Monday, October 26, 2009

German Solar Firm to Open Site in Denver

Nice. More renewable love for the front range of Colorado. A German solar converter company is investing $20 million to build its first North American manufacturing site. Is Colorado the renewable energy capital of the world? I think we are well on our way.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Denver Public Library Offers Free Device to Help Lower Energy Costs

Reason two hundred trillion billion to love pubic libraries. Denver Public Library is offering the "Watts Up" portable energy meter to help teach residents about their energy consumption, save a little money, and reduce their carbon footprint. What could be better?

The Watts Up energy meter not only tells how much electricity each appliance is using each month, but also gives the cost of that electricity consumption. It's a pretty cool device created by a Colorado company called, Educational Electronic Devices. The Kill-A-Watt is another device similar to the Watts Up. Although there is a waiting list for one of these energy meters, they are relatively cheap to buy (30-40 dollars).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Colorado Solar Power Outshining State's Gas Industry

The solar industry is growing here, slowly but surely. And with 300 sunny days a year, I don't see why we can't have solar PV and thermal panels on the houses and buildings all over the state. Couple that with geothermal and also concentrated solar power plants in the San Luis Valley and we will be extremely close to running our entire state on clean, renewable energy. Our elected officials are working hard to create Colorado as the renewable energy hub in thought leadership, investment, education, and science for the country if not the world. Good things are going to happen to this state in the next decade. In addition, investment in clean energy helps to diversify our economy and prevent the boom and bust cycle Colorado is so well known for. And as we can see, natural gas and coal are not long for our future world.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Smaller And More Efficient Nuclear Battery Created

"As radioactive substances decay, they release charged particles that when properly harvested can create an electrical current."

Cool. Plus these nuclear batteries hold a million times more charge than regular batteries. Hopefully this will lead to more efficient batteries to store renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) that is only created at certain times of the day. If we want to reduce our consumption of coal to meet our base load electricity needs then one of the things we have to do is figure out an efficient storage mechanism to store the renewable energy that was created at peak solar and wind times. There are two good articles if you want to read more about this technology, one at the BBC and one at Science Daily.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Is Energy Awareness Month

Fire up kids, October is energy awareness month. Let's try and remember all that we do to consume and save energy. Consuming is the easy part. Saving is a bit harder. What are some of the ways we can save energy? Telecommuting once a week. Turning down the heat a couple of degrees. Weatherizing and insulating our homes. Turning off your computer at work and at home when not in use. Setting your lights on timers or placing your outdoor lights on motion detectors. Turning down the thermostat on your water heater (120 degrees is good enough). Taking public transportation. Put on a sweater! What else?

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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