How much longer can this comedy of errors go on? Nuclear Power – no way.

http://gizmodo.com/the-fukushima-cleanup-wasted-half-a-billion-dollars-on-1693324714

The Fukushima Cleanup Wasted Half a Billion Dollars on Bad Technology

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Yesterday 11:30am

The cleanup of Fukushima’s leaking nuclear plant has been long, expensive, and plagued with problems. Now, the AP reports a government audit has found that more than a third of the budget for cleanup was wasted—totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The previous allegations of incompetence and straight-up lies that surround Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, the company responsible for the cleanup, might make you wonder if any of those millions were lost to corruption. But the Associated Press says that most of it was wasted because no one really knew how to clean up the site. The company spent millions on systems and machines that theoretically might have worked. But didn’t.

The Ice Wall That Wouldn’t Freeze

Let’s start with what AP calls “the unfrozen trench,” contaminated water leaks into these trenches—tunnels, really—that run alongside the plant, creating a major hazard. Tepco started injecting the water with coolants in an attempt to freeze it, creating an ice wall of sorts as Gizmodo reported. It didn’t work.

Tepco says “it has proved exceptionally difficult” to freeze the trenches completely, according to World Nuclear News. “Tepco subsidiary Tokyo Power Technology even threw in chunks of ice, but eventually had to pour in cement to seal the trench,” says the AP. The project cost $840,000, which is chump change compared to other items on the list.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I saw this article on Digg.com a couple of weeks and tried to post it. When I went back to Digg to get the article and I could not find it, so I put up an older example. But then I put into Google “recent energy efficiency in the residential market” and there it was. So here it is.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/alternative-power-sources/water-house-slashes-energy-needs-150209.htm

 

‘Water-house’ Slashes Energy Needs

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As UN climate negotiators gather in Geneva this week, one Japan-inspired Hungarian inventor believes he has found a revolutionary and inexpensive way to construct buildings that could slash humanity’s energy needs.

And the magic ingredient for Matyas Gutai’s invention is simple: water. It was launched after a long process of testing and patenting and a decade of research and development at a Japanese university.

“Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water,” the 34-year-old told AFP.

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Public Art Generates Renewable Energy, Beautifully

Play Video
While fossil fuel energy represents the most common class of power generation, solar power just made a big leap forward, hitting 46 percent efficiency.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Because we have been talking about residential energy savings. I fet the need to end on a generation note. I mean if you are making your own, isn’t that the ultimate savings?

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/solar-power-sees-unprecedented-boom-in-u-s/

 

Solar Power Sees Unprecedented Boom in U.S.

Photovoltaics and solar thermal both enjoyed banner years, despite uncertainties

U.S. solar power grew by 6.2 gigawatts in 2014, a 30 percent increase over the previous year and representing nearly $18 billion in new investment, according to data released this morning by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

The new power systems, comprising tens of thousands of photovoltaic (PV) arrays for homes, schools, businesses and utilities, as well as a handful of large concentrated solar power facilities in places like the Mojave Desert, raised the United States’ profile as one of the world’s leading adopters of solar power, officials said.

But the future for U.S. solar isn’t without its bumps.

New installations of nonresidential solar panels, while accounting for more than 1 GW of power, shrank by 6 percent year over year, a condition caused by a variety of factors “ranging from tight economics to difficulty financing small commercial installations,” GTM analysts said in their latest “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.”

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Go there and bask. More next week.

 

 

 

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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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