Browsing the archives for the alternative energy tag.


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    Are we selling the U.S. to the foreigners?

    alternative, energy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, forum, green living, solar, Wind

    I don’t usually like to get political or get involved in the discussion of the national economy, but… It just seems to me that when a company from a foreign country comes in and buys a large portion of an American company it threatens our national security. Just my personal opinion. Now I am reading how companies from Japan and Germany are coming in and buying into American renewable energy to take advantage of new renewable energy initiatives (http://bit.ly/B5Byb). Are we selling ourselves and our wind overseas? I would love to hear your comments on this.

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    • gmc-hybrid-yukon-denaliGM's Yukon Denali Hybrid: Worst Greenwashing Campaign Ever? I now understand why General Motors (aka Government Motors) has done so poorly over the last three decades:  they just don't seem to get the big picture when it comes to winning the battle of public opinion. Earlier this week, GM announced plans to retrofit the GMC Yukon Denali line......
    • blog traffic exchangeAlternative Energy And Renewable Energies by peter farm sealant richly It is important to think about the ways that the average homes today are actually hurting the environment, and the things that can be done about that fact. The average American household actually produces about two times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the......
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    Take Action Now!

    alternative, energy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, green living, solar, Uncategorized, Wind

    Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

     Sometimes people don’t vote because they think “one vote can’t change anything”. I think the 2000 election proved that wrong, but some people still don’t believe. Now is your time to be counted by your elected officials. If you want this country to move forward with cleaner energy contact you Congressional Representatives and Senators today. It only takes a minute but can help save the earth a life time.

     Click here to email your U.S. Representative and Senators about the NAT GAS Act today!

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    • blog traffic exchangeResidential Solar Power - Green Energy Idea In order to make the best decision about residential solar power, several important points need to be considered. Some homeowners may discard the idea of using solar power in their homes just because of the perceived costs associated with purchasing and installing a residential solar power system. Some believe......
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    Start with Energy Conservation

    alternative, energy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, green living, Uncategorized

    When it comes to clean energy, saving our environment and living green, the best and only place to start is energy conservation. For every unit of energy saved, a unit of energy does not need to be produced. That sounds so very simple, yet I see it over looked time and time again. People are so impressed with the newest solar product, the next residential wind turbine or if hydrogen technology will replace natural gas, that they forget that all this technology can replace a greater percent of our energy if we use less energy to begin with. In other words energy conservation and efficiency are very often more economically worthwhile than renewable sources and also helps bridge the gap between demand for and availability of renewable energy.

     

    We have all seen list after list of ways to save energy around our house; these should not be pushed to the side because you “did” the list last year. Like all maintenance around the house, conservation cannot be done once and forgotten about, that is why they call it maintenance. There are always new products coming out that can make energy conservation easier, more efficient and more affordable.

     

    My attic is always the first place I look when thinking about energy loss. I have a cathedral ceiling in my living room and just never feel comfortable in the room during the cold winter months. Obviously I have insulated but I still just feel the heat escaping. So I went up to the attic at night leaving the living room lights on and the attic lights off. Bingo! I was able to identify several areas that were not completely insulated around the recessed lighting (make sure your recessed lighting fixtures are rated to have insulation around them). Next I went up to the dark attic on a very sunny morning, before the heat made it unbearable. Again, Bingo! There were a couple of places along the eaves where I could see daylight. Once these were fixed I started looking at different insulation products for attics that were DIY friendly and wallet friendly. Two products caught my eye: Super Insulating Radiant Barrier and the Battic Door Attic Stair Cover.

     

    The Super Insulating Radiant Barrier is a fold out, insulating, reflective product that goes over your current insulation and/or over the roof rafters to create a barrier that actually radiates heat back down to the living space.

     

    The Battic Door Attic Stair Cover is an insulating box that goes over dropdown attic stairs and keeps heat from escaping. This product is a huge improvement over ones of days gone bye. I have had a similar product for about fifteen years and can see this will pay for itself in very short time.

     

    Take time to look at these and other energy saving products. A dollar spent today could save hundreds over a life time not to mention helping to save the environment. Never under estimate the heat, or cooling, loss in your home. Keep vigilant about conservation, any energy saved is energy that does not have to be produced.

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    • blog traffic exchangeGoing Green Could Help You Reach your Financial Goals Sooner This guest post is from Mrs. Money who writes about saving money and living green at her blog, Ultimate Money Blog.   I would recommend checking out her blog, or just subscribing to her feed. We all want more money in our pockets, and going green can help you achieve......
    • blog traffic exchangeWhat Do You Do To Go Green? Going green can vary for all of us. We each do what we can in our lives to be environmentally conscious and reduce our eco-impact. If you haven't began your green adventure, here are a few simple steps you can take to go green that my family and I have......
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    One Step Forward for Offshore Wind

    alternative, energy, green living, Wind

    Thumbs up to Ken Salazar and the Department of the Interior, they have issued five leases to private companies to explore offshore sites for wind energy. All these sites are off the shore of New Jersey and Delaware. I hope this is only the beginning of government being proactive in helping private enterprise develop off shore wind sites.

    Here in Massachusetts, where I live, Cape Wind has been fighting an uphill battle, at their expense, to get government approval for a project in Nantucket Sound. Eight years of pushing for wind energy is too long if we are actually going to make wind and renewable energy a reality. In order for individual states to meet any renewable energy quota we need more positive government actions like this.  

    Lets all pray that the government will continue to put their money and decisions where their mouth is.

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    Habitat for Humanity, a Homerun for Energy Efficient Products

    alternative, energy, forum, green living, heating options, light bulbs, solar, Uncategorized, Wind

    In a June 1st article by Dan Cook, in Arizona’s The Daily Courier, he wrote about a Habitat for Humanity home that had been built as a “net-zero energy” house.  The idea is to use smart building products and techniques, as well as alternative energy sources, such as solar, so that the house does not use any energy from the grid or fossil fuel. This is a whole new niche in the building industry and there is an unlimited amount of products and services to choose from. The problem is that builders and prospective  homeowners, we don’t know which products are proven, or will work in our situation, or have a chance to see the product installed or talk to a builder who has actually installed the product.

     

    That is why I found this article interesting. If the companies offering these great new innovative energy saving products donated them to Habitat for Humanity, we would all benefit. First the company would win, getting actual exposure to the public with their product, as well as goodwill, for donating the product. Any builder interested in the product could donate their time to help install the product at the Habitat for Humanity job site. This gives them goodwill for helping, but also gives them experience with new products and techniques that they can sell to their clients. The homeowner wins because they are buying a product that they have seen work and are having it installed by someone who has had experience with the product. The recipient of the Habitat for Humanity home wins with lower or no utility bills. And last, but not least, the environment wins every time we do not use fossil fuel to power our world. This could be the ultimate win-win situation.

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    • Blogging for BusinessBlogging Basics for Business People Blogging basics for business people is a post I should have done months ago but have been too busy to attend to. But I can't put it off any longer because this is important. Especially for business people and business owners making their first foray into blogging. Your blog is......
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    Lessons for Wind Power

    alternative, energy, green living, Uncategorized, Wind

    According to Boston Business Journal, Boston’s Museum of Science announced this week that it will be putting a wind turbine laboratory on its roof. Apparently they have already done wind studies for a year and have come to the conclusion that there is not enough viable wind in their location to create any meaningful electricity. They already have two turbines up and intend to put up three more of varying shapes and sizes ranging from 7 feet to 40 feet. The idea is to “demonstrate small wind turbines that could be erected on small businesses and homes”.

     

    The problem is that small wind turbines cannot be erected on any building, ever. Mother Nature is a very formidable force to deal with. Any and all wind turbines have an incredible vibration; this can cause both structural and noise problems. Roof top turbines have been known to cause nails to vibrate right out of the roof. While the museum roof may be substantial enough to withstand this, with a full time maintenance crew, the average home is not engineered to withstand these forces. 

     

    Second, there is no usable wind on a roof. When you see a small wind turbine on a roof spinning wildly, it looks like it would be generating plenty of power. The truth is, all that spinning is the turbine trying to find a steady wind in a very turbulent area. Wind is invisible, and most people don’t understand what they can’t see. Think of a stick lazily drifting down a calm stream, making slow but steady progress, then there is a rock in the way, the stick goes around the rock but gets caught twirling in the eddy behind it, there is a lot of movement, but no progress. Wind is the same way, once it hits an object, such as a house or a tree; there is wind turbulence behind the object. Another way of looking at this is a sailboat in the lee of a bluff. You feel the wind on your face, it feels strong, but the sail is slapping madly and the boat is going nowhere. A wind turbine is the same way as it searches for the wind in the turbulence.

     

    The Boston Museum of Science would be doing the public a huge favor by teaching the physics of wind and turbulence using smoke chambers and roof mock ups to show how a nail or a screw can be loosened due to vibration. They should teach the benefits of clean wind energy when placed in the right location and the uselessness of putting it in the wrong location. With all my heart I hope the Boston Museum of Science is not advocating building mounted turbines, not only would they be putting the public at risk physically and promoting a waste of money, they will be putting a black mark on wind energy when these turbines never produce any meaningful electricity.

     

    Look for an upcoming blog on proper wind turbine location.

     

    For more information check out the Warwick Wind Trials data on building mounted turbines.

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    • 2009-new-years-resolutions-photo-by-thisoldhouseTo Heck with 2008 - Bring On 2009, and My Resolutions 2008 sucked!  The only folks who seemingly made any money last year were the bankruptcy lawyers and the uber bears that shorted the market.  Like most, I'm welcoming the new year a little more than usual. That said, most of us have the pleasant (or foolish) belief that a new year brings new hopes......
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    Go To a Convention For FREE!

    alternative, energy, forum, green living, heating options, light bulbs, solar, Uncategorized, Wind

    Haven’t you always wanted to go to a convention and find out more information, but you just couldn’t justify the time and expense of going? Now is your chance. Virtual Energy Forum is offering a free two-day converence on clean energy. No plane trip, no hotel room and no credit card bill!

    Just sit down at your computer and wonder through the convention. Catch a live presentation by a keynote speaker or ask a vendor some questions. All while sitting at your desk, you can learn the latest about the most important issue facing the world.

    This is your chance to find out how you can make a difference in clean energy without wasting any of your energy. Sign up today for free at Virtual Energy Forum. They can’t make it any easier than that. Set the date June 24th and June 25th, 2009.

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    Solar panels are evolving

    energy, green living, solar

    One of the largest hurdles of solar photovoltaic panels is converting their production of DC (direct current) electricity into AC (alternating current). AC current is what all household electrical systems use. Solar panels are usually placed on a roof top and wired and grounded together. Then the high voltage DC electricity is collected and fed to an inverter where it is changed to AC and fed into the household system. This causes the solar array to perform only as well as the least performing panel. So if one panel gets shaded in the afternoon, all the panels get “shaded” in the afternoon.

    A California based company, Akeena Solar Inc. , is changing the design of their Andalay solar panels to include a micro inverter in each panel. This means that the electricity produced by each panel will be converted to AC as it leaves the panel and is then fed directly into the house electrical system. If one panel becomes shaded all the other panels will still be producing AC electricity at their optimal levels. Because each of the Andalay panels already comes with a built in rack system, and comes with its own micro inverter, the company predicts design and installation costs to go down by as much as 25% and efficiency to go up by 5% to 25%.

    Akeena has found a way to make solar more efficient and financially feasible to more consumers. With the federal and state tax credits available it almost doesn’t make sense for most households not to try solar. Until more households start using the technology today, the industry will not be able to learn and develop how to make solar more cost efficient for the future. Solar has always been expensive and will remain so until the industry is given the time and resources to find a “better way.” In the meantime it is never too soon to reduce our carbon emissions.

    Akeena Solar Inc. plans to start producing the panels in 2009.

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    Wind Energy is great in the right place

    alternative, energy, green living, Uncategorized, Wind

    Anybody who follows renewable energy news, more specifically wind power, knows that there has been a lot of controversy with the permitting of Cape Wind’s proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts. After a seven year battle, the farm has now been cleared by Minerals Management Service in their Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to lease federal waters in between Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The final permitting process will probably take place this spring.

    As you can probably assume, I am for wind power. Why else would I write this blog if I was not 100% behind renewable energy? But I have a problem with this one. I am from Cape Cod and the Islands. This is not even a case of “not in my backyard”; as a matter of fact I am looking into putting a wind turbine in my backyard. The problem is with the economy and the location of the wind farm.

    I, like most of my neighbors, survive on the three month tourist trade season. Other than those three months there is not a lot going on in our economy. It is cold and windy (great for a wind farm) and nobody wants to come and spend money. Large corporations are scared off by our exorbitantly high land prices and taxes, so they are not providing year round jobs. We rely on the tourist trade.

    Our tourist trade is based on two things our beautiful beaches and our excellent boating. Both of those will be in jeopardy once construction begins on the wind farm. Every south facing beach on the Cape will have a view of the behemoth structures, including a ten story building, instead of scenic vistas. Even each of the islands will have a great view of the turbines. Supposedly, part of the permitting states that both commercial fishing and recreational boating will not be barred from using the area around the turbines. Somehow, I find it hard to believe that some knucklehead won’t try to sabotage construction. If that happens there is a good chance a majority of Nantucket Sound will be deemed off limits due to terrorism concerns.

    This loss of our single largest natural resource is going to cause a huge loss in tourism dollars which translates to job losses in an already down economy. There will be loses among commercial fishermen who will have less area to fish and will have to travel further to meet their quotas. Jobs brought in by the wind farm are apt to be union and out of state jobs, they will not be filled by the locals. On top of which, electricity from renewable energy costs 2-3 times more than conventional electricity, so an already strapped economy will get a double whammy with higher electrical costs.

    If Cape Wind fails, as other proposed marine wind farms across the country have, who will pay the price? Will the government bail them out? Who will clean up any construction in progress or towers that are no longer being maintained or used? Once Nantucket Sound is gone it is a natural resource that is gone forever.

    No I am not against the wind farm; I am against the location of the wind farm. South of Martha’s Vineyard there is a little island called No Man’s Land. Most likely anybody who lives west or north of the Cape Cod Canal has never heard of No Man’s Land. During the Cold War this little island was used as a military ordinance testing ground. This area is no longer used, yet is and always will be, off limits to the public. The island is surrounded by shoals, as is most of the waters south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. These waters don’t make for great boating, but they make for shallow installation of towers and actually better, unobstructed wind for a wind farm. Why has this never been a consideration? Money. It would cost more money to install a cable from there to one of the islands and then to the mainland. It is all about the wind farm’s bottom line, not the residents of Cape Cod who have to live here.

    Senator Kennedy, a Cape Cod resident, has been highly criticized for being against Cape Wind. Many consider him an elitist, too old or senile but he has done nothing but stand up for his constituents. He was elected to represent the best interest of the people of Massachusetts and that is exactly what he has always done and even continues to do now. He is not against renewable energy. It was his brother, President Kennedy, who was hailed for having the forethought to save a good portion of the Cape from development when he proposed the Cape Cod Natural Seashore. Now his brother is being chastised for his forethought to save Nantucket Sound. Senator Kennedy is for what is best for the people of Cape Cod and the people who enjoy vacationing here.

    Sometimes when looking at what is “right” we also have to look at the big (and small) picture and find what is best for everyone. In this case wind energy is best placed south of its current proposed location so that it can benefit the environment as well as the people it serves.

     

     

     

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    Hypermiling

    alternative, energy, green living, Uncategorized

    The word is out, and the word is hypermiling! Oh yeah! Believe it or not hypermilling is the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year. Their definition is …“Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” is to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques.

     

    As with every seemingly admirable activity on the face of the earth, some people take hypermiling too far. If you read the hypermiling forums, you will here about people not breaking through turns, shutting off their car while coasting to a stop, or riding the draft from large trucks. These are all very dangerous practices and in some cases even illegal. While driving, you should be focused on the road and your surroundings. You should be a defensive driver. You should not be more concerned for your gas mileage than for the safety of yourself and the people around you. Some of these practices have not even been proven to save fuel.

     

    The truth is that standard practices to save gas are actually, by definition, hypermiling. These tried and true techniques can not be overstated enough.

     

    Basic ways to save fuel in your car are as follows:

    1)    Properly inflate your tires – can save 1 to 2 mpg and extend the life of your tires. More on this later.

    2)    Proper tire tread – insert a penny into the tread of your tire, if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head you need new tires. Some experts think you should do this with a quarter.

    3)    Purchasing the correct fuel – most cars do not need a high octane fuel (check your owners manual), using eeFuel  can make all octane levels work more efficiently.

    4)    Reduce resistance – Remove ski racks and luggage storage containers when not in use.

    5)    Check your gas cap – gas evaporates from old, cracked or not secure gas caps. Turn you gas cap four times to assure it is tightened properly. Consider getting a locking gas cap to prevent siphoning.

    6)    Use your manufacturers recommended grade of motor oil.

    7)    Avoid idling – a good rule of thumb is if you plan to idle for more than a minute shut it off. Go in don’t use the drive-up. Put the car in park at red lights.

    8)    Keep extra weight out of your trunk – just carry emergency items.

    9)    Slow down – I’m not asking you to go 55mph, you might be a victim of road rage if you don’t cause an accident first. But be reasonable, stay back so that you don’t have to brake as often, and use cruise control when you can.

    10)  Maintenance – Pay now or pay later!!!! Keep your car on a regular maintenance program and you will save fuel, save energy and save money. Just installing a new air filter can show measurable fuel savings.

     

    The strange thing is that when I checked around some forums about hypermiling I found there wasn’t much posted since the gas prices started to drop. Does everyone think the fuel shortage is going away? We still need find ways to save fuel, but we also need to find ways to make our carbon footprint smaller. Things like wind power, solar power, and hydrogen will provide better conservation than driving dangerously.

     

     

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