You guys did a phenomenal job with the Helios. And Rob, as always, went above and beyond for us.
" Dan Kae—Assistant Production Supervisor
CLIENT QUOTE: "
The drivers were awesome to be with. Hard working drivers!! It really stands out when the drivers jump in to help set up base camp, and tear it down. Not to mention always having a fresh green tea for me just when I needed it every time. They really were great and I’d ask for them anytime we get vehicles from you. Thanks!
" Mary Brooks – 3 Star Productions
CLIENT QUOTE: "
You guys are the BEST!
" Marie D’Amore—Production Supervisor, HSI
CLIENT QUOTE: "
Thank you so much for lovely Eko lav — definitely the nicest port-a-potty I’ve ever used!
" Amanda – Producer
CLIENT QUOTE: "
North Six has been working with King Kong for many years now. Not only is their customer service unparalleled, but their fleet of motorhomes is always clean, reliable, and exactly what we need to support our photo productions.
" Kyd Kisvarday—Producer, North 6
CLIENT QUOTE: "
We truly enjoyed working from the Helios, the attention to detail to make it an Eco friendly asset to our industry should be commended. The quiet workspace you get when running on the solar power is delightful! Rob was pleasant to be around and always willing to help out. Thank you Rob and King Kong for bringing us the Helios!
" Rochelle Savory-Assistant Production Supervisor
CLIENT QUOTE: "
I just wanted to send you a quick message and let you know how amazing Rich is. I have hired motos from all over and this was by far our best experience. Really nice to work with great people
" Crystal Raymond- Chinese Laundry
CLIENT QUOTE: "
Rusty, Bruce and the guys at King Kong were a crucial asset to my photoshoot. They took a lot of stress off of my plate and came through when I needed them, allowing me to focus 100% on the production. Without a doubt, King Kong is now my go-to for production vehicles and I do not hesitate to recommend them to my colleagues. And, not only is Rusty the best and most helpful driver I have ever had the pleasure of working with, he is also awesome with a fog machine!
" Brett Spencer-Producer, Nastygal.com
CLIENT QUOTE: "
…the moho was super nice, everything was great! I will definitely rent it again!!
" Susan Borbely – Prod Coordinator
CLIENT QUOTE: "
King Kong… top notch service, incredible drivers, clean, well equipped vehicles, on time—every time! Thanks guys…. you ROCK!!!
" Elaine Lee—Producer 5th and Sunset Los Angeles
CLIENT QUOTE: "
King Kong has great motorhomes and the best drivers in the business. Working with you guys is always easy and a pleasure.
" Cat Burkley-Portfolio One
CLIENT QUOTE: "
The Helios is a great motorhome. Not only is it energy efficient but it offers a large space for production to work in. The copy machine is great because you can wirelessly print and make color copies and send faxes. The satellite phones came in handy when we realized we didn’t have any cell service on location. We received several compliments throughout the shoot day. Crew walked into the motorhome in awe of such a beautiful space.
" Courtney Witherspoon-Production Coordinator Three One O
CLIENT QUOTE: "
I wanted to give Rich another glowing report, He was AMAZING on our shoot. The most helpful driver I’ve ever had. I’ll definitely be requesting him on future shoots.
Thanks for everything guys!
" Adrienne Burton – Freelance Prod Coordinator
CLIENT QUOTE: "
King Kong has the best equipment & drivers in the biz.
" Tom Baker – gangboss
CLIENT QUOTE: "
We’ve used the Helios twice now and have been quite impressed each time. It has everything production could want AND it’s earth friendly! We will use the Helios on every job in which we need a moho.
" Mario D’Amici—Production Coordinator, Beef Films
CLIENT QUOTE: "
Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome customer service. Our driver was friendly and professional. He arrived early and had everything ready to go for us. The motorhome was clean and in perfect shape. Every detail matters on a shoot to help keep everything running smoothly. We love working with King Kong!
" Jamie Williams- That Girl Productions
CLIENT QUOTE: "
Thanks again for helping out with our party. The restrooms worked out great and the service was awesome as usual!
Tesla Motors says that if the battery pack fails in your sexy Model S electric sedan for any reason except deliberate abuse, you can have a replacement, free, for eight years.
That warranty length matches mainstream automaker’s pledges about their electric-car batteries. But Tesla goes a bit further.
The Model S’ bigger 85 kwh battery pack is warranted for eight years or unlimited mileage. The smaller, 60 kilowatt-hour pack, is eight years or 125,000 miles, whichever comes first. The usual is eight years/100,000 miles.
“We don’t think anybody could put enough miles on to kill the (85 kwh) pack. That could turn out to be wrong, but we have half-a-million miles on one in the lab,” says Tesla chief Elon Musk. “Even the 60 kwh customers will be able to take it well over 200,000 miles.”
Keep in mind that Musk founded SpaceX, a private rocketship company that considers space its back yard and has sent two resupply missions to the International Space Station. In that context, 100,000 miles, more or less, or so might not seem far at all.
SpaceX, by the way, just sent a rocket called Grasshopper some 800 feet up, hovered it there briefly, then returned it to Earth. A step toward a reusable rocket.
Tesla recently reported its first quarterly profit, and sold more cars than it anticipated.
The Model S is the only Tesla. The Lotus-based, six-figure Roadster sports car that was the first Tesla no longer can be sold here. As a small maker, Tesla was temporarily exempt from some safety testing, but that exemption has expired.
Why not redesign the sports car to meet U.S. safety regulations?
Musk says he’d rather pursue “a strategy that ultimately gets us to a compelling mass-market (electric) car.” He has lower-price models under development.
Besides, he says, “I do not think there is a shortage of sports cars for rich people.”
People who want to celebrate Earth Day week by commuting in a vehicle powered by a cleaner-burning fuel should hop on the bus.
More than a third of the nation’s city transit buses are now powered by fuels other than diesel. That’s up from fewer than 10% a decade ago, according to the American Public Transportation Association citing January 2011 data.
That compares with about 9 million passenger automobiles in the USA that ran on alternative fuels in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Administration; that’s less than 3% of the total.
Transit agencies across the nation, spurred by federal incentives for buying and using greener vehicles and by the potential savings of switching from diesel, are transitioning to buses that run on compressed natural gas, propane, diesel-electric hybrids and biodiesel. In total, there are more than 66,200 city buses in the country.
Many people get their first introduction to alternative fuels via public transit, say industry officials such as Steve Myers, transit director of Lee County Transit in Fort Myers, Fla. About half the agency’s 60 fixed-route buses are diesel-electric hybrids, meaning they run on diesel at start-up, then switch to electric power.
The system has seen a 24% decrease in fuel usage by the hybrids compared with its diesel buses. There has also been a 50% reduction in engine combustion gases and a 90% reduction in particulates, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, Myers says.
The system started phasing in hybrids in 2010. “Obviously, there’s always budget pressure, ‘How can we reduce fuel usage?'” he says. “Also, the political will was there for us to make the change, and to spend a little more to obtain air-quality benefits and long-term environmental benefits.”
The hybrids cost significantly more than diesel-powered buses. A 35-foot diesel bus costs $316,188, vs. $549,041 for the basic hybrid package, says Joann Haley, marketing manager at Lee County Transit. “But we recoup that through fuel economy and through reduced brake and engine maintenance,” Myers says.
APTA President Michael Melaniphy says transit agencies are attracted by the long-term economic benefits, by the environmental impacts and by the energy-independence aspect. “Public transit is a good incubator when it comes to alternative fuels,” he says. Some transit agencies were “early adopters” of the fuels, starting about two decades ago, and have demonstrated that they can be used with safety and efficiency, Melaniphy says.
Milo Victoria, CEO and general manager of Omnitrans in the San Bernardino Valley, says the agency began using compressed natural gas in 1997, well before the state began requiring all transit buses to run on alternative fuels in 2005. “There were some unknowns,” he says. “They (alternative fuels) had no track record for service reliability.”
Now, Omnitrans’ 160 buses, which carry 52,000 riders a day, all run on compressed natural gas. Victoria says start-up costs were high, including the costs of building new pumps. He says the agency now pays $1.30 a gallon for compressed natural gas, compared with $4 a gallon for diesel.
John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, says about 3% of the nation’s transportation industry now runs on compressed natural gas. “Some trucking operations have started to look at this,” he says. “The problem is, it costs a lot to convert a truck, $70,000 to $80,000. What we’ve seen is a slow adaptation.”
He says natural gas is about a quarter of the cost of diesel. “Just about every municipality is trying to use natural gas for their buses, because it’s so much cheaper than diesel,” he says.
Los Angeles’ LA Metro operates the nation’s largest fleet of compressed natural gas buses — 2,200 vehicles, according to APTA.
Transit’s embrace of alternative fuels is helping to build public awareness of the fuels and helping to build out the fueling infrastructure, says Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing at ROUSH CleanTech, a Livonia, Mich., firm that designs and develops propane fuel systems for vehicles.
“You get people riding these buses, and they’re like, ‘Wow, I’m riding a propane bus,'” he says.
The Flint Mass Transportation Authority in Michigan has truly embraced alternative fuels: It has 260 buses; some run on propane, some on compressed natural gas, some on a diesel-electricity hybrid and one on hydrogen. “Our plans call for us to reduce our use of diesel fuel by 60%” by 2018, says general manager Edgar Benning.
The agency serves seven counties that were battered by the loss of auto manufacturing jobs. “We had 86,000 auto jobs. Today we have 6,000,” Benning says. “With our economy here, for us to be sustainable, we needed to find a way to reduce our exposure to the instability of the prices when it comes to foreign oil.”
The ad was meant to be humorous: the victim finds out he is in a zero-emission car
Hyundai has yanked an ad meant to poke humor at attempts to commit suicide in cars.
The viral online campaign featured a man trying to asphyxiate himself from his car’s exhaust. He runs a hose from the car’s tailpipe to the cabin, with the windows taped up. He fails in his attempt . The punchline? He discovers the car is a Hyundai zero-emission vehicle.
Hyundai later issued a statement: “We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate European video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment.” The ad was created by an overseas ad agency, Innocean Europe, and had no connection to Hyundai’s U.S. operations.
Suicide prevention activists expressed relief that the ad has been banished.
“We know from research that graphic depictions of suicide in the media can inadvertently lead to further suicides, a phenomenon known as contagion,” said Robert Gebbia, executive director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “This advertisement was particularly graphic and potentially dangerous. We are pleased that Hyundai has decided to pull this campaign.”
The Independent, an English newspaper, reported that the ad started running last week and that the campaign ended abruptly after an outcry. Indeed, the ad can no longer be found on YouTube. One blogger blistered Hyundai, saying the ad brought back memories of her own father’s death when he gassed himself in his car.
The blogger, Holly Brockwell, who works in advertising in London, wrote that the ad made her cry.
USA TODAY’s Green Tech series explores how green-tech innovations are changing everything from vacations to war-making.
You could view a National Football League stadium as a hulk of concrete and steel, where video boards and bright lights eat up electricity, refrigeration is needed to keep the beer cold, halftimes are flush-fests and cars idle before and after games.
On this celebration of Earth Day, hold the carbon-emitting negativity.
Since January, 11,000 solar panels and 14 wind turbines have been generating power at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The team’s 10-year-old “Go Green” campaign also includes reduced water and electrical use, recycled paper products for all tissues, conversion of cooking oil into biodiesel fuel, a digital version of the cheerleaders calendar to spare trees and compostable packaging for the hot dogs and Philly cheese steaks.
Signs in the men’s rooms at Lincoln Financial: “Recycle your beer here and your plastics outside.” Among other signs at the stadium: “The only water we waste is sweat.”
It’s environmental stewardship with a touch of salesmanship.
“We try not to preach, but we definitely want to promote and encourage,” says Don Smolenski, president of the Eagles.
The Eagles are not alone. CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks (NFL) and Seattle Sounders (Major League Soccer), has 3,750 solar panels (2.5 acres) on the roof of an adjacent events center. Target Field, home of baseball’s Minnesota Twins, collects rainwater for use in washing down the seating area. The Miami Heat (National Basketball Association) play at AmericanAirlines Arena. Its reflective roof and underground parking are designed to beat the heat and cut energy costs.
The stadium under construction for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., will have solar panels and a green roof of soil and plant life covering its tower of luxury suites to provide insulation.
Auto racing burns fuel and tires. But NASCAR has a program — NASCAR Green — that includes tire recycling and, since 2011, use of fuel it says produces less carbon emissions. NASCAR says it will plant 8,000 trees this year to offset carbon emissions. Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania has about 40,000 solar panels.
You may not buy the notion of athletes as role models. But the green movement is quick to identify sports and its venues as just that.
“It’s one of the most culturally influential sectors in the country, in the world. The most-watched TV shows are sporting events. Sports matters, and it’s a gigantic business,” says Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“I work with the St. Louis Cardinals (baseball) at Busch Stadium. They reduced their energy use in the last three years by 24%. … That gets noticed. … The Seattle Mariners (baseball) save over a $1 million a year in reducing their energy costs and their waste costs. That’s certainly a good role model for other businesses to emulate.”
In recent years, Hershkowitz’s group has advised the NFL, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer.
The NRDC, whose involvement in sports was spearheaded by actor Robert Redford, issued a report last year titled “Game Changer … How the sports industry is saving the environment.”
Among the findings:
• Of the 126 pro teams in the five major sports, 38 use renewable energy for at least some of their needs and 68 have energy-efficiency programs.
• Eighteen venues have installed solar panels.
• “Virtually all” have or are developing recycling and composting programs.
• Under a rating system known as LEED, 15 pro venues have been certified as “green” buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a building industry non-profit. The 49ers’ new stadium is targeted to open in 2014 with LEED certification.
While most baseball games are at night (as well as many college football games, a growing number of NASCAR races and even more NFL contests), Hershkowitz isn’t calling for baseball to halt night games to save electricity.
“I love night games. The issue is not the lights. The issue is, where is the energy coming from?” he says. “… If the power is coming from wind or from hydro or from solar, that’s good.”
Pro sports franchises aren’t non-profits. Is there financial incentive for them to go green?
“Reducing your energy costs, reducing your water costs, reducing your waste costs is a money saver as it is an environmental winner,” says Hershkowitz.
STADIUMS AND SOLAR
NRG Energy, based in Princeton, N.J., has partnered in solar projects at NFL stadiums with the Eagles, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots and New York Jets/New York Giants (both at MetLife Stadium). NRG also has partnered with the 49ers.
David Crane, CEO of NRG, says the “spread out” nature of stadiums suits solar, and installing the panels on roofs over parking lots provides extra benefits of shade and shelter for fans.
From NRG’s point of view, Crane says, one appeal of getting involved with the NFL is its success and visibility. “If the NFL owners are making decisions to go with clean-energy choices, then maybe other businesses should and also even the fans,” says Crane.
NRG owns the panels and wind turbines at Lincoln Financial and invested in their installation. The Eagles signed a 20-year contract to buy power from NRG.
“The way that all the NFL deals basically work is that we install, operate and own the solar panels, and they agree to buy the power … for a fixed period of time. … It’s at least 10 and sometimes up to 20 years,” says Crane.
Smolenski says the project is expected to generate about 30% of the stadium’s annual usage of power.
“There are days … where there’s no activity at the stadium and the sun is shining, there is a breeze. We’ll actually be putting power back into the grid. And obviously on game days our power draw is bigger than what the system can produce, but that’s OK,” he says.
Smolenski says the Eagles offset the rest of their annual power usage by purchasing what are called renewable energy credits, which support renewable energy development. He says an advantage to the deal with NRG is that it provides cost stability.
“That’s significant,” says Smolenski. “There were times when the cost of power can spike. … We’re no longer subject to those fluctuations.”
Eagles owner Jeff Lurie and his former wife, Christina Weiss Lurie, launched “Go Green” in 2003. Weiss Lurie says they have been inspired by Al Gore’s environmental film, An Inconvenient Truth.
“As a football team, we have a unique platform, where we can really make a difference,” says Weiss Lurie. “… We really need to all care about our planet, and you can do it in small steps, or you can do it in larger ways.”
“Midnight green” is the basic team color of the Eagles. “Go Green” was a natural. On their website, the Eagles have a “Go Green playbook.” It urges fans to recycle, conserve and buy green. It suggests they recycle old tires and use short-run cycles on their dishwashers and clothes washers.
“We’re at 99% diversion (from the landfill). We’ll soon be at 100%,” says Smolenski.
Smolenski describes the overall green program as “cost neutral” at this stage. That’s an improvement over the early years.
“Recycled napkins were more expensive,” says Smolenski. “… That’s not the case anymore. … With the leverage of our purchasing power and (concessionaire) Aramark’s purchasing power, we were able to get the same price.”
At FedExField, home of the Redskins, there is a 30-foot-high sculpture of a football player made from solar panels. It’s called “Solar Man.” More than 800 solar panels cover a nearby parking lot.
There is a ring of solar panels atop MefLife Stadium, home of the Giants and Jets. The panels are illuminated in green when the Jets are playing and blue when it’s the Giants.
“Obviously, that’s not the cheapest way to generate solar power … to lift highly specialized solar panels, which are LED backlit, to the top of the stadium,” says Crane of NRG. “… But the whole package is compelling to them as a business proposition.”
At Lincoln Financial, there are about 8,100 panels over a parking lot. There are others on the roof and facade of the stadium and over sidewalks. There are seven turbines (the curved, egg-beater type) above the stands in each endzone.
Weiss Lurie says the turbines generate only about 1% of the power in the new system. But fans in the seats and motorists driving by on Interstate 95 can see the turbines.
“I think it’s important sometimes to have a visual symbol,” says Weiss Lurie.
Says Smolenski, “They are awesome. I can see them from my window. … I look out my window every day and see them spinning.”
All the hand-wringing may not have amounted to anything, suggests one long-term look at all those polls. The majority of the public pretty much understands that global warming is happening, and has for a long time, the authors say. Some of what looks like confusion about what folks think may result more from the poll questions themselves, rather than from the people answering the questions.
“Belief that global warming is happening has been mostly stable and increasing for the last thirty years,” says social scientist Orie Kristel of The Strategy Team, an applied social science company based in Columbus, Ohio. The agreement has approached 75%, and although it dipped in recent years, that consensus has since resumed its upward march, according to a just-released report sponsored by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, a foundation founded by eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll that looks for solutions to global problems such as pandemics, nuclear proliferation and environmental challenges. In it, Kristel and his colleagues weigh together public opinion polls dating back to 1986, from more than 150 nationwide questionnaires in all.
He and his colleagues report that wording of poll questions may have created some of the appearance of shifts in public opinion about global warming.
“Do you think the greenhouse effect really exists or not?” a poll first asked U.S. respondents in 1986. About 73% answered “yes” in that year, setting a pattern. When pollsters asked folks whether they believed climate change was happening in some sense, most said they did. When they asked folks, “Is there solid evidence the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades, or not,” as a Brookings Institution survey asked in 2007, the responses were “consistently lower,” the analysis finds. More polls have been asking the question this way in recent years.
Americans account for about 25,000 obesity-related deaths blamed on over-consumption of sweetened beverages.
Researchers reported Tuesday that they have linked 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide to sugary drinks, including about 25,000 adult Americans.
Overall, 1 in 100 deaths of obese people globally can be blamed on too many sweetened beverages, according to a study presented at an American Heart Association scientific conference in New Orleans. Mexico leads the 35 largest nations in deaths attributable to over-consumption of sugary drinks, with the United States third. Japan, which has one of the lowest per-capita consumptions of sugary drinks, had the fewest sugar-related deaths.
Using data collected as part of the World Health Organization’s 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, the researchers determined that 78% of these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries.
Of the deaths in 2010 linked to drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks, fruit juice or sports beverages, 132 000 were from diabetes, 44 000 from cardiovascular disease and 6,000 from cancer.
The most diabetes deaths (38,000) occurred in the Latin America/Caribbean region, with East/Central Eurasia reporting the largest numbers of cardiovascular deaths (11,000) related to over-consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.
The finding that three quarters of the deaths were from diabetes “suggests that limiting sugary-beverage intake is an important step in reducing diabetes deaths,” co-author Gitanjali Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in an interview.
Average consumption varied widely — from less than one 8-ounce drink a day among elderly Chinese women to more than five 8-ounce drinks every day among younger Cuban men.
“Because we were focused on deaths due to chronic diseases, our study focused on adults. Future research should assess the amount of sugary beverage consumption in children across the world and how this affects their current and future health,” Singh said.
In a statement, the American Beverage Association, the trade group for the non-alcoholic beverage industry, dismissed the findings as “more about sensationalism than science.”
“This abstract, which is not peer-reviewed nor published in a way where its methodology can be fully evaluated, is more about sensationalism than science. It does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer – the real causes of death among the studied subjects. The researchers make a huge leap when they take beverage intake calculations from around the globe and allege that those beverages are the cause of deaths which the authors themselves acknowledge are due to chronic disease.”
The Harvard School of Public Health has a fact sheet on “sugary drink supersizing and the obesity epidemic.”
Two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese, and the nation spends an estimated $190 billion a year treating obesity-related health conditions. Rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. A typical 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories. A 64-ounce fountain cola drink could have up to 700 calories. People who drink this “liquid candy” do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food and do not compensate by eating less.
The American Heart Association recommends that based on a 2,000-calories-a-week diet, adults should not consume more than 450 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages.
Monday, Mississippi’s Republican governor signed into a law legislation that prohibits cities and counties from restricting or banning the size of soft drinks, or from requiring that restaurants post calorie counts or other nutritional information. Mississippi is the most obese state in the nation.
“It is simply not the role of government to micro-regulate citizens’ dietary decisions,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement. “The responsibility for one’s personal health depends on individual choices about a proper diet and appropriate exercise.”
The action came a week after a New York state judge struck down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to limit most sugary drinks to 16 ounces.
Bloomberg called the Mississippi legislation “ridiculous.”