So see if you can follow me on this. Some people see “space travel” as a way to get off this planet. But why would you want to do that? It is a perfectly good planet. I think it is because everyone knows deep down that the way we are treating this planet may ultimately cause its demise. That is why I am ultimately an environmentalist; because I do not believe we can get off this planet. So we humans better change our ways. Why do I believe there will be no space travel for humans. The radiation levels of outer space are to great, the distances to far, and the physical demands to great. Thus I believe in saving energy and creating green energy because I believe it is the only way for our planet to survive. Yet people dream.

http://phys.org/news/2015-03-breakthrough-energy-harvesting-power-life.html

Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria University, Newcastle.  The technique, which has been proven for the first time by researchers at Northumbria, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

The research proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect – a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point. This effect is commonly seen in the way water appears to skitter across the surface of a hot pan, but it also applies to solid carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice. Blocks of dry ice are able to levitate above hot surfaces protected by a barrier of evaporated gas vapour. Northumbria’s research proposes using the vapour created by this effect to power an engine. This is the first time the Leidenfrost effect has been adapted as a way of harvesting energy.

The technique has exciting implications for working in extreme and alien environments, such as , where it could be used to make long-term exploration and colonisation sustainable by using naturally occurring solid as a resource rather than a waste product. If this could be realized, then future missions to Mars, such as those in the news recently, may not need to be ‘one-way’ after all.

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Go there and fulfill your fantasy. More next week.

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We Americans created sprawl and with it a massive amount of energy consumption. Could this be one of the answers?

http://www.businessinsider.com/nyc-micro-apartments-under-construction-2015-2

New York City’s first ‘micro apartments’ are coming this spring — here’s what they’ll look like

In 2013, a project called My Micro NY won a design competition for the New York’s first “micro apartments” sponsored by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Intended to create affordable housing for singles in New York City, those promised prefabricated affordable units are finally being assembled in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be unveiled this spring in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, according to The New York Times.

The city’s first “micro” building will have 55 rental apartments, all ranging from 260- to 360-square-feet with big windows, ample storage space, and Juliet balconies.

Because the architects believed amenities are important to micro-unit dwellers, the building will also have a public meeting space, café, and common rooftop garden for residents, as well as a laundry room, residential storage space, a bike room, and fitness space.

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Go there and read a little (chuckle). More next week.

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My sister-in-law Mari Whitney and her  husband Dick installed a house sized unit at their house in Mason City and it saves them a bunch of money. But the payback is loooong.

 

https://www.centralilfoodbank.org/

https://www.centralilfoodbank.org/documents/AnnualReportFinalPDFWeb.pdf

The Foodbank Goes Green
One of the first 50 wells being drilled in October2014.
This fall work began on an estimated $850,000 geothermal
project that will help cut utility costs at the Foodbank’s 56,000 square
foot facility. The geothermal projectwill help heat and cool a portion of
the building.
50 wells were dug 200 feet deep in the open lawn on the east
side of the Foodbank’s Cook Street location to install a closed loop
geothermal heating and cooling system in the ground.
The system will use the earth as a heat source in the winter and
a heat sink in the summer, resulting in significantly lower energy
consumption.

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Go there and read the whole site. Look around. More next week.

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I saw a story on Digg about a designer (architect?) that got an award for building a house with water walls. But I could not find it again. This piece popped up and uses an older technology but you can get the idea from it.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/build-a-water-wall-home-zmaz83ndzale.aspx

Build a Water-Wall Home

Construct your very own water-wall home and learn about calculating water storage requirements, wall construction and solar basics.

By David Bainbridge
November/December 1983

The Morgan home in Davis, California has 14,000 pounds of thermal mass stored in its water walls, yet the containers blend in so well with the house design that they’re barely visible.

In many ways, passive solar homes are superior to those with active (mechanically assisted) heating and cooling systems. After all, passive solar systems don’t rely on auxiliary energy sources to perform (so they’ll work even when the power is off)… are generally simple and low in cost, combine energy collection and storage functions, have a long life, need little maintenance, and can often be built and installed by the home handy person, without special training or equipment.

But precisely because such “non-moving” systems have no pumps or controls to circulate warm or cool air, they typically rely on one key element: the thermal mass that stores and gives off absorbed heat or cold. A number of different items can be used to provide this energy-holding capacity, but just about the most effective and economical “To a water wall (a term that is a shorthand way of saying “contained water for thermal mass in passive solar homes”).

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Go there and read. More next week.

 

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This is the course I have set for the next few weeks, so bear with me,

 

http://en.vorweggehen.de/energy-efficiency/top-five-energy-saving-tips-for-the-bathroom/

The top five energy-saving tips for the bathroom!

Electric razors or toothbrushes, a long soak in a bubble bath and an on-demand water heater can all affect energy consumption in the bathroom. Read our energy-saving tips for the bathroom to find out how you can save energy without having to do without modern technology.

Energy-saving tips for the bathroom – tip #1: Save water

A dripping tap is not only a nuisance, – it also increases your water consumption. Up to 20 litres can disappear down the plughole unused over the course of a day. Getting it repaired promptly will pay off. You can save more water with this first one of our energy-saving tips for the bathroom: use only as much as water as you really need. Don’t leave the tap running while you are brushing your teeth and use the toilet’s low flush button.

Energy-saving tips for the bathroom – tip #2: Avoid battery-powered devices

From hairdryers and razors to electric toothbrushes, we consume power even in the bathroom. Avoid using battery-powered devices because they use up more electricity than mains-operated appliances. If you cannot do without battery-powered devices, make sure that you charge them properly. Remove the plug after charging, allow the battery to run down completely every now and again and dispose of it properly.

Energy-saving tips for the bathroom – tip #3: Ventilate and heat correctly

It does no harm to turn up the heating in your bathroom every now and again, as a warm bathroom reduces the risk of mold and mildew. When you shower, steam is created, which then forms condensation on walls and windows. If it is too cold in your bathroom, the moisture cannot evaporate and it soaks into the plaster and wallpaper, thus creating the ideal breeding ground for mould and mildew. Make sure when you ventilate your bathroom that the doors to less heated rooms are closed – otherwise the steam from your bathroom will condense on the walls of those rooms and bring their temperature down even further. Open all the windows and doors in your bathroom and turn the heating down. During winter months it is sufficient to ventilate intensively for three to four minutes. This is more efficient than leaving a window half open all day long.

Note: As with so many of these “Ways to save” topics there is so much on the web that you should probably do your own search. There are literally 1000s of articles laying around. This is just a place to get started if you need a reminder.

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Go there read. More next week.

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To be followed by the living room, the dining room and what the bedroom? I can think of many ways to save energy there.

http://www.resnet.us/library/kitchen/

Kitchen

August 5, 2012

There are a variety of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your kitchen, starting with the way you use your appliances to home sealing and replacing your light fixtures.

Floor Vents/Radiators

  • Ensure vent connections and registers are well sealed at floors, walls and ceilings, which are all common areas for disconnected ducts and leakage.
  • Make sure all floor vents and air registers are clear of furniture, allowing air to flow freely.
  • Install heat resistant reflectors between radiators and walls to reflect heat back into the room instead of onto walls.

Range

  • Use the right sized pots with stove burners; for example, a 6? pot on an 8? burner wastes over 40% of the heat generated.
  • Cover pots and pans when cooking to keep heat in.
  • Learn more:
    • Save up to $36 annually on electric ranges or $18 on gas by simply using the right sized pots on burners.
    • Cook more efficiently and keep your kitchen cooler by covering pots and pans.
    • Keep gas range burners clean to ensure maximum efficiency.

Range Hood

  • Install ENERGY STAR certified range hoods to control moisture and remove cooking odors.
  • Learn more:
    • On average, ENERGY STAR certified ventilation fans use 60% less energy than standard models.
    • Save more than $60 in electricity costs over the life of a fan by replacing it with an ENERGY STAR certified one.
    • By using high performance motors and improved blade design, ENERGY STAR certified fans are quieter, perform better and are longer lasting than standard models.
    • Look for ENERGY STAR certified range hoods at home improvement and hardware stores, or ask for them from your HVAC or electrical contractor.

 

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Go there and read a blast from the past. More next week.

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Now the hottest things in the energy conservation world  or at least in the lighting world are LED lights. They come in all shapes and sizes. In fact I have one that I use as a flashlight, but it was intended to be a safety head light for my bicycle. It has been amazingly helpful. This is a complex subject so it will take me a few weeks to get it all posted. But here is a start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode

Light-emitting diode

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source. It is a pn-junction diode, which emits light when activated.[6] When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence, and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.

An LED is often small in area (less than 1 mm2) and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.[7]

Appearing as practical electronic components in 1962,[8] the earliest LEDs emitted low-intensity infrared light. Infrared LEDs are still frequently used as transmitting elements in remote-control circuits, such as those in remote controls for a wide variety of consumer electronics. The first visible-light LEDs were also of low intensity, and limited to red. Modern LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.

Early LEDs were often used as indicator lamps for electronic devices, replacing small incandescent bulbs. They were soon packaged into numeric readouts in the form of seven-segment displays, and were commonly seen in digital clocks.

Recent developments in LEDs permit them to be used in environmental and task lighting. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. Light-emitting diodes are now used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive headlamps, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals, and camera flashes. However, LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are still relatively expensive, and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output.

LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology.

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Go there and read in an OMG sort of way. More next week.

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I know that going from commenting on falling oil prices (and they are still dropping) to talking about a range for cooking in your kitchen will produce screeching sounds from some readers. But I felt a need to get back to this blog’s roots in the residential  housing market so I will just plunge ahead. In my real life I prefer natural gas stoves because I am good with them and not so good with electric. Still if you are like my brother Mike and trapped in an all electric house then this would be the way to go.

http://ovens.reviewed.com/features/the-future-of-induction-cooking-heats-up?utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=USAT%20Recirc

The Future of Induction Cooking Heats Up

Cooking with magnets keeps getting better, thanks to clever designs and new innovations.

 

4f413e70b541b1e6609a5741340a34df?s=48&d=https%3a%2f%2fs3.amazonaws.com%2freviewed production%2favatar

Liam F McCabe
September 07, 2013

 

The handful of induction cooktops available in the US tend to have fixed zones to fit different pots and pans. If the cookware slips out of the zone, then it won’t cook. But tons of European manufacturers, including big names like Bosch and Electrolux, showed off induction hobs with “flex” cooking areas.

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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But let us not forget that the Saudi’s can put a barrel of oil on the deck of a ship for $17 – $25 per barrel. So we may have a long way to go. But isn’t this exciting!

This is my third and last post on the subject.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2015/01/06/how-will-the-2014-drop-in-oil-prices-affect-the-world-economy-and-geopolitics/

Tech 6,917 views

How Will The 2014 Drop In Oil Prices Affect The World Economy And Geopolitics?

This question originally appeared on Quora: How will the 2014 drop in oil prices affect the world economy and geopolitics?

Answer by Alex Song, Hedge Fund Analyst, on Quora

  • Domestically, lower energy prices means more money for discretionary spending. The equivalent effect on the US economy is a tax cut for consumers on the order of $100-125bn. Think about how low gasoline prices are now compared to where they were a few months ago. This saving generally translates into higher consumption on other things like retail spending. For airlines, this will be awesome because the cost of fuel and flying decreases, the effects of which may be passed on to consumers. Net-net, analysts estimate higher consumer spending should boost US GDP by .4%-.5% over the next year. This will be balanced by lower domestic energy production, however.
  • Internationally, for countries like China, Japan, and South Korea, which are huge energy importers, each 1% drop in crude prices is the equivalent to billions of dollars saved on their trade balance. Japan, in particular, has been suffering from a trade deficit for the past few quarters. The predominant reason is due to the mounting cost of energy imports (which they were forced to increase due to their shutting down all of their nuclear reactors following Fukushima in 2011). Plummeting oil prices is net-net a huge positive for them. In other parts of the world, low oil prices are squeezing countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela in very negative ways. In the near-to-medium term, it may force them to adopt a more conciliatory stance toward the rest of the world on political issues and reforms (Ukraine/Crimea, nuclear initiatives, etc.) due to the poor state of the economy. In particular, Russia may be forced to acquiesce on Ukraine just to get Western Europe to lift its embargo.

 

 

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Go there and read. There are many other linked articles. More next week.

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I know I posted about this last week. I know that usually transportation is not thought of as saving residential energy. But gasoline is selling for the same price as it was when I was in college. I know that this makes me sound like an old foggey. But this is a serious issue. Gas is selling for $1.88 today.

http://www.therakyatpost.com/business/2014/12/23/oil-prices-continues-drop-saudi-comments/

PUBLISHED: Dec 23, 2014 10:18am

UPDATED: Dec 23, 2014 03:07pm

Oil prices continue to drop after Saudi comments

NEW YORK, Dec 23: 

World oil prices yesterday resumed their downward trajectory following comments from key Middle Eastern oil producers that they have no plans to cut output.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February dropped US$1.87(RM6.53) to US$55.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

European benchmark Brent oil for February delivery fell US$1.27 to US$60.11 a barrel in London.

Yesterday’s trade marked a return to the dominant downward trend in the oil market following a brief rally Friday.

Appearing at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi Sunday, leading Middle Eastern producers held firm against any moves to cut production to boost crude prices.

“If they (non-OPEC countries) want to cut production they are welcome. We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said.

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Go there and read. Google it for heaven’s sake. More next week.

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