25 October 2008

Hawaii to become an example to the world on renewable energy

Hawaii is a place that I've always dreamed of visiting.It just seems so beautiful.It has a very special eco system.
Yet it is it has been dependant on oil.Why when it is surrounded by the ocean.Thats the problem and thats the answer to its energy needs.
Hawaii can use water,wind and solar and geo thermal to provide its energy needs.It has access to these and now the time is ready for change.

State energy agreement
The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, announced at a press conference by Gov. Linda Lingle, calls for:

» 70 percent of the state's power will come from clean energy sources and 40 percent from renewable energy sources by 2030.
» 400 megawatts of wind-generated power to be transferred to Oahu via undersea cable from Maui County. The cable would connect the power grids of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu.
» 1,100 megawatts of additional renewable energy will be added in the state, 700 of which will be implemented within five years. Oahu's current capacity is 1,700 megawatts.
» The state is currently paying $5-$7 billion a year to purchase imported oil, but Lingle said it is too early to tell how much the undersea cable will cost or what potential savings could be.
Source: State energy agreement

Changing bad habits into good ones

As its energy saving week in the UK its time to reflect on habits.How many times do we forget to switch off our TVs,Radios,CDs and leave them on stand by.Well nearly half of us do! Its a bad habit and hard to break but it can become a good habit.We just need to use the switch and turn it off.
What about plastic bags.
We need to think about using paper bags and recycled bags.This is becoming a good habit as I see so many people with cotton bags now when I go shopping.Infact everyone seems very proud of the fact that they don't want a plastic bag.
Its the same with washing our clothes.We can easily save energy and money if we use 30 degrees instead of 40.
Our bad habits become good habits and in the process we are all doing our bit for the planet.

UK is world leader in offshore wind

The UK has overtaken Denmark to become the world's number one for wind farms built offshore, with 597MW fully constructed. The achievement has been made possible after building work finished at Centrica's Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms near Skegness.

Offshore wind farms now have the potential to power the equivalent of around 300,000 UK homes. This follows the Prime Minister's announcement at the British Wind Energy Association's conference that the UK now gets 3 gigawatts of electricity from wind power.

21 October 2008

Energy saving week in the Uk from Oct 20th to 26th.

Its Energy saving week in the UK and maybe we can take the time to think about all the energy we are using in our lives and cut it down.

10 ways to a more energy-efficient house

Eco hat

A rooftop gadget that uses warm air rising through the house to heat domestic water or re-circulate it through the home. Some types act as an internal chimney, capturing some of the heat from extracted air to be reused to heat incoming air.

Ground source (or geothermal) heat pump

This works by extracting heat from the ground and consists of a length of pipe containing water and antifreeze which is pumped around, absorbing the heat. The pump can cost from £6,000 to £12,000 but is able to generate £1,000 worth of electricity a year.

Air source heat pump

This exchanges heat with the air rather than the ground. A system costs about £7,500 but can produce £750 worth of energy a year. Grants are available from the Government's Low Carbon Buildings Programme for eco heat pumps and other green technologies such as solar, wind and hydro power.

Hydro turbine

People with streams or rivers on their property can use a hydro turbine, the most efficient of the renewable energy technologies. Up to 90 per cent of the water's energy can be converted to electricity. A small hydro turbine can cost between £4,000 and £10,000 depending on size.

Energy meter

A Wattson energy meter displays your energy consumption at any given time in terms of pounds per year for that level of consumption. This allows you to track just how much you are using and prevent catch-up bills from energy companies that may have previously billed on estimated usage.

Triple-glazed window

Double-glazing has been superseded by triple-glazed windows, with cavities filled with argon gas, which is a better insulator than air. Commonly used in Canada and Scandinavian countries, they are more efficient than traditional double-glazed windows.

Biomass burning boiler

These burn pellets made from compressed waste sawdust to heat water and provide central heating. They cost from £5,000 to £10,000 to install. But a typical system can produce up to £1,000 worth of energy a year and saves six tons of carbon dioxide compared to a traditional boiler.

Underfloor heating

Usually powered by ground source heat pumps, underfloor heating is more energy efficient than radiators. Because the floor has a larger space than a standard radiator, the water can be heated to a lower temperature than usual.

Solar-powered charger

For about £30 you can get a portable solar-powered charger to keep mobile phones, satnav units, laptops and other electronic gadgets fully charged.

Wind turbine

By installing a wind turbine on your roof, you can meet some of your energy needs. Although it can cost from £1,500 to £5,000, grants and long-term savings make this a viable option.

and what you should be doing already

Using energy-efficient lightbulbs

Turning down your thermostat by at least 1C

Switching to a green energy supplier

Making sure your home – including potentially wasteful areas such as the loft space – is well insulated

Turning off appliances such as computers and televisions when they not in use, rather than leaving them on standby

Using energy-efficient washing machines and fridge-freezers

Getting a free Home Energy check by logging on to www.energy savingtrust.org.uk

14 October 2008

New Orleans comes back to life .

Solar panels adorn the new houses' roofs. Concrete columns hoist some homes several feet up off the ground, which remains vulnerable to flooding. Walkways of permeable concrete will allow rain to flow through, instead of pooling up; it's hoped that the material could end storm runoff and ease pressure on the city's pumping system.

Inside the homes, walls are sealed with sprayed insulation. The drywall is made without paper, so it will dry quickly and resist mold. Windows are made to withstand hurricane-force winds and don't need to be boarded up before a storm. The solar panels probably wouldn't survive a 200 m.p.h. wind, but the homes should.

"The idea is that families have a house to come back to" after a storm, said Make It Right's director, Tom Darden. "The difference between having to replace your solar panels or having to replace your home is night and day."

A key consultant in the Lower Ninth Ward project was architect William McDonough. His other projects include Ford Motor Co.'s River Rouge turf-covered truck plant in Michigan, and a building at Oberlin College in Ohio that produces more energy than it uses.

McDonough's adviser for the Lower Ninth Ward project is Katherine Grove, who said energy independence "doesn't have to be rocket science." There are three basic principles, she said: Make sure there's daylight in every room, insulate according to climate and reduce water loads.

Green homes don't have to be new, she said. Reusing materials is especially beneficial in urban areas so long as the building's shell is safe. Salvaging old windows and frames, for instance, can be an efficient and attractive way to bring light through interior walls. Old mantels and other ornamental touches can add beauty.

In New Orleans, Darden said, the new houses incorporate some tried-and-true design elements used in the area for generations. Ceilings are high. Windows can be opened to bring in cool breezes. Porches are shaded.

Added to that are the solar panels, and geothermal systems that can cool and heat using underground circulation.

About a mile from the Make It Right project is another energy-efficient residence, the first of five planned houses to be accompanied by an 18-unit apartment building and a community center. The Global Green Holy Cross project, like the Make It Right project, aims for energy self-sufficiency.

Birgitta Bisztray of Global Green USA takes visitors on tours of the house. All the electricity comes from the 28 solar panels on its roof, she said. And knowing their house will have power when storms knock out public systems is reassuring for residents, she said.

The second floor has a deck with city views and a garden.

Interiors feature nontoxic materials, such as paint with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and natural-fiber carpeting. Bathrooms feature dual-flush toilets. Windows are double-paned. Appliances are Energy Star whenever possible.

Among those touring the state-of-the-art home are groups refurbishing some of the thousands of residences damaged by Katrina. A Brookings Institution study found that as of March 2008, the city was dealing with 65,000 blighted properties or vacant lots. It estimated that before the storm there were no more than 15,000 such properties.

Yet another project, about four miles from the Global Green house, involves about 100 homes being fixed up by a group called NOLA 100. It's funded by the Salvation Army, Clinton Foundation, AmeriCorps and Hope Has a Face.

From Freep.com

People Tree-Buy organic cotton and change the world

Conventional cotton takes up to 2.5% of the planet's cultivated land and consumes nearly 11% of the pesticides used globally.Of this nearly 23% of all insecticides,some of the most toxic of pesticides,is used on cotton.
Every year tens of thousands of cotton farmers and their families suffer serious damage to their health after contact with these toxic chemicals in the air they breathe and the water they drink,and the soil where they grow their food and graze their livestock.

There is another way
Organic farming promotes long term environmental protection.Through mixed cropping,using natural pesticides like neem and fertilizing their fields with organic matter,they can achieve long term sustainability.
What is more,farmers are paid a 30% premium for organic cotton.
Organic cotton farming allows farmers to escape from a cycle of debt which has driven many thousands in India to suicide every year.
It is easy to be part of the solution-support organic cotton clothing revolution,a movement that is growing 30% each year.

Go to www.peopletree.co.uk

6 October 2008

The Credit Crunch and the Environment

Have you noticed that everytime you switch on your TV,Radio or Net all you hear or see is the "Credit Crunch".The media are going over time and loving every moment of it! Its another good reason to switch it off!
Yet on a serious note the Credit Crunch has wider implications.It can actually affect our environment.
Why? you ask.Well it means that the building industry is not going to expand into greener housing as its more expensive.Environmental issues are put to one side as people think about how they can sort out the financial situation first.Who cares about the planet when our money is involved...right?
The Credit Crunch is not only hurting the economies but it is hurting the planet.
We are at a time where we need to concentrate every effort into the environment.We can't afford not to be on the ball when it comes to our planet.