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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Your Green Energy News Center (Page 10)

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Author Topic: Your Green Energy News Center
Glenn Arnold
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quote:
I'm betting that as the cost of energy rises more and more, such a regulation, after a couple years of haggling over the formula they'd use to actually produce it, might become something you see so home buyers have a real gauge to compare with. I'm betting that is still a ways off though.
I don't see why the formula should be a problem. divide the number of BTUs by the square footage of the house and again by the number of degree days.

In 2006 I used 1058 gallons. That's 147 MMBTU, divided by 1400 square feet, divided by 6390 degree days. That's 16.4.

The heating company already has two of those numbers, the only thing they probably don't have is the square feet of the house.

Out of curiosity, for anyone who reads this thread, I'd be really interested to see what numbers you come up with for your houses, just so I get a feeling where I stand with mine.

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Lyrhawn
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New meters can be installed that can gauge how much you're sending out and how much you are using. Smart Meters. Having your meter run backwards only helps to eliminate the supplemental energy you get from the power company. It does nothing to pay for the other excess you produce that is used by the utilities. If you don't use any from them and are totally off-grid, then it's really no help at all.

I've read a bit on feed in tariffs in Britain, and they are overly complicated and produce little results. I think power companies should establish a base rate and then pay homes that produce excess power during peak hours.

TStorm -

I didn't read the link but, there's going to be a Discovery Channel special on Greensburg and how they are rebuilding the town using all green tech and sustainable methods. Should be interesting.

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Tstorm
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Does sound interesting. I don't get the Discovery Channel via TV (no cable or satellite service), but hopefully it will be put on the web.
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fugu13
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Glenn: and they could almost certainly get the square feet (at least the number registered with the county) easily enough most places. Heck, Indiana has such good GIS data available that it goes down to the per-parcel level, including info about what's built there.
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AvidReader
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Fuel company? Gallons of heating? This is one of those northern things, right?

I'm not sure what we'd need for a southern equivalent. I just tell the AC what temp I want the house to be and it does it. I have no idea how to seperate that out from the rest of the electricity used.

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Pegasus
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
I don't see why the formula should be a problem. divide the number of BTUs by the square footage of the house and again by the number of degree days.

In 2006 I used 1058 gallons. That's 147 MMBTU, divided by 1400 square feet, divided by 6390 degree days. That's 16.4.

If you explain to me what "degree days" are, I'll try to calculate my house, even though I heat with K1.
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Glenn Arnold
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Just compare your summer electric bills with your winter electric bills to determine the baseload vs. air conditioning load. Or to be more precise, determine the month with the smallest cooling degree days and use that as the baseload. Do you have electic heating in the winter? You must at least have a few cold nights at some point in the year.

Fugu: I think most homeowners know their square footage, or can get it easily enough from their tax assessment. It would be simple enough to supply that to the fuel company. That's part of my point. This number would be very simple to determine, and it would give people a very simple way of determining whether their house is in need of efficiency improvements. As I said before, my neighbors had ZERO insulation in their houses, and never realized that they were paying for way more oil than they should be.

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fugu13
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Oh, definitely, I'm just saying the fuel company would even be able to get it in an automated fashion in many places.
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AvidReader
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The nice thing about an apartment is that I've very rarely needed to turn on the heat. Everyone being pressed up against each other tended to keep the warmth in. I expect I'll pay more this winter since we moved and I now have windows and a pretty view out back. Totally worth it, though.

So I'd subtract my average winter KWHs from my average summer KWHs to get my ACs KWHs used? I'd divide that by the square feet, but then I'm also lost on the next step. What's a degree day and why are there so many of them?

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
What's a degree day and why are there so many of them?
A degree day is a number that heating companies (originally) used in order to figure out when a heating customer would need an oil delivery. Now there are many more uses. It's simply the average temperature over time, subtracted from the temperature at which homeowners are warm enough without turning on the heat (about 65 F). You can find the number of degree says in your area from a variety of sources. For example, the number of heating and cooling degree days for Miami are on this real estate page:

Miami degree days.


A more in depth explanation is here, on wikipedia:

Heating degree day.

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Glenn Arnold
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Here's a better source: National Climactic Data Center
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Glenn Arnold
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Also, if you're working on cooling degree days, you'll need to multiply kilowatt hours times 3413 to find BTUs.
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AvidReader
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Ok. The city says we used:

421 Apr 07
371 May 07
558 Jun 07
445 Jul 07
657 Aug 07
591 Sep 07
477 Oct 07
463 Nov 07

I think the formula would be: average difference in kWHs used x 3413 for BTUs / 750 square feet / 813.5 degree days (Apr to Nov). So if I had an average of 433 for the cool months and 563 for the warm months, that would give me a difference of 130. I assume I multiply that by the 8 months I had data for. So 1040 kWHs * 3413 BTUs / 750 sq ft / 813.5 degree days gives me 5.8.

Assuming I did that right, my last apartment was actually pretty darn efficient, even with the house at 75 degrees most of the year. (The thermostat didn't work right. It was that or over 80. Then again, the thermostat here in the new place thinks it's 72 while the temperature strip the city taped above it shows a pleasant 77. Maybe we kept it warmer than I thought we did.)

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Glenn Arnold
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How many walls floors and ceilings did you share with other apartments (or enclosed hallways)?

Yes, apartments are very efficient, due to the "bee hive" effect.

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Pegasus
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Ok, I think I use about 400 gal. of Kerosene per year.

400 gal. of kerosene = about 51,362,200 BTU so...

51,362,200 BTU divided by 912 sq. ft. divided by 15,092 degree days °F (8,384 °C)= 3.73 °F or 6.72 °C

I think I did that right.

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AvidReader
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There were other apartments on all but one side, eight to a building, two deep. Then there was a hallway just wide enough for a couple people to squeeze past each other before the next building. Nice and toasty.

My new apartment only has four to a building, but again, the view out back is worth it.

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aspectre
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6.72°F = ~3.73°C . . . . When converting temperature change:
1.8 degrees Fahrenheit = 1 degree Celsius . . . . 1 degree Fahrenheit = 5/9ths degree Celsius
eg 3.73°F = ~2.07°C . . . . 6.72°C = ~12.1°F

[ May 06, 2008, 12:28 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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aspectre
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Dumping gas guzzlers.
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Lyrhawn
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Reports from various institutions (Goldman Sachs is one) say that oil could reach $200 a barrel in 24 months, that gas will be over $4 a gallon this summer, and could be as high as $7 by the start of the next decade.

I'll do a full post later tonight on various news updates.

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aspectre
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Peak Water
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aspectre
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Cleaning up two-stroke engines AND delivering better gas mileage.
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Glenn Arnold
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I was thinking that this would still be applicable for dirt bikes here in the U.S., but I checked and it turned out that the only dirt bikes I could find were 4-strokes. I wonder how the retrofitted 2-strokes compare with 4-strokes, in fuel efficiency, pollution, and cost.
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Lyrhawn
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Sorry it's taken so long to get back to this. Hopefully I'll get on regular updates more often.

Texas oilman bets big on wind power.

US to use half the power in 2008 that it used in 1970, with much more potential for efficiency gains. I find that hard to believe. I wonder if they mean per capita. I'll have to read the report.

University of Virginia students turn useless rice husks into power and money in India.

Seagen hydrokinetic turbine installation complete in Ireland.

Minnesota enacts new law to mandate B20 in all gasoline, but it'll come in stages, and some from non-food crops.

House passes Renewable Energy Tax Credit bill amidst grumblings from Senate and veto threats from the White House.

GM's legacy: Live Green or Die.

There's a bunch of good (some overlapping) stuff right now at Ecogeek and Envirowonk. Feel free to browse the top page. There's just too many good articles to pick out a couple, and those sites are more of a pain to link specific articles. Enjoy.

World's largest wind farm, 500MW, enters construction phase off UK coast.

DuPont enters thin film solar field.

Algae farms go north.

Huge potential for wind power on Great Lakes.

Price of wind power dramatically increases due to high demand.

A brewing battle between the states over cap and trade.

[ May 22, 2008, 04:20 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Lyrhawn
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Abu Dhabi to invest $2 billion on thin film solar.

GE aims to cut their global water usage by 20% by 2012.

Coca Cola to deploy 100K HFC free vending machines.

Ontario experiments with zero interest loans for residential renewables. Excellent to see this in practice. This is something I've been wanting to see for some time, and I hope it works out.

Is oil deglobalizing the world? This question is asked in the face of skyrocketing transportation costs, that in many ways have drastically decreased the advantage southeast Asia traditionally has from cheap labor. Could this mean manufacturing is due for a big shift from China to the Americas? Maybe.

Could 20% of America's power needs be met by 2020?

IBM makes big breakthrough in a specialized kind of solar power. I've seen at least one other company claiming basically the same breakthrough.

WIsconsin signs Great Lakes Compact.

Featured Article
Sapphire Energy claims to have created a process to turn algae directly into gasoline, NOT ethanol or biodiesel. If so, it's a huge advancement, especially if their claims of how efficient and economical it is are true.

StatoilHydro announces new plans to test buoyed off-shore wind turbines. These haven't really been tested much. Instead of driving the thing right into the ground, they float on the surface and are tethered or anchored to the ground a few different ways. It allows them to be placed in much greater depths and opens up a lot more options, but no extensive testing has been done on them, and it's unknown how feasible they'll be in operation.

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plaid
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Dunno if this has already been covered in the thread, a search didn't turn it up... any recommendations for LED nightlights? I want to get a few for keeping things cooler in the summer...

(Ideally, a light-sensitive one that's smart enough to only turn on at night!)

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Lyrhawn
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A quick Amazon search found this.

and this.

There are dozens of them. Just search for LED night light.

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Glenn Arnold
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I got an email at work today that GM may be setting something up with my employer to fuel hydrogen powered vehicles, at least for a demo. In any case, they may be bringing some of them down to my workplace to show them off. Maybe I'll get to drive one.
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Lyrhawn
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Utilities buying and owning more wind power.

Fungus improves efficiency of Ethanol processing.

Kirtland AFB and Sandia National Lab eye wind farm to provide part of their power needs.

Discovery launches "Planet Green." It's a 24-7 tv station all about living green. Some of it seems silly, but "Renovation Nation" is a show for people to watch to look at renovating homes to make them more green, which looks pretty cool.

Many airlines are returning to turboprop airplanes, which are slower but much more efficient.

HP licenses technology for ultra efficient solar power hoping to spur innovation and production.

Google backed solar startup scores major utility deal

The DOE brings together the major manufacturers of wind turbines to advance wind power

The Brattle Group predicts that "dynamic pricing" could reduce energy use by 5% a year. The main thrust of the argument? Charge more for power during peak power use and people won't use so much. This will reduce the need for uberexpensive peaking plants that operate only to increase load during peak hours, and will force people to perform some energy intensive tasks later when more power is available. The savings could total $3 billion a year.


A couple other announcements. Senate Republicans, with a couple of Democrats, managed to block the much ballyhooed comprehensive climate change bill that came up this week in the Senate. Democratic leadership say that they will try again with the next Congress.

Another thing, GM has a lot of news about changing their lineup. They're looking for someone to sell Hummer too. Hummer's sales have plummeted in recent months, and they're looking to offload the brand entirely. A new 40mpg small car is going to be introduced to their Chevy lineup in 2010, when the Cobalt may or may not be discontinued. They have a slew of other small cars in the pipeline, and they are closing some truck and SUV plants or reducing shifts, while adding shifts to G6 and Malibu plants. And, the Chevy Volt has been moved from the concept car stage to the production car stage. Battery tests are going swimmingly, and apparently only a few mechanical problems are tripping them up, but they're well on track to having the car ready to sell by November 2010. They're even talking about as many as 100,000 a year starting in 2011 and onwards. It's still going to be a little pricey, probably around $30,000, maybe 40, but that could be blunted 2 years from now by an electric vehicle tax credit that might seriously reduce the price of the car.

[ June 08, 2008, 04:23 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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DarkKnight
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Starving Aspens? They don't know if this will work but they are going to do it anyway....things like this are why I think we need to be better about what we do and to stop just jumping on the next big carbon cure.
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Lyrhawn
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It's a biological resaerch forest.

I'd object if they were going to be cutting down an entire forest, but it's a 100 acre wooded area specifically set aside for research experiments.

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Lyrhawn
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Green buildings make cents - Not just from efficiency benefits, but also from higher occupency and quality.

Wind power inches closer to parity with some fossil fuels.

New waste heat engine provides power off low levels of heat

UK government approves plan last week to create as much as 25,000 MW of offshore wind power, to bring the total planned to 33,000 MW.

Alliant and vestas sign 500MW wind power deal.

REpower and enXco sign 200MW wind power deal.

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Lyrhawn
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Delphi gets $5 million from DOE to build better electric/hybrid car inverters

Ford/GM/GE to split $30 million from the DOE for PHEV development

PGE signs deal for hybrid solar/ag waste conversion power plant. The plant could be a boon, not only for being able to supply stable 24 hour power, but also for getting rid of tons of messy and expensive to get rid of ag waste from California.

Featured Story
Senate kills Renewable Tax Credit renewal from the House.

Failing to renew the tax credits will certainly lead to companies leaving the US for better markets (as many have threatened to do), will cost more than 100,000 jobs, mostly in Texas, California (for solar), Colorado, Illinois and Oregon (the rest are for wind mostly), but in almost every state at least some jobs would be lost, Texas and California being the hardest hit. It would also cause almost $18 billion in recent private investment to go down the drain, and would likely cancel thousands of megawatts and millions of dollars invested already in planned projects, as well as costing hundreds of thousands of projected future jobs in the next couple years.

New wind turbines designs target big buildings in urban settings.

Wind power brings manufacturing back to America.

Newcomer Algenol plans to create massive amounts of ethanol from algae by the end of next year, and 10 times that in four years

[ June 13, 2008, 10:12 PM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Delphi gets $5 million from DOE to build better electric/hybrid car converters
That's "inverters"
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Lyrhawn
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My bad, thanks for the fix!
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aspectre
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http://cafefoundation.org/v2/pav_rttf_a.php
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Lyrhawn
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What's in store for ethanol?
Germany strengthens commitment to wind power with upgraded feed in tariffs.
People take notice of algae's breakthroughs
China blowing away goals for wind power installation.
Intel joins other tech giants in venturing into Solar.

UK to unveil ambitious renewable energy plan for the future.

Navy goes solar, Army uses waste to energy converter.

GE goes to bat for ITC

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Lyrhawn
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Renewable energy market is brimming with investment dollars...but the US stands to lose out in the coming years.

Helio Micro Utility has unveiled a plan for residential solar. It'll start in Santa Monica. People won't pay for the panels, just their regular power bill. It's more like leasing roof space.

McCain proposes new plan for better cars. It includes a $5K tax credit for purchasing electric cars, a $300 million prize for producing a new electric car battery. He also wants stiffer penalties on those who violate CAFE standards. It's a breathtaking proposal period, and even more so from a Republican who I'm betting doesn't have a lot of support among his base for such a treehugging suggestion. Of course, there is already a $10 million prize out there for something similar, the Automotive X Prize competition. But putting major government dollars behind such a prize is a great idea. $300 million is a drop in the bucket for the government, but for business, it'll spur small scale innovators and large businesses alike. The problem with the tax credit are the millions of people for whom a tax credit does nothing, for they don't pay anything close to that in taxes. A better idea, if McCain truly wants to lower the price of these cars for consumers would be to give the tax credits to the manufacturers themselves, allowing them to drop the price by $5K, which would do a lot more good for the average under $60K per year consumer than otherwise. It'd make upcoming cars like the Chevy Volt much more affordable. Kudos to McCain.

New machine from Nanosolar prints nanofilm solar cells cheaper than ever and more abundantly. New machine costs $1.65 million and prints 1GW worth of cells per year. The creator says that in theory it has the potential to be revved up 20 times faster, but they're still working on that. This is a major breakthrough in nanofilm production technology.

Israel tests algae farm/coal power plant hybrid set up. If you're a reader of this thread, you've likely seen the technology mentioned before. The idea is to pair a coal fired plant with an algae farm, sequestering the CO2 in the algae, and then using the algae to produce fuel or other commercially viable chemicals.

A TED video on refrigeration for the third world without electricity and without a huge price tag. Looks pretty cool, and if they can get it from prototype to production, it might really have an effect on the third world in the form of vaccine storage and even food storage.

[ June 24, 2008, 03:03 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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aspectre
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Recycled wind turbines
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Lyrhawn
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700MW per year solar power factory goes online Monday from Ausra. Ausra says they can produce solar power faster than it can be installed. 1,400 workers will be involved in installing the generators.

UK lays out new green energy blueprint and rolls out huge new incentives program for renewable industries

The Bureau of Land Management has reversed course on a supposed Bush Administration block on solar projects

World demand for oil expected to outpace production increases.

China's ban on plastic bags works. Where's a similar move by the US?

PG&E makes big buy of wind power.

PlascoEnergy will build North America's first waste gasification power plant, which turns trash into power.

Taiwanese inventor has idea for trains that don't need to make stops.

New process for making sugarcane ethanol yields water as byproduct, which should help mitigate what is usually a very water intensive process.

94 teams are vying to compete in the Auto X-Prize, and 14 cities have shown a desire to be a part of the race aspect of the contest.

Farms: vertical or horizontal? The answer might really be just to grow a lot more on many smaller plots. In other words, victory gardens are back in.

[ July 03, 2008, 04:30 AM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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Lyrhawn
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US Rep Jay Inslee introduces bill to create feed in tariffs similar to what Europe has for renewable energy.

The hidden subsidies in the oil industry.

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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Taiwanese inventor has idea for trains that don't need to make stops.

Caves of Steel anyone?
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Taiwanese inventor has idea for trains that don't need to make stops.
Basically it works the same way as a detachable chairlift. Neat idea. But what happens if someone is stuck in the doorway when the shuttle train reaches the back end of the regular train? There is no room for error.
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Lyrhawn
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What happens if someone is stuck in the doorway when the plane pulls away from the jetway? Or when subways pull away from stations? I assume there will either be an attendent there to make sure, or the doorway would automatically open and close.
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Lyrhawn
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Hawaii becomes first state to require solar water heaters in new homes.

New proposed wave power design could bring cost of wave power way down.

Massachusetts follows California in announcing amibitious new energy plan. I have to say, I really am impressed with the way the states are taking the lead on this one. So often you see the state governments wait for the Federal government to do it all for them, but on energy and conservation, they're steaming full ahead without the federal government.

The limitations of biofuels.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
What happens if someone is stuck in the doorway when the plane pulls away from the jetway? Or when subways pull away from stations? I assume there will either be an attendent there to make sure, or the doorway would automatically open and close.
An airplane at rest doesn't have to argue with the momentum of the entire plane. Subways have engineers driving them, they can wait if it's necessary. You can think of the shuttle car on the train like one link on a tank tread (or bulldozer, if you like). While it is laying on the ground, it doesn't move. But as soon as it reaches the back end of the track it HAS to move with the rest of the tank.

The shuttle is the same way. When it reaches the back end of the train, it can't just wait behind for someone who started to get in the door and got stuck on something. A train has a lot of momentum. It can't just stop on a dime.

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fugu13
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I assume they'll follow a simple safety procedure: boarding/departing will only occur while the shuttle is stationary relative to the connected platform. Only after people have boarded and doors have successfully closed will the shuttle accelerate/decelerate towards the train/station. If people are not successfully aboard in time, the shuttle will have to wait.
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Shawshank
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Question: I know Staples just recently came out with new paper, a promotional item of sorts, that's based on sugarcane rather than the wood from trees. It's their claim that it's 'eco-friendly'

Do you any of you if that actually is environmentally friendly? I'm just curious.

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Lyrhawn
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Shawshank, I'll look into it. Greenbiz, one of the blogs I read usually has info on stuff like that. I'll check their archives.

DOE to guarantee $10 billion in loans for renewables and energy efficiency.

World Bank says biofuels caused 75% spike in food prices.

Toyota mulls solar panel for next gen Prius.

Australia's prospects appear dire; new environmental report paints a grim picture

New washing machine uses 2% of the water that regular washing machines use, and leaves clothes dry enough to not need drying. Some kinks to be worked out still, and some info missing, and it remains to be seen if it will get clothes as clean as regular washers will. But this could be a great invention and a great tool in the fight against excessive water and energy consumption.

Massachusetts passes Green Communities Act. an ambitious and aggressive plan to bring renewables to market and increase efficiency. It's more aggressive than anything on the books in any other state, even California.

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Noemon
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Chemical Breakthrough Turns Sawdust into Precursor of Biofuel

Potentially good news, though of course it could be abused too.

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New wave power design could be a leap forward in efficiency

MIT advances work on glass (window panes) that collects solar power.

California adopts new green building standards, mandatory in 2010.
More details in this article

Scientist expects western snow melt to accelerate and exascerbate the west's water woes.

Pennsylvania enacts new law mandating 10% ethanol in gas...but only when statewide production reaches 350 million gallons a year of cellulosic ethanol. Interesting concept. First in the nation quite like it.

Canadian aircraft maker Bombadier announces new family of efficient less polluting aircraft.

Unconfirmed blog claims inside info on eestor.

Applied Materials makes big breaks in production advances, installation and efficiency. Brings costs way down.

Western solar land rush continues.

Solar stocks start to dive on fears that Congress won't renew tax credit.

Where to invest your green dollars? A guide to green investing.

Featured Article
50 states ranked by population and per capita carbon output.

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