Mother’s Day will take place on Sunday, May 11th, 2014 and as far as we’re concerned it’s a day to celebrate all mothers. Whether you’re a birth parent, a foster parent or an adoptive mother, a single mother (or even a single father playing the role of mother), a mother raising a child with a male or female partner, a stepmother or a grandmother, you deserve to be celebrated for your achievements, sacrifices, and dedications. We happen to believe that you can have the perfect Mother’s Day while still being kind to the mother of us all – Earth. Here are our simple tips for celebrating an eco-friendly Mother’s Day to remember. Image source: Huffingtonpost.com Nurture Nature We have so many beautiful sights to take in here on the Island. Today is the perfect day to take them in while soaking up some family-time. Walk our award-winning beaches, rent bikes from our friends at Beach Bums, or take advantage of our famously sustainable local public transportation and ride the free trolley around for a leisurely look at our lovely home. And at the end of the day, forget giving a bouquet of flowers that will inevitably wither and die: instead, plant a flowering tree in your yard that will remind her of her family for years to come. Image source: TheWaterfrontrestaurant.net Eco-Friendly Eats Brunch places all over the country are usually booked weeks or months in advance of Mother’s Day. You may be able to avoid the crowds by treating your mom to lunch or dinner instead. Anna Maria has no shortage of eco-conscious dining destinations. Poppo’s Tacos is committed to using locally and responsibly-sourced protein and veggies in their tasty Mission-style Mexican food, and of course The Waterfront Restaurant has been serving up sustainable food since way before green was in. Image source: Facebook.com/PinkAndNavyBoutique Gifts Of Goodwill If your mom likes to receive an actual token of appreciation on Mother’s Day, Pink & Navy on Pine Avenue always has an impeccable selection of thoughtful and beautiful gifts, often with an eco-friendly twist. Organic hand-lotions, coconut wax candles, natural jewelry, wooden sunglasses, Toms shoes: that’s just the beginning of the stylish and sustainable gifts you can find there. If however, your mother is more of the “it’s the thought that counts” type, you can donate money on her behalf to an eco-friendly charity you think she might enjoy. We like Kiva for its woman-empowering bona fides, and Water.org for its efforts to alleviate the worldwide water crisis.
We talk a lot about sustainable living on the macro level here. We talk about sourcing local produce and seafood, frequenting our community’s edible gardens, and buying household items made out of salvaged and recycled materials. We’ve also praised all of the green building initiatives on Historic Pine Avenue that have incorporated super-cool sustainable technology like solar panels and geothermic heating and cooling systems. But sometimes it’s cool to get down to the micro level. So we reached out to the folks at Viking AT, who are developing exciting new energy-efficient technology to be used in manufacturing. They are, in short, the people who make the things that make green technology greener. Today they answer some questions about how their products can making existing technology even more sustainable right down at the nuts and bolts level. To start, can you tell us about the kinds of products you make? We develop piezo technology solutions for new products which include amplified piezo actuators, piezo control valves, piezo driven pumps, and energy harvesting technologies. A lot of companies are looking to not only find ways to open new doors to greater technologies, but also decrease their negative affect on the environment, which is exactly what our products do. We get to see many surprised faces when we share our design recommendations and performance realizations to customers. We have customers getting over 2 billion cycles out of one of our actuators they are still going strong today and heading toward 3 billion. That is unheard of really. And what would they typically replace? The actuators we develop are intended to replace the slow, bulky, and very limited copper filled solenoids used in many industrial, medical, aerospace, irrigation, security, and automotive applications. What kinds of applications could you see your technology play a part in? We are still discovering the many applications that our products can be used in. We are called in when companies are stumped with finding new ways to make their products faster, stronger, multi-dynamic, economical, and greener. Our current industries are medical, aerospace and avionics, automotive, consumer electronics, energy harvesting and solar, industrial, commercial irrigation and sprinklers, and security and locks. Some of the applications are: medical simulators, automated machines, door locks, automotive fuel injectors, mass flow control valves, gas control valves, water valves and pumps, anything that requires movement and that would typically need to be controlled. It is a very versatile technology. We are actually learning more and more about new applications as clients bring their latest designs for their new technologies for us to solve. We love what we do! What would be the benefit of using piezo actuators instead of solenoids (both ecologically and economically)? · First of all, solenoids tend to be either off or on. Our actuators provide many options and are controlled by electrical pulses for precise movement. For example, an actuator receives a signal, and it will react based on the strength of the signal as well as the duration of the signal, and will act in a smooth and precise manner. A solenoid simply receives a charge and is on and off, open and close, stop and start. They can be pulsed off and on quickly to get partial movement but at that rate power consumption is ridiculous, unlike our actuators. · Secondly, solenoids are filled with copper which is an expensive and limited resource. They also create radionuclides in the waste rock, enhancing naturally occurring radioactive materials like uranium, thorium, and radium in large volumes of waste. · Thirdly, the solenoids consume a lot of power and thus have a higher cost. For example, a 9-volt battery used in a solenoid application may last for a few months, whereas using our device, it may last several years, or even a decade. That is a small power consumption example, but you can get the idea of scale here. What industries do you think would benefit from using your technology? As mentioned before, we are learning more and more as companies go to new technologies within the many different industries and their pieces, parts, and process goals, but we do know that most anything that has a need for a solenoid, we can drastically make better. If you google the many things that use solenoids and even actuators, you will begin to get a feel for how large a topic that really is, which is exciting for us of course. We kind of feel like we’re on the cutting edge of green technology, and the possibilities for what we can do with our tools are endless. To learn more about Viking AT, please visit their website at http://www.vikingat.com/ or follow them on Facebook.