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
…the moho was super nice, everything was great! I will definitely rent it again!!" Susan Borbely – Prod Coordinator
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
You guys are the BEST!" Marie D’Amore—Production Supervisor, HSI
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
You guys did a phenomenal job with the Helios. And Rob, as always, went above and beyond for us." Dan Kae—Assistant Production Supervisor
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
Thank you so much for lovely Eko lav — definitely the nicest port-a-potty I’ve ever used!" Amanda – Producer
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Archive for the ‘News’ Category
May 21 (Bloomberg) –- Acting in a film can mean long days and waiting around for hours until the director calls "action." So where do stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck relax or get in character during their down hours on a movie set? They chill out in luxury motor homes that may be bigger than some New York City apartments. Just don’t call them trailers, these are mobile mansions. (Source: Bloomberg)
IndyCar’s Andretti team joins proposed electric-car race series
|Driver Lucas Di Grassi spins his wheels making doughnut turns while demonstrating the new Formula E electric race car prototype in downtown Los Angeles in April. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / July 17, 2013)|
Formula E, a proposed new series featuring all-electric race cars, got a substantial boost Wednesday when the Andretti Autosport team said it would join the program.
Andretti Autosport, led by former racer Michael Andretti, is one of the major teams in the Izod IndyCar Series. The team’s drivers include reigning IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, Michael’s son.
Formula E proposes to hold street races starting next year in 10 cities around the globe, including Los Angeles. It would use electric cars that are roughly similar in size and shape to those in the IndyCar series.
Andretti Autosport is the first U.S. team to join Formula E and the third overall. The others are Britain’s Drayson Racing and China Racing.
“It’s an honor for Andretti Autosport to have been selected as one of the 10 founding Formula E teams for the inaugural season,” Michael Andretti said in a statement.
The cars’ drivers have not yet been determined. The date and exact location of the proposed Los Angeles race also have yet to be announced.
Jump-starting electric vehicle sales with workplace charging stations
Electric vehicle enthusiasts aim to boost the viability of the EV industry by encouraging employers to add charging stations.
Electric cars will probably remain a tiny niche of the auto industry until drivers see a serious expansion of charging stations.
But you can’t just put one on every corner next to the gas station. The cars can take hours to fully charge, which would create a big parking problem, among other issues. Even if consumers bought electric cars in droves tomorrow, the infrastructure to keep them rolling would look much different.
Charging starts at home, with a charging station that can cost drivers $500 to $2,000. But the real key to extending the cars’ range, and easing consumer fears of running out of power and getting stranded on the road, may well be getting large workplaces to add chargers — allowing EV-driving employees to double their commuting distance or to run more errands.
“That would really help increase the viability of the EV market,” said John Boesel, chief executive of Calstart, a clean transportation consulting firm.
According to statistics provided by charging station supplier Ecotality, workplace chargers are used three times as often as typical public chargers, which might sit outside the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles, for instance, or the Department of Water and Power office on Hope Street.
In a recent survey, Ecotality found its workplace chargers showed a dramatic increase in usage over the first half of 2013, up about 61%. That growth mirrored a rise in EV ownership. The Electric Drive Transportation Assn. reported more than 8,600 plug-in hybrids and battery electric cars were sold in the U.S. in June, compared with about 3,300 in June 2012. July estimates put plug-in sales at more than 5,800 vehicles, compared with 3,010 during the same month last year. Tesla Motors has not yet reported last month’s sales of its all-electric Model S sedan.
As of July 20, there were 7,849 public and private non-residential charging stations in the United States, 1,579 of which were in California, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Some automakers have taken it upon themselves to grow the public charging network. Nissan, which makes the electric Leaf, has been especially aggressive, aiming to triple the number of 30-minute quick-chargers in the U.S. to 600 by the middle of next year. That plan includes more than 100 quick-chargers at Nissan dealerships in about 50 key markets.
“There’s a certain obligation to make sure you’re leading the effort,” said Brendan Jones, Nissan’s director of electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, though he gave most of the credit to charging companies. “They’re really putting in the capital to build out infrastructure.”
Nissan also deploys a team of five people to educate companies in the U.S. about the advantages of workplace charging. “The fuel [source] is everywhere we go. It’s that easy with electricity,” Jones said. “But we have to be thoughtful and strategic about where we put stations.”
Tesla Motors, which makes the premium Model S sedan, offers 30-minute Supercharger stations for its customers to use exclusively. Tesla has 16 stations installed in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Florida and Washington. The automaker plans to have 27 stations open by the end of this summer, said Tesla spokeswoman Shanna Hendriks.
The challenge for charging station manufacturers is to get employers, especially those with large numbers of workers, to see charging stations as a cost-effective workplace benefit.
An employer decides whether to make the electricity free to employees, or charge per hour or kilowatt-hour. Employees can become part of Ecotality’s Blink member program, for example, which enables them to pay $1 an hour instead of the $2 non-member rate. An undisclosed percentage of the revenue from charging sessions goes back into the employers’ pockets.
ChargePoint’s business model requires an employer to pay an annual subscription fee. ChargePoint tracks usage and deducts per-charge payments from the employer’s account. “They want a turn-key solution,” said ChargePoint Chief Executive Pat Romano. “This isn’t their primary business. It doesn’t become one more thing they have to deal with.”
But the main incentive for employees is the goodwill they build with their workers, who can also gain carpool lane access in California.
“You’re saving the employee a lot of money in fuel. It’s the easiest way to give your employee a raise,” Romano said. “You’ve improved their commute, and you’re going to get more productivity out of that employee.”
Employers who start with just one or two charging stations often end up adding more as they see employees using them, Boesel said. “And having them encourages more employees to buy or lease EVs,” he said. “It’s a virtuous cycle for the EV industry.”
Half of ChargePoint’s business comes from workplace charging, Romano said.
It has something to do with windmills — or hybrid cars.
It’s related to alternative and renewable energy. It’s solar power.
That’s what people told me comes to mind when they think of “green” or “clean” jobs. As one person summed up what they know about green jobs, “I really haven’t the foggiest.”
Green jobs are either “jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources” or they are “jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources,” according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What kinds of jobs might that be?
Here are a few green job openings I found through the staffing firm Greenjobs. They include energy adviser for Conservation Services Group, where you would conduct “residential energy assessments to identify energy-efficiency improvement opportunities.”
But not all of them sound so technical.
GCI Solar has a sales job opening. Conservation Services Group also is looking for someone to work with marketing to put in place “integrated marketing communications and advertising programs.” The company also wants a program operations manager for a high-efficiency furnace replacement program.
An investment company in the United Kingdom that operates in the renewable energy industry needs a portfolio manager to manage the firm’s assets. A company in Brazil with an expanding wind business needs a project manager to oversee “construction of several small and big onshore wind projects.”
A company that’s expert in “developing engineering and operating large-scale photovoltaic systems” seeks a lawyer.
A New York-based hospital needs a sustainability officer who will head a “comprehensive management system … that measures the impact of green initiatives … (and) directs general
Treehugger lists these job openings on its site: community organizer, community outreach manager, development coordinator, development director, executive assistant, freelance sustainability writer, funds administrator, research associate, sales agent. They are at such organizations as Audubon Center of the North Woods, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Green Mountain Energy, Mohonk Preserve and Omega Institute for Holistic Studies.
On its site, GreenBiz.com has an opening for a research intern.
The solar industry is experiencing tremendous growth, says Ecotech Institute, which trains students for solar, wind and renewable energy jobs.
In the first quarter 2013, the institute’s Clean Jobs Index, which aggregates all available clean jobs in the United States, listed more than 8,000 solar jobs.
Since August 2012, Ecotech found that the U.S. solar industry has added nearly 14,000 new solar jobs — a 13.2% growth rate.
As solar power usage expands, more workers will be needed to manufacture solar panels, build power plants and install solar panels. Project managers will be needed to oversee the work and sales representatives to sell product.
Ecotech’s index also found almost 750,000 clean jobs posted across the USA between January and March 2013. States with the biggest gains in clean jobs were Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Vermont and West Virginia.
As these goods and services expand, not just technical workers — such as wind technicians, energy engineers and electrical maintenance technicians — will be needed. All kinds of people could be in demand: administrative, finance, law, marketing and sales — as well as advocates, outreach folks, researchers and trainers.
So when you think green jobs, think what do companies that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources need to operate and grow?
Then think: How can I help them do that?
WASHINGTON — Emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are growing at such a rate that the world will probably exceed a safe limit in average global temperatures by the end of the century and veer into a higher temperature zone that would profoundly damage economic growth and most other aspects of life, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.
Emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide, need to stay below certain levels so that they do not push average global temperatures higher than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists and policymakers have warned. (The Celsius to Fahrenheit ratio is 1 degree Celsius to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.) Average temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius over the last 150 years or so, as mass industrialization spurred the increased combustion of fossil fuels.
The IEA report, Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map, says carbon dioxide emissions grew at a rate of 1.4% in 2012, releasing a record 31.6 gigatons into the atmosphere. On this current path, the world’s average temperatures are on track to increase between 3.6 degrees Celsius to 5.3 degrees Celsius, or 6.48 degrees Fahrenheit to 9.54 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century, said the IEA, an independent research group established by the world’s most industrialized nations.
“Climate change has quite frankly slipped to the back burner of policy priorities,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “But the problem is not going away — quite the opposite.”
Soaring temperatures would have profound implications for everything, including water supplies, electricity production, agriculture and public health. At the 2009 global climate talks in Copenhagen, dozens of participating countries, including the United States, agreed to take steps to prevent the average rise in global temperatures from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius. But the agreement was not legally binding, and worldwide emissions have increased.
Emissions of greenhouse gases have fallen in the United States recently to levels not seen since the mid-1990s, largely because of a natural gas boom that has prompted a shift in power generation away from coal. The IEA report notes that “China experienced the largest growth in CO2 emissions (300 Mt), but the increase was one of the lowest it has seen in a decade,” driven in part by the greater reliance on renewable energy.
The IEA’s predictions arrived on the heels of a new measure to address climate change announced over the weekend at a California meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The United States and China agreed to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a highly potent heat-trapping chemical used as refrigerant in appliances. If the use of HFCs were left unchecked, they could account for 20% of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, the White House said. The reduction in HFCs would be the equivalent of slashing two years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to David Doniger, policy director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“The agreement between President Obama and President Xi to work together to address HFCs is a significant breakthrough,” said Andrew Steer, chief executive of the World Resources Institute, a Washington environmental group.
Still, reducing HFCs addresses only a small element of climate change. To get back on track for keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, governments would have to take aggressive steps in other areas besides HFC reductions. About two-thirds of carbon dioxide emissions come from the world’s power plants, the IEA report says. The group recommended curtailing the use and construction of inefficient coal-fired plants and boosting the use of renewable energy and natural gas.
At the same time, the report also recommended phasing out subsidies to fossil fuel industries. The IEA called for eliminating leaks of the powerful greenhouse gas methane at oil and natural gas wells. The group also recommended improving energy efficiency in industry, transportation and construction.
All those ideas have been circulating around Washington, but Congress and the White House have shown little sense of urgency so far. Congress has shown no interest in ending fossil fuel subsidies. A modest bipartisan energy efficiency bill in the Senate has gotten ensnared in a thicket of unrelated amendments.
Meanwhile, much-awaited rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants have stalled in the White House. Rules that would cut emissions from existing plants have yet to be proposed.
Gold may not seem like the best material to use to reduce costs, but scientists think it could help produce the most affordable solar cells yet. Stanford University researchers announced Thursday that they used minute globs of gold to create the thinnest light absorbers ever. Solar cells made with the gold nanodots would require much less material, potentially making them cheaper.
The researchers coated wafers with 520 billion gold nanodots per square inch in a honeycomb-like pattern. The dots measured 14 nanometers tall and 17 nanometers wide — thousands of times thinner than a sheet of paper, though still thicker than graphene. They coated different sets of nanodots with tin sulfide, zinc oxide and aluminum oxide to test their properties.
The wafer, dots and coating combined to create a light absorber 1,000 times thinner than commercially available options. The previous record was three times thicker.
These three gold nanodots each measure in at about 17 nanometers wide and 14 nanometers tall.
“It’s a very attractive technique, because you can coat the particles uniformly and control the thickness of the film down to the atomic level,” study lead Carl Hagglund said in a release. “That allowed us to tune the system simply by changing the thickness of the coating around the dots.”
They modified the thickness so that the wafer and nanodots would best absorb reddish-orange light. The wafers absorbed 99 percent of the light, while the dots absorbed 93 percent.
“Much like a guitar string, which has a resonance frequency that changes when you tune it, metal particles have a resonance frequency that can be fine-tuned to absorb a particular wavelength of light,” Hagglund said. “We tuned the optical properties of our system to maximize the light absorption.”
Many materials are capable of absorbing 90 percent or more of certain light wavelengths, or colors. When they are incorporated into a solar cell, the total efficiency drops. The best commercial cells out there right now hit about 15 to 20 percent efficiency. Better options could be on their way.
Ideally, a solar cell would be able to absorb all visible light, instead of just certain wavelengths. The researchers have not shown how that can be done with gold nanodots, but they plan to go ahead and demonstrate that they work in actual solar cells. They also plan to look into different nanodot materials, including silver, which is less expensive and a better absorber. They are using gold for now because it is more stable.
More school districts shift away from diesel fuel to stretch strained budgets and promote cleaner air.
As schoolchildren around the nation head back to the bus stop in the coming weeks, a number of them may notice a change in their school buses.
A growing number of school districts across the USA are shifting parts of their fleets from diesel fuel to propane to stretch strained budgets and promote cleaner air, according to officials from school districts and from private companies that operate school fleets.
The overwhelming majority of the nation’s 480,000 school buses still run on diesel — about 95%, according to the industry publication School Transportation News. Biodiesel, usually made from domestically produced oils such as soybean oil, recycled cooking oil or animal fats and blended with petroleum diesel in amounts of 2%-20% is the most common alternative fuel, followed by compressed natural gas, according to the magazine.
However, propane seems to be the school bus alternative fuel of choice this year. Among school districts rolling out propane-powered buses when the opening school bell rings:
• Two school districts in Nebraska — Omaha and Millard — will debut 434 new propane buses, said to be the largest propane school bus fleet in the nation. The buses are operated by a subsidiary of Student Transportation of Wall, N.J. The company operates about 10,000 buses under contract to school districts in 17 states, says Ron Halley, vice president of fleets and facilities; about 900 of those buses run on propane, and100 on compressed natural gas.
• Students in Shelton, Conn., are getting 60 new propane school buses this year. The buses, which cost about $5.5 million, are owned by the city.
• Kentucky is dipping its toe into the propane-powered water this year, as the state gets its first propane-powered school bus. Crittenden County Schools are part of a pilot program that will operate the state’s only propane school bus for a year. If the pilot is successful, the state’s stringent specifications for school buses could be changed to allow other districts to go propane.
• The Fort Zumwalt School District in Missouri, which became the first to add propane buses to its fleet last year, is adding 22 buses to the eight that hit the road last year. The alternative-fueled buses now make up 18% of the district’s total fleet.
• Mesa Unified School District No. 4 in Mesa, Ariz., is taking delivery of 61 propane buses this year, which will bring its total to 89, just over 16% of the fleet, says Ron Latko,director of transportation and fleet management.
He says school transportation officials in Mesa, Arizona’s largest district, were considering alternatives to diesel in 2010. At the time, school officials around the nation were trying to figure out how to comply with new, lower emissions standards for buses enacted by the Obama administration, he says.
“We were very, very concerned because the economic situation had gotten so tight,” Latko says. “In 2010, nobody had any money. Budgets got cut all over the country. So we called around. We looked at Texas, at California. Finally we decided, let’s check out this propane.”
They had to consider not only the fuel and maintenance costs involved, but also the cost of adding a fueling infrastructure. Then there are the fuel costs. Latko says the district pays $3.54 for a gallon of diesel compared with $1.12½ for a gallon of propane. “And I get a 50-cent-a-gallon excise tax rebate, so my price is 62½ cents a gallon,” he says.
The initial cost of a new, full-size propane school bus is about $100,000 — about $3,000-$4000 more than a similarly sized diesel bus, says Todd Mouw, vice president of sales and marketing at ROUSH CleanTech of Livonia, Mich., a company that designs and develops propane fuel systems for vehicles.
Buses get about 10% fewer miles per gallon with propane than with diesel, Latko says. Even so, he calculates that over the 18-year, 277,000-mile life of a bus, propane costs $98,527 less than diesel. “And this year alone, we’re going to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 2,789 tons.”
Gary Fiebick, operations and routing manager for special education transportation for Bend., Ore., says the Bend-Lapine School District began acquiring propane buses about three years ago and now uses them on 18 of 21 special education routes.
The downside? He says propane buses often cannot be used for teams traveling to out-of-town sporting events and for long field trips because there’s no place to buy fuel for the return trip. “But I think that’s changing, particularly in Oregon. We just have to plan ahead if we’re doing out-of-town trips and make sure we have a place to refuel for the return trip.”
School districts began seeking cleaner-burning alternatives to diesel about 10 years ago after studies found that the air inside school buses was often five to 10 times dirtier than the air outside, partly because of fumes wafting into the bus every time the door opened and closed.
Fiebick points out that today’s diesel engines burn much more cleanly than those of just a decade ago.
Today, many school districts are motivated by the bottom line, Mouw says. “School districts are concerned about costs. Budgets are tight, they’re laying people off. They’re cutting services,” he says. “This is a way to put money back in the district.”