In this week's Newsletter: Spring is a great time for Safe Disposal, 100% transparent solar cells, new ways to measure energy efficiency results, and much more!
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Safe Disposal Events Are Back for Spring

The official beginning of Spring is only two days away (!!!), and it couldn't come fast enough this year! Since the temperatures actually do seem to be warming up a bit, it's time to start considering opening the windows and doing some Spring cleaning. Let's face it, even living in relatively small NYC apartments, most of us have too much stuff. And some of that stuff is really hard to get rid of!

There are quite a few household materials that should not be pout in the regular trash or recycling, like prescription drugs (which can contaminate water supplies), acids, rechargeable batteries and machine oils, to name a few (see a complete list, plus packaging instructions, here).

To help cope with the problem, NYC sponsors Safe Disposal events in every borough a couple of times a year. And those events are coming up soon, starting in Staten Island on April 11: De-clutter your life and feel good about it for 2015!

Mindblowing New Solar Cell Is Completely Transparent

Okay, it's not really a solar cell, because a solar cell works by absorbing light, and a transparent material can't absorb light. In fact, this is a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC), which consists of organic salts that can absorb specific, targeted wavelengths- especially of non-visible light like infrared and ultraviolet. As you can sort of see in the picture, the transparent cells have little strips of black plastic attached to them; these are conventional solar pv cells that then conduct the electricity that's produced by the absorbed light.

This technology could turn any transparent glass surface- a window, a smartphone, computer or television screen- into an energy source. While the panels are currently super efficient (around 1%), researchers at Michigan State University believe they can improve that to about 5%. That may not sound like much, but when you consider how many glass surfaces there are in Manhattan alone, the effects could be considerable. You can read all about this new solar technology here.

Better Tools for Measuring Results Coming to Energy Efficiency Programs

Energy efficiency can be a great way to start going green. By figuring out the 
ways that your home or business energy use can be less wasteful, you can save 
money and energy by making small investments like new light bulbs, or larger ones 
like new appliances and insulation. Because it doesn't require huge infrastructure 
changes or thousands of dollars in updated equipment, energy efficiency is a 
popular strategy. And now programs around the country will get the tools they need to more accurately determine their benefits.

Some new measures have been designed to improve the ways these programs calculate their impact. You can read all about them here, but some of the highlights 
The federal Department of Energy's new benchmarking guide
Real-time tracking for energy savings
Mortgage changes that would allow energy costs to be included in mortgage 

When it comes to all the green options available, energy efficiency is hardly the 
sexiest, but it can be the most cost-effective...especially when we're better able 
to keep track of exactly how well they work.

To learn more about energy efficiency programs in New York State, please visit the 
NYSERDA website.

Upcoming Events at Solar 1

First Park Volunteer Day in Stuyvesant Cove
Stuyvesant Cove Park, south of 23rd St & the East River, 9am-1pm, free
Please RSVP to Pizza lunch provided by the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association.

Other Events

Women in Sustainability and Energy (WISE) Series: Dollars and Sense
Building Energy Exchange, 31 Chambers Street, Suite 609, bet Elk & Centre Sts, Manhattan, 8:30-10am, $15 general admission/$10 partner organizations

Green Thumb GrowTogether
Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse bet E. 144th & E. 149th Sts, Bronx, 9am-4pm, $5 for breakfast, workshops, lunch and tshirt in advance/$7 at the door

Spring E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center (Williamsburg)
Grand Street bet Graham Ave & Humboldt St, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm, free
For a list of accepted electronics, please click here.

Transition Workshop Intensive
15th St. Friends Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place bet 2nd & 3rd Aves, Manhattan, 9am-5pm, $65 (work/study opportunities available)

Spring E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center (Ocean Parkway)
Sephardic Community Center, 1901 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, 10am-4pm, free
For a list of accepted electronics, please click here.

Spring E-Waste Recycling with the Lower East Side Ecology Center (Staten Island)
Jewish Community Center Parking Lot, 1466 Manor Road, Staten Island, 10am-4pm, free
For a list of accepted electronics, please click here.

Measuring Good Things in Your Garden: Why Data Collection Matters
Citizens Committee for New York City, 77 Water Street, Suite 202, bet Hanover Sq. & Gouverneur Ln., Manhattan, 6-8pm, free

Community Land Access: Transformation Through Technology
John Haynes Holmes Community House, 28 East 35th Street bet Madison & Park Aves, Manhattan, 6-8pm, free
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