Recycling By Anyother Name – Moves us to a steady state economy

Methane is the single biggest greenhouse gas that never gets talked about because environmentalists see it as a “bridge” to a clean energy future. Making power from food refuse makes complete sense. I hate to say it but backyard composters, as well meaning as they are, just throw the stuff up in the air.  Ashley Halligan sent me this article:

http://blog.softwareadvice.com/articles/cafm/resource-recovery-facilities-economic-efficient-energy-supply-1071212/

Resource Recovery Facilities: An Economic And Efficient Energy Supply

by Ashley HalliganProperty Management Analyst, Software Advice
July 12, 2012

Although the number of U.S. landfills has steadily declined since 1990, the size of landfills has increased. In fact, Americans generated 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2010 alone. It’s thus no surprise that MSW landfills are our third-largest, human-generated source of methane emissions. But this is more an opportunity than it is a problem.

Many landfills are becoming resource recovery facilities–places where waste or byproducts are reclaimed and converted into energy. Captured by wells installed throughout a landfill, naturally-occurring methane emissions (or landfill gas–LFG) can be converted into multiple energy sources, including electricity, a replacement for fossil fuels in industrial operations, or upgraded to pipeline-quality gas. Methane’s heat can also be used directly. Of the approximately 2,400 operating or recently closed MSW landfills in the U.S., 535 (around 22 percent) currently have resource recovery projects.

To learn more about these projects and the benefits they deliver, I spoke to several industry experts–including David Specca, Assistant Director for Bioenergy and Controlled Environment Agriculture at the Rutgers University EcoComplex, and Barry Edwards, Director of Engineering and Utilities at Catawba County–and looked at three examples of successful projects.

____________________________

Ashley M. Halligan
Facility Management Analyst
Software Advice

(512) 539-0016
ashley@softwareadvice.com

By the way, we’re hiring

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Smart Grid Efforts Breed Parasites – Blame monopoly capitalism

If the utility companies were smart they would have been in the forefront of this effort, but years of being monopolies have sucked their brains out of their ears. So now we are going to have parasites festering all over the new grid. This can not be good. That is obviously not how this author sees it.

http://gigaom.com/cleantech/a-startup-emerges-to-help-time-shift-energy-use/

A startup emerges to help time shift energy use

By Jul. 5, 2012, 12:00am PT

Dialing down your home’s energy consumption during times of peak power grid use in exchange for compensation is an emerging service. Picture it’s a hot day and you agree not to jack up your air conditioner in exchange for a discount on your utility bill. Startups like new-comer Smart Grid Billing are developing applications to help manage this process, and later this month Smart Grid Billing plans to launch a field trial of its service at a golf course.

Founded in 2009, Smart Grid Billing is testing its combination of energy-monitoring wireless-connected plugs and software that collect and crunch energy consumption data. The service stores the data in a central server and can determine which appliance or equipment has the potential to reduce or cut its electricity use in real time.

This block of unused power can be sold to a local grid operator. Smart Grid Billing shares the revenue from that sale to its customers, and the plugs are programmed to restore the electricity flow back to the equipment at a later time.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Hot Fun In The Summertime – Acting eco friendly is important

This is just a fun little site for kids. We are on summer vacation after all.

http://green.thefuntimesguide.com/2012/03/living-green.php

Americans Are Becoming More Environmentally Aware & Conscious Of Their Behaviors

A new national survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that ‘being green’ is becoming more mainstream and has less of a stigma tied to it than it once did.

According to the survey, getting caught littering is more embarrassing to Americans than getting caught cheating on taxes.

Other behaviors that people admit to being socially aware that they’re doing include:

  • not recycling plastic bottles
  • driving a vehicles that gets only a few miles per gallon
  • letting the water run while brushing teeth

It’s clear that it is no longer just a highly motivated ‘few’ who are conscious about their own environmentally friendly actions these days.

It’s The Little Things

For most, it’s important to start small in order to stay committed to living green.

In  my case, I set a few simple actions as my New Year’s Resolutions a few years ago.

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Energy Independence The Funny Way – A good time was had by all

Yes it is true. I am promoting a book I have never read. But you know what? I should have.

http://business-network-land.blogspot.com/2012/05/robert-danziger-funny-thing-happened-on.html

Robert Danziger: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Energy Independence – Author Interview

Humorist and alternative energy pioneer Robert Danziger was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his hilarious memoir about his life in the world of alternative energy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence.

The author finds the humor in such widely diverse places as Cal-Tech, the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), and of course in his own business ventures in the alternative energy field. A true renaissance man, the author has enjoyed more careers, and indulged in more laughter, than many people would experience in two lifetimes.

Thanks to Robert Danziger for his comprehensive and informative answers.

What was the background to writing this book A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence?

Robert Danziger: At the gym a couple of years ago a young mother was supervising her two kids, five and eight years old. We struck up a conversation and she told me that she doesn’t let her kids watch the news anymore because the energy and environmental stories had given them repeated nightmares. Partisanship and the escalation of catastrophic rhetoric threatened the sense of security and safety she wants for her children.

My career has been inventing and developing solutions. I am fundamentally optimistic about new technology and our ability to respond to crisis. Scaring people doesn’t work and breeds resentment. I don’t want to be part of scaring kids to accomplish something.

The conversation with that young mother convinced me to take a year or so to listen to people from a broad range of ages, politics, and beliefs to try to find out what people agreed on, if anything. I found three things all of them, at least in these groups, agreed on without exception: people like to laugh; like music; and want energy independence and a clean environment when they are coupled with prosperity.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Milwaukee Has A Pretty Phenomenal Transition Movement – Maybe this post will stay

I tried to post about the Transition Movement in Milwaukee last year or the year before and got slammed for it by some editor/publisher woman there for using “too much” copyrighted text. She also dissed my unorthodox style. So I took the post down and replaced it with one about transition groups in Boston or Los Angeles. Maybe even the mothership in England. Let us see how this goes this time around.

http://onmilwaukee.com/living/articles/transitionmilwaukee.html?viewall=1

Transition Milwaukee: “we’re all in this together”

By Royal Brevväxling RSS Feed
Special to OnMilwaukee.com

E-mail author | Author bio
More articles by Royal Brevväxlin

Published May 30, 2012 at 5:31 a.m.

Transition Milwaukee (TM) is part of an international movement formed, in part, in response to the peak oil crisis and more generally around issues of climate change, economic security and permaculture principles.

Peak oil is a non-controversial acknowledgement from government, academic and industry experts that fossil fuels, a finite resource, reach a peak moment of production and necessarily begin to decline.

Any controversy that peak oil generates is from determining when this peak production will occur, from a few decades into the future to it already peaking in 2007. Bigger questions about what a society that can’t rely on fossil fuels looks like also stir up debate – and emotions.

Permaculture principles are those that inform design and systems theories about how to develop not only sustainable but self-maintained and regenerative ecological systems. Modern agriculture and societies based on oil consumption are not regarded as sustainable.

TM’s goals involve a “whole-systems” approach toward making our economies sustainable and regenerative for seven generations into the future.

“Right now, Transition Milwaukee acts as a network of concerned activists who are working toward reducing the radius in which we get our goods and services, food, water and shelter,” says Jessica Cohodes, TM steering committee leader, press contact and “big-picture synthesizer.”

Members of TM don’t really have official titles. Although it has a steering committee, TM is organized non-hierarchically.

“Transition Milwaukee has always been a group, grass-roots endeavor about the community, from the ground up. Part of its founding philosophy is that it isn’t someone else’s job to get us off oil, but our job,” says Erik Lindberg, a former TM steering committee member who regularly gives presentations on energy and the environment.

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Last Energy Tips For This Summer – Of course it is another energy company

I am fresh out of thoughts on this subject. It all boils down to a decision that ever American has to make. Am I going to take power from the grid or not? If I am when and how? My answer is I would prefer to not get my power from the grid and if I must then as little as possible.

http://www.novec.com/Power_Use_It_Wisely/SummerEnergyTips.cfm

Summer Energy Tips

Summer and the high temperatures it brings can cause increased electrical loads. Keep cool this summer and save energy costs by following these simple tips around the house.

Summer cooling tips

  • Turn off unnecessary lights. Much of the energy from a light bulb is heat.
  • Shut doors to unused rooms.
  • Make sure furniture or drapes do not block your registers for supply and return air.
  • Wear thin, loosely fitting clothes and you may not have to keep room temperatures as cool.
  • Keep the sun out of your house. Close blinds, shades or curtains during the hottest part of the day.
  • On mild days, open windows for natural ventilation and turn the air conditioning off.
  • Use portable or ceiling fans. Even mild air movement of 1-mph can make you feel 3-4° cooler.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Summer Energy Saving Tips – With both days in the 90s this last weekend was hot

So I guess it is time to share some summer energy saving tips. This site is not bad. I mean it is California where they have to take energy use seriously. I know there are winter tips, and spring tips and there are even tips on tips.

http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/summer.html

SUMMERTIME ENERGY-SAVING TIPS

These tips are designed to help you choose effective ways to reduce your energy bills. Some measures may not be relevant depending on climate, the age of your home and appliances, and past improvements made to your home.

The savings numbers are based on your total summer electric bill. Equipment mentioned must be electric powered for estimates to be accurate.

Also check out our What To Do Before It Gets TOO HOT! page.

 

FAST AND FREE

The average home spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs. But you can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time!

Be a speedy chef

 

  • Nothing is more energy efficient for cooking than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.

Push a button to wash your dishes

 

  • Surprise! Your dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Then let dishes air-dry to save even more!

Fill up the fridge

 

  • Having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. So your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.

 

Cutting back unnecessary energy use is an easy way to reduce energy consumption while saving money. Here are some additional suggestions you can do at home, at absolutely no cost to you.

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I just put up the beginning. Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Green Burials In Springfield IL – I love these women

The Earth Awareness Fair was this last weekend and I should be reporting on that. But these two women were there, Clada Parker and Jenn Bormann. They are with Roselawn Memorial Park and Butler Funeral home respectively. I am going to do Roselawn today and Butler tomorrow. I just love these guys. They had a woven basket casket with an optional silk liner with them on Saturday. But they have so many options it is real exciting. This is their Facebook page and their website:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roselawn-Memorial-Park/121946907815445

http://www.roselawninfo.com/

And here is a great little write up on them:

http://wakethememory.com/blog/category/cemeteries/

Are There Green Cemeteries in Illinois?

July 19th, 2010

I am happy to report that the answer is finally, YES!

 

The Green Burial Council in California recently approved Roselawn Memorial Park for green burials. You can now be buried in Illinois without a casket, without embalming, without anything but a shroud if you want.

 

I do not personally think that a green burial ground has to be approved by the Green Burial Council, but they have some strict standards that make sense, and their mission is great. In a previous life, I worked in the architectural world, and saw first-hand what it was like dealing with the logistics of becoming LEED certified, and know how hard it can be. Additionally, it is very expensive to become “Certified Organic”. I think it’s worthwhile to recognize any cemetery or burial product willing to become more natural, and I will support any company that tries to be better.

 

Here is their information. They do not seem to have a working website yet. I will keep you posted and update after I contact them directly.

 

Roselawn Memorial Park – Hybrid Cemetery
924 South 6th Street
Springfield IL 62703
217/525.1661

 

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Next Week Is Earth Week – Actually Sunday is the day

Might as well end the week with a kick off for the next. Earth Day is Sunday, but Springfield can’t seem to get its act together on the actual day. But at least people celebrate it. Happy weekend everyone.

http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/10_things_we_ve_learned_about_the_earth_since_last_earth_day

April 19, 2012

10 Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since Last Earth Day

Sunday is the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, which was started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to help educate people about environmental issues and demonstrate public support for a conservationist agenda. With that in mind, we decided it was the right time to recap the most surprising, awe-inspiring and alarming things that we have learned about the Earth and the environment since last year’s holiday:

1. Undiscovered species are still out there: Countless discoveries over the past year reminded us that, despite centuries of research, the planet still has plenty of surprise species in store. Among the many finds include seven new forest mice species in the Philippines, a “psychedelic” gecko in Vietnam and a new type of dolphin in AustraliaA new analysis released last August, billed as the most accurate ever, estimated that a total of 8.7 million different species of life exist on earth.

2. Global warming is already driving up food prices: While many fear that climate change will someday reduce crop yields and cause food prices to rise, a study published last May in Science indicates that this troubling trend has already gotten started. The models used suggest that reduced global yields of wheat and corn are related to global warming. Although the effects are relatively small so far, they may cause severe problems in the future, as climate patterns continue to change and food demand increases.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Gardening Is Good For Your Soul – If you believe you have one

I find gardening to be very spiritual in a way. Nothing like getting back to mother nature where there are no media devices and the birds are singing. The sun is warm and there is a breeze. It feels like life can go on forever.

http://www.planetnatural.com/site/vegetable-gardening.html

Growing Organic Vegetables

By Eric Vinje, Planet Natural

If the thought of a ripe, juicy tomato makes your mouth water, or imagining snapping a crisp pea makes your fingers itch, then growing organic vegetables is for you. Everyone knows that home grown veggies and fruits taste a million times better than the varieties purchased at the grocery store. So, go ahead, grow your own — it’s easy to do.

Planning Your Garden
Whether you are starting a new garden or improving an existing one, it’s best to start with a plan. A well-planned garden will not only be more successful, it will be better organized and easier to manage. Consider the following:

Face South
Make sure your garden site gets plenty of sun by situating it facing south. 6 hours of sunlight is the minimum your garden will need. Also, be sure there aren’t any trees, hedges or other obstacles (like your house) shading your potential plot.

Avoid Weeds
If the area you’d like to garden is full of weeds, be sure to get rid of them before you start preparing your garden site.

Start small — or don’t
Most experts recommend starting small so that you don’t become overwhelmed. On the other hand who wants to do more prep work each year enlarging their garden? If you feel pretty certain you’ll want a lot of beds one day, go ahead and go big right from the start.

Water
Of course, you’ll need access to water.

Slope
Try to find a spot with 1.5% or less slope. Otherwise, plan to terrace your garden to prevent the soil from washing away with the rain.

Garden Design
There are countless ways to design your garden — from the practical to the fanciful. Consider the following to determine your design.

Row Gardens
Row gardens are what most people picture when they think of a garden. Crops are planted in parallel lines, with space between each row. Easily organized, row gardens can have lower yield than bed gardens and can sprout more weeds.

Raised Bed Gardens
Raised beds are just what they sound like — plots that are higher than the surrounding land. In these gardens, all plants are grown together without rows. The bed must be small enough that you can reach into it to pull weeds and harvest your veggies.

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This is a huge site. Go there and read and read and read. More next week.

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