<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Green News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/green http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:07:46 -0600 Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:07:46 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Wind Energy Solution at UNT]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 18:44:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/unt+wind+turbine.jpg Researchers hope the new wind turbine being tested at UNT’s Discovery Park will prove quieter, more efficient, and more cost effective than current consumer wind options.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[FW Begins Construction on Affordable Energy-Efficient Homes]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:08:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FW+Green+Homes+032514.jpg

The City of Fort Worth and the Tarrant County Housing Partnership have been working for two years to provide energy-efficient housing to first-time homebuyers of lower and moderate incomes.

Their hard work is paying off with the construction of four single-family homes in Southeast Fort Worth.

"Today we are starting the roof panel system for our new Hillside development," said Tarrant County Housing Partnership President Donna Van Ness. "They are installing the zip panel roof that’s a structurally insulated panel, highly energy-efficient building product."

The four homes that are currently under construction are all located around the 1300 block of East Jefferson Avenue.

The homes are three bedroom and two bathroom. They will be completed at the end of May and cost between $74,000 and $78,000.

"The buyers for the homes will go through the Fort Worth Housing Assistance Program which will provide up to $15,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance," said Van Ness.

Van Ness said they already have a couple of people interested in buying the homes.

Along with having an energy-efficient roof, the new homes will have energy-efficient appliances and low-flow plumbing fixtures. They expect the new homeowners to save up to 30 percent on their utilities.

After they sell the four current homes, they plan to build six more. If all of those sell, they will build five more.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Stunning Historic Photos of Air Pollution ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:36:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/air-pollution-AP7004221649_7.jpg Click to see some fascinating images of air pollution throughout the US from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas College Turns Football Field Into Urban Farm]]> Sun, 11 Aug 2013 06:57:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/urban_farming_10pkg_722x406_41631299947.jpg

What was once Paul Quinn College’s football field is now a farm providing fresh fruits and vegetables in Dallas.

"My goal is to spread the word of organic growth," Andrea Bithell, the manager of the two-acre "We Over Me" farm said.

For the past few weeks she's been hosting urban farm classes for the community. 

Saturday's class taught students how to build, maintain and provide habitats for honeybees, as well as how to prepare a chicken dish. 

"It’s a very beautiful experience to see unfold—when they plant the seed and a few months later they get to harvest arugula or they get to harvest a cucumber," Bithell said.

One of the farm's goals is to offer access healthy food to the neighborhood surrounding the college.

"To pick a tomato and take a bite of out an heirloom organic tomato, there's nothing like that, it's invigorating," Bithell said.

The three-year-old farm is maintained by Paul Quinn students.

Not only do the students and the community reap the benefits, but the farm has big clients like Legends Hospitality Management that provides food for Cowboys stadium.  All the profits go back to the farm.

"We see this as an incredibly worthy model and our type on how we would like to see urban agriculture go in our city," Susan Pollard, a beekeeper at the farm said.

The next class will be held on August 24, the cost is 45 dollars. For more information, click here.

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<![CDATA[Green Car Wash Sanitizes Without Soap]]> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:37:08 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/128401773.jpg A car wash in Arizona installed a water filtration tank allowing high levels of oxygen to sanitize the water they use to clean customers' cars — all without soap. An environmental engineer at Arizona State University is skeptical about the car wash's filtration system.]]> <![CDATA[Energy for Sale: Is It Worth It?]]> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:58:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000003170932_722x406_37270083593.jpg Door-to-door salesmen, telephone calls and direct mail, all trying to sell you electricity or natural gas. The pitches promise to save you money. They are called alternative energy suppliers. There have been more than 1,000 consumer complaints about them to Maryland and D.C. authorities so far this year, and we've been receiving emails asking whether these companies are real and are the deals worth it. CLICK HERE for a list of legitimate suppliers.]]> <![CDATA[Burleson to Accept Blue Bags in Recycling Effort]]> Wed, 19 Jun 2013 15:11:44 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/generic+recycling.jpg

On Monday, the Burleson City Council approved an amendment to allow residents to use translucent blue plastic bags to dispose of their recycling.

The agreed amendment said the bags cannot be less than 33 gallons in size and residents are being asked to not put more than 35 pounds of waste into the bags.

According to the city, the bags can be purchased at local retail stores.

The city already has residents using green bins for the items they wish to recycle. Residents who use the blue bags are asked to place the them on the curb by 7 a.m. on your recycling day, along with your recycling bin. 

Residents have also been asked to clearly separate both the bins and blue bags from the regular trash.

According to the city, a resident asked if the blue bags could be used to collect the recyclables and Community Waste Disposal agreed to collect the bags.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Arlington to Roll Out New Recycling Carts]]> Tue, 14 May 2013 17:05:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Arlington-Recycle-Cart.jpg

The city of Arlington will introduce new, more expensive recycling carts for residents on Monday.

New 65-gallon recycling carts will replace the 22-gallon bins Arlington residents currently use.

“It will be a little more convenient, so I like the idea,” said resident Chuck Lyle. “I probably would not have voted for it if I had the chance but I'm okay with it.” 

Lyle says he would have liked to have had input in the 94-cent per month, per household increase – an increase he is willing to overlook since the wheeled carts mean no more lifting and mean fewer trips to the curb.

“I can put my recycling stuff in there and I won’t have to take it out but every couple of weeks,” Lyle said.

Residents can begin using the carts as soon as they are delivered to their homes, a process that the city expects to run through the end of June.

The city said, after June, they will no longer pick up recycling placed in the 22-gallon bins if they’re placed on curbs, rendering them obsolete.

But residents can recycle those bins. The city advises people to place the old bins inside the new carts and take them to the curb. Sanitation trucks will handle it from there.

Some residents are opposed to the idea of recycling carts.

“I think the bigger carts are hard to store. I don't mind the dollar a month – I think we ought to be recycling. But the big carts I don't think here's anywhere to put them,” said Cleta Richmond, another Arlington resident.

While convenience was a factor, so was efficiency.

“It will be easier for our residents to recycle and they'll be able to recycle more content and material,” said city spokesperson, Sana Syed.

“Now we go from a system where we have a manual pickup, and now you're switching over to robotic arm pickup,” said Syed about the new sanitation truck system that will allow workers to do less lifting.

The list of items residents can recycle will be expanded beginning Monday.

You can find the list on the city's website.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday is Memorial Day Weekend]]> Fri, 24 May 2013 09:19:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-energy-star-01.jpg

If you're in the market for a new appliance, you could save money if you wait until Memorial Day weekend to buy.

The state's annual Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 25 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 27.

A number of energy-efficient appliances qualify, from air conditioners to dishwashers and there is no limit to the number of appliances that can be purchased during the holiday.

"Texans can save twice when purchasing energy efficient appliances during the Memorial Day weekend," Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a news release. "Shoppers are expected to save about $2.9 million in sales tax during the holiday, and the energy efficient products will also help them save on their utility bills."

While some items may be rated as Energy Star appliances, only the following appliances and household equipment are eligible:

  • Air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less
  • Refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less
  • Ceiling fans
  • Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Programmable thermostats

For more information, visit Texas Comptroller website



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UNT Named Among Greenest Colleges in the Nation]]> Wed, 01 May 2013 18:19:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/web_UNT_green.jpg

 

The Princeton Review has named the University of North Texas among the “greenest colleges” in the US.

The Denton-based school made the cut for the third year in a row due to the many sustainability efforts underway on campus.

"It's been very nice and very refreshing to see this, said Francisco Guzman, Chair of UNT’s Sustainability Council. “It's a very proud thing for us who believe in this."

Among some of the many improvements made UNT has added 3 large wind turbines outside the new energy efficient Apogee stadium (1 of 4 LEED certified buildings on campus), expanded their recycling program to take in more than 600,000 plastic bottles annually, and converted almost half of the school’s energy use to renewable sources.

"We do have some of the highest sustainability rankings in the state and in the country,” said sustainability Assistant Director Lauren Helixon adding that the school also made the GreenMetric Ranking this year and has been recognized as high as 7th greenest in the country on different lists.

UNT’s green efforts are inspiring students and staff to go green.

Along with the hundreds of bikes traveling campus, UNT staff photographer Brad Holt stands out cruising around in his new Tesla electric car.

"They're totally electric and this one can go about 300 miles on a charge,” said Holt.

Holt was inspired to make the $100,000 investment in the Tesla due in large part to the environmental benefits of the car and the long-term savings of not having to buy gas for his daily commute to and from Dallas. He says the fact that UNT recently added six electric car charging stations to campus made the purchasing decision easier for him.

"It's so comforting to know that I can come and be at UNT and be able to charge up and I can go anywhere from here,” he said.

UNT’s office of sustainability was created in 2008 to help kick the University’s green-energy push into high gear. They say the school’s eco-friendly ways go back to the 1930s when they first began water research in North Texas.

The college is also getting students involved with their 1-year-old “Zero Energy Lab” located in Discovery Park – the only one of its kind in Texas.

The small building uses solar, wind and geothermal energy sources to keep power coursing through the center and even has a V-shaped roof to collect rain water for drinking.

"That's very exciting for them and it's a very unique opportunity, and not many other Universities will provide that,” said Engineering Department Chair and Zero-Lab Director Young Tao.

Campus sustainability leaders say their programs are really only the beginning.

"There are several student orgs that are dedicated to sustainability initiatives on campus and making this campus more green,” said Nicole Cocco, outreach coordinator at UNT. "Even if our students don't have electric cars the fact that they see this infrastructure here it makes them really rethink the world around them." 

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<![CDATA[State-of-the-Art Green Workplace Provides Lunch, Games and Slides]]> Wed, 01 May 2013 13:13:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Slide_aweber.jpg AWeber Communications headquarters in Chalfont, Bucks County, Pa. isn't your average workplace as it features video games, a pool table and even slides. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports ahead of the ribbon cutting.
Click here for information on jobs

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Junkyard Trash Turns to Art]]> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 11:42:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/ben+in+trash.JPG With his castoff treasures rattling in the cart, Ben Cowden wheeled back toward his art studio in San Francisco's Recology Recycling Plant to continue work. Joe Rosato Jr. reports on a man who turns others trash into treasure. Read the full story here.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Cemetery for Green-Friendly Burials]]> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 09:17:32 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/meadow.jpg A cemetery in Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, has become environmentally friendly for burials.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baxter Brewing Company Goes Green]]> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 12:49:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/baxter-brewing.jpg Luke Livingston, president and founder of Baxter Brewing Company, talks about ways in which he is expanding his business sustainably, with the help of John Rooks, president of The SOAP Group.]]> <![CDATA[Plastic Bag Ban Push Starts In Dallas]]> Mon, 22 Apr 2013 05:29:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/042113+oak+cliff+plastic+bags.jpg

Among the fun and activities at the Earth Day Oak Cliff festival held Sunday, there was talk of banning plastic shopping bags. 

Barbara Macleod's organization "Keep Oak Cliff Beautiful" is frustrated with the number of plastic bags that are littered throughout the city. 

"We want to encourage people to bring reusable bags instead of relying on plastic bags that have a shelf life of 30 minutes -- that end up in a tree or in a landfill," Macleod said.

According to environmentalists, one trillion plastic bags are used on an annual basis worldwide and it takes many years to decompose.

“They disintegrate, so instead of one bag they become 18 pieces of trash," Macleod said.

That's one reason why Macleod’s organization spent Sunday gathering signatures for a petition to do away with the bags for good.

This past week, Dallas council member Dwaine Caraway presented a draft ordinance to the city council that bans plastic bags.

Such an ordinance won't be a first in the state; cities like Austin and Brownsville already have set plastic bags bans in place. 

But national campaigns such as "Bag the Ban" are trying to fight plastic bag taxes and bans. At the state level, Representative Drew Springer from Muenster in Cook County has filed a bill that would ban all current and future plastic bag bans.

Those people who see the convenience of using plastic shopping bags will find there’s opposition to that point.

"You know also there was also the convenience of dumping your trash in one receptacle and now everybody is separating and doing their part, so now and so we need to do more," Tim Maloney, a petition signer said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Cowtown Clean-Up Ready to Set Record]]> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 17:29:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FWTrash040513.jpg

Earth Day is two weeks away, but thousands have volunteered to clean up Fort Worth this weekend.

The 28th annual Cowtown Great American Clean-Up on Saturday is expected to be a record-setting event.

The Ridglea North Neighborhood is like many in Fort Worth, a relatively quiet and pristine place to live.

"It's a very large triangle and a very diverse triangle, but all of it needs trash pickup once in a while," resident Andy Bradshaw said.

Bottles, cardboard and plastic car pieces are all about to be picked up thanks to Bradshaw and a handful of his neighbors.

"We try to do the big things at least once a year," he said, saying the neighborhood regularly cleans up after itself.

"We've been doing it for several years now," Hagen Haentch, of Markum Ranch Estates.

Haentch and his family will patrol his neighborhood's streets once again in what he says is a fun weekend event.

"We like our neighborhood to be clean, but it's also a good time for the family to work together. It's a good time to connect with your neighbors," he said.

Neighborhoods and parks will be especially busy with a record 5,200 registered participants. Hundreds more showed up to pick up gear on Friday, the last day to do so.

"We've hovered around 4,000 for the last several years, and this year it jumped," said Debbie Branch, Keep Fort Worth Beautiful coordinator.

Branch said it took a little longer to find spots to send some volunteer groups, but it's a good problem to have -- as is having few T-shirts, gloves and trash bags left to give out.

She said she hopes that even after 28 years of cleanups, volunteer numbers continue to rise.

"I want those young people to be involved in it, because I feel that young people that participate in community cleanups are going to grow up and they won't litter," she said.

It's a concept Haentch and his family have endorsed.

"We've got five kids, so we've got a lot of little workers," Haentch said. "We'll try to keep them on the right side of the road."

After the cleanup, an Earth party for volunteers will be held at Sundance Square's Gateway parking lot from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

There is still a way for those who didn't sign up to participate. For more, click here.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Kiosks Offering Cash for Old Phones]]> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 22:34:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ecoATMs-01-032513.jpg

The unassuming ATM-like kiosk at some North Texas malls may offer consumers instant cash for their old mobile phones.

The kiosks are called ecoATMs, and they are a way to safely recycle mobile devices, MP3 players and even some tablets for the instant gratification of greenbacks on the spot. The machines will pay out as much as $250 for some newer model devices like hot-selling iPhones and Androids.

However, for really antiquated clunkers, consumers may get no money. Instead they get a feel good message where the company will offer to plant a tree and donate money to a charity.

NBC 5's Consumer Unit tested the machine with several phones at Fort Worth Hulen Mall. For an iPhone 4, with cracks on the back, the machine offered $90. For an old Blackberry, the going rate was $4.

EcoATM is the brainchild of a San Diego-based start-up company founded in 2008. Since that time, the company said it has paid out millions of dollars to hundreds of thousands of customers.

"We collect thousands of used phones a day nationwide," said Ryan Kuder, the company's marketing manager.

There are more than 300 kiosks nationwide and about a dozen in the DFW area (listed below).

"For about 60 percent of the phones we collect, we're able to find a second life as a phone," said Kuder, saying they're refurbished and resold.

For the other 40 percent of collected phones, Kuder said they are smelted down. The precious metals are reclaimed and then put back into the supply chain.

There are other places to recycle an old phone. Some companies have buy-back options or consumers can donate to charity. In all cases, experts recommend to erase all personal information before the devices is pitched.

If consumers choose an ecoATM, the machine talks them through the step-by-step process with an adorable animated robot whose got some of the lovable qualities of Star Wars fan favorite R2D2 and Disney's Wall-E.

The machine identifies the phone and even spouts out eco-friendly facts during its inspection process. But one message ecoATM makes very clear is that this machine is not the place to pitch stolen phones.

In order to recycle a phone, a person needs to be 18 years old, have a valid driver's license and provide a thumb print. Plus, a consumer's face is matched to his ID and verified remotely via camera. The company also works with local police and law enforcement.

Robert Rivera walked up to the ecoATM kiosk at Hulen Mall hoping to walk away with some cash for his phone. But the machine said all he would get would be two bucks, less than the $30 he anticipated. So he left with his old phone in hand and no cash.

Mandy Vincent brought three older phones to the same ecoATM. She was offered $1 for one phone and $2 for the second. For the third, the machine could offer no cash value.

In the end, Vincent chose to recycle all three and said she thinks she got a fair price.

"I have three extra dollars from when I walked into the mall," Vincent said.

In North Texas, ecoATMs can be found at the following locations:

  • Collin Creek Mall
  • Grapevine Mills
  • Hulen Mall
  • Irving Mall
  • La Gran Plaza de Fort Worth
  • Ridgmar Mall
  • Stonebriar Centre Mall
  • The Parks at Arlington
  • The Shops at Willow Bend
  • Town East Mall
  • Vista Ridge Mall



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Program Hopes to Clean Up River Trash]]> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 18:49:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Trinity-River-trash-022213.jpg

This week's rain is great for area lawns, lakes and rivers, but litter always comes to light when the rainwater recedes on the Trinity River.

Trash is as common of a sight on the Trinity as birds and turtles but is something no one cares for or wants to see.

"I can see cigarette butts, I can see paper, I can see Styrofoam -- just little pieces of trash," said Mark Olson, Tarrant Regional Water District conservation and ceative manager. "And then you just have dozens and dozens of these plastic bottles, and this is just recent."

This week's rains raised and then dropped the river levels -- although not by much. It exposed trash, but not as much as seen after past storms.

But the trash can't be missed.

"I can't believe people really tube in it," Tiffany May Johnson said.

Olson said studies show most of the trash is no more than four inches in length.

"It's really incredible, but it's a really easy fix," he said. "And it's a problem that we're responsible for, so we're also responsible for being the solution."

That solution is public education and outreach across North Texas. TRWD is joined by the cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington, Mansfield and Denton in creating the Reverse Litter campaign. The campaign is aimed at teaching people that their litter -- whether on a field, in a parking lot or down a drain -- likely ends up in the rivers and creeks. And those rivers and creeks lead to lakes, where North Texas gets its drinking water.

The Reverse Litter campaign also wants and needs the community to be involved. TRWD is asking for businesses, schools, communities and individuals to spend a few minutes every Tuesday picking up at least 10 pieces of trash and recyclables and putting them in trash or recycle containers.

The campaign will soon have a place for such groups to public commit to helping the environment.

"If we get 5,000 people to pick up 10 pieces of trash every week on Tuesdays, after a year, we're talking about wiping out 2.6 million pieces of trash," Olson said.

And that's something park goers can get behind.

"It's a start," Johnson said.

The Reverse Litter program is funded by the water district and the cities of Fort Worth and Dallas. The program intends on adding more outreach this spring.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[McKinney Brewery Powers Itself]]> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 18:32:13 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/FranconiaBeer021513.jpg

A McKinney brewing company is using new, environmentally friendly technology to draft its signature beverage.

Franconia Brewing Co. has installed a micropower-generation system that provides all of the brewery's power from the property.

"The plan for us is definitely to get off the grid," owner Dennis Wehrmann said.

The system uses a variety of renewable energy sources, from solar panels on the roof of the brewery's carport, to natural gas and even waste from vegetable oil.

"You're not just working with one energy source like solar or just wind -- you can put different energy sources into one," Wehrmann said.

It is the first commercial installation of the technology, which was developed by fellow McKinney company Perfectly Green Corp.

"This is the first deployment of a new technology," CEO Eric Barger said.

He said the use of a variety of energy sources to complement each other takes away one of the biggest complaints about renewable energy: inconsistency.

"A solar PV panel is a lovely technology, however, a cloud may come over or the sun might set," he said. "What this will do is provide a consistent power by making up that energy that the cloud just took away."

The system even offers potential to pump power back into the larger grid itself.

Perfectly Green has several contracts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including other businesses in McKinney that have signed on to create a similar self-sustaining system.

Wehrmann said that while his small business was already energy-efficient, he has always prioritized finding new ways to use alternative energy sources.

"It's something that, if the technology is there, everyone should do it," he said.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Has The Worst Traffic]]> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 09:49:47 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/traffic-4.jpg Washington, D.C. has the worst traffic congestion in the nation, according to a new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.]]> <![CDATA[Winter Wind Credited With Record Power Generation]]> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 14:39:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/006564664cms.jpg

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said winter winds that brought low temperatures also contributed to a wind power generation record.

At 3 p.m. Christmas Day, 8,638 megawatts of power was provided by Texas wind farms.  ERCOT said 6,600 mw were created in West Texas windfarms and another 1,600 were created along the Texas coast.

"This output represented nearly 26 percent of system load in ERCOT at the time. This new record is 117 MW higher than the previous 8,521 MW record set on Nov. 10," ERCOT said in a news release Wednesday.

ERCOT said wind power generation can vary dramatically due to weather conditions and that ERCOT is learning how to better harness that power when available.

"ERCOT has more than 10,000 MW of wind power capacity, with more than 20,000 MW of additional wind generation under review. The completion of high-voltage transmission projects in Competitive Renewable Energy Zones by the end of 2013 will improve ERCOT's ability to move wind power from West Texas to the metropolitan areas where demand on the grid is highest," ERCOT said.

One MW is enough electricity to power about 200 homes during periods when electric use is highest and about 500 homes during periods of typical consumption.



Photo Credit: � Gettyimages. All Rights Reser]]>