lighting


To Not talk about how disastrous Trump’s Presidency will be for the environment and the energy industry I decided to return to my roots in the residential market. Todays article is a bit old but its message is timeless. We have been concentrating on single devices like furnaces, refrigerators, windows seen as a whole instead of a holistic approach to a house.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-real-problem-with-energy-efficiency

We’re Doing Residential Energy Efficiency All Wrong

Utilities are now spending nearly $7 billion a year on energy-efficiency programs. It seems we have little to show for it aside from expensive consultants who will model any results you would like.

These programs tend to focus their marketing on the energy savings or money savings from the projects. Consumers don’t care. If they did, we would see geometric growth instead of a resounding “meh.”

Others focus on better financing products, slicker sales pitches, faster energy audits, higher rebates or any of a myriad of other things.

In the residential sector, none of these are the problem. The lack of sales is the problem.

Projects are not being sold and implemented in substantial numbers. We need to slow it down, build relationships with consumers and educate them, learn and think systemically about the problems they have, and arrive at solutions that fit homeowner budgets.

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Go there and read alot. It is a long article. More next week.

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I don’t care if you are a Red State or a Blue State. Who could be opposed to something like this?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/New-York-to-Build-Worlds-Most-Powerful-Smart-Energy-Lab

New York to Build World’s Most Powerful Smart Energy Lab

Superior computing power will help drive New York’s REV.

Katherine Tweed
March 26, 2015

The New York Power Authority and SUNY Polytechnic Institute will partner to build the world’s largest research and development facility focused on energy technology innovation.

New York State has goals of eliminating electricity peaks, enabling distributed energy resources and incorporating more large-scale renewables as part of its Reforming the Energy Vision proposal.

The yet-to-be-built facility, the Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (AGILe), will allow the New York Power Authority, distribution utilities and private companies to test everything from sensors on the grid and automation technology to novel power electronics and cybersecurity across the entire power grid.

“This is new and innovative and will allow New York state to lead the country in energy development, smart grid and other technologies and provide economic benefit to the state,”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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When I first saw this I thought it was from The Onion. But this for real.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/532896/discarded-laptop-batteries-keep-the-lights-on/

Discarded Laptop Batteries Keep the Lights On

Millions of batteries discarded with computers have more than enough life to power home lighting for one year, researchers in India say.

Many of the estimated 50 million lithium-ion laptop batteries discarded every year could provide electricity storage sufficient to light homes in poor countries, researchers at IBM say.

In work being aired this week at a conference in San Jose, researchers at IBM Research India in Bangalore found that at least 70 percent of all discarded batteries have enough life left to power an LED light at least four hours a day for a year.

While it’s possible to combine LED lights with solar panels and rechargeable batteries (see “Innovators Under 35: Evans Wadongo”), using discarded batteries could make the approach far cheaper.

“The most costly component in these systems is often the battery,” says Vikas Chandan, a research scientist at the lab’s Smarter Energy Group, who led the project. “In this case, the most expensive part of your storage solution is coming from trash.”

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Go there and read more. More next week.

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I mean really if they are going to drop their insistence on solar panel installations as part of a retrofit then why keep the name? Are they now a software company or are they now a software and then install whatever company? Good questions with no answers. It would be like Tide if it were to stop making soap and started making dishwashers. Would they keep the name and why?

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-peak-at-solarcitys-new-energy-efficiency-software?

Has SolarCity Created the Amazon 1-Click for Energy Efficiency?

 

“We believe SolarCity has the best database of residential energy use of anyone in the world.”

 

Stephen Lacey: June 28, 2013

 

After SolarCity shifted its energy efficiency strategy and pulled back from doing residential retrofits in-house, the solar services behemoth is moving straight into intelligent efficiency.

 

GTM’s Eric Wesoff recently reported on SolarCity’s evolving business plan and the resulting changes that company executives say will scale residential efficiency in the same way solar services have scaled residential solar.

 

But solar is very different from efficiency. For the most part, solar is very standardized and installations are uniform from home to home. Efficiency retrofits encompass an extraordinarily broad category of activities and skills. Incentives are also quite different for efficiency, making it more complicated from a financial perspective. That’s why only a handful of U.S. solar contractors have offered efficiency as an in-house service.

 

SolarCity decided that doing the retrofit work itself was not the best way to scale. Instead, it has turned from manpower to the power of big data.

 

The secret sauce is a “simulation engine” that shows homeowners exactly how much they’re spending on energy everywhere in their house. The initial database was created using information from 16,000 home energy audits performed over the last five years. It relies on an algorithm developed at the Department of Energy that crunches 100 million calculations per home for each individual energy efficiency audit (which is still performed by SolarCity when installing solar).

 

“The simulation software looks at every component in a home in relation to one another,” said SolarCity COO Peter Rive. “Every ten minutes, it thinks about what one thing is doing and about its effect on the rest of the systems within the home.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Other things have not changed. I mean we are still burning coal to fuel electric generators, 30 years after we should have stopped. We still flirt with the idea of Nuclear Powered power plants. But here is part of the Georgia Code, a State not known for anything progressive.

http://www.southface.org/learning-center/library/res-code-faq#24

22.    What is the difference between a mass wall and a basement wall, and what are the insulation requirements for both?

A mass wall is a heavy wall that is more than half above grade wall and is constructed of a fairly massive material (e.g., concrete, block, insulated concrete forms, masonry cavity, non-veneered brick , adobe, compressed block, rammed earth, and solid logs). A basement wall is a wall that is more than half below grade and encloses conditioned space. Insulation requirements for basement walls and mass walls depend on the location of the insulation and the type of insulation (whether it is continuous or insulation installed in a cavity). Requirements also vary by climate zone. Below is a table detailing the insulation requirements in the energy code.

Wall Type Insulation Location and Type Climate Zone 4 Climate Zone 3 Climate Zone 2
Basement Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-5 R-0
Basement Wall Interior – Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Interior-Cavity R-13 R-13 R-13
Mass Wall Exterior or Integral- Continuous R-5 R-5 R-4
Mass Wall Interior – Continuous R-10 R-8 R-6

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If you are a glutton for punishment, go there and read. More next week.

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Carol Kneedler, who runs CES’ website, forwarded this to me and I thought it was a good way to plug her business. Thanks Carol for all you do.

  • O3 Internet Consulting

    Owner · Jul 2007 to present
    I create websites that are beautiful, practical and functional. In short, they work.

http://ksmu.org/article/small-ozarks-farm-provides-innovative-example-sustainable-living-50451#.UNoqJWCh7_Y.facebook

Small Ozarks Farm Provides Innovative Example For Sustainable Living

 Article | | By Shane Franklin

One farm in the Ozarks is the location of a series of unique experiments in sustainable living.  If these experiments prove successful, it would greatly affect the future of sustainable technologies and how people think about building their homes. KSMU’s Shane Franklin had the opportunity to tour the farm, and has this story.

Rockspan Farm, the home of Dan and Margy Chiles, is unique in so many ways. They wanted to build a farm that could be an example to others, and a test lab for experimental technologies they’ve been personally developing over the years.

“We are trying a number of new technologies here to make houses more efficient and to make a livable space without having to burn a lot of coal.

 

http://www.danchiles.macmate.me/rockspan/RockSpan/Home.html

RockSpan maps and overview

RockSpan is the name for our 12 acre farm and house in western Greene County, Missouri.

 

The project is the West end of Division street, 11 miles from Springfield, Missouri.   The colorful plan below shows the family farm: approximately 227 acres outlined in red with a possible land use plan.  Our 12 acres are inside the larger farm.

 

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Go there, read and see all the pretty pictures. More tomorrow.

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I attended a workshop on being handicapped at the University of Wisconsin, Madcity. It was maybe one of the most amazing things I have ever done. They let you experience 4 common handicaps. They also supplied a fifth experience, that of being being a small child and then insisted that we move around the campus or in the foyer of the students union a little. Everyone fought over the 3 or 4 wheelchairs that they had. I picked being “blind” instead, so they blindfolded me and gave me a stick. They led me around for a little bit and said, “lets go outside”! I mean it was amazing, the sounds and the smells and stuff. But the hardest part was for me to stop putting my hand out in front of myself. So anyway, to be “brand fair”, we will do a couple of days on home elevators. Plus some other handicapped stuff for the home.

 

http://www.garaventalift.com/en/products/home_elevators.html?gclid=COWe1Lmci7MCFdEWMgodawoAjg

In the past elevators in the home were, for the most part, only obtained by the extremely wealthy: they were more of a luxury item than an accessibility need. However, now with advancements in technology, home elevators have become ideal for accessibility, convenience, and adding unique value.

As we get older, arranging our home to suite our needs becomes more difficult. Not only because of the extra work involved, but also because adjusting to the changes that aging brings can feel uncomfortable. Home elevators allow people the ability to comfortably age in place. If an elevator is already in our home, then by the time it becomes a necessity we are already accustomed to it. Familiar surroundings are increasingly important as we enter our tender years, as we can begin to rely on more of our long term memories. Similarly, moving to a home that is more accessible can be inconvenient and disorienting. Including a home elevator in our building plans makes for a much more convenient long term solution.

Having a home elevator also makes moving items safer and more convenient. Instead of carrying a heavy or awkward load up the stairs, an elevator can be used. In turn the chances of injury are lessened, as well as the time it takes.

Building vertically as opposed to expanding a single level home can also be more cost effective. Land values are going up, making a single level expansion more expensive than adding a floor onto a home. However, with expanding vertically we have to take into account our possible accessibility needs in the future. A home elevator is a beneficial solution because it adds uniqueness and value to your home while providing all of the additional benefits of comfort, ease and convenience.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Yes I know there are many things that are wrong about Las Vegas. People shouldn’t even be there in the first place. The rape of the river that no longer reaches the sea. The rape of the pristine desert and the death of many Native Americans. I lived there for a year and there is also the cheesy nature of the culture. But when they do something right, you got to give them credit.

http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/id/1811/viewFull/

 

Nevada Energy Star Partners Demonstrate Peak Performance (Web Only)

September 01, 2012

Las Vegas may appear balmy and inviting with its sparkling pools and swaying palm trees, but those who live in Neon City know the truth: It’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer.

Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of homes that were built during an amazing 50 years of rapid growth in the Southwest do not incorporate modern advances in energy performance to accommodate the wild swings of desert climate. As temperatures climb to 110°F in the summer, many homes leak large amounts of cooled air through gaps in ducts, roofs, windows, and doors. And when the frigid north wind drops the temperature below freezing in the winter, heated air escapes, leaving living rooms and bedrooms uncomfortably cold and drafty. While Las Vegans know their climate, they may not realize that they are paying to heat and cool the great outdoors.

The dramatic temperature shifts in the high-desert climate make Las Vegas an ideal place for homeowners who are looking to make their homes more comfortable and to save substantially on their energy bills. Funded in part by DOE’s Building America program, the Building America Retrofit Alliance is working with the Nevada ENERGY STAR Partners–Green Alliance (NESP–Green Alliance), and with Better Building Performance, a Las Vegas company, to upgrade two typical homes top to bottom. Their goal has been to show homeowners and remodelers how easy and effective energy performance upgrades can be.

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Go there and read. More Tomorrow.

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This is so cool that I really don’t know how to describe it. Lights that use 6 watts of energy and are controlled by your telephone. The future is here.

http://gigaom.com/2012/09/17/lifx-bulb-shines-light-on-connected-home-vs-gadgets/

Sep 17, 2012 – 7:17AM PT

LIFX bulb shines light on connected home vs gadgets

Who needs a light switch when you have smart bulbs paired with smartphones? LIFX is just that: a Wi-Fi connected LED bulb that you remotely control or even change the color. But will consumers want one-off connected gadgets or centrally-managed smart homes in the future?

A new Kickstarter project aims to offer Wi-Fi connected light bulbs to the masses and the best part is, you can change the bulb’s color with the help of a smartphone. The bulb is called LIFX and thanks to the LED technology inside, it’s an energy saver when compared to traditional or CFL bulbs. You control the brightness and color directly from an iPhone or Android device using the LIFX application and there’s smarts in the bulb itself: It can notify you when a new Twitter message arrives, for example.

Take a look at the LIFX explanation video and you can see that the creators my be correct in calling LIFX the “smartest light bulb ever made”:

(No video included because I do not have the skills but please go there and look at it.)

The project impresses me for a few reasons. LIFX, which can be backed for as low as $69 a bulb, has already surpassed its $100,000 goal for backing, taking in over three times that much with nearly two months left for fundraising. It also brings a wide variety of functionality to something most people consider mundane but necessary: a light bulb. And it appears simple to use through the dedicated smartphone application or can still be turned on or off through the existing light switch.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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People are always playing out this dystopian vision of what the world will look like if there is a sharp break in the availability of fossil fuels. Most people imagine guys with guns will control their chunk of the world and abuse everyone in it for the own good. Or that we will break into semi-dead towns and farm life like 200 years ago. But, I usually say, what if it is slower than that and what if people cooperate instead of foolishly compete. Then life might look like this, which sounds kinda fun.

http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/07/ithaca-ecovillage-forges-a-path-to-sustainable-living/

Ithaca Ecovillage Forges a Path to Sustainable Living

By Coralie Tripier

ITHACA, New York, Jul 16 2012 (IPS) – Ecovillage at Ithaca (EVI), located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is an intentional community of 160 people striving for greater sustainability, a better quality of life, and perhaps even a new model for urban planners the world over.

Enjoying breathtaking surroundings, residents wander around the village on pedestrian-only streets, swim in the pond, share meals in the common house, and spend a small amount of their time working together for their community.

EVI’s residents have to volunteer for two hours every week in one of the six work teams – the cooking team, the dishwashing team, the common house cleanup team, the outdoor maintenance team, the regular maintenance team, or the finance team.

“If you had a house, you would have to do that anyway, so why not do it for the broader community and make friends at the same time,” Ashley Click, a young mother and new resident at EVI, told IPS.

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Go there and read about a grand life. More tomorrow.

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