Archive for January 2007

Beyond cost savings – energy reduction spells pride in a low impact lifestyle

January 31, 2007

Energy savings is more than cost savings.  Sure we save money when we turn off equipment and lighting we don’t need, but there is more to it than that.  We just, plain, do more – with less!  We are efficient.  And we know it!  It’s not about energy at all, is it?  It’s about pride and confidence.

We are proud of our low impact life that does not lack in quality.

But beyond that, we are leaders.  Others evaluate what we do.  And we do stuff others only dream of doing, but with less resources.  We have to be at the top of our game in all aspects if we are to influence others.

Thank you all for having the passion to believe in energy and resource conservation, plus having the desire to be the best at it !


Coal –> Cola

January 30, 2007

What to do with all that carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by the coal power-generating facilities?  Soda pop is made from CO2.  With a sleight of hand, can’t we just turn coal into cola?  Voila’.  It certainly would make a lot of Pepsi, wouldn’t it?

Actually, carbon sequestration seems like a bandaid to a problem, unless it’s done properly and permanently.  Something tells me that storage in underground water is bad, ditto for permeable layers of rock; and the ocean seems to already be doing it’s fair share of storage.

Wouldn’t it be better to create carbon dioxide “farms” and let natural photosynthesis tie the carbon up – by growing some of the fastest CO2-converting plants?  Oh wait, someone is doing that already…

Push for Energy-Efficiency in your Company

January 29, 2007

If your place of business is an energy-intensive one, here are some ideas for you.

Every successful company shares the same three traits:
1.  A clear vision and strategy that everyone in the company understands.
2.  The right processes in place to drive that vision to results.
3.  The right people to implement those processes.

If your vision is to be the best, then your energy strategy is clear:  shut off what is not needed; find ways to reduce or eliminate everything else.

Are the right processes in place to drive that vision?  Are improvement ideas shared with someone who will make a difference?

Do you have the right people?  Do they concern themselves enough to make the small efforts necessary to turn off equipment, water, lights, etc. immediately after a process is shut down?  Does your supervisor support you and your energy efforts?  Does anyone believe it is “someone else’s job” to do it?

The key to better products and services, and a more viable company is the choice to be energy-efficient.  Be a leader; step it up; and speak out on energy ideas!

Resource & Energy-saving “Virtues”

January 27, 2007

I absolutely enjoy meeting and knowing people who daily finds ways to be energy-efficient and who use only the minimum amounts of resources needed to achieve their goals.  To me, it says this person is organized and has virtue, that somehow they have fine-tuned their life so they can focus on these higher, unselfish values.

If this person is also cheerful, spontaneous, open to new ideas, and does not abandon responsibilities in other areas of life while pursuing these, then they are doing one awesome job!  It is fun to hang around these folks, just to see the amazing things they seem to accomplish!

Here’s some strategies for you to identify opportunities in your life:

  1. Observe your habits and processes closely.  Compare these to others.  Isn’t it easier to use their already successful ideas than to create your own?!
  2. Think “outside the box”.  Transform the process.  Innovate a major paradigm shift in your routine!
  3. Now modify and conceive improvements to these major shifts, even if just small steps in the right direction.
  4. Safely add or eliminate steps – for efficiency.
  5. Consolidate trips to the grocery store, shopping mall, concert, movie, game, fuel-filling station, library, church, etc.
  6. Plan to do it right the first time.  Remember that it takes more energy and resources to redo or correct bad planning and inadequacies later.
  7. Know that your efforts have reduced resource and energy usage.  Enjoy your success for being a part of the solution!  Future generations can now use that resource which you have not wasted!

Are there many who already make this kind of effort?  Do the majority only concentrate on one resource these days: Time?

Fluorescent lighting being phased out

January 27, 2007

Jan 26, 2007 –  T12 fluorescent lighting is on the way out.  T8 and T5 fluorescent lighting is in.  Convert your old T12 lighting fixtures over to T8 lighting now!

In the United States it is reported that on July 1, 2010 manufacturers will no longer be able to sell the familiar T12 fluorescent lighting fixtures and ballasts.  Industry has moved to a more efficient version of fluorescent lighting called T8.  How are the two different?  The new T8 tubes have a smaller diameter: 1-inch vs. 1.5-inch, but more importantly, they are brighter and use 45% less energy than the old lights!

If your current fluorescent lights are in need of tubes or ballasts, it may be more economical to switch to the new lighting now.  The new T8 tubes are designed to fit into old T12 fixtures, however, the T12 magnetic ballast must be replaced with a T8 electronic ballast.

26 Feb 2007 update:  Check out this post for a 56% energy savings solution.

The World’s Largest Polluter

January 26, 2007

China is the world’s largest producer and user of coal.  Its 2006 coal output was estimated at 2.4 billion tons.  This is twice the amount of steel produced by all countries in the world together in 2006!  This much coal would make a spherical asteroid one mile in diameter!   Three years from now, by 2010, China expects to have expanded their coal production by 10%.

For coal facts and figures, check here:

In 2006, over 4740 workers were killed in Chinese mining accidents.   Yes, more workers die mining coal each year in China than all those who were killed by terrorists during the events of Sept 11, 2001.  But these thousands of fatalities are a mere fraction of the deaths occurring each year due to the unchecked air pollution caused by facilities burning the coal.  Take a look at this post, and watch the video for a glimpse into China’s ongoing environmental disaster:

Be responsible.  Take care of our planet; it’s the only one we’ve got.

Ethanol Production without Fossil Fuels

January 25, 2007

Jan. 24, 2007 Mead, Nebraska – This $75 million E3 BioFuels plant is the first of its kind in the world.  It operates a patented, closed loop process, eliminating the need for fossil fuels in producing ethanol.

It comes as no surprise that this 24 million gallon per year corn-based ethanol refinery is located in the heart of the cornbelt:  Nebraska, the home of the Cornhuskers, and the second leading state in ethanol production.

What makes this facility special is its closed-loop, self-sufficient operation.  8 million bushels of corn per year is transported to the biorefinery and fed into the ethanol-making process.  A high-protein byproduct, wet distillers grain, is fed to the 28,000 beef cattle in the on-site feedlot.  228,000 tons of cattle manure per year is transported to an anaerobic digester where it decomposes, generating methane.  This methane is captured and burned as fuel to cook the corn in the ethanol process.

The entire operation is environmentally friendly and efficient.  As a standalone process, a feedlot would run the risk of polluting watersheds.  But not here.  Likewise, methane gas from manure normally just drifts up into the atmosphere.  As a greenhouse gas though, methane is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  Typically, additional energy would be spent drying wet distillers grain to prevent spoilage and to facilitate transportation.  But with cattle just next door, this energy can also be conserved.  Overall, E3’s synergistic design turns each potential cost or hazard into an environmental and economic opportunity.

Click here to see the plant layout:

E3 BioFuels plans to build 15 plants within the next 5 years.