This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011

Its Solar Decathlon time again ! 

I love this annual competition.  Crazy ideas – experimental – cutting edge – out of the box (as they say!) – weird – fun – they say if you want to learn and be creative – you should take things apart – turn them upside down – backwards – shatter ideas and then put it all together.  Well that’s what they do here.  Watch all 20 of the competitors entries and I guarantee you will get an education.  Watch with an open mind and remember – we are looking for new stuff here!

Press play to watch the SCI-Arc video.  Right in my  back yard – SCI-Arc is cutting edge and a little bit Hollywood too!

Solar Decathlon Teams

The 20 university-led teams that design, build, and operate the competition’s solar-powered houses are the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Learn more about each of these teams competing in Solar Decathlon 2011: Continue reading “This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011”

The Weather !

Note:  This is a fascinating read!  Much longer than your average blog – but read it all. This report was written by my father – who actually barely survived the great hurricane of 1938 in Long Island, NY (no peaking at the end of the article!)  Written from the perspective of how “The Weather” might affect world financial markets, reminds us we are but a tiny part of our environment.  Whether you believe climate change is human caused or not – we still live in it!  Is it possible to effect change in our future climate?

From The New York Times, July 21, 2010 by David Leonhardt, Washington, D.C. “This city has just endured its hottest June since records began in 1872, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. So did Miami. Atlanta suffered its second-hottest June, and Dallas had its third hottest. In New York, the weather  July on record.”  ……

“According to NASA, 2010 is on course to be the planet’s (writer –  the PLANET’s) hottest year since records started in 1880. The current top 10, in descending order, are: 2005, 2007, 2009, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2008.” All 10 of the Planet’s hottest years (since 1880) have occurred in the last 11 years. Only 1999 escaped. Three of the very hottest were in the last five years – and 2010 will probably make it four of the last six. Hot temperatures cause weather havoc. The Pacific has its Typhoons and Tsunamis  — the latter caused by Earthquakes, of course.  The Left Coast has its Earthquakes too, but Fires and Mud Slides can usually be blamed on Hot Weather. Mighty Thunderstorms and Tornados throughout the Midwest and Southwest can be blamed on Heat Waves. (Not to mention Air Shears and Airplane Turbulence. Just ask the D.C. to L.A. 777 passengers driven down in Denver a couple of weeks ago.) Continue reading “The Weather !”

Japan Quake – Inconceivable Environmental Disaster

This phenomenal video footage is the most amazing I have seen of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.  As an ocean go-er from a tiny age  – I have often feared the idea of giant waves and the helplessness of escaping.  This astonishing video shows a  clear sunny day and the view of the lines of waves (walls of water) heading toward the shore.  The incredible strength of the water – pulverizing buildings into scrap – tossing giant boats miles inland – and moving cars like they are ping pong balls – is astonishing to see in such clear footage.  A truly astonishing environmental disaster!

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQTJy5mWejA[/pro-player]

Environmental Consequences

Can there be a connection between quakes and global warming ?  We are just one planet – we’ve changed the alkalinity of the ocean … I know quakes and storms happen and are part of nature but you have to wonder how we effect the planet !

Life

DEATH – The incredible loss of life from this disaster will make it one of the worst in our lifetimes.   These disasters seem to keep on coming … Katrina almost 2000 dead – the tsunami in Thailand over 5,000 dead, Haitian earthquake over 300,000 dead.

Nuclear Power

MELT DOWN – in a nutshell forget about future nuclear power.  You can’t find a plan for our future energy needs that hasn’t included lots of Nuclear power.   Despite the obvious shortcomings of Nuke’s – they produce lots of power without CO2.  The world seemed to be hot on course to ramping up – warp speed – the development of Nukes – but this quake will kill that!  This puts more pressure on coal, oil  and gas as our primary sources of power.  Hopefully this will also push growth of renew-ables from the paltry 7% of current global energy. Continue reading “Japan Quake – Inconceivable Environmental Disaster”

You should watch this … Best Presentation on Energy Global Warming

This guy Nathan Lewis is fascinating. 

If you want a better understanding on the global energy picture and global warming, I highly recommend you watch this presentation.

http://nsl.caltech.edu/energy

The first lecture ….. “JPL von Kármán Lecture Series Feb 2008”

Note: if you don’t have the video player “RealPlayer” you will need to download it and there is a link to do so – which is simple.

Presentation Abstract

This presentation describes and evaluates the technical, political, and economic challenges involved with widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies.

First, we estimate the available fossil fuel resources and reserves based on data from the World Energy Assessment and World Energy Council. In conjunction with the current and projected global primary power production rates, we then estimate the remaining years of supply of oil, gas, and coal for use in primary power production. We then compare the price per unit of energy of these sources to those of renewable energy technologies (wind, solar thermal, solar electric, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal) to evaluate the degree to which supply/demand forces stimulate a transition to renewable energy technologies in the next 20-50 years. Continue reading “You should watch this … Best Presentation on Energy Global Warming”

2011 Green Home Building Predictions

Tiger Woods will win in 2011 !  

Gotta  love New Year’s lists … what happened … and what will. 
I’m betting the Golf Magazine’s forecast will come true – what about Green Home Building?

Eight Green Predictions

1.  Green Green Green

You’ll continue to hear less  –  Green – Green – Green.  People will become more “Green” with less of the Flash and Bling.  Green will become the Norm!  Coloring a cleaning liquid green won’t fool us anymore – we know more about what’s good for us. What happened to all the Hollywood Stars who were “Green” a couple of years ago?   I’m glad it’s not so fashionable but hope it doesn’t stop being COOL.    

2.  Lawyers Guns and Money

The Real Estate Crash cut off one arm of the Green Warrior – “It’s only a flesh wound !!”  Spending money on building and remodeling virtually disappeared over the last year.   If not the bottom – we are at 90% of the price reductions on real estate prices.   The massive backlog of homes will continue to be absorbed.  Banks – or others – will start lending more money…. and the real estate market will slowly start to turn around!   And … Green practices will be  a big part of the turnaround! Continue reading “2011 Green Home Building Predictions”

Vote No on Prop 23 – by C4 Chapter of USGBC

AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006, has sparked the green economy in California, fostering innovation, bringing venture capital to our communities, and weaning us from dependence upon rapidly diminishing resources.  Prop 23, which would suspend this landmark legislation, will foul our air, compromise our health and stifle our economy.  SLO Green Build and the US Green Building Council Central Coast Chapter urge you to vote No on Prop 23.

Passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, AB 32 requires reductions in green house gas emissions. This act has generated significant growth in the green economy, including renewable energy, green building, energy-efficient products, and improvements to transit systems and land use planning.  With AB 32 as the foundation, California now claims more than 60% of the clean energy venture capital in North America, at last count over $9 billion and growing.  According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, almost $4 billion has flowed into California in just the second quarter of this year – a 55% gain from the previous year.  Venture capital funds are liquid, going to work immediately to create jobs, unlike funds from our usual bank and loan system.  Continue reading “Vote No on Prop 23 – by C4 Chapter of USGBC”

Making Your Vote Count By Bill McKibben

I like the way Bill McKibben puts it … see below.

Know anyone in California ?  Ask them to Vote NO on Prop 23

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Most people get to vote in this country. The trick is making your vote count for as much as possible. Unless you take steps, your vote will merely be a lonely integer in a crowded pile. It will express only one thought—I like this guy better than that guy. Barack Obama will be a better president than John McCain. Senator Barbara Boxer will make better choices than Senator Carly Fiorina. Or vice versa. That doesn’t tell Obama what you want him to do once he’s in office—it doesn’t help Boxer choose which issues to work on with real intensity. It’s like going into a restaurant and telling them you’d like dinner instead of breakfast—pretty basic guidance.

There are a couple of ways to make sure your real passions are heard.

The first is to have a very large sum of money, with which to accompany your vote. In fact, if you make a large donation, you hardly need to vote—you’ll definitely be listened to. And in truth, the numbers don’t even have to be that big. If you happen to be, say, a Hollywood mogul, $30,000 will put you on a first name basis with half of Washington. A tenth of that makes you a power broker in many states. A hundredth of that will likely get you a phone call from your Congressman. In a statewide race, a couple of thousand dollars makes you a serious player. Continue reading “Making Your Vote Count By Bill McKibben”

Thick Walls – Green Homes – Oregon

Do you know about Passive House or Passivhaus as they say in Germany?  They use wood frame walls – sometimes almost 12 inches thick!  I only heard about Passivhaus a couple of years ago but recently see more and more projects following this philosophy.   Apparently the founder of these ideas started in the USA during the 70’s solar revolution and took the ideas back to Germany and developed super low energy consuming homes.

            Continue reading “Thick Walls – Green Homes – Oregon”

Renewable Energy from Floating Bouys !

This is interesting … these guys claim to have a bouy type device that can produce energy cheaper than coal !

Unlimited renewable energy that’s grid-ready and cheaper than coal
About this idea:
We have designed a hydrokinetic electrical power generation device that is simple, inexpensive, low-maintenance and durable. We estimate that it will generate electricity at 1.5 cents/kWh, versus 3.0 cents/kWh for coal and 3-40 cents/kWh for existing renewables. And, this technology can scale without limit.