Solar Has Changed Illinois – For the better I believe

1 0 years ago if you would have tried to hold this tour there would have been 2 stops in Springfield, and the rest would have been as far away as Decatur and Peoria. Now there are 16 in Springfield alone. Give me a big HallelujaH!

16 Springfield sites part of Saturday’s Illinois solar tour

  • By David Blanchette, Correspondent

Posted Sep. 25, 2016 at 6:56 PM

  • Updated Sep 25, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    More than 130 sites across the state will hold open houses Saturday for people to learn about sun-generated power, including 16 sites in Springfield.

    “The solar tour is an opportunity to educate the public about how affordable and reliable clean energy, particularly solar energy, is,” said Lesley McCain, executive director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association, which is coordinating the tour. “I hope that people understand how easy this is. It is much cheaper and cleaner to get our energy from above, the sun, instead of having to dig under the ground to get coal, oil or gas.

McCain said only a lack of state solar incentives, a victim of Illinois’ ongoing budget problems, may be holding back some who have considered solar power as an option. The federal incentive has been extended, and many local utility companies like Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power also offer enticements to use alternative energy sources like solar, she said.

Making own ‘juice’

Saturday’s tour of solar installations can be taken the “green” way in Springfield with the Springfield Bicycle Club, which will offer a morning ride starting at 10 a.m. at Southwind Park and an afternoon ride that leaves at 1 p.m. from the Capitol Complex Visitors Center at 425 S. College St. Bicycle Doctor owner Robert LaBonte is helping to set up the bicycle tours, and he also will showcase the solar installations at his business and an adjacent residence.


Go there and read a lot more. I am going on vacation. More in a couple of weeks.


Big Just Got Bigger – The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument just got twice as big

This is a happy fuzzy story, that i normally wouldn’t post. But here is the thing, as fun as it is, I dare you to say the name of the monument. Can you huh huh huh?

The Power of Parks

Hawaii Is Now Home to an Ocean Reserve Twice the Size of Texas

A 583,000-square-mile “no-take” zone: President Obama just quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off northwestern Hawaii.

Capping a week of 100th anniversary celebrations for the National Park Service, President Barack Obama on Friday turned to the ocean to create the largest protected area anywhere on Earth—a half-million-square-mile arc of remote Pacific waters known for both exceptional marine life and importance to native Hawaiian culture.

The Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush, already covered 140,000 square miles of ocean around the uninhabited northwestern islands of Hawaii, Obama’s home state. (Learn about the name and how to pronounce it.)

Obama more than quadrupled Papah?naumoku?kea’s size, to 582,578 square miles, an area larger than all the national parks combined. Using his executive authority under the U.S. Antiquities Act, he extended most of the monument’s boundary—and its prohibition of commercial fishing—out to the 200-mile limit of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).(Read about a monument established this week in the Maine woods.)


Go there and read in wonderment. More next week.


Traveling Green – The world of EcoTourism

I must start with the opening cautionary note. Traveling to Asia is expensive. Staying at hotels that claim to be “green” is expensive too. When you approach such things with a clear understanding that thinks can go wrong and and ask all the questions you can think of, things often turn out well. Finally I have never used any of these commercial enterprises so I nor CES can vouch for them.  As always check with the Better Business Bureau first.

My Opinion: Green Is Always The Way To Go


As a commercial contractor, I have had my fair share of opportunities to see the implementation of green building materials. This has led to the advent of LEED-certified constructions. However, what piques my interest the most are the individuals who have used these facilities in an eco-friendly manner, particularly the facilities where I actually work. Such individuals and I acknowledge that what’s going on shouldn’t be recognized solely from a standpoint concerning LEED certification.


In Asia, such efforts that contribute to saving the environment are applauded. Categories such as cultural preservation, community engagement and development and resource efficiency are among those recognized. An Asian based accommodation provider the “Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards”, hands out awards to various organizations.


Las Vegas is one of the major destination spots making strides in preserving the economy. This is evident by the fact that many hotels in Las Vegas have committed to using items that meet LEED-certified standards. Recently the Las Vegas Palazzo Resort was deemed the “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America”. It relies on a number of self-sustaining elements and reuses most of its own waste. Las Vegas hotels have clearly set an example that all hotels throughout America, and elsewhere, can follow. Most of the hotels in NYC have also gone the extra mile to reduce their carbon footprints and accommodate for waste recycling. The ink48 Hotel, in particular, has an amazing program called Earthcare. This allows members of the program to have a platform for discussing the ways in which they can contribute to the betterment of the planet.


Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful thing, in my opinion, to see people act in one accord, making their facilities more sustainable and eco-friendly. It’s 10 times sweeter when you’re directly involved in such work. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms, and Las Vegas alone managed to pull in more than 40,000,000 travelers last year. If others followed the Palazzo and ink48’s lead, we will all see an extremely positive impact.


Go there and look around. More next week.


Off The Grid Store – I am posting a hunk of his blog

This blog for this store has one chunk dated January 25th of 2012 and the first post listed as January 13. There is nothing more. So I do not know much about the store or the guy claiming to be Darin. It hasn’t been open long. According to a phto shoot caption they opened in early December 2011. I never endorse anything I have not actually tried and I have never ordered anything from this site. So buyer bewarier. As a man with a new business I am sure that he is too busy to blog and I disagree with his probable ideology as well. However new small businesses are very hard to keep alive so here he is, the Off The Grid Kid.

Me – Off The Grid as a kid

The first post is always the hardest post to write on a blog.  It’s like introducing yourself to a bunch of people and you can’t look them in the eye. I’m an eye contact person as I believe one on one communication is something this world could use a lot more of.  If people talked, they might be able to understand each other better instead of making blanket judgements based on assumptions.

I’ll give it my best shot.  My name is Darin and I’m the Owner of  I’m a 40 year old guy with 3 little ones, grew up in the woods of Northern Arizona.  Caught my first fish before I could tie my shoes and tell my boy hunting stories instead of bedtime stories.  I’m  a Patriot and believe that the United States is the greatest nation on earth but I don’t think we’re perfect.  I know we have a great foundation for this country (the constitution) but I’m afraid of what country my children will inherit if we continue down the road we are currently on.  I hope our country gets back on track and focuses on the principles of what makes us great.

I’m a former radio talk show host from Phoenix, Arizona.  In my previous career, I spent most waking hours following the news, watching what was happening and then talking about it to a large audience.  As I researched topics I was going cover on my show, I noticed that many times the mainstream media left out crucial details and portrayed the story in a way that wasn’t entirely accurate by my standards.  Eventually I became aware that in order to get the real story, it was important to look at all angles and formulate my own opinion versus just taking what I was seeing/hearing/reading as fact.

My “awakening” has led me to this adventure.  I hope the preparations I am taking will never be used in an emergency situation.  I hope the food, tools and other equipment I have accumulated will only need to be used when I am enjoying the great outdoors on my own terms.  But, my first priority is my family and I feel it is my responsibility to make sure my wife and kids are in the best possible position should a disaster strike.  They are relying on me and I will not let them down.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Climate Change Messed Up My Vacation – Well not completely

I tried not to say too much about our recent 2 week vacation, but I have to tell you that I think people are being too paranoid. The last time we did a big vacation, I posted from wherever we were. This made it obvious we were gone and even where we were exactly and nothing bad happened. This time I just hinted at it and again nothing happened. I just checked the stats and my being gone and not posting did not effect them either which bums me out but that is another story.

But how did the destabilization of the weather ruin my vacation. Well to start with I called people in Montana and asked them about the best time to schedule an off season vacation there. I had originally planned on the last week in September and the first week in October. Everyone there said that could be dicey so I moved it back to the last two weeks in September. Had I stuck to my guns we would have had to miss a day or two to morn Cate’s fathers death but we would have also missed a late season heat up. As it was, everything after South Dakota was packed. Hotels, tourists sites, you name it. The prices were expensive, and the little kids were jumping around the hotel rooms. To top it off the road through Glacier National was cut in the middle for road work so we drove around the park to Kalispell. This was the farthest point on our drive and exactly when we receive word of Frank’s demise. So that meant that we got in the car and drove for 4 more days. Cate did see glaciers and we did stop at the Crazy Horse monument on the way back, but it was warmer in Montana then it was in Illinois.


More tomorrow.


If You Are In The Carolinas – These people can help you with your residential energy improvements

Every once in awhile I post about a company. But the same disclaimer always goes with such posts. I like my HVAC guy but if I posted about him here he would get the same disclaimer. I am not familiar with this company. Please check with the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, the Attorney General of the state or State’s Attorney whatever is the case, and finally ask for and check out references. Without further hullabaloo:

Home Energy Improvement Program

If you’re interested in making your home more energy-efficient, look no further than the Home Energy Improvement Program. Through this Progress Energy program, you can:

  • Receive rebates for improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Get a list of specially trained contractors you can use to complete your home improvements.
  • Learn more about the financial and other benefits of having an energy-efficient home.


View a short video about the HVAC audit for residential customers.

Energy efficiency: An investment that pays you back

Energy efficiency is one of the few investments that can help you gain a return on your energy bill and on the value of your home. View the program details tab to learn more about home improvement rebates offered by Progress Energy:

  • Air duct testing – Up to $60
  • Air duct repair and replacement – Up to $120
  • Attic insulation upgrade and attic sealing – $375
  • Energy-efficient window installation – Up to $450
  • Geothermal heat pump replacement – $300
  • HVAC Audit – $100
  • High-efficiency heat pump replacement – $300
  • High-efficiency central AC replacement – $300


More tomorrow.



Energy Conservation According To Google – Mixed record

Google has this Feeling Lucky button that just sucks when it comes to energy issues. The company itself has a mixed bag. They helped push an energy fuel cell of a dubious nature by installing 3 of them on their main campus. They do like solar and wind and have both in operation or have bought energy from those sources. But this button is just rotten. I am usually bored with posting when I do this now, but in the beginning I was excited. I know you say, “How could Doug be bored with the exciting field of residential conservation”? I guess I want another oil spill or maybe Russia to catch fire again. Sick isn’t it. The first three you get if you used the regular search are not much better:

  1. Residential Energy Efficiency Get an Energy Audit For Your Home. Free Auditor Listings. Search Now!?

  2. Residential Energy Efficiency Show Us How By Sharing a Video. Win A Renovation Makeover Package!

  3. Energy Efficient Building Green construction & contracting Save 50-80% on heating and AC


I mean DOW?

And too my surprise you can not even use the get lucky button anymore. Really? Why do they even have it up there. Apparently the “read your mind” algorithm they just introduced broke the get lucky thingie because as soon as you type in a single letter that option goes away. But when you just click on it empty it thinks you want to get lucky about the google LOGO. These people are dorks.

Google Just Killed The “I’m Feeling Lucky Button”

Nicholas Carlson | Sep. 8, 2010, 1:35 PM
Google just effectively offed one of it’s oldest, quirkiest features – the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button.

The good news is that in the process, Google added at least another hundred million dollars in revenue.

It used to be that you could go to, type a search query into the search box and then, by clicking “I’m feeling lucky,” go directly to the page that would have been listed as the top search result.

But then today happened, and Google announced “Google Instant.” Now, when you go to and start typing a search into the search bar, Google instantly begins showing search results. Users no longer have a chance to click the “I’m Feeling Lucky Button” before they begin seeing search results. Yes, the button is still there on – but essentially, the feature is dead.

So, how does killing the “I’m feeling lucky” button gain Google more than $100 million?

In 2007, Google search boss Marissa Mayer estimated that 1% of all Google searches go through the I’m Feeling Lucky button – skipping Google’s search results pages entirely


More Tomorrow


Gulf Of Mexico Oil Crisis Ends – The Oil Spew is over because BP is sucking on a straw.

That’s right besides the 40 million gallons of oil lurking in mats 1,500 feet above the ocean floor trapped by dispersants and getting ready to wash into the Atlantic and the continued wash of 40, 000 barrels of oil per day, the crisis is over and we here at CES are going to celebrate Norwegian Independence Day. Why? Because it is neither the day of the actual Norwegian Independence nor is it celebrated for the actual year of their Independence. We feel this is fitting.

Like Americans, Norwegians love to celebrate what is normally translated as Independence Day. Actually, though the day commemorates the events of May 17, 1814, Norway didn’t really achieve independence until 1905. In Norwegian it is sometimes called Constitution Day, which is more accurate – although there is a problem with that as well.
These confusing facts require some explanation. From 1380 to 1814, Norway was united with Denmark. However, as Denmark was an ally of Napoleon, the great powers of Europe decided that her punishment would be to lose Norway to Sweden (slippery as ever, the Swedes had joined the allies at the opportune moment). When the Norwegians were informed that they were now Swedes, they decided they didn’t like that one little bit. Rather than accepting the news, they elected a national assembly to work out a constitution for an independent Norway (at least, it was supposed to be national; the representatives from the northernmost province had such a long way to travel that they came too late to participate). On May 17, 1814 this first Norwegian parliament elected the Danish Crown Prince, Christian Frederick, as their king.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out at all. The Swedes had the support of Russia, Britain, Austria and Prussia, and no one cared much for the opinion of the Norwegian people. Long story short: the Swedes invaded, and after a short campaign Christian Frederick renounced his throne and went back to Denmark, leaving Charles XIII the new king of Norway and Sweden. That union would last until the Norwegian parliament declared independence (again) in 1905.
All this made Christian Frederick a rather unpopular man in Norway, but in time it was realized that he had actually made a pretty good deal. In return for giving up the crown, he had convinced the Swedes to accept the new Norwegian constitution which parliament had adopted (confusingly enough on May 16, which really ought to have been our national day, but never mind). That was a huge bonus. The constitution, which is still in place, was among the most democratic in Europe at that time.


So basically like the oil companies, these folks have 2 or 3 Independence Days (Yaaa we are free) every year and the first one lasts a month. It involves children with flags, students dressed in funny costumes according to their profession, and reenactors dressing up in very old clothes.

The young king and Norwegian officials tried to find international backing for their bid for Norway as a sovereign state throughout spring and early summer of 1814. After failing to secure the support of Great Britain, war with Sweden became unavoidable. The Swedish Campaign against Norway was short and decisive. However, while badly trained and equipped, the Norwegian Army put up a determined fight, holding the Swedes back at Kongsvinger and securing a tactical victory at the battle of Langnes. This enabled the King to avoid an unconditional surrender as he was forced into negotiations with the Swedes, leading to the Convention of Moss.

Putting the strategic situation and his own abdication to good use, he persuaded the Swedish crown prince Carl Johan (the former Marshal Bernadotte of France) to let the Norwegians keep their constitution. The Swedish crown prince wanted to appease the Norwegians and avoid a bloody continuation of the war. Realizing that a forced union with himself as ruler of a conquered and hostile country would be very uneasy, he accepted the Norwegian proposition. Norway then entered into a personal union with Sweden with only such amendments to its constitution as were necessary to form the Union between Sweden and Norway. On October 7, an extraordinary session of the Storting convened, and king Christian Frederik delegated his powers to the parliament and abdicated on October 10. The Storting adopted the constitutional amendments on November 4 and on the same day unanimously elected Charles XIII king of Norway, rather than acknowledging him as such, thus reinforcing the concept a King by the will of the people.

Dissolution and the second King

The union amendments were revoked after the dissolution of the ninety-one-year-old union in 1905. The question of a King was again considered, and the Storting elected to offer the throne to the 33-year-old Prince Carl of Denmark, married to Maud of Wales, the daughter of King Edward VII. By bringing in a king with British royal ties, it was hoped that Norway could court Britain’s support. Prince Carl was however well aware of a surge of republicanism in Norway and of the constitutional situation of the Norwegian throne. He insisted that he would accept the crown only if the Norwegian people expressed their will for monarchy by referendum and if the parliament then elected him king. On November 13, the Norwegian votes decided on monarchy with a 74 percent majority, and Carl was elected King by the Storting, taking the name Haakon VII of Norway.

Several other amendments have been adopted since 1814, the most recent on February 20, 2006. After World War II and the restoration of peace and constitutional rule, there was much debate on how to handle the events of the previous five years. None of this led to any changes in the constitution; it had withstood the test of hard times.


Of Course lots of drinking and eating herring also ensues. This guy gets to celebrate 4 Independence Days the US, Italy and 2 for Norway.

First, by way of background, Norway was ruled by the kings of Denmark from the 12th century until early in the 19th century (1814).

In 1814, Denmark was penalized for its support of Napoleon by giving Norway to Sweden. Before the transition was carried out, Norway declared itself independent on May 17, 1814. A degree of independence was retained even after Norway became subject to the Swedish Crown.

In 1905, on May 17, Norway declared its complete independence.

In 1914, World War I began. Norway remained neutral, but many of its ships were sunk.

In 1940-1945: when World War II began, Norway again proclaimed its neutrality. However, on April 9, 1940, Nazi forces invaded the two neutral nations of Norway and Denmark under the guise of protecting them against an “Anglo-French Occupation” and “To Protect Their Freedom and Independence.”

Oslo wired Berlin:

“We will not submit voluntarily; the struggle is already underway.”

At the time of World War II, Norway was just beginning to realize its industrial potential when Germany invaded. Five years of German occupation and a burn-and-retreat strategy in the final weeks of the war, left the nation ravaged. But, after the war, the Norwegians, known for their determination and tenacity, returned to rebuild their homes and villages. Finally the flags of freedom were again flying over Europe and Trygve Lie of Norway was elected as the first secretary general of the United Nations.

It is no surprise that Norwegians eat, drink and make merry during the month of May in celebration of this most significant month in their history.


So we say to BP. Job well done Brownie.

For the real scoop go to: