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Topic Summary

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 04, 2018, 02:51:41 pm »



Zero-Energy Homes Are Ready for Mainstream Markets

October 2, 2018  |  By Alisa Petersen Michael Gartman

SNIPPET:

Zero-energy (ZE) homes—efficient homes that produce or procure as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year—are often marketed as luxury homes, only available to the select few that are willing to pay a significant premium to do the right thing for the environment. In keeping with this luxury perception, research shows these homes are often more comfortable and healthier than conventional homes for a variety of reasons. Mainstream media outlets have suggested cost premiums as high as 40 percent for sustainable real estate.

However, the economics for these homes have changed: ZE homes have quietly passed cost thresholds that make them not only good for the environment but also cost-effective. As the underlying technologies and design elements continue to improve and scale, these costs will continue to decline.

Read more:

https://www.rmi.org/zero-energy-homes-are-ready-for-mainstream-markets/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 04, 2018, 02:38:17 pm »



RMI RELEASES NEW VIDEO ON CARBON-FREE CITIES

Cities are at the forefront of climate change risk and opportunity. Over 9,000 cities are making climate commitments, but they will only get us so far and must be substantiated with on-the-ground solutions that enable cities to make rapid progress toward near-term decarbonization and put them on a path to full climate neutrality. RMI’s new Carbon-Free Cities video highlights work in four cities in Europe, China, India, and the US that are leading the efforts against climate change with innovative on-the-ground projects.

WATCH NOW:


Rocky Mountain Institute

Published on Sep 28, 2018

Cities are at the forefront of climate change risk and opportunity. Nearly 600 cities are making climate commitments, but they will only get us so far and must be substantiated with on-the-ground solutions that enable cities to make rapid progress toward near-term decarbonization, and put them on a path to full climate-neutrality.

The Carbon-Free City Handbook helps city staff implement climate policies and actions that resolutely place their communities on an aggressive path toward sustainable, low-carbon economies.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 14, 2018, 05:50:53 pm »




THE REPORT

Designers vs. Climate Change

Leading architects, designers, and urban planners are devising plans to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Are they our best hope for a brighter future?

Posted July 4, 2018

text by Meaghan O'Neill


SNIPPET:

For professionals like these, business as usual is simply outdated. In the U.S. today, buildings consume 39 percent of total energy used—higher than both the transportation (29 percent) and industrial (32 percent) sectors. But what if buildings—or even entire cities—could generate more energy than they used, clean the surrounding air and water, and even sequester carbon dioxide? The idea isn’t too far-fetched.

Technology to mitigate emissions already exists, is accessible, and can even be cost-effective. And small course corrections in our approach to the built environment could make a big a difference in emissions industry-wide. (Designing for resilience—that is, creating and protecting built environments that will withstand rising seas, more frequent and severe storms, and other effects of climate change—is also paramount.) According to Paul Hawken’s 2017 book Drawdown, if just 9.7 percent of new buildings were net-zero energy by 2050, global greenhouse gas emissions would be 7.1 gigatons lower. That’s equivalent to eliminating annual emissions from all livestock worldwide. Yet the biggest barrier to building greener buildings and cities may not be cost or political will, but simply inertia.

Top: A modern home by ZeroEnergy Design; Above: The interior of a barn renovated by ZeroEnergy Design. Photo: Eric Roth

“Designing a building to code is the worst possible building you could build,” says Horowitz. “We need to do better.” Considering fuel inputs, the entire lifecycle of a building and the future of the grid are essential factors, says Horowitz, a self-proclaimed “data literacy” advocate who joined the Architecture 2030 Challenge (a group with the goal to make all buildings and major renovations carbon-neutral by 2030) as a way to stay publicly accountable for all projects in her portfolio.

It’s also worth mentioning that building smaller, more efficient spaces would go a long way toward reducing our collective carbon footprint. In the 1950s, for example, the size of the average American home was about 1,700 square feet; today, it’s closer to 2,500 🐷 🐖.

Designing for Low Carbon Impact—and Human Beings

“Decisions we make as architects and engineers impact the land we build on for the next 100 years,” says Cara Carmichael, an engineer and environmental designer at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit organization that works to dissuade the use of fossil fuels. With the help of ZGF Architects, RMI recently built its 15,610-square-foot Innovation Center in Basalt, Colorado, to be a showcase of net-zero energy efficiency.


By using high-end windows and insulation, an airtight envelope, passive solar design, natural and efficient artificial lighting, automation and metering, natural ventilation, and photovoltaics, the building can produce more energy than it uses in a year. In cooler months, radiant heating delivers warm air where people need it most, instead of overheating low-use spaces (like ceilings and transitional areas). The result is a building that’s 74 percent more efficient than its average counterpart.

While advanced systems react to external weather and lighting conditions, people who occupy the building retain precise control over their micro-environments. Desk, ceiling, and even in-chair fans allow for personal adjustments. And while a sophisticated louver system creates shade as necessary—eliminating the need for air conditioning—individuals can open windows when they want fresh air. Because buildings like this champion low-tech methods (tight envelopes and LED lighting, for example) rather than high-tech mechanical systems, they can often be built at or near the same cost as a traditional building.

One key to success is the early integration of cross-disciplinary teams who can accurately predict how a building will perform over its lifecycle. “It’s not just a check-the-box thing,” says Carmichael, who collaborated with architects, engineers, land planners, solar and lighting experts, and contractors to crunch numbers from the get-go. “It’s a powerful tool to shape design.”

Net Zero, Passive House, and Living Buildings

Since the 1990s, various certifications, like the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, have emerged for healthier buildings with lower carbon impact. Now, Net Zero, Passive House, and Living Buildings labels are also helping designers create better spaces. Though specific criteria vary, they ultimately share several common goals: The design of built environments that use less fossil fuel energy, produce less pollution, and improve the well-being of people who use them.

Built in collaboration with the Miller Hull Partnership, the Bullitt Center in Seattle, a designated Living Building, is a net-positive energy building that uses photovoltaics to generate power. There’s no cooling system—windows automatically open and close—and it even employs six stories of composting toilets. In short, it operates like a natural system—always responding to its conditions.

Designer Jason McLennan explains Living Buildings in a TEDx talk.


To reduce their impacts significantly, such buildings implement these and other tools, including ground source heat pumps, smart thermostats, green roofs, and closed-loop water systems. While some features remain expensive to install, all are easy to acquire.

Several public and multi-unit Passive House projects are also pushing the efficiency envelope. In New York, the Perch Harlem, designed by architect Chris Benedict, consumes 90 percent less energy than a standard building and 75 percent less than similar new construction. “Making these projects happen—and quickly—at scale is really exciting,” says Horowitz, who has also worked on several multi-unit spaces. Elsewhere, entire communities are working toward net-zero energy goals. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, for example, plans are underway for all new buildings to be net-zero by 2040.

FULL ARTICLE:

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/designers-architects-take-on-climate-change


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 03, 2018, 02:20:13 pm »

I will do a bit of shameless plugging for the company. Here is a testimonial to one of our showcase systems. There is nothing modest here to see but it is the reality of what is pushing solar forward. 3 panels on a cabin might be noble in its austerity but those systems do lights some water pumping and a bit of refrigeration at best. This one is a grid zero system which uses the grid when it needs a boost but does not feed back to it.  Enjoy


Nice system, and what a nice testimonial! What's the output?

And the house. Wow. I'll never own anything that nice, I don't expect.

Investment banker? Gold miner?



I wrote this and lost it, so this is the Cliffs Notes version.

I picked this installer because I know someone who works there. Turns out they are a local company but are 100% Sunpower. The Texas franchise, entire state. They do Whole Foods and UT. Lots of high end installs. Their panels are engineered differently than any panel I've ever seen. Design improvements according to them. They claim almost zero hail problems in this hail prone area, which is impressive.

100% Micro-inverters. He said they just bought Enphase and would be using Enphase inverters going forward.


Any feedback on Sunpower?

The deal is excellent. But they have to achieve a certain efficiency level to get me the city rebate. That means I can't immediately put panels on the east facing roof. Because it would lower the efficiency of the entire system.

I'd have to do 43 panels on the south and west faces to max them and get the rebate. That's a 13.8 Kw system and it should cut my grid bill by about half, according to their estimate, and he says they hit it pretty close. I still get the federal tax credit too. That's much more of a subsidy (30%).

I can also get a federal tax credit on adding the additional lower output east-facing panels, which I can add as soon as I collect the rebate on the first install. I haven't yet seen numbers on how much that would add to the output.

They have stellar financing (2.9% for 12 years), so I can buy the 13.8Kw system with the same dollars I'm using to buy power. That seems like a no brainer. I'll max the east roof too, I think. I want to see how much it adds to the bill.

Stellar warranty from Sunpower, which also warrants the install (roof leaks included). They use Invisimount racking. 25 year warranty  on everything, 92% efficiency guaranteed in 25 years.

And once again, the federal tax credit is going away. Not for a couple of years I think, but with the cost of borrowing almost guaranteed to go up too, it looks like a good time to make this happen
.
sounds good. Do a websearch on the reviews of the enphase model they are selecting. They had some duds. I'll admit I'm biased as I had to replace 23 of them out of 40 on a nice old ladies roof this spring. That was 3 years ago though I'm sure they are back on their game now. Split roof partial shade micros are the way to go...

Will do. Thanks for your advice. It is greatly appreciated.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: July 03, 2018, 02:03:21 pm »


I will do a bit of shameless plugging for the company. Here is a testimonial to one of our showcase systems. There is nothing modest here to see but it is the reality of what is pushing solar forward. 3 panels on a cabin might be noble in its austerity but those systems do lights some water pumping and a bit of refrigeration at best. This one is a grid zero system which uses the grid when it needs a boost but does not feed back to it.  Enjoy


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 30, 2018, 09:36:12 pm »

Sorry David, but the term "rosy" has a connotation of not being real world. Why do you think I would assume otherwise? I do not get it.

I too love RMI. I am glad you share my respect for all the solutions they propose. I apologize if I misunderstood you. They want everybody to go electric. I do too. you said that was a "rosy" scenario. You then said you were going to follow a different path. What, exactly did I miss?
Regarding heating in the winter, my wife really likes our wood pellet stove.

You do not understand how radical that statement is.

When we got the house, it also came with electric baseboard heating, so the understanding was, we would be using that, and the wood pellet stove would get torn out eventually.  But she agreed to give it a try, and we ended up never using the the baseboard heating, only using a couple plug-in electric space heaters for a few hours about a dozen times when we would wake up to find the stove had gone out in the middle of the night.



Oh, I understand how "radical" it seems to most people, all right; So does Amory Lovins.

Amory Lovins on Energy Efficency Breakthroughs (real world 90% plus waste reduction) that seem hard to believe:

Quote
"Only puny secrets need protection; big discoveries are protected by public incredulity."

JD, I have never had a baseboard spaceheater in my present  70' X 14 ' extremely well insulated and energy efficient Pine Grove Manufactured home. It came with a kerosene fired furnace. That furnace was a cash cow for the maintenance people that had a "silver" or a "gold" contract which included the "inspection" annually and lowered rates for (Help! NO HEAT!) home visits in a winter emergency. Those contracts were ignored by yours truly. Those contracts, as far back as the year 2000, were a MINIMUM of $200 a year. Those contracts DID NOT include fuel costs or routine electrode replacements, though they did include labor. BFD. They would punish you for not taking their contracts by charging you $90 just to come to your home in winter (NO HEAT!) BEFORE parts and labor. And THAT was if it was during a weekday during the day. Nights and weekends were, OF COURSE, extra.

I considered that highway robbery. I still do. I shudder to think what that pack of furnance maintenance crooks charge now.

And then there were those nice folks from Rowley Fuels who wanted my social security number so they could establish an account for me where coulld pay within 30 days of receiving the bill so I did not have to pay when the Kerosene was delivered. I had been their customer in the home I had rented right next to this one (before this one existed) for two years. I was not having any of that. So, I continued to pay on delivery with a check, even though it was a hassle when the weather was really bitter cold and snowy.

Since you do not understand how not having white privilege works, I won't bore you with details about how every dumbassed ignorant local yokel here is NOT asked for a social security number to be billed monthly for his fuel.

Any IDIOT can tell that the fuel company MUST be paid, or they won't keep providing you with fuel. So, you can pretend Rowley fuels was acting reasonably if you wish. They weren't. As I said before, since you have never been in my shoes, you cannot understand how clever Vermont style prejudices are directed towards brown folks like me and my wife. You and I have been down this road before. Believe what you will. I willl not argue with you. The irony for Rowley Fuels' selective social security requests Vermont fun and games "procedure" is that the dude with the "right color" that bought that trailer after I left eventually stiffed Rowley Fuels (I observed fuel deliveries when no one was home. The guy would leave the bill at the door). I know he eventually stiffed them because one winter (a few years later) the Rowley Fuels truck showed up at his home three times within a month after fuel delivery, without delivering fuel. No one would answer the door. A few months later a different outfit delivered the fuel. LOL 

Now I will return to the cost issue.

After the cost of Kerosene went to the moon (around 2003), PLUS some ungodly gauging by the furnance maintenance people, I decided that the furnace was not economically practical, when compared with small electric heaters.

Some background is in order. I had baseboard space heaters a long, long time ago in a two story Colonial (5357 Fortuna Parkway, Clay, New York - you can see it with Google Earth) I owned when I worked at Syracuse TRACON (1978-1982). They've got a pool now. I didn't, but I planted those trees 🌳 🌳in the back .  I also planted two blue spruce 🌲🌲 in the front as wind breaks but the new owners chopped them down around 2002 👎.  I supplemented that incredibly expensive (0.11 per kWh back THEN!) electrical heat with a couple of cords of wood (I would buy annually as logs and saw and split myself) with fireplace heating.

Before anybody jumps in and tells me how fireplace heating is "inefficient" because you actually lose more heat up the chimney than you get from the wood while you are faked out into believing otherwise by the radiant heat from the flames, let me explain that I had an insert in the fireplace with pipes and and tempered glass doors. The heatilator gizmo convected cooler air from the family room into the pipes that fed the air out the upper part of the unit back into the room.

I know how to make a fireplace efficient, even if most people don't. I know how to avoid creosote issues and chimney hot spots too.

Where were we? Right, the kerosene furnace is more thermodynamically efficient than electric heating (WHEN MAINTENANCE, LABOR, PARTS AND BUSH FUEL PRICE SHOCKS ARE IGNORED).

As of 2004, after a winter where a (Help! NO HEAT!) rather expensive maintenance guy almost killed us by setting the electrodes so poorly that some unprejudiced Vermonter with a conscience on the street (DAYS LATER!) stopped and warned us that our stack was all black and billowing black smoke (NO, complaining to the maintenance people did not help. NO, they did not reimburse us for the cost of that visit. YES, we had to pay for ANOTHER visit where a different dude set the electrode gap properly. ). I said, THAT'S IT! I'M DONE WITH THIS CRAP!

We went electric with portable heaters. We heated more ourselves than all 980 square feet of the home.

Yeah, it's not as comfortable as the WASTEFUL PIG HABIT of keeping he house toasty, which is the customary American way. Yeah, I used to do that. Yeah, it should not be done. Yeah, we need to reduce ourselves. Yeah, though it turned out to be more efficient (used LESS ENERGY) than the Kerosene CRAP furnace, I switched so I could save MONEY, not energy.

We do not DO long baseboard space heaters. They are STUPID. They are INEFFICIENT. If you have them, THROW THEM AWAY.

JD, you are a permaculture guy. I suggest you take a HARD LOOK at WHERE those wood chip pellets, that you THINK are coming from waste shrups of shavings or whatever, are REALLY coming from. THAT IS, they are DESTROYING old growth forests for those "efficient" wood pellets! If your supplier has sworn on a stack of Bibles that they do not get their wood from virgin or old growth forests, they are LYING to you. 

Now, with the Vornado use a phenomenon that they poorly understood in the past, a type of air swirl is created that electrically heats with much LESS energy than before.

Go 100% ELECTRIC ZONE Heating, JD. If you can get that juice from solar panels, so much the better, but stop using wood for heat and/or gas for cooking. It's BAD for the biosphere. It provides profits to people that do not give a rat's ass about future generations.

The only one that can claim a lick of sense in continuing to burn wood for heat here is David B. because he harvests it himself, PERIOD.

Anyone that tells you that hydrocarbon heating is more energy efficient than ZONE electrical resistance heating is cherry picking convenient facts and ignoring inconvenient realities of the VAST amount of energy required just to GET THAT HYDROCARBON FROM THE WELL TO THE REFINERY TO STRIP OUT THE OXYGEN TO THEN GO THROUGH THE CRACKING TOWERS TO THE STORAGE TANKS TO THE TRUCK TO THE SUPPLIER TO YOUR HOUSE where, of course, Amerikans bask in high energy density/enthalpy of hydrocarbons for heat and poo-poo those ugly, inefficient, fire hazard, baby killer (you get the idea) electric heaters.  ::)

The fact that ONE furnace requires MUCH MORE energy to manufacture than that needed to manufacture the TOTAL amount of ZONE electric heaters you will need for about FIFTY YEARS OR SO, is somehow not part of the "efficiency" calculations.  ::)

The fact that ONE furnace costs MUCH MORE MONEY than the TOTAL amount of ZONE electric heaters you will need for about FIFTY YEARS OR SO, is somehow not part of the "cost" calculations.  ::)

The FACT that electric heaters are maintenance free versus furnace ANNUAL maintenance inspection costs plus $100 (plus $) winter visits for NO HEAT and labor and parts, are not part of the "cost comparison" calculations.  ::)

Finally, there is one DETAIL that I love to bring up. If the igniter/electrode assemply is not tuned EXACTLY RIGHT, you don't get complete combustion. The electrode gap gets out of spec regularly. Most people don't get it adjusted (unless black smoke is billowing out your stack, of course  :P) more than once a YEAR, if they are thorough. Many have them checked only when the smoke looks strange, NOT even annually.

THEREFORE, any fossil fueler that parades the enthalpy of Kerosene as a justification for using that hydrocarbon CRAP over electric resistance heating is pushing ERRONEOUS energy density figures. Those Infernal electrodes start losing spec within two months of having their gap set. I KNOW. I watched my stack often (experience is the best teacher. :P). Those electrodes WEAR from HEAT in the combustion chamber of the furnace. Those electrodes have to be changed.

You NEVER have to change an electrical resistance on an electric heater unless your dog ate a portion of it.

Burning Kerosene is STUPID. Using electric ZONE small heaters with Vornado swirl technology is SMART.

I have done ALL the math on furnaces. They are NOT cost efective. The defenders of that hydrocarbon burning CRAP will argue until the cows come home about hydrocarbon high energy density/enthalpy and the "horrendous" efficiency losses using a resistance to heat with entail. They will yaba-daba-doo about how electricity is mostly produced by burning hydrocarbons, as if the OBVIOUS solution to that was not simply getting MORE electricity from Renewable Technology, NOT keeping on with the hydrocarbon horseshit!

I am SICK AND TIRED of the DUMBASSED GAME the proponents of this insane, unsustainble clusterfuck called hydrocarbon based civilization keep trying to play by defending the abysmal stupidity, as well as totally unjustified INEFFICIENCY, never mind the POLLUTION added on, of this SUICIDAL use of hydrocarbons. These IDIOTS are quiet as DEATH about the 174,000 PLUS gasolene fires in cars each year PLUS the 500 or so deaths each year, just in the USA, from CO poisoning CAUSED by using hydrocarbons for heat.

Quote
CO poisoning is the nation's leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths ☠️. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 500 people die due to CO poisoning annually. https://sf-fire.org/carbon-monoxide-facts

INSTEAD, these hydrocarboon hustlers wail and moan about those electric space heaters burning down houses and killing all those poor people that didn't use hydrocarbons to heat their home, like all good Germans Americans should. 😇

BULLSHIT! Vornado, and other types of top notch small area electric heaters have all sorts of failsafes now. They use air swirl fluid dynamics physics (NEW scientific knowledge pioneered by AMORY LOVINS!) that vastly improved efficiency. In addition, there are some other high tech type electric heaters, that, though above my budget, are even more efficient.

Yeah, I know I'm not going to convince that pack of stubborn hydrocarbon loving mules here of going fully electric. I get that. They are married to the past. That past is killing us. They DO NOT get that. I do.

The only downside, which I DO NOT consider a downside, but some bright bulb here certainly may consider it as a downside, is the water pipe risk of freezing. The furnace has ducts under the floor, next to the water pipes. The ducts, though insulated, stlll lose some heat that keeps the pipes well above freezing. So, since we switched to all electric nearly 15 years ago  ;D, we have to open the faucet a bit during the two most bitterly cold months here (January and February).

Anyone that claims hydrocarbon heating is more efficient than electrical resistance heating is married to the past and quoting inaccurate figures from old electrical use technology, as well as furnace efficiency figures based on complete combustion, something that does NOT happen for ten months out of the year, in addition to all the other vast amount of energy required to get that crap to your house.

Amory Lovins HAS DONE ALL THE MATH. Electric heating is NOT "radical". Electric heating is the only truly sustainable way to heat, as long as we get that juice from Renewables. See below how the Rocky Mountain Institute has PROVEN that electrical resistance heating is the tecchnology everyone should embrace NOW.

Quote
  The Innovation Center redefines how occupants experience and control their individual comfort. Integrative design eliminated mechanical cooling and reduced the heating system to a small, distributed electric-resistance system.

Most buildings rely on blowing hot or cold air using large combined HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems to maintain a set temperature, which wastes energy and actually has little impact on how comfortable a person feels. In contrast, the Innovation Center addresses all six factors that impact individual comfort, requiring dramatically less energy.

Six Factors that Influence Comfort

The Innovation Center’s comfort strategy is guided by the following factors, which were delivered according to listed design strategies:

Air velocity: Fans overhead, USB and standing fans, and fans in personal heating and cooling chairs

Surface temperature:
Superinsulating windows and envelope, thermal mass, bio-phase-change materials in walls and lightshelves, predictive preconditioning by charging thermal mass with a night flush, and personal heating and cooling chairs

Air temperature: Natural ventilation, operable windows, distributed, radiant heating mats in floors, and aggressive heat recovery (90% efficient) to preheat ventilation air

Clothing level:
Adaptive dress code for staff and event attendees

Metabolic rate: Stand-up desk options

Humidity: Not actively controlled

Technologies to Deliver Comfort

Several technologies are used in the Innovation Center to deliver thermal comfort, using the least amount of energy possible including:

Electric floor mats provide targeted, radiant heat to occupants and are only used on the coldest mornings.

Personalized heating/cooling chairs provide occupants with individual thermal controls by delivering heating and cooling directly to their body with only 14 watts in heating mode, and four watts in ventilation mode.

Personal USB fans that plug into computers for each occupant. Good airflow, (>120 fpm) enables air temperatures to be four degrees F warmer without making occupants uncomfortable.

High-efficiency ceiling fans that use only two to 30 watts depending on speed settings, exceeding ENERGY STAR requirements by 450–750%

 https://rmi.org/our-work/buildings/pathways-to-zero/scaling-zero-net-carbon/rmi-innovation-center/thermal-comfort/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 28, 2018, 05:40:09 pm »

Bananas 🍌 at 8,000 feet in colorado without hydrocarbon heat 1982-2009!
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 28, 2018, 05:29:51 pm »

EcoWatch

By Natural Resources Defense Council

Jun. 25, 2018 11:52AM EST

Clean Electric Heating Already Cost-Effective for Many  

By Pierre Delforge

A new report bolsters the case for widespread electrification of heat ⚡  and hot water ⚡ in buildings.

The report by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)  finds that replacing onsite use of fossil fuels in buildings by efficient and flexible electric ⚡ heating is a key component of the deep decarbonization necessary to limit global average temperature increase to 2°C.

It also concludes that if our country is to reach decarbonization goals, it will require eliminating most or all of the pollution generated by the burning of fossil fuels in furnaces and water heaters, along with other measures.

The report reinforces the findings of an earlier NRDC study, which cites broad electrification of buildings, factories and vehicles as among the ambitious but achievable actions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 and stave off the worst effects of climate change.

NRDC's report, America's Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future, envisions roughly 90 percent of U.S. residential and commercial buildings to use electric space- and water-heating appliances by 2050, up from just under half today. It also calls for boosting the use of electric vehicles so that they represent about 30 percent of new vehicle sales by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.

Both reports highlight the benefits of using electricity from an increasingly clean grid in place of fossil fuels like natural gas for space and water heating, an often overlooked, but critical path for reducing carbon pollution.

RMI's report, The Economics of Electrifying Buildings, notes that electrification ⚡ can deliver cost savings, especially for new home construction, oil and propane customers, and homes that bundle electrification with rooftop solar.

When owners of existing homes install or replace an air conditioner at the same time as they electrify heating, electrification costs roughly the same as a new gas furnace and A/C. And this is when home electrification is still avant-garde, and early adopters pay premium prices for equipment, installation and electricity use. As the market develops, competition increases, and utilities offer electric rates that better reflect the cost of supplying energy at different times of day, electrification costs will come down, making it the more cost-effective option for most Americans.

Electric space and water heating also can be managed to shift energy consumption in time, aiding the cost-effective integration of large amounts of renewable energy onto the grid, the report notes. This can further reduce carbon pollution and generate utility bill savings. This is already becoming important in states like California which have committed to ramping up their use of clean energy like solar and wind power.

Both reports are must reads for state and local officials who have moved to pick up the slack on climate action in the absence of Washington's leadership in confronting the crisis. The authors have the following recommendations for utilities, regulators and policymakers:

1. Prioritize rapid electrification of buildings currently using propane and heating oil in space and water heating.

2. Stop supporting the expansion of the natural gas distribution system, including for new construction.

3. Bundle demand flexibility programs, new rate designs, and energy efficiency with electrification initiatives.

4. Expand demand flexibility options for existing electric space and water heating loads.

5. Update energy efficiency resource standards and related goals to account for total energy reduction across fuels (fossil fuels and electricity).

California, long a clean energy trendsetter, has already taken steps to promote electrification in transportation and in buildings.

But more can—and must—be done.

California is considering legislation that would promote building decarbonization.

Assembly Bill 3232, which has passed the Assembly and is now before the Senate, would require the California Energy Commission to assess how best to reduce emissions from residential and commercial buildings by at least 40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2030.

Senate Bill 1477, which has passed the Senate and is before the Assembly, would require the energy commission to develop two programs: the first to provide incentives for designers and builders to innovate and build near-zero emissions new buildings; the second to spur the market development of clean heating technologies such as high-efficiency heat pumps.

The fossil fuels and the electricity we use in buildings are responsible for roughly one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and natural gas and propane burned for space and water heating are the largest source of those emissions.

Nationally, the burning of fossil fuels for space and water heating in buildings generates 560 million tons of carbon pollution each year, a tenth of total U.S. emissions, the RMI study notes.

Substituting electricity for fossil fuels to heat homes and businesses could cut U.S. carbon pollution by 10 percent, the RMI study says.

But building electrification faces challenges, such as low consumer awareness of the benefits and availability of the technology, limited contractor expertise and higher upfront costs for high-efficiency products.

SB 1477 would help reduce costs by developing the market for clean heating technologies in the way that California's Solar Initiative has driven the growth of solar in the state. As RMI's analysis points out, the cost of new heating technology such as heat pumps will decline as the market grows.

As RMI's and NRDC's reports spell out, electrification offers significant opportunities to cut harmful pollution, and reduce utility bills, two critical opportunities to help mitigate California's air pollution and housing affordability challenges.

We now need to turn the opportunities into action.

https://www.ecowatch.com/clean-electric-heating-2581218126.html
RMI press releases are always so rosy. Its very hard to do heating on renewables in the more northern climes. The mismatch between sun hours and heat requirements is hard to overcome. Banked hydro and massive wind deployment but still.  The new generation of heat pumps hold promise but it locks you into a grid dependant net metered scenario.  I dislike grid tied. It has its uses but you have to buy in to all the losses and costs of a large grid and it does not foster conservation or resiliency.  I will be moving to solar electric hot water for summertime usage within two years Far too much solar in the summer so use it or loose it. For winter time heat I'll stick to my wood stove.
Cheers,   David

As long as you do what you are presently doing to keep your family happy and healthy, you are a credit to the human species in regard to prudent energy use. That said, remember that most people live in urban environments where they cannot go out and chop some wood, as you can. I live in a wooded area and am prohibited from touching any tree in my rented lot for any reason.

In regard to your view that RMI likes to paint "rosy" scenarios, I beg to differ. That group of scientists as as hard nosed as they come. Their Chief Scientist, Amory Lovins (he is a physicist), way back in the 1980's, designed and built his own fluid measurement instruments, Said instrument data forced the college textbooks on fluid dynamics to be rewritten. The math formulas were wrong. Amory Lovins proved they were wrong. Mechanical Engineers, because they used these faulty math formulas to design the air conditioner compressors and radiators and pipes that fed gasses or liquids into and out of machinery, from giant power plants to lawn mowers, had inadvertently reduced their efficiency by several percentage points. 👎 

Please do NOT say that RMI is painting "rosy" scenarios, David. This society owes RMI BIG TIME for many improvements in refrigeration technology and pipe design, never mind their massive contributions to insulation efficiency in buildings.

RMI did the reinsulating and heating and cooling efficiency maximizing work on the Empire State Building some years back. That building now saves well over one million dollars a year in energy costs. That isn't "rosy", that is real. When Amory Lovins makes the claim that our society can run with 80% less energy, that is not based on happy talk or hopium speculation, it is based on hard nosed scientific, real world analysis of how energy is used and abused in our civilization. It's not "rosy scenario" talk.

Here's what Amory Lovins says about the typical reaction to his claims:

Quote
Only puny secrets need protection; big discoveries are protected by public incredulity. - Amory Lovins

In order for you to know how serious, how detailed, how thorough and how reality based Amory Lovins and his Associates at the Rocky Mountain Institute are, please copy these videos and watch them when you aren't busy. Your Expert Crafstman comprehensive knowledge of building techniques, energy use and insulation materials, as well level of unnecessary energy use inefficiency our civilization operates under will get some good, money making tips from watching these videos. Amory Lovins knows his applied energy use science.



You misunderstand. I love RMI, get all the emails, watch the videos etc. That is not what I mean by rosy. Their numbers always work they are always right on.  This would be a long drawn out series of posts so I won't go into it if you do not see it yourself. No time, no energy.
cheers, David

Sorry David, but the term "rosy" has a connotation of not being real world. Why do you think I would assume otherwise? I do not get it.

I too love RMI. I am glad you share my respect for all the solutions they propose. I apologize if I misunderstood you. They want everybody to go electric. I do too. You said that was a "rosy" scenario. You then said you were going to follow a different path. What, exactly did I miss?
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 28, 2018, 04:43:27 pm »

EcoWatch

By Natural Resources Defense Council

Jun. 25, 2018 11:52AM EST

Clean Electric Heating Already Cost-Effective for Many  

By Pierre Delforge

A new report bolsters the case for widespread electrification of heat ⚡  and hot water ⚡ in buildings.

The report by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)  finds that replacing onsite use of fossil fuels in buildings by efficient and flexible electric ⚡ heating is a key component of the deep decarbonization necessary to limit global average temperature increase to 2°C.

It also concludes that if our country is to reach decarbonization goals, it will require eliminating most or all of the pollution generated by the burning of fossil fuels in furnaces and water heaters, along with other measures.

The report reinforces the findings of an earlier NRDC study, which cites broad electrification of buildings, factories and vehicles as among the ambitious but achievable actions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 and stave off the worst effects of climate change.

NRDC's report, America's Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future, envisions roughly 90 percent of U.S. residential and commercial buildings to use electric space- and water-heating appliances by 2050, up from just under half today. It also calls for boosting the use of electric vehicles so that they represent about 30 percent of new vehicle sales by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.

Both reports highlight the benefits of using electricity from an increasingly clean grid in place of fossil fuels like natural gas for space and water heating, an often overlooked, but critical path for reducing carbon pollution.

RMI's report, The Economics of Electrifying Buildings, notes that electrification ⚡ can deliver cost savings, especially for new home construction, oil and propane customers, and homes that bundle electrification with rooftop solar.

When owners of existing homes install or replace an air conditioner at the same time as they electrify heating, electrification costs roughly the same as a new gas furnace and A/C. And this is when home electrification is still avant-garde, and early adopters pay premium prices for equipment, installation and electricity use. As the market develops, competition increases, and utilities offer electric rates that better reflect the cost of supplying energy at different times of day, electrification costs will come down, making it the more cost-effective option for most Americans.

Electric space and water heating also can be managed to shift energy consumption in time, aiding the cost-effective integration of large amounts of renewable energy onto the grid, the report notes. This can further reduce carbon pollution and generate utility bill savings. This is already becoming important in states like California which have committed to ramping up their use of clean energy like solar and wind power.

Both reports are must reads for state and local officials who have moved to pick up the slack on climate action in the absence of Washington's leadership in confronting the crisis. The authors have the following recommendations for utilities, regulators and policymakers:

1. Prioritize rapid electrification of buildings currently using propane and heating oil in space and water heating.

2. Stop supporting the expansion of the natural gas distribution system, including for new construction.

3. Bundle demand flexibility programs, new rate designs, and energy efficiency with electrification initiatives.

4. Expand demand flexibility options for existing electric space and water heating loads.

5. Update energy efficiency resource standards and related goals to account for total energy reduction across fuels (fossil fuels and electricity).

California, long a clean energy trendsetter, has already taken steps to promote electrification in transportation and in buildings.

But more can—and must—be done.

California is considering legislation that would promote building decarbonization.

Assembly Bill 3232, which has passed the Assembly and is now before the Senate, would require the California Energy Commission to assess how best to reduce emissions from residential and commercial buildings by at least 40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2030.

Senate Bill 1477, which has passed the Senate and is before the Assembly, would require the energy commission to develop two programs: the first to provide incentives for designers and builders to innovate and build near-zero emissions new buildings; the second to spur the market development of clean heating technologies such as high-efficiency heat pumps.

The fossil fuels and the electricity we use in buildings are responsible for roughly one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and natural gas and propane burned for space and water heating are the largest source of those emissions.

Nationally, the burning of fossil fuels for space and water heating in buildings generates 560 million tons of carbon pollution each year, a tenth of total U.S. emissions, the RMI study notes.

Substituting electricity for fossil fuels to heat homes and businesses could cut U.S. carbon pollution by 10 percent, the RMI study says.

But building electrification faces challenges, such as low consumer awareness of the benefits and availability of the technology, limited contractor expertise and higher upfront costs for high-efficiency products.

SB 1477 would help reduce costs by developing the market for clean heating technologies in the way that California's Solar Initiative has driven the growth of solar in the state. As RMI's analysis points out, the cost of new heating technology such as heat pumps will decline as the market grows.

As RMI's and NRDC's reports spell out, electrification offers significant opportunities to cut harmful pollution, and reduce utility bills, two critical opportunities to help mitigate California's air pollution and housing affordability challenges.

We now need to turn the opportunities into action.

https://www.ecowatch.com/clean-electric-heating-2581218126.html
RMI press releases are always so rosy. Its very hard to do heating on renewables in the more northern climes. The mismatch between sun hours and heat requirements is hard to overcome. Banked hydro and massive wind deployment but still.  The new generation of heat pumps hold promise but it locks you into a grid dependant net metered scenario.  I dislike grid tied. It has its uses but you have to buy in to all the losses and costs of a large grid and it does not foster conservation or resiliency.  I will be moving to solar electric hot water for summertime usage within two years Far too much solar in the summer so use it or loose it. For winter time heat I'll stick to my wood stove.
Cheers,   David

As long as you do what you are presently doing to keep your family happy and healthy, you are a credit to the human species in regard to prudent energy use. That said, remember that most people live in urban environments where they cannot go out and chop some wood, as you can. I live in a wooded area and am prohibited from touching any tree in my rented lot for any reason.

In regard to your view that RMI likes to paint "rosy" scenarios, I beg to differ. That group of scientists as as hard nosed as they come. Their Chief Scientist, Amory Lovins (he is a physicist), way back in the 1980's, designed and built his own fluid measurement instruments, Said instrument data forced the college textbooks on fluid dynamics to be rewritten. The math formulas were wrong. Amory Lovins proved they were wrong. Mechanical Engineers, because they used these faulty math formulas to design the air conditioner compressors and radiators and pipes that fed gasses or liquids into and out of machinery, from giant power plants to lawn mowers, had inadvertently reduced their efficiency by several percentage points. 👎 

Please do NOT say that RMI is painting "rosy" scenarios, David. This society owes RMI BIG TIME for many improvements in refrigeration technology and pipe design, never mind their massive contributions to insulation efficiency in buildings.

RMI did the reinsulating and heating and cooling efficiency maximizing work on the Empire State Building some years back. That building now saves well over one million dollars a year in energy costs. That isn't "rosy", that is real. When Amory Lovins makes the claim that our society can run with 80% less energy, that is not based on happy talk or hopium speculation, it is based on hard nosed scientific, real world analysis of how energy is used and abused in our civilization. It's not "rosy scenario" talk.

Here's what Amory Lovins says about the typical reaction to his claims:

Quote
Only puny secrets need protection; big discoveries are protected by public incredulity. - Amory Lovins

In order for you to know how serious, how detailed, how thorough and how reality based Amory Lovins and his Associates at the Rocky Mountain Institute are, please copy these videos and watch them when you aren't busy. Your Expert Crafstman comprehensive knowledge of building techniques, energy use and insulation materials, as well as your knowledge of the level of unnecessary energy use inefficiency our civilization operates under will get some good, money making tips from watching these videos. Amory Lovins knows his applied energy use science.



   Energy efficiency 1 Amory Lovins


Energy efficiency 2 Amory Lovins
Some Key points about "rocket science" t=4292
Energy efficiency 3

Energy efficiency 4


Energy efficiency 5


Bananas 🍌 at 8,000 feet in colorado without hydricarbon heat 1982-2009!

The next industrial revolution
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 26, 2018, 10:16:32 pm »

EcoWatch

By Natural Resources Defense Council

Jun. 25, 2018 11:52AM EST

Clean Electric Heating Already Cost-Effective for Many  

By Pierre Delforge

A new report bolsters the case for widespread electrification of heat ⚡  and hot water ⚡ in buildings.

The report by the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)  finds that replacing onsite use of fossil fuels in buildings by efficient and flexible electric ⚡ heating is a key component of the deep decarbonization necessary to limit global average temperature increase to 2°C.

It also concludes that if our country is to reach decarbonization goals, it will require eliminating most or all of the pollution generated by the burning of fossil fuels in furnaces and water heaters, along with other measures.

The report reinforces the findings of an earlier NRDC study, which cites broad electrification of buildings, factories and vehicles as among the ambitious but achievable actions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 and stave off the worst effects of climate change.

NRDC's report, America's Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future, envisions roughly 90 percent of U.S. residential and commercial buildings to use electric space- and water-heating appliances by 2050, up from just under half today. It also calls for boosting the use of electric vehicles so that they represent about 30 percent of new vehicle sales by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.

Both reports highlight the benefits of using electricity from an increasingly clean grid in place of fossil fuels like natural gas for space and water heating, an often overlooked, but critical path for reducing carbon pollution.

RMI's report, The Economics of Electrifying Buildings, notes that electrification ⚡ can deliver cost savings, especially for new home construction, oil and propane customers, and homes that bundle electrification with rooftop solar.

When owners of existing homes install or replace an air conditioner at the same time as they electrify heating, electrification costs roughly the same as a new gas furnace and A/C. And this is when home electrification is still avant-garde, and early adopters pay premium prices for equipment, installation and electricity use. As the market develops, competition increases, and utilities offer electric rates that better reflect the cost of supplying energy at different times of day, electrification costs will come down, making it the more cost-effective option for most Americans.

Electric space and water heating also can be managed to shift energy consumption in time, aiding the cost-effective integration of large amounts of renewable energy onto the grid, the report notes. This can further reduce carbon pollution and generate utility bill savings. This is already becoming important in states like California which have committed to ramping up their use of clean energy like solar and wind power.

Both reports are must reads for state and local officials who have moved to pick up the slack on climate action in the absence of Washington's leadership in confronting the crisis. The authors have the following recommendations for utilities, regulators and policymakers:

1. Prioritize rapid electrification of buildings currently using propane and heating oil in space and water heating.

2. Stop supporting the expansion of the natural gas distribution system, including for new construction.

3. Bundle demand flexibility programs, new rate designs, and energy efficiency with electrification initiatives.

4. Expand demand flexibility options for existing electric space and water heating loads.

5. Update energy efficiency resource standards and related goals to account for total energy reduction across fuels (fossil fuels and electricity).

California, long a clean energy trendsetter, has already taken steps to promote electrification in transportation and in buildings.

But more can—and must—be done.

California is considering legislation that would promote building decarbonization.

Assembly Bill 3232, which has passed the Assembly and is now before the Senate, would require the California Energy Commission to assess how best to reduce emissions from residential and commercial buildings by at least 40 percent below the 1990 levels by 2030.

Senate Bill 1477, which has passed the Senate and is before the Assembly, would require the energy commission to develop two programs: the first to provide incentives for designers and builders to innovate and build near-zero emissions new buildings; the second to spur the market development of clean heating technologies such as high-efficiency heat pumps.

The fossil fuels and the electricity we use in buildings are responsible for roughly one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and natural gas and propane burned for space and water heating are the largest source of those emissions.

Nationally, the burning of fossil fuels for space and water heating in buildings generates 560 million tons of carbon pollution each year, a tenth of total U.S. emissions, the RMI study notes.

Substituting electricity for fossil fuels to heat homes and businesses could cut U.S. carbon pollution by 10 percent, the RMI study says.

But building electrification faces challenges, such as low consumer awareness of the benefits and availability of the technology, limited contractor expertise and higher upfront costs for high-efficiency products.

SB 1477 would help reduce costs by developing the market for clean heating technologies in the way that California's Solar Initiative has driven the growth of solar in the state. As RMI's analysis points out, the cost of new heating technology such as heat pumps will decline as the market grows.

As RMI's and NRDC's reports spell out, electrification offers significant opportunities to cut harmful pollution, and reduce utility bills, two critical opportunities to help mitigate California's air pollution and housing affordability challenges.

We now need to turn the opportunities into action.

https://www.ecowatch.com/clean-electric-heating-2581218126.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 05, 2018, 04:51:34 pm »



Frying Pan Tower: Coast Guard Light Station-Turned Adventure Bed and Breakfast Up for Auction

May 3, 2018 by Mike Schuler

The light tower was built in Louisiana and brought by barge to Frying Pan Shoals in 1966. Photo: Frying Pan Tower

For decades, the Frying Pan Tower, located some 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina, functioned as a U.S. Coast Guard light station, serving as an aid to navigation and alerting ships to the shallow shoals just beyond.

But after more than 25 years of continuous operation, the light station went dark in 1992 and slowly fell into disrepair. That is until 2010 when North Carolina resident, Richard Neal, purchased the tower from the U.S. government and spent the following years turning it into an “adventure” bed & breakfast.

Starting today, however, Neal has put the tower up for auction to the highest bidder, with a minimum starting bid of just $10,000. 👀  :o

But before you whip out your checkbook (or PayPal), there are a few things to keep in mind.

The Frying Pan Tower is accessible only by helicopter or boat. It does get hit by hurricanes. And, I would assume, it requires constant upkeep. Other than that, it looks homey. You’ll have plenty of privacy. It’s located in waters just beyond Federal and State limits so you won’t have to pay taxes or adhere to U.S. laws.

There’s also has full kitchen, high-speed internet, cold and hot running water (filtered rainwater, no water bills!), solar and wind power, backup generators, and redundant communications, among many other amenities. It’s also located in 50-feet of clear blue water near the Gulf Stream, so it’s a great place to take a dip or catch your dinner  😋  ;D right from the deck.

As far as the bed and breakfast part goes, Frying Pan Tower offers 3-day, 2-night packages for up to 8 to 12 guests in 8 guest rooms each with their own ocean view (obviously).

Here’s more about the tower provided in the auction description:

The light tower is a steel oil drilling platform, known as a “Texas Tower” on top of four steel legs that has been modified to be used as a lighthouse. The eighty (80) foot light tower is located approximately 32 miles southeast of Bald Head Island, NC and marks the shoals at the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. The platform consists of a main floor is a living area of approximately 5,000 square ft. that includes 5 twin bedrooms, 3 queen bedrooms, a crew room with 3 twin beds, stainless steel kitchen, workshop/hoisting area, storage rooms, laundry, recreation area and 2 toilet facilities. The top is the steel I-beam supported helipad. The corner light tower houses an internal staircase, a lantern room at the 126′ level and an observation platform for equipment at 134′ above the water. The maintenance level provides access to the steel truss structure and I-beam cross members, holding tanks and an emergency ladder to the water on the North East leg.

Still sound good to you? More information about the auction can be found here or check out the video below:


http://gcaptain.com/now-is-your-chance-to-own-the-frying-pan-tower-a-former-light-station-turned-adventure-bed-breakfast/

UPDATE on bids:

May 4, 2018

HIGH BID: $33,333.33

BIDDER ID: xxxxxxxxxxxx1203V

The Frying Pan Tower is located out of sight of land in 50 ft. of clear blue Atlantic waters (lat & lon  33°29′N 77°35′W) With the Gulf Stream close by, we often are pleasantly warm when it's still cold onshore and mild when it's too hot to walk on the sand at the beach so don’t let a great weekend go to waste, come be part of history!

http://www.fptower.com
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 26, 2018, 07:05:22 pm »

🌟 DIY dome homes built from AirCrete are an affordable & ecofriendly option

Derek Markham

October 6, 2017



Informative article with video and graphics:


https://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/diy-dome-homes-made-aircrete-affordable-ecofriendly-option.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 04, 2018, 03:10:48 pm »

Photo by Archi0780 of earth house estate in Dietikon made by Peter Vetsch (CC BY-SA license)

Earth-Sheltered Home Plans — Modern Designs, Earth Lodges, Prehistory, & Skara Brae
t
February 3rd, 2018 by James Ayre

SNIPPET:

Earth-sheltered homes are homes built using soil or substrate of some kind as external thermal mass to provide insulation, and various climate control properties. To put that in plain language, earth-sheltered homes use dirt, rock, and vegetation to protect the home from the elements.

Such homes can offer significant advantages over conventional approaches when it comes to reducing heating/cooling costs and needs, indoor temperature variation, and durability (ability to remain unaffected by high winds and storms).

Image by Archi0780 (CC BY-SA license)

Designs can vary quite a bit — with homes being either nearly completely encased in earth and underground (as in traditional quiggly/kekuli designs in Pacific North America); built above ground but completely encased in thick earth (like traditional Plains and Eastern Woodlands Indian “Earth Lodges”); embedded into cliffs and caves; built as wattle-and-daub homes set several feet into the ground; amongst a great many other options.

As alluded to above, earth-sheltered homes are found all over the world and likely go very, very far back in time … possibly even further than “home sapiens” do — as seems to be true of long-houses, seaworthy ships, and temporary yurt-style structures, amongst other technologies (needles/sewing, jewelry, blades of various kinds, highly specialized fishing hooks and traps, etc.).

Image via Good Home Designs

Full article with more pictures:

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/03/earth-sheltered-home-plans-modern-designs-earth-lodges-prehistory-skara-brae/

Quote
Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe

The hype behind earthship homes is greater then their performance, humidity is often very high, they gravitate towards 10C (nicer then freezing winter but much cooler then humans are accustomed to even in summer), they are expensive to build, they can be very maintenance intensive (and leaky), the thermal mass sucks heat away from the home and so forth. Thats not even getting in to the Radon concerns.

Green Building Advisor has an article called "Earthship Hype and Earthship Reality" that explains the hype rather well.

agelbert > Barry Alternative Fact Covfefe

The ambient temperature of a home reliant on passive geothermal, such as the Earthship type home, is dependent on the latitude and altitude of the terrain they are built at. One cannot use broad brush criticism on this type of construction. In some places it is a good idea and in some places it is a bad idea.

In order to be truly objective in doing a cost benefit analysis of passive geothermal advantaged homes versus more conventional above ground homes, you must compare the thermal conductivity of the materials used for the structures.

For example, at an outside air temperature of 25C (77F),
earth is 1.50,
ground or soil/moist area 1.00,
ground, plaster/sand 0.71,
water 0.58,
ground or soil/dry area 0.50,
sand/dry 0.25,
plywood 0.13,
straw slab insulation 0.09,
and 0.024 for air.

Source:
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/thermal-conductivity-d_429.html

The value for air is a bit misleading. The fact is that air must not be moving for that value to be of any use for insulation. Air around an above ground structure is always moving, thereby drawing heat away from the structure immersed in the air. The cost of insulating in air must be compared with the cost of insulating with other materials like straw slab with earth berming, which has such great value as insulation because it does trap air in cellulosic material.

It is true that moving earth around a home costs a lot of money. That alone jacks up the price of an "Earthship" type home above what most people can afford, as you have noted. There are other high cost issues like meeting code requirements for a home that is, like a basement, in need of a certain number of exit areas in case of fire.

However, there are potentially huge savings to the earth bermmed or buried home due to reduced insurance costs. These homes, provided they are above any flood prone areas, are virtually impervious to storms which produce high winds, torrential rain, lightning and tornados.

Global Warming will visit that type of damage to above ground homes with increasing frequency and consequent cost. So, the added security the passive geothermal advantaged homes boast will increase their popularity.

All that said, provided you build your earth bermed or buried home in an area that geothermally works to give you 61 degrees F (about 16C) year round, instead of 50F (10 C), the energy required for heating and cooling will be far less than that of a conventional above ground home, regardless of how well the above ground home insulated.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 03, 2018, 04:47:50 pm »

Tesla To Sell Solar Products In 800 Home Depot Stores

February 1st, 2018 by Steve Hanley

SNIPPET:

With 2,200 stores, Home Depot is one of the largest retailers in America. By July of this year, 800 of those stores will have high-profile, 12 foot high, 7 foot wide displays advertising Tesla kiosks located inside. Staffed by Tesla employees , they will feature Tesla solar products — solar panels, rooftop solar systems, and Powerwall storage batteries. Bloomberg reports some locations will also have interactive demonstrations of how the products work.

Full article:✨

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/01/tesla-sell-solar-products-800-home-depot-stores/



Posted by: AGelbert
« on: January 19, 2018, 01:06:21 pm »

Nomadic home prototype built out of a shipping container (Video)

Kimberley Mok (@kimberleymok)

Design / Green Architecture

January 18, 2018

SNIPPET:

© Cocoon Modules

Repurposing shipping containers for human habitation is a bit of a hit-or-miss affair: sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes it doesn't.

Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped designers from trying. Natural mattress company Coco-mat of Greece (previously) teamed up with Greek shipping container architecture startup Cocoon Modules to create this fresh-looking prototype for an earthquake-resistant modular home that features smart, energy-efficient technology.

As the Cocoon Modules design team explains:

Our modules are more than 15% cheaper than the prefabricated construction in Greece and 30% cheaper than the traditional [construction]. They can be built within weeks in designated industrial spaces and can then be transported and placed on site. By using the modularity of the container we create ergonomic spaces of great design that can be expanded as LEGOs do.


full article with several pictures:

https://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/shipping-container-home-cocoon-modules-coco-mat.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 17, 2017, 02:20:06 pm »




Swiss Solar Decathlon House Scores a Perfect 100 in Engineering

October 16, 2017

By Renewable Energy World Editors
   
Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons today announced the winning team of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Decathlon 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Swiss Team took first place overall by designing, building, and operating the house that best blended smart energy production with innovation, market potential, and energy and water efficiency. The University of Maryland took second place followed by the University of California, Berkeley and University of Denver team in third place.

“The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon provides real-world training and experience for the energy professionals of tomorrow,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Simmons. “It is also a live demonstration of innovative products available today that can help tackle global energy challenges such as reliability, resilience, and security.”

The teams competed in 10 contests throughout a nine-day stretch that gauged each house’s performance, livability and market potential. They performed everyday tasks including cooking, laundry and washing dishes, which tested the energy efficiency of each house. Full competition results and details about the individual contests may be found at www.SolarDecathlon.gov.

“This prestigious competition engages students from across the country and internationally to develop the skills and knowledge to become the next generation of energy experts, and I want to recognize all of these teams for their hard work and dedication,” said Linda Silverman, director of the Solar Decathlon. “Today’s results are the culmination of two years of collaboration among students from different academic disciplines — including engineering, architecture, interior design, business, marketing, and communications — who otherwise might not work together until they enter the workplace. Together, we’re ensuring that employers have the qualified workers they need to support American job growth.”

The results of the Market Potential and Engineering contests were also announced today. Northwestern took first place in market potential by scoring 92 of 100 possible points. For the Market Potential Contest, each competing house was evaluated by a jury of professionals from the home-building industry that evaluated the overall attractiveness of the design to the target client and the market impact potential of the house. Some of the criteria included appeal and marketability for the target client, the livability in meeting the target client’s unique needs, the house’s cost-effectiveness, and how easily the competition prototype could be constructed successfully by a general contractor.

Bob Dixon, director of the Office of Strategic Programs in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE, presenting the award, said, “The jury said that this team exhibited an outstanding use of focus groups, in-home visitation, storyboards, and a socio-linguistic analysis used to identify and validate design attributes through interviews in their target market segment.”

Team Netherlands claimed second place in the Market Potential Contest with 90 points, and Team Daytona Beach took third place with 85 points.

The Swiss Team took first place in engineering with a perfect score of 100 possible points. For the Engineering Contest, each competing house was evaluated by a group of prominent engineers who determined which house best exemplifies excellence in innovation, system functionality, energy efficiency, system reliability, and documentation through their project manual and construction drawings.

Bob Dixon, presenting the award said, “The jury believes the first-place house in the Engineering Contest offers comprehensive performance modeling that sports clear graphs, detailed explanations and a variety of representations. The quality of the thermal envelope is exceptional and carefully calibrated to the target climate with very good resistance to heat flow, a solid focus on airtightness, and high-quality components such as triple-glazed windows and sliding doors.”

University of Nevada, Las Vegas claimed second place in the Engineering Contest with 98 points, and Northwestern took third place with 95 points.

This year’s collegiate teams were chosen nearly two years ago through a competitive process. The selected teams and their projects represent a diverse range of design approaches, building technologies, and geographic locations, climates and regions – including urban, suburban and rural settings. They also aim to reach a broad range of target housing markets including empty-nesters, disaster relief, low-income, multigenerational, single-family and Native American communities. Teams have gathered their combined interdisciplinary talents to design and build the houses, as well as to raise funds, furnish and decorate the houses, and optimize the houses’ performance.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2017/10/swiss-solar-decathlon-house-scores-a-perfect-100-in-engineering.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 14, 2017, 05:49:27 pm »

Quote
Mark had spent years studying how to make green roofs succeed in the harsh Texas landscape. The secret was simple: bring back the plants that were here before European settlement.

Author Christopher Brown’s Natural Underground Home In The City

June 14th, 2017 by Guest Contributor



https://cleantechnica.com/2017/06/14/author-christopher-browns-natural-underground-home-city/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 01, 2017, 06:01:08 pm »

Welcome to Apple Park, possibly the world's coolest office building   

Space race ... It’s not just big blue-chip organizations that are investing in better offices

Other than a mild sense of Sunday-night dread, offices rarely inspire much emotion among staff. But from now on Apple employees can be forgiven for going to work with a spring in their step.

The headline figures associated with the tech giant’s new ‘Apple Park’ headquarters are staggering – over the next six months or so, 12,000 employees will be moved to the 175-acre campus, which is reported to have cost $5 billion to construct.

Six years ago, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs addressed a Cupertino City Council meeting in California where he unveiled plans to create “the best office building in the world”.

It was Jobs’ last public appearance before he died. Now, his vision has been realized, and the end result is a futuristic four-storey, circular edifice that resembles a grounded spaceship.

Apple Park houses a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 100,000 square ft (9292 sqm) fitness centre, 300,000 square ft (27,870 sqm) of secure research and development facilities, two miles (3.2 km) of walking and running paths, 1,000 bicycles, an orchard, a meadow and a pond.


The migration of Apple workers is reportedly underway, with a steady flow of 500 employees expected to start work at the shiny new HQ every week until the mass relocation is complete.

But how exactly will such an ambitious, not to mention expensive, move benefit Apple?

‘The home of innovation’

It’s a slightly depressing fact that most people spend almost their entire working life inside an office. Apple hopes that moving to a state-of-the-art workplace will have an energizing effect on its workers.

With a market capitalization of more than $800 billion, Apple clearly isn’t short of cash. Yet that doesn’t mean spending isn’t carefully scrutinized – the vast expense of Apple Park initially raised eyebrows among some shareholders.

But for Jobs and other members of Apple’s senior leadership team, the estimated $5 billion cost was a price worth paying to cultivate innovation among staff and ensure the company continues to attract top-class personnel in the years ahead.

Speaking at a launch event in March last year, CEO Tim Cook said: “Steve's vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come.

“The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We've achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy."


Other cool offices around the world

Apple Park may have caught the attention of envious employees from California to Calcutta, but there are plenty of other offices around the world that put the average workplace to shame.

Amazon is building a spectacular office in downtown Seattle where workers will soon be able to hold meetings and take lunch breaks inside three gigantic glass spheres that contain plants, streams and even a few treehouses.

The tallest of the glass and metal spheres rises 90 ft (27m) and is more than 130 ft (40m) in diameter, with two smaller spheres to each side.


The Edge building in Amsterdam, designed for consultancy firm Deloitte, has been billed as the world’s greenest, and possibly smartest, office space. It even has espresso machines that “recognize” workers and remember how they like their coffee.


However, it’s not just big blue-chip organizations that are investing in better offices.

Last year, the Guardian newspaper ran a feature on the world's coolest offices in which ordinary workers championed their extraordinary workplaces.

Concepts included a rooftop terrace in Berlin that hosts BBQs, beer drinking and morning yoga classes; an indoor go-karting track in an office block in Canada; and treadmill desks at Ernst&Young’s London office.

Most of us can only dream of working in such an environment, but as employers up their game to attract and retain skilled staff, perhaps in the future more people will enjoy coming to the office.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/apple-park-coolest-office-building-in-world/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 12, 2017, 02:15:15 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: These Container housing buildings aren't carbon neutral, but considering how cheap they are to set up, I'm sure they can easily be made carbon neutral.  ;D


Gorgeous Hotel Constructed From Shipping Containers Leaves Landscape Untouched

Mar. 10, 2017 03:22PM EST

MANY great pictures!  ;D

http://www.ecowatch.com/shipping-container-hotel-quadrum-2307833903.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 12, 2016, 01:01:38 am »

Quote
But those "details" are somehow always "forgotten" by the fossil fuelers... 

Some details are also forgotten by those besotted by Renewables - like the infrastructure's embedded energy.    The factory, the solar panels, the tractors (which are basically a diesel engine with wheels bolted on and CAN'T be electrified), the transport infrastructure (trucks and roads), the retail shops, the vehicles to get to the shops and back.   For some of those items, you would only count a proportion of the energy towards the energy budget of beer, obviously.




Palloy,
the hairsplitting, snark infested, sarcastic mocker of anything that smacks of a solution to our planetary crisis ARRIVES.  ::) Your, "all Renewable Energy has a large fossil fuel energy component", therefore Renewable Energy is not a solution" purist bullshit is BORING, unrealistic,  tiresome and irrelevant to the world's energy demand SOLUTION, WHICH IS the ongoing transition to 100% Renewable Energy.

I wish to point out, ONCE AGAIN, how ALL that infrastructure you mentioned CAN and DOES run quite well on 100% PLUS Renewable Energy, even if most of it does not now BECAUSE your beloved fossil fuel Fascists have consistently gamed the energy source and use market with laws and subsidy THEFT. 

SNIPPET from an article by Bill Ritter, Colorado’s 41st governor.

Fossil fuels enjoy a variety of targeted tax benefits as well as MLPs. Denying the same mix to renewable energy investors perpetuates federal policies that have long picked fossil fuels as the winners. The PTC/ITC and MLPs should not be an either/or issue.

Bill Ritter served as Colorado’s 41st governor. He is currently the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.


http://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2014/09/30/lets-even-the-playing-field-for-renewable-energy/Negative

There is too much fossil fuel industry corruption in, and collusion with, our government. The fact is that fossil fuel industry has succeeded in getting EIA to the absurdly ridiculous conclusion that pushing "natural" (i.e. FRACKED) gas is in the "Public" (see: Fossil fuel Corporate Profits) Interest.

If the "Public Interest" by Federal Agencies was not being equated to JOB SECURITY INTEREST for the fossil fuel industry, then the allegations from the EIA that "natural" gas power plants are "cheaper" to build and have greater "capacity" than renewable power generation from wind would be summarily dismissed as contrived numbers gaming.

The EIA, like the EPA and FERC, continue to cherry pick thermodynamic science and energy costs, while totally IGNORING the social costs of carbon per ton (now a minimum of 11 dollars per ton), in order to continue to fraudulently PICK FOSSIL FUELS as WINNERS.

In a sane world, the "IN the PUBLIC INTEREST" award for any energy generation source cannot be awarded without considering the SCC (social cost of carbon).

Fossil fuels are in the fossil fuel industry's interest, not the PUBLIC INTEREST.

Thermodynamic efficiency did not, and does not, have anything whatsoever to do with the prevailing use of fossil fuels, as you consistently, and erroneously, claim.

People like you always want to reduce this to a cost estimate game. But it is really an ethical issue. I read this in an excellent article on GRIST about discount rates and estimating carbon pollution costs to society.

Quote
Say you could ask the people of 2100 (some of whom may be your children or grandchildren), “would you rather inherit $1 trillion in cash or $1 trillion worth of avoided drought, storm, and famine?” Which do you think they would choose?

They will have lost biodiversity, up to half the species on the planet. They will have lost millions of acres of old-growth and tropical forest, most of the world’s coral reefs, and the bulk of world’s annual sea ice.

Those things will never return, not in time spans relevant to our species.
The natural world that has provided us sustenance since we were primates can not be restored once it’s gone. And there’s more to the biosphere than the “services” it provides humans. Some damages cannot be captured in dollar terms.


http://grist.org/article/discount-rates-a-boring-thing-you-should-know-about-with-otters/

It's a long article. They use pictures of otters to try make the math less boring. But it's good reading IF you aren't biased in favor of dirty energy.  ;)

When you decide to figure in the subsidies, gamed laws and SCC (social Cost of Carbon - now between 11 and about 57 dollars a ton, depending on the discount rate used) in your energy math, we can talk.

Otherwise, take your cherry picked numbers designed to pick fossil fuels as sine qua non energy winners elsewhere.

Quote
I dutifully drink my beer from aluminium cans on the grounds that they are expensive enough to recycle, whereas glass isn't, not at my distance from the rest of the world anyway.  Probably aluminium isn't worth recycling energy-wise either, and you are welcome to have the solar-powered aluminium smelter near your backyard, but they don't sell beer in glazed stoneware flagons any more.

BECAUSE of the subsidies, gamed laws and SCC, fossil fuels ARE NOT in the public interest. Fossil fuels are in the interest ONLY of the fossil fuel industry, PERIOD.

Enjoy your beer and your energy costs cherry picking ignorance, fossil fueler. 

 
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 11, 2016, 07:58:44 pm »

World’s First Large-Scale Carbon-Neutral Brewery Now in Operation 

Lorraine Chow | June 10, 2016 11:57 am

Heineken's brewery in Austria has achieved its goal of becoming the first CO2 neutral brewery of its scale in the world. Photo credit: Heineken

The facility, which kicked off its green upgrades back in 2003, has now met 100 percent of its energy needs via clean power sources including hydropower, solar thermal energy from a 1,500-square-meter photovoltaic array and biomass district heating, in which 40 percent of the brewery’s heat requirements comes from surplus heat discharged from a neighboring sawmill.

The site is also incredibly savvy with waste. It hosts its own grain fermentation plant that converts production waste into biogas—the first plant of its kind a major brewery. The grain fermentation plant converts 18,000 tons of the brewer’s grains, filter residues and other byproducts from beer-making process into biogas annually. Residues from the fermentation plant are used as fertilizer.

[

Here are some other eco-friendly strides the brewery—a finalist for the 2016 European Union Sustainable Energy Award—has achieved:


•Ninety percent of the waste heat generated in the brewing process is used to heat water

•A new type of boiling system is used during the brewing process, which helps to save electricity and water

•Energy generated from brewery residues will be used to generate steam and any excess volumes will be converted into electric current

•100 percent of raw materials used at the Göss Brewery come from Austria


As Inhabitat reported, the brewery’s operations will cut carbon emissions from approximately 3,000 tonnes a year to zero.

“Through a combination of innovative technology, creative thinking and partnerships with our local community, we have turned a heritage brewery into the world’s first major zero carbon brewery,” Göss brew master Andreas Werner told the publication.

“Our Göss brewery may be in a small town but our goal was to make a big impact. I am proud of what we have achieved for the Heineken Company and want to help our other breweries, and the wider brewing industry, make renewable energy part of their energy mix, just as we have done.”

62747_Goss_Brewery_Infographic_02_271015 (graphic at article link)

The Göss Brewery’s zero carbon status is only one example of Heineken’s overall environmental goals. According to a blog post from Michael Dickstein, Heineken’s global director of sustainable development, the beer-maker is now the world’s largest user of solar energy in beer production.

The company’s Brewed by the Sun campaign boasts a number of solar achievements including:

•100,000 glasses of Wieckse beer brewed through solar energy at the Den Bosch brewery in the south of the Netherlands

•Birra Morretti Baffo d’Oro is brewed with 100 percent Italian malted barley and 100 percent Italian sun

•The company’s rooftop solar installation in Singapore, which brews the local Tiger beer, is the size of three football pitches


Heineken, the world’s third-largest brewer, is aiming to slash 40 percent of carbon emissions from global productions by 2020 through its Brewing a Better Future strategy.

The beer brewing industry is not immune to the effects of climate change. In the U.S., the ever-changing environment is a threat to the domestic beer market, as Ceres wrote:

Warmer temperatures and extreme weather events are harming the production of hops, a critical ingredient of beer that grows primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Rising demand and lower yields have driven the price of hops up by more than 250 percent over the past decade. Clean water resources, another key ingredient, are also becoming scarcer in the West as a result of climate-related droughts and reduced snow pack.

Several U.S. breweries have integrated sustainability into their business practices such as investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste recapture and sustainable sourcing in order to reduce their environmental footprint.

http://ecowatch.com/2016/06/10/heineken-carbon-neutral-brewery/

Agelbert NOTE: Expect some fossil fuel loving hairsplitter to show up to yammer about fossil fuel powered tractors and other farm equipment used to grow the beer ingredients giving the alleged "lie" to this story.

The fact is that ALL farm machinery can be run on ethanol Renewable Energy biofuels, never mind the fact that EV farm machinery is perfectly feasible due to the ease of harvesting solar and wind energy on the farm to charge farm machinery (which does not have to move very far at all) batteries in a sustainable and renewable fashion.

But those "details" are somehow always "forgotten" by the fossil fuelers...  ::)
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: June 11, 2016, 05:54:52 pm »

Apple Is Generating So Much Renewable Energy It Plans to Start Selling It 

Lorraine Chow | June 11, 2016 10:52 am

Apple is seeking to sell a whole different product. No, not cars—yet. Try renewable energy. The iPhone maker has created an energy subsidiary in Delaware called Apple Energy LLC to sell surplus electricity generated by its various renewable energy projects.

Documents seen by PV Tech show that Apple has applied to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to sell excess power from solar panels on top of its Cupertino, California headquarters as well as energy generated by its solar farms, hydroelectric plants and biogas facilities across the country.

This is big news. Most corporations usually sell surplus energy to power companies, but the tech titan is basically creating a green energy pipeline to consumers.

“If Apple’s application is approved, it will be able to sell electricity directly to its customers—eliminating the need for utility power,” PV Tech observed.

In the FERC filing, Apple has requested to sell energy at market rates rather than wholesale since it’s not an major energy company and cannot influence electricity prices, PV Tech noted.

“Applicant seeks the same blanket authorization and waivers of the commission’s rules and filing requirements previously granted to other entities authorized to transact at market-based rates,” Apple’s tariff states.

The Apple blog 9to5Mac suspects that Apple’s FERC filing is following in the footsteps of Green Mountain Power, which also sells renewable energy to homeowners. Another guess is that Apple’s potential new energy company could help fuel Apple’s long-rumored electric car project.

Apple has requested the tariff be granted within 60 days of its June 6 filing, so we’ll have to wait until then to see if it takes off.

In recent years, Apple has worked hard to shrink its global carbon footprint, and CEO Tim Cook is known for being a green leader.

“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now,” Cook said. “The transition to a new green economy requires innovation, ambition and purpose.”

The company boasts that all its data centers and most of its stores and corporate offices are now powered by green, renewable energy. Apple has plans for 521 megawatts of solar projects globally, as well as other investments in hydroelectric, biogas and geothermal power, which generates enough power to cover 93 percent of its worldwide energy usage. The company wants to eventually operate with 100 percent renewable energy.

http://ecowatch.com/2016/06/11/apple-sell-renewable-energy/

Agelbert NOTE: This should be interesting. FERC has always defended the fossil fuel industry and utility energy slanted (i.e. monopolistic) playing field.

But FERC has always been for sale to the highest bidder. Apple has a lot of money = influence.

Apple, seeing a very profitable opportunity to outcompete some ossified business models among the utilities, is going to get in on the utility energy market share with Renewable Energy, after they "convince" the appropriate officials at FERC to drop the fossil fuel friendly road blocks, of course.

Any port in the global warming storm, I always say.  ;)
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 27, 2016, 09:00:29 pm »



May 18, 2016

Authors Mark Dyson
ManagerEdison Almeida

The Business Value of Demand Flexibility

In this digital age, electricity is the lifeblood of our society. After any major disruptive event, the top priority is to restore electric power service. Without power we lack heat, air conditioning, communications, financial services, and access to the Internet, pretty much sending us back to the Stone Age.

But who can afford building more electric power capacity? There are over one billion kilowatts of installed power capacity in the U.S. At such a large scale, increasing capacity even by a few percentage points is very expensive. Experts have forecast the need for $1.4 trillion of investment through 2030 to meet growing demand and replace aging infrastructure in the U.S. alone.

Fortunately, in today’s Internet-connected world, we can take a lower-cost approach, similar to the method that telecom, cable, and Internet companies have been using for decades to manage peak demand on their networks. Instead of building redundant capacity for each user, these networks intelligently manage both demand and supply.

Now, it’s possible to apply the same logic to energy demands: software can help lower coincidental demand peaks for a business using the same proven “queuing” approach as other networked industries. And at scale across thousands of buildings, this building-level demand flexibility can help lower peak demand for the grid, saving all customers the cost of building new power plants.

Peak demand drives high costs for the grid and businesses

Although the grid rarely uses 100 percent of electric power capacity, power plants to provide that capacity must be in place when needed. Currently, the average capacity utilization of the American electric grid is only about 55 percent, and it’s getting worse as peak demand rises while total sales fall. This means that about half the time, on average, power plants are sitting idle.

What causes this? Many homes and businesses don’t use much energy all the time, but when a thermostat’s mercury spikes, demand soars. Analysis of the electricity bill data of several major retailers and telecom companies reveals a pervasive trait: just four percent of their total energy use drives about 40 percent of their total peak demand. In other words, a tiny amount of energy use, occurring at the peak hours and largely driven by air conditioning, requires a lot of capacity that isn’t needed during the other hours of the year.

Why does this happen? Many common loads, including typical air conditioners, motors, pumps, charging stations, heaters, and others, often happen to turn on at the same time, creating coincidental energy peaks. This increases costs for the utility, which must have available capacity to meet these peaks.

In order to address this phenomenon, utilities typically impose “demand charges” on commercial and industrial customers, meaning that the customer pays each month for the maximum power demand at their meter during any given interval. These charges, combined with the “peakiness” of typical commercial loads, mean that only four percent of a business’s energy use drives 40 percent of the monthly demand charges a business must pay. With typical demand charges of $5–15 per peak kW per month, this peak energy can drive additional costs on the order of thousands of dollars per building per year.


For business customers, demand charges can comprise up to 40 percent of their utility bills, and these costs are on the rise. For example, there have been dramatic demand-rate increases of over 50 percent in the past five years in the PG&E service area in California. As utilities around the country grapple with new rate designs to better reflect system costs, it is likely that managing demand charges will become even more important.

Source: The Brattle Group


New opportunities to manage demand charges

Traditionally, limiting demand charges has not been an easy problem to solve, and most executives have treated electricity costs as a “must-pay” expense.

Fortunately, in today’s IT-driven world, it is increasingly easy for businesses to effectively manage growing peak energy demand costs. By unlocking the potential of demand flexibility, businesses can use software services to manage peak demand and achieve significant savings on their monthly bills at scale.

One approach to unlocking the value of demand flexibility is by queuing connected loads using low-cost computer systems. In other words, it’s possible to keep these loads from all turning on at the same time and creating very expensive and unnecessary coincidental energy peaks by simply using a software upgrade.

Consider how network companies (phone, internet, and cable) manage peak demand on their networks. Whenever you place a call on your cell phone, click the button to watch a digital video, or push the send button of your email, you do not connect immediately; rather, your request is placed into a queue, and the system defines the optimum time for connection while still meeting your needs for timely service.

The same logic works for electricity loads: software can help manage demand variations with small adjustments that can add up to shrink the peak. With these methods, energy delivery is usually delayed for only a matter of seconds. For loads like air conditioners, this is practically imperceptible; temperatures don’t rise appreciably in the time it takes for energy to be queued, but peak demand can be lowered dramatically.


Benefits for businesses and the grid

With falling computer costs and rising demand charges, lowering peak demand can pay off very quickly for a business—sometimes in less than a year. Lowering peak demand also creates value for the grid; RMI’s recent analysis found a potential for $13 billion per year in savings for the grid, from just a few smart appliances in each household in the country. The savings potential for commercial and industrial buildings is likely just as large.

Today’s $300 billion per year electricity industry leaves about half of its available capacity idle, increasing costs for all customers.   

Business-led demand flexibility approaches can save companies money while dramatically improving the utilization of our trillion-dollar grid, leading to savings for all of us.   

Edison Almeida (@almeidaed) is the founder and CEO of eCurv, Inc.

http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2016_05_18_the_business_value_of_demand_flexibility
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 09, 2016, 07:44:33 pm »

The Phononic solid state heating and cooling revolution is almost here  ;D

Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter)
Design / Green Architecture
 May 9, 2016

SNIPPET:

Solid state cooling devices have been around for centuries, since the Peltier effect was discovered. They are often used in CPU coolers and even tiny iceboxes, but are not very efficient. Phononic has significantly improved on them; as can be seen in the video of their little fridge below, they have integrated the basic chip with heat transfer systems that appear to make it work better.


It is a road map familiar to those who watched the development of LEDs, which were first rolled out as replacements for things we already knew and understood, like light bulbs and fluorescent tubes in computer monitors and TVs. Now LEDs are everywhere and in everything.


Similarly, Phononic is now working with the world’s largest appliance maker  , Haier, starting with high performance wine chillers, delivering smaller units with more accurate temperature control and lower power consumption. They are now branching into residential refrigerators in Europe and Asia, (where we have noted that small fridges make good cities). With Haier’s acquisition of GE’s appliance division, no doubt totally silent fridges without compressors will be arriving here soon too.

Solid state fridges have a lot more room inside because the compressor is gone; solid state heat pumps could heat and cool while taking up almost no space.

However the revolution this will cause in multifamily housing is going to be even more significant. Currently most apartments are heated and cooled by a vertical fan coil or heat pump units in the corner of a room, with ductwork running under the ceiling to the other rooms. Or they have noisy, inefficient through wall heat pump units that are very high maintenance. Imagine replacing all of that with a solid state heat pump with no moving parts, a heating and cooling panel on the wall in each room delivering what is needed when it is needed. They might well be built into the floors for radiant heating and cooling. This could make the design, operation and maintenance of multifamily buildings so much easier.

And of course, getting rid of compressors also means getting rid of refrigerants, which leak and which have serious global warming potential. Another problem gone with solid state heating and cooling.

I do not think I am overstating the case when I suggest that just as the transistor revolutionized electronics, and the LED is in the process of transforming lighting, Solid state thermoelectrics are going to revolutionize heating and cooling. Since the form of our homes and buildings has always been a function of how they are heated and cooled, it might we change that as well.

in 2014 I thought we were on the verge of a cooling revolution; now I think it is even bigger than that. It is a cooling, heating and design revolution.


http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/year-could-see-real-revolution-they-way-we-do-heating-and-cooling.html

Agelbert NOTE: For those that live in the reality based community (fossil fuel industry defending wishful thinkers wouldn't know reality if it bit them in the ass), the solid state heat pump technology will knock out fully 75%, on the average, of energy DEMAND from an average home. That MEANS that the solar panel input can then be used to power a HIGHER PERCENTAGE of the home AND ALSO make MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY JUICE available to charge EVs and supplement grid power.

For those who are not following where this inevitably leads, just look at Energy use stats for ALL the homes in the USA now in BPD (barrels per day). THEN subtract 75% of that...



Renewable energy=                                 =Fossil Fuelers


Quote
"Hitting peak oil will come faster than any of us think. But don't blame dwindling supply — it's all about disappearing demand" Amory Lovins


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: April 26, 2016, 07:15:45 pm »

Alaska SeaLife Center replaces fossil fuels with sea water power 

April 25, 2016

Megan Treacy (@mtreacy) Technology / Clean Technology 

Located in Seward, Alaska about 125 miles south of Anchorage, the Alaska SeaLife Center does important work researching and promoting awareness of the wildlife that resides along the coast of Alaska. The center serves as an aquarium, but also operates as a marine research center and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.

The size of the center and its location so far north meant that it has required several electric and oil-fired boilers to heat the buildings. Back in 2011, the center decided to take advantage of a resource right outside its doors and try to cut down on its reliance on fossil fuels and save some money in the process. The center began building a heat pump system that uses energy from the sea water in Resurrection Bay.

The heat pump system was initially effective enough to cover hot water heating and radiant floor heating, but they were still relying on the boilers for baseboard heating. In December, they added a new, much more effective system and the center now meets 98 percent of the its heating needs through renewable energy and has eliminated the use of most of the boilers.

Resurrection Bay is more than 900 feet deep. Through the summer, the water in the bay absorbs solar heat that warms the water through October. The water below the surface remains warmer than the air temperature through winter, which means the bay acts as a sort of heat storage.

sealife center heat pump tech (graphic at link)
© Alaska SeaLife Center

In the new system, seawater is pumped through a heat exchanger, which warms a water and glycol mix. (Seawater is corrosive, and it would freeze, so the glycol antifreeze is needed.) When liquid refrigerant (in this case CO2) comes in contact with the warmish water, it evaporates, which pulls heat out of the water the way melting ice pulls heat out of your drink – changing from a liquid to a gas absorbs energy.

The CO2 then is compressed to 2000 PSI, which raises its temperature to 194°. The hot compressed gas then goes to a condenser, where it turns into a liquid, releasing all the heat that it had stored when it was turned into a vapor.

The old system used a synthetic refrigerant that was not only less effective, but also posed a greenhouse gas risk if they were to leak from the system. The carbon dioxide refrigerant also poses a risk, but to a much lesser degree and the amount of fossil fuel use it's offsetting is significant  ;D. The center estimates that with the new system they are avoiding 1.24 million pounds of carbon emissions.

The SeaLife Center is saving $15,000 a month in heating costs, a savings that can be redirected to its conservation and research programs.

Quote
The system will have a complete return on investment in only 13 years.    

The center hopes this shows the potential for this type of heating system throughout the state of Alaska, which has more coastline than the rest of the country put together.

http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/alaska-sealife-center-replaces-fossil-fuels-sea-water-power.html
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 25, 2016, 06:35:23 pm »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 07, 2016, 01:32:17 am »

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 26, 2015, 10:54:43 pm »


World’s First Solar-Hydrogen Residential Development Is 100% Self-Sustaining
 


Lorraine Chow | December 23, 2015 10:53 am

http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/23/solar-hydrogen-homes/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: December 23, 2015, 07:41:08 pm »


World’s First Off-Grid EcoCapsule Runs Entirely on Renewable Energy 
Cole Mellino | December 22, 2015 10:03 am

After much anticipation, the egg-shaped EcoCapsule is finally available for pre-order earlier this month. The oblong home, which costs €79,000 (about $85,688) per unit, runs entirely on renewables.

The 88-square feet of interior space may seem pretty small, but it packs in all the necessities—plenty of storage, a shower, composting toilet, stove, sink, table and couch that converts into a double bed.

The home comes with a 600-watt rooftop solar system and a low-noise wind turbine that can deliver up to 750 watts. It’s 10-kilowatt-hour battery capacity is expected to last at least four days.

With four wheels and hooks on top for ease of transport, the EcoCapsule can be taken almost anywhere. Its curved roof maximizes energy efficiency and rainwater capture, which can be filtered for human consumption.

 home is designed by Slovakian group Nice Architects. The group, which unveiled a prototype in May, told CNN they were blown away by the demand for their product. By July, they already had thousands of pre-orders.

Currently, it’s available for sale in the European Union, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And it meets all of the safety regulations for each of those countries. The estimated delivery date for the first generation of EcoCapsules is late 2016 to early 2017. For those with sticker shock, the designers say the price will drop in the coming years as production is scaled and costs decrease.

Check out these fascinating visuals from the company:



Eighty-eight square feet of interior space may sound small, but the inside looks much more spacious than you might think.  ;D Photo credit (at link): Martin Barabas/EcoCapsule


http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/22/off-grid-ecocapsule/
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: October 28, 2015, 07:27:04 pm »


Eco Dome - Earth As Shelter   

Quote
Amazing: a pile of earth, dug out from a building site, can be turned into a small house called an Eco- Dome.

 The folks at the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture teach professionals and students from all over the world how to build structures like this.

 This Superadobe technology was first presented to NASA for lunar habitats, and can build single or clustered homes on earth which are resistant to fire, floods, wind storms and earthquakes. Long sandbag tubes are filled with earth and compacted in layers which are reinforced and connected with barbed wire.

 The man you see narrating in this clip is architect and author Nader Khalili who developed the simple breakthrough building technology with the freely available material of earth, for almost thirty years.

 Nader Khalili passed in 2008 but has inspired a global movement and left a rich body of philosophy, design and innovative construction technology. His work is continued at Cal-Earth Institute, as the basis for its research and educational mission.

 --Bibi Farber

 This video was produced by Cal- Earth. - See more at: http://www.nextworldtv.com/videos/shelter/eco-dome.html#sthash.SLeJVcI1.dpuf

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