Energy Savings (Alex)

11 11 2008

Now that the cold of the winter season seems to be upon us, I noticed that the fur-nice and small heaters in my house seem to be running more and more. Obviously most households experience this through the winter cold, as we as humans have no intent of being cold as well. However as I noticed this increase in energy due to the consumption of heat from various sources I started to think about the possibilities that there may be alternate, and yet small solutions that could be made to the average house to cut down the energy and cost that winter brings to most houses.

I first looked at the areas of my house that seemed to be letting the most amount of cold air into it. Obviously these areas were the windows and the doors. To help keep the cold air out from the windows we actually bought a fairly inexpensive kit (around $10.00) that contains almost Saran wrap and tape to put around the window. This was fairly simple to install and creates a barrier keeping the cold air out.

I then looked at other area. The doors are hard to adjust, however we often do not use our patio door from the backyard in the winter, therefore decided to use a inexpensive easier that although keeps the door shut for the next fe month’s, will also keep most cold air out as well.

Walking around my house I noticed other small things. The fireplace was letting a large amount of cold in in. I placed a garbage bag over it to keep the cold air out. I guess you could also light a lot of fires ūüôā

By the garage is also cooler. Although I could of insulate my entire garage, Rea search indicated that if your garage is insulated and connected to your house it will decrease the cold in the winter time. ( This is a very good energy saving technique.

Other small things like keeping you doors open so air can circulate, and having area rugs so laminate floors are not cold on your feet will help make you home more comfortable and use less energy during the winter time.


Oceans and Waste as Energy- Steph

29 10 2008

The article ‚ÄúNew Technology Turns Food Leftovers Into Electricity, Vehicle Fuels‚ÄĚ talks about the process developed by UC Davis‚Äô Biogas Energy facility, in California, which converts garbage into energy. ¬†In my opinion this is a great way to solve two problems. It eliminates waste in the landfills as well as provides an alternative was to produce electricity. This process involves converting the waste to methane and hydrogen gases.

‚ÄúOceans Eyed as new energy source,‚ÄĚ is an article from fox news that talks about using the Gulf Stream currents as a new way to produce energy. Nothing has been done yet to test this but scientists think that it is the solution to our energy problem. By installing underwater turbines the strong, constant current could eventually produce up to 10 times the amount of energy of a nuclear power plant. I think that this could be very successful. The current is constantly moving, providing constant energy and why not utilize natural current. It wouldn‚Äôt produce waste and it wouldn‚Äôt deplete anything. I do think that scientists must be careful when doing this though as they do not want to change any ocean currents as this could change climates around the world. ¬†,2933,330842,00.html

– Steph M.

Cow waste to Energy: Lauren Pritchard

15 10 2008


An issue  discussed frequently in the media as well as in class is the issue of finding alternative energy sources. To me personally this is a very important isssue. Scientists, and environmentalists all over the nation are attempting to come up with sustainable sources of energy. An ingenious idea for alterior energy that I recently came across was targeted towards farming, and more specificaly the wast left by cows.

Cows like any other living thing creates waste, and¬†lot it. In Vermont a number of farmers are beginning to use this waste for energy. This waste becomes energy by first being pumped into a “digester.” This digester holds the cows waste for three weeks at a warm temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The organic matter in the cows waste is broken down producing methane and other gases, this becomes bio – gas. In an electrically generated engine the gas is then burned.

After the three weeks in which the waste is stored and generated for energy, it is then released into a separator in which the liquid waste is used as fertilizer, and the solids are used as cow bedding.

These cows as stated before, generate a lot waste, so much that they are capable of producing 250 to 300 kilowatts a day.

This alternitve way of producing energy is a win, win plan. Farmers are using “waste” and recycling it and using to generate energy. This generated energy can not only be used to generate their own homes and facilities, but the surplus of energy can also be sold back into the grid. In addition farmers also save money by using solid waste¬†for bedding versus paying for sawdust.

This is a very sustainable approach to  energy production. I believe this plan could have a tremendous positive impact in North America. Local farms could provide local residents with their energy needs. Communities could begin to consume as well as produce their own energy.


AGROPTI-Gas project : Lauren Pritchard

13 10 2008


In Sweden they are using¬†household as biomass and paring it with ley crops transforming it¬†into bio gas. This bio gas is then used to fuel cars, public transportation as well as providing the heat and electricity to the¬†homes in the community of Vasteras Sweden.¬† This use of bio gas is just a major way in which¬†Sweden is¬† reducing their green house gas emissions. Europe is taking note of Sweden’s AGROPTI-Gas project.

Hopefully Sweden’s success with the project as well Europe’s enthusiasm over the idea of biomass as fuel, will persuade the rest of the world to also consider biomass as a alternative for fuel.

This video explains Sweden’s AGROPTI-Gas project in a little more depth.

Waste-to-energy- Steph

22 09 2008

Europe and Asia are both using waste as an energy source as well. This method controls the volume of waste in landfills as well as provides energy for the cities.

According to the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP), Europe currently treats 50 million ton of wastes at waste-to-energy plants each year, generating an amount of energy that can supply electricity for 27 million people or heat for 13 million people.‚ÄĚ


– Steph M.