ago to skyscrapers and modern homes today. In the 13th century, feng shui masters chose a spot flanked by auspicious mountains as the site for a new imperial capital, which would one day become Beijing. The same concepts have dictated how Chinese build their houses, situate their desks and even where they place their potted plants. Essentially it’s about the flow of energy to maximize comfort and thus productivity.

When east meets west, feng shui is often in the middle. In 2005, Disney executives shifted the main gate of Hong Kong Disneyland by 12 degrees, after consulting with a feng shui master who said the change would ensure the then-under construction theme park’s success. Although the multinational banking and financial services company HSBC is based in London, its Hong Kong headquarters is practically a shrine to feng shui: a pair of lions guarding the entrance protect the building’s wealth, a square out front allows business opportunities to flow unobstructed and the building’s downtown location is judged to be supremely auspicious.

The offices (under construction) at the Nantong facility

Whether or not you’re a believer, it’s clear that in Asia, feng shui is good for business. After all, nobody wants to alienate customers by ignoring their spiritual culture. That’s why the main office in Shaw’s new carpet tile plant in Nantong, China was designed with feng shui in mind.

When I arrive on a clear spring day in mid-March, the front lobby is cluttered with scaffolding, plaster and a huddle of workmen sanding and sawing. The first thing I notice is the lack of right angles, which Chinese believe blocks positive “qi” or energy.

Jason Bowling, Shaw Industries’ Director of Corporate Facilities, stands in the lobby taking mental notes. “There’s a lot of concern about corners in this culture, so we want to make sure everything looks right,” he tells me.

Bowling first came to the plant site in 2011, “when it was still a piece of ground.” As the force behind Shaw’s showrooms in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, he’s learned a lot about what works visually in Asia, and that’s vital. With several months to go before the plant opens, it’s his job to ensure the environment is, as a feng shui master would say, harmonious.

The under-constructon office in the Nantong facility

“Shaw is a design-forward organization,” he says, eyeing the smooth lines that swoop across the front entrance with a practiced eye. “We’re bringing that idea to the Chinese market, which is why we’re sharpshooting.”

Recently, the Shaw design team got a bit of homegrown help. When Anna Chu, Shaw China’s business development manager, took a run-through of the office, she noticed something was amiss. According to the principles of feng shui, the ideal seating position faces south to take the most advantage of natural light. But the office set for Shaw China director Nolan Howell faced north.

The exterior of the Nantong facility

As a Chinese working for an American company, Anna was unsure whether her advice would be heeded – or laughed at. “I didn’t want people to think I’m superstitious,” she tells me. So she waited and then she mentioned it to the property management company, which agreed it was a strange decision, at least from a Chinese perspective. That convinced her to speak up. “In America it’s not an issue, but in China people really feel these decisions can impact your business,” she says. Howell agreed, and today his office, sure enough, faces south.

“If you think about design, it’s always functionality and comfort,” says Anna. “Feng shui is based on the same idea.”

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Create Energy and Burn Calories with the Soccket Ball

Who would have thought that a soccer ball could provide both hours of play outside and bring light to a home without power?  The Soccket makes that possible. The ball has internal mechanism that takes the kinetic energy from rolling and converts and stores it as electrical energy. After your done playing, the included single-bulb LED lamp can be plugged into the ball to provide hours of light from just minutes of play.

Over 1.3 billion people worldwide live without reliable access to electricity. You can sponsor a Soccket and give to a family in need. Simple designs like the Soccket and the TEGwear chip are making a difference in the world, whether it be to a person needing to charge a phone or a family in need of electricity in a developing country.

Image: CBSnews

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Batteries Unnecessary: Generating Power from our Body Heat

With the development of wearable gadgets (like Google Project Glass) on the rise, battery usage on-the-go will be in high demand. But what better source of energy than our own bodies?

Perpetua Power has developed a small chip that can turn body heat into electric energy, using the same technology found in solar panels. The heat is absorbed from your body, then funneled through a thermoelectric generator that converts it into electricity. The result is a single, square-inch TEGwear chip generates enough power (up to 3 volts) to power anything from the accelerometer in your pedometer to the wireless headset for your smartphone.

An added bonus of using body-powered devices is the clean energy produced. It eliminates toxic waste generated by the heavy metals used in the billions of batteries we currently use (and throw away) each year. In other words, your body heat is good, clean energy.

Like body heat, Shaw Contract Group also works to produce good energy. See how HERE.

The TEGwear chip generates enough power (up to 3 watts volts) to power anything from the accelerometer in your pedometer to the wireless headset for your smartphone.

Your body is always generating heat, even when you are asleep. And heat, regardless of the source, excites electrons. The flow of electrons, in turn, generates electricity.

Images: Fast Company

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