Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sears Tower Reaches for Heights of Efficiency With $350 Million Retrofit

Good news and bad news with this story. The good news is that the Sears Tower is going to get a $350 million energy efficient makeover so it can become LEED certified. That is incredible. Lots of groovy efficiency projects in lighting, water savings, and mechanical systems. The bad news is that the Sears Tower will no longer be called the Sears Tower. It will be called Willis Tower. Willis Tower? No way. Never. Nope. What are you talking about Willis?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Instructor Prepping for Wind Energy Technician Program

There's good news for the folks up in northeastern Colorado. They are starting a new wind energy technician program at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. From the looks of it the person starting the program is well qualified and jazzed about wind turbine technology. We definitely need more training for our renewable energy workforce.

Governor's Energy Office Promotes Alternative Energy

The director of the Governor's Energy Office makes some good points in The Pueblo Chieftain about purchasing solar. When he refinanced his home mortgage to subsidize a solar PV array, he ended up paying more a month on his mortgage, but he saved even more on the reduced rates on his utility bill. I hadn't thought about it in this way. There's really no reason not to get solar now (with the exception of massive tress blocking the sun).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Colorado HOAs Warm to Solar Gear, Energy-saving Residents

This is good. In my opinion HOA's wield too much power over the homeowner, even in the name of "protecting property values." And as we can see, the recent Colorado law that was passed takes some bite out of the HOA's power. This will be a boon to local companies that provide renewable energy or energy efficiency technology (like outside window blinds).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

White Rooftops May Help Slow Warming

Last year, I had my roof redone in a light tan color and I've noticed a substantial decrease in heat gain (I also had solar shades put up on the west side windows). So although it wasn't a scientific study, I think there is some validity to the "white roof" theory. Would you wear a black t-shirt on a sunny day? Only if you were always cold. So the next time you need to redo your roof, why not invest in lighter color materials? It'll save you some dollars on your cooling bill.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preventing The Next Blackout

I don't know if I have drank (drunk?) the Amory Lovins kool-aid, but the information that comes out of his brain makes more and more sense to me. Perhaps what he is saying is just common sense after all, and I'm a bit slow on the uptake. Regardless, the man has been studying energy efficiency for decades and we should listen to him when he speaks on the subject. Plus, from what I understand he is a proponent of the free market and believes that government tends to muddy innovation up. So he's the best of both world's, a proponent of free market capitalism and a renewable energy / energy efficiency / sustainable junkie. He can capture the left and the right with his thought. A good place to be in my book.

Anyway, this article in Forbes delves into our atrocious national power grid, cobbled together with duct tape and chewing gum over the decades, and what it will take to make this grid "smart" and efficient. Good read.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Aspen Expands Energy Efficiency Mandate to Commercial Buildings

The City of Aspen is getting pretty progressive with their renewable energy and energy efficiency mandates. I am happy that they are one of the pack leaders. The latest is requiring that not only residences but commercial buildings need to follow the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP). Commercial buildings will now get charged for excess energy use. This is a positive step forward since there are numerous ways to reduce a building's energy consumption through energy efficient measures and save money at the same time. Good work City of Aspen, Colorado.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Colorado Veterans Academy to Graduate Green Job Trainees

There's a cool program at the Colorado Veterans Green Jobs Academy
to help retrain our veterans for the 21st century jobs. They are training them in weatherization and energy efficiency, which will help them become energy auditors. We are going to need as many well-trained auditors as we can get. Energy efficiency is the fastest way to save money and reduce our carbon footprints.

Green Promise Seen in Switch to LED Lighting

Once they perfect light emitting diodes (LEDs) it'll make the compact fluorescent bulb look like an oil burning reading lamp from the 1800s. This is a great article in the Times about the pros and cons with LEDs right now. I know that numerous companies are working hard to perfect the LED for all types of lighting applications. LEDs are really the perfect light. They don't give off any heat and they use very little electricity. The major problem? LEDs are extremely expensive right now and the light that they give off isn't quite right. But this will certainly be a cleaner planet once LEDs are widespread.

Wishful Thinking

*Before adding PV, wind, or solar thermal to your residential or commercial structure, the first step is to analyze this structure's energy consumption through a professional energy audit. I'd like to see some public education on the importance of an energy audit for any structure. Remember Smokey the Bear's forest fire shtick drilled into our heads over the last few decades? How about something like, "Henry the House" desperately wanting to know how much energy he consumes and wastes throughout the day?

*With over 300 sunny days a year on the Front Range is it too much to ask for solar PV and thermal modules on every residential and commercial unit (after an energy audit of course)?

*How about affordable plug-in electric cars that go more than 100 miles on a charge with PV and wind powered recharging stations?

*Dreaming of companies large and small adopting business sustainability practices to maximize profits, reduce their carbon footprint, and enhance the lives of their employees and the communities that surround them.


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