• We are fortunate to live in a country that offers us a multitude of natural resources yet to be harnessed for their entire potential. Arguably, the most important of these, with reference to the present atrocious energy crisis and the intensifying effects of climate change, are the renewable sources of energy. It is imperative that not only the government but also private entrepreneurs take the initiative of harnessing renewable energy sources.

    The aim should not only be to close the ever widening gap between energy production and need in the country, but also to introduce a new market for sustainable ways of increasing consumption through low emissions development. The Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy (PCRET) has already undertaken some groundbreaking work in this regard by researching the potential of renewable sources of energy for commercial and personal use through localised design and development principles.

    In the last few years, PCRET has designed and developed 10 solar dryers for drying of dates, a solar hybrid system for dehydration of apricot on commercial scale and more than 500 solar cookers handed over to NGOs for dissemination and popularisation (see Pakistan country report on renewable energy).

    A commendable initiative taken by the CDA is giving a local manufacturer the approval to install solar-powered lampposts along the strip of Jinnah Avenue in Blue Area, Islamabad, with no cost to the city exchequer. The manufacture, installation and maintenance costs are to be borne by the providing company, which will recover its project cost by renting out advertising space on the lampposts.

    The Karachi administrator has also announced that the city will utilise solar power for lighting in public places. Solar PV technology, coupled with LED lights, has a high potential for saving significant amounts of energy and reducing the burden on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and slowing the rate of deforestation associated with fuel wood usage in rural areas.

    While these products can help urban users cut down on their energy bills and ensure sustainable and cheap energy sources, among the vast off-grid rural populations, these products can transform the way people live by providing them with street lighting for security, commercial activity and linking them to the world through electronic media. Although the government has a key role to play in facilitating the development of such a market for renewable energy products, local private entrepreneurs have an excellent opportunity to harness what are already common and commercially viable products in a number of developing countries.

    Solar-powered lights, heating systems and cooling units offer viable alternatives to current fossil fuel burning equipment for household energy needs. Importing assembly kits and setting up a small-scale assembly plant for these products in secondary towns and cities offers the potential for becoming a successful social enterprise, utilising the triple bottom line goals philosophy by targeting the planet, people and profits. A number of NGOs are already working in numerous regions across the country to help create awareness and build capacity for replication of energy efficient and sustainable sources of lighting, heating and cooking technologies.


  • There’s something in the air in Center City Allentown.  It’s dust from the hockey arena demolition.

    Some of the former buildings dated back to the 1800s and contained large amounts of absestos and other toxic elements.  The project’s developers, though, have gone to great lengths to make sure air quality is not compromised around the site.

    Allentown’s newest spectator sport is a spot where the first hockey game won’t be played for another two years.

    “There was a lot of people out here,” said Kathryn Weed, who came out to watch demolition for the arena.

    “Probably a good 30, 50 people out here watching it,” added spectator David Ingle.

    The city’s new sports and entertainment complex will be a modern marvel, but first, monuments of eras gone by must make way.

    “Aw geez, my grandmother used to dance down at the Lyric there,” said lifelong Allentown resident Jim Bower.  “There’s been Zollinger’s.  There’s been department stores here.”

    Those monuments have created quite a mess.

    “It was really dusty,” said Ingle.

    Asked if she knew what was in that dust, Weed said: “No, not really.”

    Bob Pfromm is the guy charged with making sure you don’t breathe in something toxic near the demolition site.

    “Any kind of asbestos products, there’s usually a lot you find in old buildings like this,” he said.

    Pfromm’s company, SSM Group of Reading, spent more than a month surveying the buildings that used to stand there.

    “And all of that [toxic material] was delineated where it was located and then crews… came in and did removal of all those materials,” he said.

    SSM crews removed were insulation, fluorescent lights, and radiators, shipping to specially-certified landfills.  Dust is kept down by water hoses.

    “They’re trying their best to water it down,” said Bower.

    Air quality at the site is constantly monitored by several small units, as well as private and city inspectors.

    Spectators are undeterred.

    “If you’ve got allergies, yeah it’ll bother you, but I don’t think it hurt anybody,” said Weed.

    One building that hasn’t had asbestos removal yet is the Rite Aid on Hamilton Street.  The city is still acquiring that property through eminent domain.

    Also Tuesday, the Allentown Planning Commission gave final approval to the hockey arena plan in a 4-0 vote.

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  • led light 18.11.2011 Comments Off

    The state government has announced a slew of schemes for infrastructure development and power conservation on the occasion of 11th Statehood Day which, if implemented, will bring positive changes that have eluded Jharkhand is last one decade.

    While on one hand people-centric scheme like Bachat Lamp Yojna will reduce the power consumption per household and help conserving energy, the online monitoring of road project will improve quality of roads.

    According to chief minister Arjun Munda, the schemes will bring desired development in Jharkhand in the times to come. “The state government will provide two free CFL lamps to each family living below poverty line (BPL). In case of above poverty line (APL) families, the government will provide two CFL lamps at Rs 15 each,” said Munda.

    To ensure quality roads in the state, the government has launched a unique real-time web-based monitoring system for the ambitious Govindpur-Sahebgunj road funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB). The online monitoring system will help in keeping a watch on land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, road safety and utility shifting. The website will also have other details of the project, including a detailed project report and agreement.

    To ensure smooth movement of traffic in the state capital, the chief minister also laid the foundation stone for construction of three flyovers. The flyovers will help ease flow of traffic on Mahatma Gandhi Road, Club Road and Circular Road will be constructed with an investment of Rs 390 crore.

    Governor Syed Ahmed and chairman of state coordination committee Shibu Soren along with other ministers were also present on the occasion. The office of the Jharkhand State Highway Authority was also inaugurated.

    Apart from this, the state human resource department released the blueprint for proposed knowledge hub for Jharkhand which is expected to bring a sea change in the field of education in the coming years.

    Com Afrique Intelizon Company recently distributed 248 Zon light lamps to four villages in the North Bank Region.

    The beneficiary villages include Kinteh Kunda, Kerr Ardo, Aljamdu and Sahbah Njien.

    According to officials of the company, the provision of the items was sponsored by Mr Parkash Nianani, Raj Kumer Impex and Rotary Club of Qulou, India.

    Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, Nfamara Dampha, project coordinator, said the lamps protect the environment and also conserve the natural resources.

    He added that it reduces candle disasters and has a low cost of battery replacement.

    Dampha said they organize villages to set up a Zon light committees where the villagers will pay their daily contribution per light to help them sustain the lamps.

    He also advised them to work hand in glove with village committees so that everybody can have the lamp in the near future.

    Also speaking at the programme, Alhagie Lamin Ceesay, Chairman of Kerewan Area Council, said the project would go a long a way in alleviating  the troubles of candle disasters in the area.

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  • Bryan Yeager has had a scary dream or two, but that’s OK. They have provided plenty of fodder for the jack-o’-lanterns he crafts.

    Yeager, a Summerlin resident and a financial adviser by day, takes carving jack-o’-lanterns to a new level. These are not cut-out jack-o’-lanterns but rather intricate, 3-D-looking ones made of foam with gradated shading.

    He is set to have a booth at the Summerlin Art Festival, slated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Summerlin Centre Community Park, 1800 S. Town Center Drive. Admission is free.

    He crafts jack-o’-lanterns with varying degrees of thickness to let out different amounts of Rechargeable diving flashlight.

    “I saw one on the Internet, and I went, ‘Wow, what a different way to do it,’ ” he said.

    He began experimenting and soon had his first piece. Yeager now adds paint and sands the piece until it resembles something more like a painting than a mere Halloween ornament.

    “Before, I was just hacking and slashing,” he said. “These are pieces of art.”

    It all began when Yeager was 10. That’s when he decided to take the scary dreams he’d had all his life and turn them into a profit by carving jack-o’-lanterns. He sat outside a Safeway store that once was near where Arizona Charlie’s Decatur is now and offered to carve a pumpkin of store patrons. He’d have the jack-o’-lantern finished by the time they were done shopping. He got $5 or $10 for each one, “or $15 if they gave me a nice tip,” he said.

    Flash-forward to when he was raising his own family, and he became known as the coolest dad on the block with his carved pumpkins.

    Initially, he carved jack-o’-lanterns for pleasure, giving them as gifts. In 2010, he decided to sell them and had a booth at the Summerlin Art Festival, where he displayed 20 and sold 15 but told buyers they had to wait to pick up their purchase so he’d have examples on hand. His display led to 30 commissioned pumpkins for companies that wanted their logo on a scary pumpkin.

    This year, he’ll offer the more sophisticated 3-D ones for the first time, starting at $75.

    It will be a tad tough to part with them, he admitted.

    “I love them all but for different reasons,” he said.

    But real pumpkins wilt and die.

    That’s a plus, said Wayne Higdon, who has one of Yeager’s pumpkins sitting atop the microwave in his office. It sports the name of his business, Dad’s Garage, as well as a scary rat on two legs and an exaggerated hot rod.

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