GreenBits: Briefs for the Week of Nov. 17, 2000

GreenBits: Briefs for the Week of Nov. 17, 2000

Highlights from the world of business and the environment: Toyota Prius Top Car, AMES Says ... Tiny Thermal Energy Breaks Into U.S. Market ... Study Touts Non-Toxic Alternatives ... Energy Star Appliance Sales Up

Toyota Prius Top Car, AMES Says

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 13, 2000 – The Toyota Prius, a hybrid gasoline electric car, is tops in its class, according to an Internet authority on automotive environmental performance. Automotive Market Environmental Sensitivity Awards cited the Prius as the "best" subcompact, with eight other 2001 model Toyotas also taking awards. Honda ranked second with six awards; Ford was third with five; General Motors ranked fourth with four; and DaimlerChrysler took fifth with three. In the light truck segment, General Motors came out on top; Ford took second; Toyota ranked third; and seven manufacturers tied for fifth. In the compact SUV category, the Toyota RAV4 ranked most environmentally preferred. Complete results are available at or

Tiny Thermal Energy Breaks Into U.S. Market

OTTAWA, Nov. 14, 200 (Reuters) – Thermal Energy International Inc. said today it is breaking into the U.S. big leagues with the $15 million sale of its pollution control technology to American Electric Power Co. Inc. Under the deal, American Electric will install the first commercial-scale demonstration of Thermal's system to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions at one of its coal-fired generating stations. Nitrogen oxides, produced when fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal are burned, are a major cause of smog and also contribute to acid rain. If the trial is successful -- reducing at least 75% of emissions -- American Electric may also take a stake of up to 20% in Thermal Energy.

Study Touts Non-Toxic Alternatives

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2000 (ENN) – Most synthetic chemical pollutants that are poisoning people and wildlife could be eliminated without disrupting the economy, according to a new study by the Worldwatch Institute. In the report "Why Poison Ourselves? A Precautionary Approach to Synthetic Chemicals," author Anne Platt McGinn finds evidence that non-toxic options are available at competitive prices in today's markets for three top polluting industries: paper manufacturing, pesticides and PVC plastics. "Poisonous products are so embedded in our lives, it's easy to think that we can't do without them," said McGinn. "Not only are we harming ourselves, we're paying to do it. We don't need to be exposed."

Energy Star Appliance Sales Up

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., Nov. 16, 2000 – Retail sales of Energy Star energy-efficient appliances increased 31% between January and September, compared to the same period in 1999. According to NPD Intelect, a service that tracks sales for consumer electronics, Energy Star dishwashers and air conditioners posted the biggest increases in 2000, up 66% in unit sales compared to 1999. The increase in air conditioner sales came despite an overall decline in the category due to the East Coast's unusually cool, damp summer. Energy Star washing machines also sold better, with an increase of 11% in 2000; non-Energy Star washer sales neither grew nor fell compared to their 1999 figures. Sales of refrigerators with the eco label fell off 5% in unit sales in the same period.