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Saturday, July 25th, 2009
4:45 pm - new community


Hi everyone. I recently started a community that I'll be updating it with environmental news and articles, and I thought you might like to take a look.



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Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
11:02 am - environmentally friendly-music


an cut - list of environmentally friendly-music and video music_action (Music for Social and Civil Action, Freedom, Peace, Environment and Human Rights):
Read more...Collapse )

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Thursday, March 19th, 2009
7:35 pm - Reel Push Mower

In my struggle toward self-sufficiency, I have been considering getting a reel mower. I also have the tendency to not know how to drain my gas mower at the end of fall which always turns into it not starting in the spring, and have never sharpened the blades and don't exactly know how...even if I could lift my mower by myself.

I've been reading gobs of reviews... which is usually a mistake for me because it never really helps 'cause all the reviews say totally different stuff, and I am usually left more boggled than when I started. this is no exception. :(

I did however find out some important info. mainly two things that are against me that I totally didn't know, 1. you must cut your grass really often everyone says even once a week is not enough and I did see someone that said you must cut the grass only 1/4'. Er in the late spring here that would be like twice a day!

The second big thing I've noticed is that apparently they don't cut much other than grass. er... my backyard is practicably ALL henbit, onions, plantain, and dandelions.

No gas
less maintenance
starts when I start
no smell
no exhaust

May not cut my yard
I may not be strong enough to push it
buyers remorse possible and on my budget $130 is not to be sneezed at
Doesn't mulch leaves
need to mow really often (something I'm not great about)

Honestly I'd really like to borrow or rent one to try it out first but everyone I've ever mentioned it to thinks I'm crazy much less has one I can bum for a few hours.

I don't have the $300 for an electric mower, cord or no cord. And unless I could find a way of human powering it or solar power it's just a shifting of pollutants not any more eco-friendly.

One option I thought of is buying one at a Home Depot and then returning it if I don't like it or can't use it or whatever, but I feel like such a sleeze when I do that. And even the American mower brand is now made in China which really bothers me. I suppose I could go with the German brand though it's more expensive and almost the cost of an electric.

Any suggestions???

X-posted to a couple of places. sorry if you get it bunches.

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Thursday, March 1st, 2007
11:25 am - Tree Hugger

TreeHugger is a fast-growing web magazine, dedicated to everything that has a modern aesthetic yet is environmentally responsible. Our goal is to make sustainability mainstream and to be the one-stop for the environment. If you want doom & gloom, this is not the place. We are looking for solutions, constructive developments and positive initiatives.


Tree Hugger PODCAST

current mood: determined

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Monday, December 4th, 2006
6:46 pm - Space heaters

I've been thinking about getting a space heater for the winter months so I can keep the furnace set lower and just heat the room I'm in. I'm wondering what type works best (ie, getting the room up to temperature more quickly, safest to operate, cheapest to own/operate, etc.)

Any opinions?

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Saturday, May 6th, 2006
11:39 am - Canadian Energy-Saving Programs Lose Funding


The Harper government had better have a good plan and tell us what it is soon, because they are pissing me off. I'd rather keep the GST at 7 or 8 percent or whatever it was before they proposed the tax cut if this is what it means for us and for future generations. We can't back out on investments in alternative energy. Oil and natural gas won't last us forever.


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Wednesday, August 31st, 2005
7:15 pm - Can we get these products donated to the Hurricane Victims?


Hey folks.. great idea...

Energy is at a premium.  Oil /Gas is not available right now.. and the prices are out of this world.

This is a GREAT opportunity to get the concept of alternative energy out there.



Solar cooker.



We need to find a way to get these items donated and promoted down in the Hurricane areas..


Anyone have any connections.. ??? 




(PS BUSH SUCKS.. but hey.. if we want change.. we need to do it ourselves and quit waiting around for these folks to get the picture!)

current mood: determined

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Thursday, July 14th, 2005
8:02 pm


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Monday, June 13th, 2005
7:42 pm

Talked to a residential HVAC guy today, this one was a pretty good talker. And by that I mean he wasn't a slick salesguy, but he was knowledagble, and informative. He helped me to understand better a lot of the bits and pieces of what I have been reading up on. It was an enjoyable and educational experience.

A few things I learned:

  • Yes, you can duct the exhaust of a 90+ efficiency furnace horizontally and have it exit at near ground level. By building code you can't have it be any closer than 3 feet away from any openable window. The exhaust is near room temperature and thus won't rise up a vertical chimney flue, but it doesn't contain very much CO -- mostly the product of combustion is CO2 and H2O.

  • My current forced air gas furnace is of a type which i about 50% efficient. If it is rated at 100,000 BTU, about 50,000 BTU of energy is actually heating the house, while the other 50,000 is going out the chimney. Now, say I replace that 100,000 BTU 50% furnace with a 100,000 BTU 90% furnace. That won't actually save me money, why? Because I'll be putting 90,000 BTU worth of heating capacity into my home, where 50,000 was adequate. The furnace will short cycle (turning on and running at full blast for a short time, then turning off) rather than run constantly, which is inefficient and will cause the heating bill to be higher than it ought to be. I'm thinking this is probably what happened at the old apartment where we lived -- they had just installed a new furnace which should have been much more efficient than the one that it replaced, yet we were still paying $350/mo for the cold months even with the thermostat set down to 60 or lower, probably because the unit was improperly sized for the application. More efficient furnaces give you the ability to use a lower capacity unit, which is how you actually realize a fuel savings. So if I go with a 90% furnace, I'll probably only need a 60,000 BTU capacity furnace. If I were concerned about the most brutally cold days, I might be better off with an 80,000 BTU furnace, but it's something of a judgement call. Space heaters or wearing sweaters would be just as good a solution for the coldest days if I went with a 60,000 BTU unit and found that the temperature dropped when the temperature dropped below 0. As I plan to improve the insulation in the home in the future, this would change the thermal loss properties of the home and enable a smaller capacity unit to keep the temperature up on those colder days.

  • Turning down your thermostat in the winter will save you energy, but only up until a point. If you set the temperature too low, you can give your furnace essentially the same over-capacity/short-cycling scenario as you get by having too large a unit for the space you're heating. Then you end up being colder than you'd like to be, and your bill is high. This might be part of the problem we had with the apartment we were in last year -- I freaked out when I saw the bill for Oct/November, when we were barely using the furnace at all, and was probably overly stringent with the thermostat setting for the rest of the winter. In reality, the bill for Oct/Nov was probably inflated because it was based off of estimates from previous years with the old furnace, and the sticker shock I got made me try to conserve energy to the point where I picked a sub-optimal strategy which caused the furnace to short cycle. The house was also rather poorly insulated on top of that, and the upstairs was uninhabited and unheated, and the attic windows kept blowing open, and so the heating bills there were bound to be nightmarish in any event, but I probably contributed more to the problem by being overly aggressive with keeping the thermostat set ultra-low.

  • There are single- and two-stage burners in modern furnaces. A single stage furnace is either running full burn or off (pilot light, unless it's got electric ignition, in which case it's really off). A multi-stage burner has a low-burn mode and full-burn modes. On low mode, the furnace burns a lot less fuel, and runs at a fraction of its full BTU rating. This saves you money in the mildly cold weather during the heating months. On high mode, it's running at full capacity. It doesn't really need to run at full capacity but when it's really cold out, which in my area (Cleveland, OH) is not that many hours out of the year. So during most of the time of the year when I'm using energy to heat, I will be using low mode and saving a lot of energy.

  • Multi-stage is more of a money saver than efficiency rating. Given his choice, the HVAC guy would recommend an 80% two-stage model over a 90% single-stage model. But they do make two-stage 90+% furnaces, so you can have the best of both worlds.

  • 90% gives you a few nice things besides just more efficiency, though. They use sealed combustion, which means that the air that they draw in to combine with the fuel in order to burn it comes in from outside the house, goes through the furnace, burns, goes through the heat exchanger, and then out the exhaust, and never mingles with the air in the house. The air in the house comes in through the cold air return, enters the furnace, travels around the heat exchanger, exchanges heat with the hot air that fed the combustion, and blows into the house. Since the sealed combustion draws air from outside the house rather than inside, the air pressure inside the house does not go negative. Thus, you don't get a strong draft in your windows, doors, and miscellaneous cracks in the walls. This means not only does the house not have so much of a draft problem (though you should probably still seal as much as you can), but you can also count on less dust going into the house, since the dirty air carrying dust from outside won't be getting sucked into the living space.

  • If you have an air cleaner installed on the intake duct of the furnace for the air that circulates in the living space, it'll help clean out the air in the house, and as long as the windows stay closed you should see a reduction in the amount of dust that accumulates. There's no magic preventative for dust, since everything we do generates small amounts of dust, but it should be a noticeable amount.

  • Heat pump vs. AC. A heat pump is basically an AC unit which has a reversible valve which changes the way the freon goes through the system. This adds about $600 to the cost of the unit. I had thought for a moment that if I went 60,000 BTU furance + heat pump, the heat pump instead of AC, the heat pump would be able to help the furnace on the really cold days and combined the two would be able to equal the 80,000 BTU furnace I'm chosing between. But this is not the case -- Due to limitations of physics, freon will only help you exchange heat from the outside to warm the inside of the house down to about 30 deg. F or so. Below that temperature, there isn't enough of a differential between the outside ambient air and the freon in the system to make a meaningful contribution to the heating of the home. my conjectureCollapse ) Thus, a heat pump provides an assist to the furnace at the same temperature that the low-powered setting of a two-stage furnace will. A 2-stage furnace costs about $200 more than a single-stage furnace. Therefore, a 2-stage furnace is a better way to save energy than a single stage furnace + heat pump. But a smaller capacity furnace + heat pump isn't the answer for the really cold, cold days.

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Saturday, June 11th, 2005
1:53 am - re: the energy bill due out on the senate floor on mon. if activism= your thing, PLEASE HELP!

post asking for support of a sane energy policy... also related to social justice, animal rights and the environmentCollapse )

(letter that we would like forwarded = under the LJ-cut)Collapse )


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Monday, June 6th, 2005
9:06 pm

Where can I go (on the web or otherwise) to read about residential HVAC? I'm looking for product reviews, overviews of the current technologies, the whole nine yards.

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Sunday, May 1st, 2005
6:53 pm

Added an outdoor motion sensing light fixture near the side door of my house. Had intended to install with energy saving coiled flourescent tube floodlight bulbs. They cost twice as much as regular halogen bulbs but last three times as long and use a fraction of the power. However, such was not to be. The base of the bulb is just a little bit fatter than a regular incandescant bulb, and will not screw into the socket when the shade is in place. I have found this to be the case with just about every lamp I've tried to install these new-style energy saving bulbs, and it is very frustrating. Why can't the industry build a bulb that has the exact same dimensions as the the old style bulbs these are intended to replace?

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Friday, April 15th, 2005
9:56 pm - Nuclear power is the problem, not a solution

Nuclear power is the problem, not a solution
Published on Friday, April 15, 2005 by the Australian
Helen Caldicott
April 13, 2005

THERE is a huge propaganda push by the nuclear industry to justify nuclear power as a panacea for the reduction of global-warming gases.

In fact Leslie Kemeny on these pages two weeks ago (HES, March 30) suggested that courses on nuclear science and engineering be included in tertiary level institutions in Australia.

I agree. But I would suggest that all the relevant facts be taught to students. Mandatory courses in medical schools should embrace the short and long-term biological, genetic and medical dangers associated with the nuclear fuel cycle. Business students should examine the true costs associated with the production of nuclear power. Engineering students should become familiar with the profound problems associated with the storage of long-lived radioactive waste, the human fallibilities that have created the most serious nuclear accidents in history and the ongoing history of near-misses and near-meltdowns in the industry.



current mood: exhausted

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Sunday, April 3rd, 2005
7:58 pm - Winning the Oil Endgame: Mobilizing Business and Design Innovation for Profitable Energy Security

Winning the Oil Endgame: Mobilizing Business and Design Innovation for Profitable Energy Security
Keynote: Amory Lovins
Winning the Oil Endgame: Mobilizing Business and Design Innovation for Profitable Energy Security

Designing the Next Golden Age
Producer: Bioneers
Length: 24.26 minutes


The legendary cofounder and CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute, physicist Amory Lovins, is the most important figure in the history of the "alternative energy" movement, its most brilliant, inspiring visionary and advocate. He will offer us a realistic outline of how we can achieve a prosperous post-petroleum economy through cutting-edge design innovations, radically enhanced resource efficiency, and judicious use of biofuels and hydrogen. With business and civil society in the vanguard, we can get off oil attractively and profitably while revitalizing key industrial sectors and protecting the climate.


current mood: contemplative

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4:27 pm

Hello energy-conscious friends,

I am seeking information relating to natural gas furnaces. Basically, the natural gas that gets piped into your home is something like 80-95% methane, and clearly furnaces operate just fine on it. However, the gas produced by the anaerobic digestion of organic material is more like 50% methane, with most of the remaining portion consisting of inert carbon dioxide gas. So, where I'm going with this... this biogas will adequately run a generator to produce electricity, but I think it would be much awesomer to burn the methane in a furnace (since electric heat isn't very efficient, and it's cold up here in New York). So...anyone know...would a furnace run on 50% methane? Which models, or what kind of modifications would be necessary? Is it feasible? It seems like this might require sort of advanced technical knowledge, so if anyone has a lead (a suggestion of where else to inquire) please let me know! I've been roaming about on the web for a while and have thus far been unsuccessful. Furnace technicians seem to be an underrepresent demographic group on the internet, sadly.

Anyway, anaerobic digestion is pretty exciting stuff. I'm no expert on the subject, but I'm probably more familiar with it as a concept than the average person on the street, so if anyone is interested, I can share some of what I do know.


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Tuesday, March 29th, 2005
7:24 pm - Sustainable Energy Fair, University of Toronto, March 30 2005

Check out sustainable energy initiatives and technology from University of Toronto students, faculty, community organizations and more! Free veggie burgers cooked at on a solar-powered grill! Lug-a-mug for free fair trade coffee! Sustainable Energy Ceremony with government officials at 12:30 pm! Everyone is welcome!

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
3:13 pm - Down to the wire (Crossposted!)


Lets push for REAL energy alternatives. There is NOOO Guarantee that gas prices will go down if they drill in ANWR.  Please call and tell them to Save ANWR  See Below!!


Dear Supporter,

We have only 24 to 48 hours to try and save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Republicans are trying to sneak legislation through the Senate approving oil drilling and they are incredibly close to winning. We have to stop them.

I am joining with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) in offering a critical amendment to stop this sneak attack on our environment. We will fight on the floor of the Senate, but we need you by our side.

There are seven key Republican Senators whose votes will decide the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Before they vote, we need to make sure they know that their constituents are watching, and that they will not be able to support drilling without anybody noticing.

Here are two critical steps we can take together to support our amendment to protect this National Wildlife Refuge:
Read more...Collapse )

current mood: determined

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Friday, March 11th, 2005
12:04 am - Call to Action- Down with King Coal

I apologize of this post is inappropriate in this community. I relaize this community is for ideas on energy but I am trying to pass on this information to anyone who cares about the current crisis with the impact of fossil fuels on our planet and her people. If you let me know this is inappropriate here, I will not post future updates. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Stop Mountain top RemovalCollapse )

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Thursday, March 3rd, 2005
12:17 am - Thoughts on Energy

Under the guise of being energy conscious, here's some brainstorming on energy issues.

1) I do not understand the hype over the hydrogen economy.
Given that every time you convert energy from one form to another you lose energy, why introduce another conversion? The best large scale way I know to manufacture hydrogen is with electricity (electrolysis of water or whatever). Dunno the efficiency of this process, but where's the electricity come from? Existing generation technologies such as solar, hydro, wind, and thermal (fossil fuel) plants. The only big advantage I see in this is that a greater percentage of fossil fuels get burned at point sources, where emissions (SOX, NOX, HCs, etc) are easier to control. But it does nothing for CO2 emissions.

2) Gasoline Transportation.
Currently we have crude oil getting pumped, shipped, refined, and burned in cars. Gasoline is a very compact and convenient energy supply for transportation, and it requires no energy conversions to be used (only refinement). The major problems with gasoline are two-fold: (a) its hard to control emissions in such a non-point source as millions of cars, and (b) existing cars are very inefficient.

We've already solved (a) in large part - modern cars burn pretty clean. (b) is an emerging (emerged, really) technology, and if the market would just force people to consider fuel efficiency when buying their SUVs without hybrid drive trains, then fuel economy would... double?

3) Natural Gas.
Natural gas is the best fossil fuel there is from a greenhouse perspective - it has the lowest CO2 output per unit energy released. 1 carbon per four hydrogens, longer hydrocarbon chains approach a ratio of 1:2. (hmm. would molecules like acetylene with double or triple carbon bonds be an exception to this rule?)
Natural gas is great for heating purposes, because it is easy to achieve very efficient utilization. Common technologies such as residential boilers and furnaces can easily hit 85% efficiency, and larger or fancier systems can approach 98%. To the extent that our society is going to use natural gas as a fuel, the perferred use should be for heating because heatings is such an excellent use of this resource.

4) Electrical Generation

4.1 Thermal plants

Thermal plants are pretty medicore. The old rule of thumb for thermal plants is of the chemical energy (fuel) you put in, you get 30% out as electrical energy, 30% out as useable heat from the coolant system (like a car radiator), 30% goes out the exhaust stack, and 10% goes to miscellaneous losses. In the worst case, society gets 30% of the energy as electricity and the balance is dumped to the environment. Newer combined cycle plants (CC plants) use the exhaust gases to drive a secondary turbine - these plants can get up to 60% of the energy out as electricity, but they don't govern loads well, so they need to be run at constant output and thus are only suitable for producing a (large) fraction of the total energy demand. Some thermal plants are situated near other facilities so the coolant system can be used to heat adjacent buildings. Given that people don't like to be right next to smoke stacks and district heating involves a lot of pipes and stuff, the application for this is somewhat limited. But where it works, its great. Doing this with a CC plant and you might be approaching 80 or 90%. (?)

4.2 Hydro plants

Hydro plants are terrific in that they can convert the potential energy of water to electricity with something approaching 80-90% efficiency, which is hard to beat. Hydro is very site specific, and when not done right has bad environmental consequences. However, when done right, hydro is very environmentally friendly, and once the construction costs are paid off, hydro is the cheapest electricity source known to man (<1 cent/kWh is not uncommon).

4.3 Wind Plants

Wind is finally becoming economical. Wind has a role in the electrical grid, but it is a limited one. Wind energy is erratic, and is difficult to integrate with other generation technologies. Its not too hard to tie wind in as a small power supply on a big grid (say up to 10%) but as the percentage of wind generation increases, integrating wind with other generation sources and maintaining acceptable frequency and voltage in the system becomes very difficult.

4.4 Solar Farms

Far as I know, economics aren't there yet.

4.5 Tidal or wave energy

Haven't seen a great system implemented on a big scale yet. Would like to.

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2005
4:46 pm - Hybrid Mileage Tax.... Comments?

What do folks feel about this? I caught something about this on Limbaugh yesterday... he was bitching about this (why am I not surprised...) but it seems ironic that someone who believes that folks should take responsibility for things... If you drive more on the roads.. shouldn't you have to pay more to use them? Why doesn't a conservative want to support that ? I guess they feel they should just be able to drive and guzzle gas and not have to pay the consequences for doing so... hypocrites...

talk amongst yourselves....


Monday, July 05, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Oregon to test mileage tax as replacement for gas tax

By Eric Pryne
Seattle Times staff reporter

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Let's pretend someone waves a magic wand and turns every car into a fuel-sipping, gas-electric hybrid. What difference would it make?
The air would be cleaner.

Oil imports would drop.

And the transportation budgets of Oregon, Washington and almost every other state would deflate like a punctured balloon.

Think about it: Most money for highway construction and maintenance comes from state and federal taxes on gasoline. If people bought a lot less gas, highways would get a lot less money.

In Oregon, a state task force has concluded this scenario isn't all that far-fetched. It has proposed a possible long-term replacement for the gas tax, something no one has tried before:

A tax based on how many miles you drive.

The Oregon Road User Fee Task Force has spent two years fleshing out the concept, thinking through how such a tax might be calculated and collected. Now it's ready to test its ideas in the real world.

At the panel's request, Oregon State University researchers have developed technology that can distinguish miles driven in Oregon from those driven elsewhere, then allow a mileage tax to be calculated and paid at the pump in place of the state gas tax.

Next year, the researchers' mileage-recording devices are to be installed on 400 private cars in Eugene. Some of the volunteers will become the first people in the country to pay road taxes based not on how much fuel they burn, but on how far they travel.


current mood: aggravated

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