Solar Gardens Are Sprouting Up Everywhere! | JoyHughes

Solar Gardens Are Sprouting Up Everywhere! | JoyHughes.

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What a great idea! Landfills for solar

I am investigating my local landfill which is unused. Now, what about wind?

Atlanta landfill to become solar farm

A 48-acre landfill owned by Republic Services in DeKalb County, Georgia is soon to become a solar farm.  Following Republic’s own successes with solar-capped landfills like the Tessman Road Landfill in San Antonio, the Hickory Ridge site in Georgia will be capped with a heavy duty impermeable liner, atop which pliable solar panels (the thickness of two nickels) will sit.  The site will sell 1 megawatt of power, enough to power 400 homes, to Georgia Power, making it the the state’s first solar landfill as well as one of its biggest single producers of solar power.   The project was implemented with $2 million in federal stimulus support and help from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

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Low cost China: will more solar panel makers follow Evergreen Solar and quit America for China? | Thin Film Today

Low cost China: will more solar panel makers follow Evergreen Solar and quit America for China? | Thin Film Today.

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composting without a yard/from planet green

Reducing food waste is simple for those of us with a yard — just toss any fruit and veggie scraps out on the compost pile, and repeat until, soon, there is enough rich, crumbly compost to toss onto our garden beds.

But what if you’re an apartment dweller, with no yard, no balcony, no outdoor space to speak of to call your own?

Composting is still a great option for you apartment-dwellers out there. It will take a bit of creativity, but it’s entirely possible that you can reduce your total food waste to nearly zero, depending on how many of these options you’re willing to use and the size of your household.

Small Space Composting Option #1: Worm Bin

People are sometimes hesitant to get into vermicomposting because they worry about either A) the worms escaping and slithering all over their kitchen floor, or B) odors. Neither one are all that common, actually, and are unlikely to happen if you spend some time maintaining your worm bin. Worms will only try to escape if they’re starving, too dry, drowning, or (rarely) if something nearby (such as a refrigerator or dishwasher) causes frequent vibrations, which can irritate them. If you keep them fed, and moist, you’re unlikely to have any problems.

And worm bins don’t have to be great big boxy affairs, either. You can vermicompost, right under your kitchen sink, in a five gallon bucket from the home center. Make sure you get one with a lid, and follow these tips for making a bucket worm bin.

Wondering what to add to your worm bin? Just about any non-meat, non-dairy, not-greasy food you have on hand. Fruit and vegetable peels, leftover cooked veggies, rice, or plain pasta, coffee grounds, tea bags — all of it can go into your worm bin. While there are some foods worms aren’t fond of, in general, they’re not too picky.

You can order worms online. How many you’ll need depends on how much food waste you have. One pound of worms can handle 1/2 pound of food scraps per day.

Small Space Composting Option #2: Bokashi

There are many items you really shouldn’t put in a worm bin: meat, dairy, cooked foods with sauces and dressings — but you can use Bokashi to compost these items. Bokashi is a popular composting method in Asia, and is seeing more popularity now in the U.S. and Canada. It is, essentially, a fermentation method. You add your food to a bucket (which fits perfectly under a sink or in a corner) cover it with Bokashi bran (a mix of grains and microbes that will cause the fermentation process) and repeat. Once your bucket is full, you set it aside for a few weeks, upon which it is fully fermented and no longer harbors any harmful pathogens. If you have a yard, you can simply add the fermented bucket contents to a compost pile, or bury it right in the garden. If you don’t have a yard, see option #3, below.

Small Space Composting Option #3: Bokashi Plus a Worm Bin

If you’re doing all of your composting indoors, there’s good news: red wigglers (and other worms, but red wigglers are the most common vermicomposting worm) LOVE the fermented contents of Bokashi buckets. Once your Bokashi bucket is done sitting and fermenting, give your worms a bit of the mixture every day, and they will break it down in no time.

Using Finished Vermicompost

OK, so you’ve done all of this indoor vermicomposting, and now, you have rich, dark vermicompost and vermicastings. What do you do with it?

  • Add a bit to the surface of your houseplants’ potting soil. It is a very safe, natural fertilizer.
  • Add vermicastings to potting soil or seed starting mixes.
  • Add them to your community garden plot, if you have one.
  • Donate them to a community garden, school garden, or garden club.
  • Do some guerilla soil improvement — add your vermicompost to public plantings to help them grow stronger.
  • Offer them up on Craigslist. Chances are good that you won’t have them for long.
  • Sell them. Lots of people sell vermicompost on sites like eBay and Etsy.

If you’re determined to reduce the amount of waste you produce, and turn food waste into something really useful, these ideas are definitely worth considering. Happy composting!

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Wind Energy interview with Ed Weston

US renewable energy policy: Robust enough to support US wind turbine suppliers?

7 February 2011

Wind Energy Update speaks to Ed Weston, Director, Great Lakes Wind Network, about the policy initiatives necessary to support the build out of the US’ domestic wind turbine supply chain.

Wind Energy UpdateWhile a one-year extension to the payment of 1603 section grants in lieu of the production tax credit late last year was welcomed by the US wind industry, it has not resolved the issue of uncertainty in the sector from an investment perspective. Are we likely to see a policy framework put into place any time soon that would provide greater long-term certainty for the sector?

Ed Weston: That’s the question everyone in the US is asking. Polls indicate that the majority of American favour the growth of alternative energy, especially wind power.  How the Congress chooses to act, however, remains to be seen. There is talk of something new – a Clean Energy Standard – in which nuclear and clean coal would be considered as part of the legislation.

Wind Energy Update: Factors such as market availability, transportation costs and currency fluctuations provide a strong argument for the build out of a domestic turbine component supply chain in the US. What are the key hurdles to developing a domestic supply chain / where are the major bottlenecks?

Ed Weston: Probably the biggest issue US manufacturers face is competitiveness.  It starts with the head start that their supply chain competitors obtained when the wind industry migrated from American to Europe in the 1980’s.

Unlike many US companies, some of  whom are now hustling to manufacture what’s for them a new wind part, European and some Asian suppliers have been building them for a long time, increasing quality and shaving off costs each year.  The result is that US parts sometimes cost more based on the learning curve.

There are also widespread concerns that currency manipulation and government subsidies create a less-than-level playing field when US manufacturers compete head-to-head against some Asian products.

Wind Energy Update: What policies need to be introduced to address these issues/bottlenecks?

Ed Weston: Long-term market stability (such as provided by a RES) and access to affordable capital (extension of 48c) are two needs that can and should be addressed to help US manufacturers to invest in the most modern production equipment and facilities. That is needed and straightforward from a policy perspective.

The level-playing field issue is more complicated to resolve.

Wind Energy UpdateDoes the domestic content requirement for wind projects receiving government support risk making US wind manufacturers uncompetitive / pricing wind energy out of the market?

Ed Weston: That doesn’t seem to be happening.  AWEA reported last month that prices of wind power generated from a number of 2011 wind farm installations that were extremely competitive.

Wind Energy Update:
What progress has been made on resolving US transmission issues? Can we expect to see any progress on this in 2011?

Ed Weston: Progress is being made on a regional basis, and when that happens it drives wind farm development around it.

Unfortunately, extending the grid doesn’t seem to be getting much of a national push today, given the current low prices for natural gas, the prospects for tapping into reserves with new drilling methods, and the American bent for cheap electricity.

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I Survived Beyond and Back

Love the premise. Taking the heart pounding stories of numerous tragedies, usually 3 per episode, discussing what led up to the death, what the afterlife was all about and how it felt to come back. Fascinating study of NDEs? Or life after death.
Most people, 99% of them, wanted to stay dead. They did not want to come back but were forced. It also seems that the experience is different for everyone. A religious person will have something religious but other people may just see forms and have warm feelings of love. Some communicate with relatives. One guy actually went to “hell”. What scared him the most was the true concept of eternity. That actually fascinating. Something truly lasting forever.

I survived beyond and back tv show

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Starting to go solar and what to look for in an installer/offgrid too

The Kyoto protocol, Copenhagen protocol, climate change conferences, global warming, if your response to all these names is – ok I have heard about these a few times now, so what, then my question to you is – what’s been our humble contribution to our environment? What’s been our effort in utilizing the natural resources around us? If you have not given it a serious thought, it’s time you did.

Let’s start with a very simple yet powerful source of energy, the solar energy. This is probably the cheapest source of renewable energy available around us. If you are morally motivated to do something for your environment and have the option of saving power, then it’s time you got solar power equipment installed at your facilities be it office or your home. An icing on the cake to the above option is you also save money and are eligible for government grants. So before making a choice, opt for the product from a company which is well-aware of the market trend, has the latest and most innovative solutions and a good customer satisfaction ratio. Their products must have received an impressive rating from most customers and the service rating has to be nothing short of excellent. The company should also ensure that things are put forth to customers in the most simplest of ways with their install experts guiding you through the entire process based on your requirements and providing valuable suggestions to make it cheaper and better for you.

Another interesting feature you may want to check out is the Off-grid and hybrid power systems, a system that assimilates solar and wind energies and is a viable option for cheaper power in the distant regions. The best advantage of installing the Off-grid systems is the availability of the naturally renewable source of energy at such locations which makes the use of alternate sources of power redundant, thus saving costs. Make sure the company can provide excitingly designed  of superior quality at really economical rates with a wide range to select from.

This is our “camp system” a full PV system to just get your feet wet. We use it in one area of our house. We operate our living room electricity with it. We currently rent, so we can not put solar panels on the roof.  The panel sits out in the backyard attached to our battery bank in the garage. It soaks up the sun and we use the energy from the batteries to operate the big screen tv and lights inside.  This is the perfect way to start small. To make changes in your life.

It’s time we brought about a change, it’s time to revolutionize the way we use energy. Come be a part of it!

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Does adding Solar Panels help sell a home?

It really depends. Putting solar panels on your roof to help sell your home may not be the best option. Most buyers are still interested in your kitchen, bathrooms and school district. Those that can think a little bit down the road can see the benefits of PV on the roof but the concept doesn’t stand out at first.

There are better ways you can green up your home that can make it more attractive to buyers and not have to break the bank.

A solar hot water system. Free hot water for the life of system. ROI in 3-5 years. I have one and it works very well. One panel on the roof. New storage tank in the garage and presto, you are in business. Make sure you have the installer number handy so that your new buyer won’t have to look all over town in case of problems down the road.

Solar attic fans and daylighting systems. Solar attic fans cool your attic allowing your air conditioner not to have to work so hard. They are do it yourself installations.

Daylighting systems are great. They are tube lights, a hole in your roof, a glass dome placed over it, some piping through the attic (or wherever) and you can get great light in previous darkened places.

installing tube light on roof

tube light on roof

Good insulation and Led Lighting as well as energy efficient appliances top off my list.

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Eco Crafting

Today I took 3 plastic water bottles and turned them into curtain hold backs. They actually look like lucite or glass. I really like the results. This is called Eco crafting. Taking products that would be recycled or thrown out and doing something useful with them.

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