Thursday, September 20, 2007

Enough solar electricity to power the US for $.10/kwh

Here is an interesting article I came across about a company that claims they can gear up in the next 18 months to power the entire US with solar power that would cost less then $.10 per kilowatt hour!

Sunny Outlook: Can Sunshine Provide All U.S. Electricity?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quick Tips for the Day for Saving Water & Gas

Here are two quick tips that will help you save the earth and your wallet!

1. When you stop for lunch and are thinking about the drive-thru, think again. Instead of sitting in your car waiting to order while it's running, why don't you just park and run inside to order? You'll get a little exercise in the process, and you can save some gas as well (not to mention the carbon you will release while the car was running!).

2. Do you have a kitchen (or any room) faucet that takes forever to get warm water? There are some great solutions out there to get you hot water faster, but even easier why not save the water that you are running while waiting for it to warm up? Set a bowl or pat in the sink while you run the water. Once the water warms up take the bowl away and use it for your original goal. Then use the bowl of water to water your plants, rinse off dishes etc. Also think about keeping the bowl there if you are just washing your hands or something like that. The little bit of soap or debris that was on your hands won't bother your flowers at all. Then you won't have to run more water to take care of the plants!

The Laing Autocirc pumps are a great way to get hot water quickly to your taps without wasting water. They claim that for a average family of four, installing one of their pumps will save about 17,000 gallons a year! I put one in my house and love it. Instant hot water when ever you need it! When I have more time I'm going to do a blog post here with some pictures of the process of installing the pump and more of a review, so check back.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stop spending money on bottled water, before it literally kills you!

Here's an interesting thought that I came across today. The bottles that your bottled water comes in actually contaminates the water you drink from them. There are all types of water bottles out there, none of which are truly safe to drink your water from (at least none that bottled water is sold in).

There are actually large municipalities and swanky restaurants that are banning the bottles!

Studies have shown that the water in the bottles is typically no better then what is coming out of your tap. Almost half of the time the water in the bottles started out as tap water anyway.

The major environmental problem with the bottles is the manufacturing process and the disposal process is using up oil, and clogging out landfills.

Additionally, bottled water costs thousands of times more then the water that is flowing out of your tap! Now is is really a solution that will save you some green!

All of these factors add up to one thing: Buy one good truly reusable water bottle and fill it with water from you tap. It'll be better for you and thousands of times cheaper!

The following is a link for a water bottle that good for you, and will actually keep track of you hydration level! Sportline HydraCoach Intelligent Water Bottle (SL705)

Want to know more of the details? Check out the following articles:

Tapped Out
Bottled Water
The Bottled Water Madness
Plastic Water Bottles: Really Bad for the Environment

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Affordable Wind Power - DIY

This is what we've all been looking for, for quite some time. I'd like to put solar on my roof, and a turbine on my land, but I've yet to find something that is cost effective. Take a look at what I've come across here.

It's a wind turbine that is tall and skinny, that looks simple enough to install on my land myself, doesn't take up to much area because there are no blades, and costs less then $4,000!

It looks perfect. It produces 1KWH in an average 12 mph wind. It'll kick on at 8mph, and is rated for wind up to 100 mph. The maintenance takes about 30 mins a year, and you have to change the inverter every 10 years. Seems pretty "fool proof!"

So far everything I have seen simply is not cost effective. Or even if it was the project would be much to large a scale for the two acres I own, and then free time in my life.

If anyone out there has installed one of these before please comment on this post. I am seriously considering placing and order!

Normally it is my understanding that if you have solar or wind there is some electrical equipment that you need to install so that the power created will power your house when needed and additional power created will go back into the grid. The website mentioned something about a "plug n' produce" option which sounds like you can just plug it into your household outlet and power the house that way. Sounds interesting and much cheaper then installing all the other equipment. It does say you can also hardwire it as well.

Now 1KWH isn't going to supply all the power you will need, but it certainly will cut into your power bill. And it looks pretty scalable. In other words I am thinking about getting one to try it, and if it seems to work well then add a second one, and so on.

Finally a affordable personal renewable energy source that I an install myself for a nice weekend project!

Link: Affordable Wind Turbine

Wind Turbines in Bahrain World Trade Center

Here's and idea that I thought was a great one. This is an article about how the world trade center in Bahrain used some unused space to create some green energy.

They installed three wind turbines on an existing sky scraper. The article doesn't give much as far as info about the spec but it seems like a great idea. I'd be interested to see if they could supply all the power for that building.

As you'll see there are quite a few comments from readers all who seem to think they are smarter then the next. They can't really have any specific knowledge of the project so it's amazing that they know so much, but they do touch on all of the elements that I'm sure when into the decision of whether to install the turbines. Someone has to be the devil's advocate right?

Link: Bahrain World Trade Center Getting Its Turbines

Monday, September 3, 2007

Solar Oven - Saving the planet one muffin at a time!

Ok, have you heard of these? Remember when you were a kid and you were chasing ants around with a magnifying glass during you summer vacation? Well the concept is the same only now you are cooking dinner.

I've seen plans for them online and in magazines, but have not yet had the time to build one. The most basic plans I've seen called for a plywood box that was lines with sheet metal. The most sophisticated one that I've seen I read about in Business2.0, where a company was selling professionally made units that came on their own trailer. They were selling them to third world countries so that people could use them to cook instead of building a fire, thus reducing pollution.

The following are some links of sites that either sell solar cookers or offer plans to build your own:

Solar Cookers International
How to Build a Solar Cooker
The Solar Oven Society
How to Make a Pizza Box Oven

Of course any solar oven is going to save you either electricity, propane, or whatever you use to run your current oven. Even if you don't use it every day, every little bit will help. Just think of all the CO2 you'll keep out of the atmosphere, while you enjoy your favorite recipe with your family!