Home Energy Efficiency – From a Realtor’s perspective

I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.


Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide


Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
What are Buyers Looking For?
When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.


Go to the web links and read. More next week.


Better Battery Storage – Once you make electricity you have to put it somewhere

I have written so much about generation lately, that I forgot to say anything about storage. At least in awhile. The article below describes some progress being made on this front.


Inside the secret lab where Facebook tries to save your battery life

Deep inside Facebook’s very first data center, located in a sprawling facility in the hills of Prineville, OR, lies a series of about 60 server racks. Each one houses 32 smartphones, all of which are running a version of one of Facebook’s many mobile apps. The company calls this setup the Mobile Device Lab, and it’s designed to test Facebook’s software on older phones to discover whether any bit of a new code, no matter how minor, results in a dip in performance or poorer battery life. For those smartphone owners who tote around a two- or even three-year-old device — and users in developing countries purchasing lower-cost devices for the first time — the lab is the very reason Facebook is still a viable home screen staple.

Antoine Reversat, part of Facebook’s production engineering team, opens one of the racks for a group of reporters during its first Oregon data center tour in almost three years this week. Behind a large black metal door sit 32 iPhone 5C devices all in the process of either scrolling through the News Feed, testing various operations’ lag on battery consumption, or rebooting to resume an identical state before running yet another test. In each server row sits more than a dozen racks, some holding devices as old as the iPhone 4 and others housing newer Google Nexus 5s. In total, Facebook has almost 2,000 handsets used to tell developers when they’ve screwed something up, and whether that degradation is only noticeable on an older phone.

With Facebook serving more than 1.65 billion users around the world, taking into account every variation in device type, mobile operating system, and network condition has become an increasingly complex operation. Entire companies have built robust operations around testing mobile software in similar fashion, and some of those startups have been scooped up by big-name competitors. In 2014, Google bought San Francisco-based mobile app tester Appurify. Facebook’s engineers, on the other hand, figured the company could do the job itself, especially considering it had the computing power and server rack space at its expansive Oregon data center.


Go there and read. It is a highly technical article and did i say long. More next week.


Ameren To Charge To Read Meter – That is like a paperboy charging you for their bike

There is such a thing as the cost of doing business.


Ameren Threatens $20 Monthly Fee for No Smart Meters

Ameren Illinois says customers who refuse to have an electricity meter installed will see an additional $20 monthly fee on their bills.

Ameren says the so-called smart meters, which transmit details about power usage, enable the utility to pinpoint outage problems and fix them faster. It says the meters can be read remotely and that the $20 fee covers the cost of sending out a person to read the older analog meter.

The company is set to install 780,000 of the new electricity meters in central Illinois and 468,000 upgraded gas meters, which offer similar capabilities.

The Illinois Commerce Commission, the state’s utility regulators, approved the extra charge and said the company should be compensated for meters that require a person to visit them.


Go there and read. More next week.


McADA Coming To Destroy Illinois – With all their fracking support services

So what? So I am picking on the frackers by company name now. That is too bad. What have I got to lose?  Here is the second comment that IPA released. I am leaving the dates on their actual emails for authenticity’s sake.


Today (Monday, 11/18/2013) is Day 4 of the IDNR 45 day comment period on hydraulic fracturing, aka “fracking.”  Will you please send IDNR a comment today?  It will take less than 5 minutes of your time and we will walk you through the process.  If you are opposed to fracking and worried that the weak regulatory bill will not protect Illinois residents and the environment, please take action.

Today’s comment is on the lack of Studies, Reports, or Underlying Data Used to Compose Rulemaking

Here’s what to do to make your comment today:

This comment is in reference to Page 3, Paragraph 6 of the Proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act administrative rules, which states: “Published studies or reports, and sources of underlying data, used to compose this rulemaking: None”.

Simply put, the State of Illinois cannot have sound regulation without good data.

There is significant need for further study of horizontal hydraulic fracturing technology prior to it’s use in the State of Illinois. If the technology was as safe as the industry is claiming, why do there continue to be so many accidents and violations in states where fracking is already occuring?

Suggested resources include the twenty-four (24) pages of “References” included in U.S. EPA’s December 2012 Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources.

See: U.S. EPA: Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources: Progress Report, (EPA 601/R-12/011 | December 2012), available at: http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy.

We would love it if you would let us know if you made a comment today!  And please feel free to call us with questions, comments, or to volunteer your time at (309) 827-9627.  Please share this with others you know and encourage them to make comments too.

In solidarity in the struggle for environmental justice,

Your friends at IPA

To remove your name from this email list click here. To unsubscribe from all emails from us click here.

510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
Bloomington, IL 61701
United States


Go there and comment. More later.


Wind Power Evolves – Using alternative energy makes you smarter

I love the concept of optimistic ants.


Evolutionary lessons for wind farm efficiency

A wind farm in South AustraliaA wind farm in South Australia
Full Image (182.37K)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Evolution is providing the inspiration for University of Adelaide computer science research to find the best placement of turbines to increase wind farm productivity.

Senior Lecturer Dr Frank Neumann, from the School of Computer Science, is using a “selection of the fittest” step-by-step approach called “evolutionary algorithms” to optimise wind turbine placement. This takes into account wake effects, the minimum amount of land needed, wind factors and the complex aerodynamics of wind turbines.

“Renewable energy is playing an increasing role in the supply of energy worldwide and will help mitigate climate change,” says Dr Neumann. “To further increase the productivity of wind farms, we need to exploit methods that help to optimise their performance.”

Dr Neumann says the question of exactly where wind turbines should be placed to gain maximum efficiency is highly complex. “An evolutionary algorithm is a mathematical process where potential solutions keep being improved a step at a time until the optimum is reached,” he says.

“You can think of it like parents producing a number of offspring, each with differing characteristics,” he says. “As with evolution, each population or `set of solutions’ from a new generation should get better. These solutions can be evaluated in parallel to speed up the computation.”

Other biology-inspired algorithms to solve complex problems are based on ant colonies.

“Ant colony optimisation” uses the principle of ants finding the shortest way to a source of food from their nest.

“You can observe them in nature, they do it very efficiently communicating between each other using pheromone trails,” says Dr Neumann. “After a certain amount of time, they will have found the best route to the food – problem solved. We can also solve human problems using the same principles through computer algorithms.”

Dr Neumann has come to the University of Adelaide this year from Germany where he worked at the Max Planck Institute. He is working on wind turbine placement optimisation in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Current approaches to solving this placement optimisation can only deal with a small number of turbines,” Dr Neumann says. “We have demonstrated an accurate and efficient algorithm for as many as 1000 turbines.”

The researchers are now looking to fine-tune the algorithms even further using different models of wake effect and complex aerodynamic factors.


More tomorrow.


Energy Concerns And Healthcare

The medical and healthcare industries use energy like there was no tomorrow. I estimate that the US could save at least 20% on its healthcare bills. For those of you in small towns…how much do you waste on driving to your doctor? Why don’t the hospitals put a telecommunications computer in your city or town hall? That way you can call in, get an appointment, walk down to City Hall and talk to your doctor. Even show him where you hurt. To say the medical community is stodgy is wrong…it is too smart for its own britches.


The bright side of energy conservation
Using renewable sources saves money, reduces emissions

By Gina Pugliese and Nick DeDominicis

Hospitals are behind other industries in employing energy conservation initiatives, including the use of renewable energy sources. But times are changing as they realize that wasted energy drains their bottom lines and that they have a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint for the health of the environment and surrounding communities. Energy-saving initiatives require multidepartmental collaboration within a hospital; and materials managers need to ensure they are a part of that because their expertise can make a difference.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), every dollar a not-for-profit health care organization saves on energy is equivalent to generating $20 in new revenue for hospitals or $10 for medical offices. So why aren’t all hospitals jumping into energy conservation with both feet? There are many reasons. But this is certain: Most hospitals recognize that energy conservation is a priority and are gradually realizing the benefits, both to their bottom line and the environment.

On impact

Energy issues have an impact on virtually every aspect of health care. Demands for energy and the costs for providing it, are escalating rapidly. And those costs are not confined to higher utility, transportation and supply bills, but also the gradual destruction of the environment. Our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels has led to a documented rise in global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, as well as potentially negative health consequences for patients and workers.

Demand for energy is soaring across all sectors of the American economy. In fact, a recent Department of Energy survey of 20 major companies concluded that global demand for energy resources will rise dramatically—nearly 60 percent—throughout the next 25 years.

Senior executives from 20 major companies attending a 2007 workshop hosted by the EPA and Global Business Network estimated that  electricity demand in the United States alone will grow by at least 40 percent throughout the next 25 years, requiring at least 300 power plants to be built over that time. Such demands have led to an unprecedented rise in energy costs, which have surged dramatically and put a significant financial strain on hospitals. In some areas of the United States, energy costs have grown by more than 60 percent in the past few years.

The Energy Information Administration’s data show that the health care industry spends an estimated $7.4 billion on energy ($5.3 billion for inpatient and $2.1 billion for outpatient facilities). More than 90 percent of hospitals surveyed recently by Healthcare Financial Management magazine reported higher energy costs over the previous year, and more than half cited double-digit increases.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions result from our nation’s reliance on nonrenewable sources of energy—fossil fuels, coal, oil and natural gas—that accelerate global warming and climate change; and there is much debate about how to curb such trends. GHG emissions, which include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, also are increasingly linked to a host of serious public health consequences such as depletion of our planet’s fresh water supply and respiratory ailments.

Conservation now

Health care is a veritable energy hog. Whether from heating and cooling air and water, lighting spaces or transporting goods and services, the industry is heavily reliant on energy from mostly conventional nonrenewable sources.

According to the EPA, inpatient health care is the second most energy intensive industry in the United States (second only to the food service industry), gobbling up more than twice as much energy per square foot as nonhealth care office buildings. Buildings alone are responsible for almost half of the energy consumed in the United States and 48 percent of all GHG emissions. Hospitals alone use 836 trillion British thermal units (BTUs) of energy annually, have more than 2.5 times the energy intensity and CO2 emissions of commercial office buildings and are consistently within the top 10 water users in their communities.

Second, the calls for change are based on economic survival. Energy costs are soaring in the health care industry. A recent Department of Energy report found that rising energy prices and hospitals’ increasing energy demands have escalated costs so much that hospitals’ energy bills consume up to 3 percent of their total operating budgets, and up to at least 15 percent of their annual profits. Such phenomena are exacerbated by the added cost of running outdated and energy inefficient building systems.

Third, calls for energy conservation in health care are becoming louder because of hospitals’ ethical duty to protect public health. Many observers believe that the health care industry contributes disproportionately to the detrimental public health consequences of climate change. To keep true to its mandate—first, do no harm—hospitals today increasingly are turning their attention to change practices that can potentially jeopardize patient and worker safety. Increasing public concerns about climate change and its potential health, economic and security consequences are helping to shape the industry’s attitude toward climate change.


dot dot dot…as they say…the headlines say it all:


Behind the times

Although hospitals lag behind other industries in implementing energy-efficient strategies, there are numerous national initiatives focusing on health care, including a two-year-old initiative called E2C (Energy Efficient Challenge) that was launched by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) to support the goals of EPA’s Energy Star Challenge Program, says Dale Woodin, ASHE executive director. Woodin explains that this lag is often due to the lack of available capital, expertise and resources, and a need for greater awareness and support from senior health care leaders.

Health care companies in general also spend a smaller portion of their total expenses on energy, meaning fewer dollars are available to make far-reaching improvements. Rising energy costs are squeezing operating margins and diverting money needed for critical health care quality and safety improvements.

In essence, the primary driver is saving money. According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, 67 percent of health care CEOs list financial challenges as their No. 1 concern. However, operating costs and competition for investment and capital improvement funds often restrict available funding for energy improvements.

In addition, alternative energy sources have traditionally been scarce and expensive. For example, only 7 percent of the entire U.S. energy consumption is from renewable energy sources, including biofuels such as ethanol, solar, hydroelectric and wind power.

The health care industry is less open than other industries to the use of renewable energy sources, and few health care organizations have publicly stated carbon reduction goals.

A recent Johnson Controls survey of various industries found that only 38 percent of health care organizations had either invested in or were exploring renewable technologies, compared with 68 percent across other industries.

Catching up

Recently, the health care sector has begun to transform its core practices in response to the scientific confirmation of the link between climate change and health. Health care organizations are placing a growing importance on initiatives such as energy management, and while they are less likely than other industries to achieve green certification, they are more likely to implement green features without pursuing formal certification.


Physician heal thyself.

Top 50 Environmental Blogs Of All Time – Well at least at the moment…

Yes it is true. It will take most of next week probably to get to 50 environmental blogs out of the 1000s of environmental blogs out there but we shall prevail. Notice I have not said anything about this blogs focus which is energy and its misuse which is damaging the planet. These are just eco blogs, some technical some not, that purport to reuse, recycle, repair, replenish, reincarnate, and my personal favorite (to protect my girlish figure) reduce. Excuse me I must


Community Energy Systems is a nonprofit 501c3 organization chartered in Illinois in Sangamon County. As such we are dependent on public donations for our continued existence. We also use Adsense as a fundraiser. Please click on the ads that you see on this page, on our main page and on our Bulletin Board (Refrigerator Magnets) and you will be raising money for CES. We say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who do.


Speaking of being reduced by a Blog. I made mild fun of a Blog yesterday called, Gardening Naked. The woman that writes that Blog is amazing. She sent me an email yesterday and I have been reduce to kneeling before her in surrender:


Giving From The Heart – 2009 Holiday Green Gift Guide Resource Ideas

Two little girls sharing time playing games together.       We live in an increasingly materialistic society in the United States, and often take all the “stuff” we have for granted. With our communities surviving a very difficult economic time, it seems important to pull back on the gift giving and push forward with giving from the heart. It is not about how many gifts we give; it is about the love in our hearts when we give them.

When you do give a gift, consider giving a good-for-the-earth-gift. Green and sustainable gifts are the best gifts because they keep on giving even after the holidays are over. Try gifting your friends and family with green and sustainable presents this season and make a difference for our world. Below are a few of the best green gift giving guides online; great resources for you and your family to tap into this holiday season.

Sustainability expert and landfill rescuer, Kay McKeen, runs a School & Community Assistance for Recycling & Composting Education center in Illinois, also known as “SCARCE”. This organization has rescued millions of books from the landfills for free donation to local and international schools. SCARCE staff spends hundreds of hours educating locals on the benefits of living green and this year have built a terrific online green gift guide. To view SCARCE’s local-to-Shopper at local resale shop    Chicagoland Green Gift Guide online, visit their web site – http://s-c-a-r-c-e.org or telephone (630) 545-9710.


So she would be what number 21 or 22 on the list. I lost count. Also while on the “catalog” of environmental blogs yesterday, I found another catalog. This is beginning to sound a little like green porn or something.

Anyway that “catalogue” (pardon my British) is:


Going through their list I came upon a site that raised a question in my head. I did a series last year about environmental groups around the world which was fascinating to me but until I saw this Blog I did not think “how hard must it be to be environmentally conscious in a third world country”? So we go from taking stuff home from a landfill to living in a land fill.






What is Malaysia Day ? Why isn’t it on the 31st August but instead 16 September ? 31st August 1957 is the day Malaya or better known than as the Federation of Malaya got their independence from British colonial rule.

Malaysia Day is held on September 16 every year to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963, the joining together of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore to form Malaysia.

Malaysia Day is not a public holiday.

I personally think that Malaysia Day should be given equal if not more importance, since it is the day our beloved nation came together as ONE. In order to get the whole nation to rally in the 1Malaysia concept, everyone should be make aware of the formation of MALAYSIA. It is a day every Malaysia should be proud of, and shout it out loud ” Saya anak bangsa Malaysia.”


To all fellow Malaysian wherever you are, HAPPY MALAYSIA DAY.

green bitch/witch ;)


Or From a Bus in Northern Scotland (Brrrrrrr)




Or even in the wilds of France where they make great French Fries:


3 décembre 2009


On a plissé des yeux devant la violence de « Lord of War ». On s’est repassé en boucle « Blood Diamond » (pas que pour Léo, on préfère Nicolas Cage d’abord) et on a bien décrypté le processus : le diamant, c’est définitivement pas du propre côté social, pas plus qu’environnemental d’ailleurs. La puissante De Beers a dû plier sous la pression des associations et la filière diamantaire, gouvernements et industriels réunis, a mis un peu d’ordre dans ses tablettes même si tout n’est pas encore brillant-brillant.

Qu’en est-il de nos gourmettes, alliance, collier, piercing (il en faut pour tous les goûts) ? D’où provient l’or qui pend à mon cou ? Une autre responsabilité me pend-t-elle au nez ?


Hyperconsommatrice de mercure et de cyanure, l’extraction de l’or génère des tonnes de déchets toxiques. L’exploitation minière artisanale contribue au déboisement, à la dégradation des sols, à la pollution de l’air par le monoxyde de carbone, du sol et de l’eau… N’en jetez plus ?!!! Ben si : sur le plan sanitaire, elle peut engendrer des maladies respiratoires par l’inhalation de gaz et poussière…


Excuse my French as they say.


Gob Knob Was SO CoooooooL – It was amazing to just walk right up to a 300 ft. Turbine and go inside

Many things to report about the trip. First I thought the Turbine was in Sangamon County. All the press always called the location as “south of Auburn”. Well yah but it is not even in Sangamon County. It is WAY south of Auburn like 3 exits. So I am driving down I 55 looking for this 360 ft. tower and not finding it. I almost turned back. This is no big deal but since it is all the way down at the Morrisonville exit in Montgomery County some journalist could have said so. I mean it is no big deal but geez:


Gob knob’ wind turbine to begin spinning





T.J. Salsman/The State Journal-Register Work on the wind turbine 30 miles south of Springfield has gone fairly quickly for the past few weeks.








Posted Jan 04, 2009 @ 12:13 AM


FARMERSVILLE — Dave White was reminded during construction why a hilltop just off Interstate 55 south of Springfield was selected as the site for a wind turbine that is expected to begin churning out electricity this week.

“One of the drawbacks (to completing the erection of the turbine) was that we couldn’t get the wind to stop blowing,” said White, one of 300 customers of the Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative of Auburn about to keep the lights on with the aid of wind-blown power.

The co-op has approximately 5,500 members in Montgomery, Sangamon, Morgan, Macoupin and Christian counties.

It has been more than two years since plans were announced for the “gob knob” wind turbine, named after the pile of “gob,” or coal waste, from a Freeman United Mine that operated at the site from 1951 to 1971.

The area 30 miles south of Springfield is part of the Freeman Mine State Wildlife Habitat Area and remains a popular seasonal hunting spot.

Equipment backlogs — the turbine was shipped from the Netherlands, and the blades from Mexico — repeatedly postponed the $1.8 million project after a ceremonial groundbreaking in the fall of 2006.

The difficulty in obtaining equipment in competition with major wind farms also resulted in downsizing of the original plans for a turbine that would have supplied up to 500 homes.


So when we finally found it, it was awesome…I know I am not much of an adjectives kind guy but the thing is best viewed from about a mile away. The closer you get the more you crank your neck and you lose all sense of detail. Not only that but the wind was a howling  40 miles an hour. Blade rotation 25 rpms.? Still it was only producing 75,0000 kilowatts out of the 90,000 it could produce:


Open House April 25 !

“Gob Nob” Wind Turbine ProjectThe Gob Nob project is a unique partnership between RECC and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which owns the land near Farmersville where the 900-kilowatt wind turbine is located.

Central Illinois is not blessed with the “prime” wind speed sites that can be found in the Peoria, Bloomington and Quincy areas. However, there are some specific locations in our area that can provide moderate wind resources. The Gob Nob site is one of those, where a 60-foot pile of coal tailings covers about 14 acres at the former Crown I coal mine . This extra height gives us access to the higher wind speeds needed to generate electricity almost every hour of the year.

The DNR has made this site available to our cooperative to enable us to generate clean, renewable energy for use by our members. All electricity produced by the turbine is fed through our Farmersville substation to power up to 370 homes and farms in the surrouding countryside.

Drivers on Interstate 55 south of Springfield can see the 900-kw turbine for miles from Exit 72, where they can stop for a closer look and visit the information kiosk to be installed at the base of the hill.

The turbine tower was constructed in late December of 2008, and commercial start-up was completed in early March of 2009. To see photos of the construction process, click here.


It was also really quiet. I need to go back sometime when it is a little less windy. I did not hear the “swoop swoop” noise that residents complain about…nor did I notice any “flicker” effect that all NIMBY’s report. That is not to say that they don’t exist. This machine this visit I did not witness it. Quite the opposite – they stopped it while we were inline to see the innards and I never noticed it. One minute it was going real fast the next it was stopped. They have been having bearing problems. The one big bearing that it sits on has been overheating and it has to be stopped to cool down. The manufacturer says that it will seat itself in a couple of months.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gov. Pat Quinn to Attend Wind Turbine Dedication Monday

FARMERSVILLE — More than two years after then-Lt. Gov. Quinn attended a ceremonial groundbreaking for the “Gob Knob” Wind Turbing east of Farmersville, now-Gov. Quinn will return to the site Monday to dedicate the unit.The turbine, just off Interstate 55 about 30 miles south of Springfield, began generating power last month for the Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative at Auburn. The project was delayed by the difficulty of purchasing the tower and turbine as worldwide demand has increased for wind-generated energy.

“Gob knob” is taken from the turbine’s location atop a hill created by coal waste at the reclaimed mine site. A public open house is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday.

Read the full story here…


I never thought I would get a chance to steal from friend Will Reynolds, but here yah go. The final thing I will say for now was that the turnout was overwhelming. I pay attention to things like publicity profile, and expected numbers at events. The coop only has 5000 members or so. When we got to the tent that RECC had set up, there were dozens of people in and around the tent…3 full vans headed up the hill and probably 50-60 people inline up at the turbine. When I signed the book it was full and the staff had people writing their names on the blank BACKS of the pages. This attendence was generated from a little notice in the SJ-R and an even smaller notice in the Illinois Times. The attendance was totally off the chart. When I got out of the van at the top of the hill I said, “how does it feel to be on the wave of the future”. The Driver said, “pretty good actually”. I think I will leave it at that.


Closed coal mine sprouts wind turbine

I made a random stop during a road trip when I saw the new wind turbine off I-55 near Farmersville Illinois. I had heard about it being built but this was my first time seeing it. The ribbon cutting was April 20, just a few days after I went by.

I took a few pictures. They’re all pretty large if you click on them.

The turbine is at the site of a closed coal mine. The Hillsboro paper tells us:
The 230-foot turbine sits on top of a 60-foot gob pile at the former Freeman Crown 1 Coal Mine, which closed in 1971.
The site was covered with a layer of clay soil in 1991 and planted with a mix of grasses for wildlife cover, and donated to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 1995.


Oh I hear the grassland bird hunting is pretty good too.


Novel Uses Of Energy – People are always thinking

To finish up the week of silly (stop this skit) uses of energy, we bring you the life sucking essence, the Data Center. Or really big computers using really really big amounts of power.


Data Centers Explore Novel Ways to Cut Energy Use

June 27, 2008 — IDG News Service

Putting data centers on decommissioned ships and reusing hot water from cooling systems to fill the town swimming pool were among the wackier ideas floated at the Data Center Energy Summit on Thursday.

Data center operators came together to compare notes about the best ways to tackle rising energy consumption at their facilities. Ideas ranged from the exotic to the more down to earth, like improving air-flow management and using outside air in colder climates to cool equipment.

After a brief lull a few years ago, a new wave of data center construction and expansion is under way, stretching the power and cooling capacities of existing facilities and putting pressure on utilities’ electrical grids, speakers here in Santa Clara, California, said.


Instead of making them more efficient, they just treat the problem as extenalities.

That’s forcing some data centers to consider unusual solutions. One large health-care center is looking at reusing hot water expelled by its cooling systems to do its laundry, Bapat said. A hosting company in the Northeast is freezing water overnight, when the cost of electricity is cheaper, and then blowing air over the ice during the day to provide cold air for cooling systems.

Another company hopes to put portable data centers on ships docked at port, giving it “the biggest heat sync in the world [the ocean] to get rid of waste heat,” Bapat said.


Have a really good weekend.