Energy wastage is no laughing matter. And yet we all do it accidentally. Even those of us who attempt to live a green life slip up. Many of you are unaware of the measures you could be putting in place to help out the cause, and keep energy wastage to a minimum. Here are a few things you might not consider:
Cars - There are measures you can pick up to make your driving as energy efficient as possible. This will not only help the environment, but also save you some money too. By driving economically you will less likely need to call upon your RAC Car Insurance, because you won't be over driving your car. measured breaking and pacing your journey causes less emissions and means less trips to the mechanic.
Electrics - switching off lights and electrical appliances when you leave a room, makes all the difference. You hardly need it on if you aren't in the room. Turn them off or power down your laptop when finished with it etc. Your wallet will be heavier too for your trouble.
Air conditioning - On a hot night the temptation to use the air conditioning is strong. Why not just switch off electrical appliances. They generate unnecessary heat that can make your room stuffier. It won't make a massive difference, but you have a cold shower for the rest.
Standby - Leaving your TV on standby, wastes 50% of the energy used when it is on. That energy could be better used elsewhere.
Insulation - Save money by installing proper insulation for your walls and roof. This will also help your carbon footprint. Most of your heat is lost through walls. Perhaps cavity insulation would benefit your mission to save energy. It will keep the heat on the inside.
Renewable Energy firm Harvest Power has recently raised $51.7 million in a Series B clean tech funding round from a host of venture capital firms led by Generation Investment Management, a company co-founded by Al Gore. Harvest Power, based out of Waltham, Mass., processes organic matter such as yard waste and discarded food to produce methane, which can then be used as a fuel for generating electricity.
The company has plans to build two new facilities in Canada, one of which Harvest has already broken ground on. This renewable energy facility, outside of Vancouver, will become North America’s first commercial-scale high solids anaerobic digestion facility.
In addition to producing methane, Harvest Power can generate fertilizer in the process as well as compressing the natural gas for transportation purposes. In fact, the company hopes to use the new green tech funding to also add new renewable energy technologies. One of which would utilize a high temperature process to make synthesis gas, or Syngas. The by-product can then be used to generate electricity, automotive fuels and additional chemical products.
Photo from Harvest Power
By Tim Hull ~
It’s early morning in the Dunbar Springs neighborhood and the anarchists next door are still asleep. The power-hungry new sun is heating up the found-object metal artwork in the streets, and I’m standing by as Vincent Pawlowski mixes up a batch of Papercrete bricks.
The 50-something polymath, a retired biomedical engineer with a bushy beard and a full storehouse of creative energy, is up on a rickety platform in his backyard working a jury-rigged mixing drill through a barrel full of water, recycled paper products—junk mail, old Sierra Club calendars, even tossed-away books—and Portland cement. The brew looks and smells like paper mache but when it’s formed into bricks and dried in the sun it makes strong building blocks that Pawlowski hopes to use to build a little dream home here on his corner lot.
Thin film solar panels promise to provide some of best alternative energy solutions to come forward these past few years--perhaps ultimately fulfilling the hope that solar advocates have long held for this evolving technology. Thin film overcomes some of the shortfalls of traditional photovoltaic cell technology although they introduce a couple of obstacles that are yet to be overcome.
Traditional solar technology consists of converting the suns energy into electricity using bulky flat panes with crystalline silicon solar cells. The cost of production is relatively high (compared to traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas), the panels are bulky and the efficiency is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20% for most residential applications (though near 40% efficiency is possible if you have deep enough pockets).Read more: Thin Film Solar Panels
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently put a moratorium on all new solar power projects on Federal land, citing the need for further environmental impact studies. According to the NY Times, "The Bureau of Land Management says an extensive environmental study is needed to determine how large solar plants might affect millions of acres it oversees in six Western states Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah."
This decision comes at a particularly tough time for the solar industry as public interest, and demand, for solar power are on the rise. Rather than encouraging the relatively nascent industry, this move may diminish some of the headway the industry has been making. According to one solar industry person, Lee Wallach of Solel the problem is that this is a very young industry, and the majority of us that are involved are young, struggling, hungry companies. This is a setback.
The freeze is set to last two years and will allow time for the government to evaluate the environmental damage that may occur from solar power plants, electrical transmission lines, the necessary water usage impact and so forth.
This decision leaves the environmental community in a unique position as it pits different factions against each other. Some conservation groups laud the move and welcome the studies as crucial to maintaining the habitat for many desert creatures while renewable energy interests are frustrated with the move to stall solar power.
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