Smarter Than Your Average Building

Professor Andrea Mammoli and solar collectors on the UNM Mechanical Engineering Building

The phrase 'Smart Grid' has been thrown around quite a lot recently. Unfortunately, it isn't clear to many of us what a 'Smart Grid' actually is. Some folks at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque have built and are testing one of the first pieces of the future smart grid - a smart building. The Mechanical Engineering Building at UNM has a newly refurbished solar-thermal energy array that provides 90% of the building's heating needs and 35% of its cooling.

Desert Rock Air Permit Remanded

Navajo Woman in Gas Mask Banner

Good news for the Four Corners region and everyone downwind of the proposed Desert Rock Coal Power Plant. The EPA has been ordered to remand (i.e. revoke) the Air (pollution) Permit that had been granted to Desert Rock Energy Company LLC. The Environmental Appeals Board held that the permit had not properly considered the possibility of CO2 capture. Coal-fired power plants have many other dirty problems beyond CO2 emissions, including mercury and other heavy metals pollution. But perhaps most notable is the problem that Carbon-capture coal plants simply don't exist!

On finding out how the neighborhood tastes.

Checking the Beehive

This past weekend, we found out how the neighborhood tastes...to a bee. I finished my fine beekeeping class series at EcoVersity and started thinking about how to wrap up the beekeeping season on my hives. That meant it was time to deal with honey.

Hunting the Fifth Kingdom

Wild Mushrooms

Are you a fungophobe or a fungophile? I love mushrooms, well the edible ones anyway. Mushrooms are great on pizza, in a pasta sauce, grilled, stuffed, in a soup or nearly any dish. Have you ever wanted to taste something beyond the ordinary button / Portobello mushrooms that most grocery stores carry? Some grocers carry more expensive varieties like oyster, shitake and enoki. A great way to find more interesting species of mushroom is to hunt them in the wild.

Saving the season, part two

Peach - Ginger Jam

It's Labor Day weekend and summer has begun winding down. I can only hope that it won't be winding down too quickly because it was just in the past few days that I noticed little proto-green beans on the vine. However, people are back in school, it is cool in the morning, and the scent of roasting green chile has permeated the northern New Mexico air. As the days get shorter, I feel this mad desperation coming over me to preserve what I can of summer.

Coal Ash Waste - In Our Backyard

TVA Kingston TN Coal Ash Pond Failure

0n December 22, 2008 a 'storage pond' dam broke in Harriman, TN flooding the Tennessee River Valley with over 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge. What wasn't known at the time of this man-made disaster is how many more Coal Ash dump sites exist in the U.S.A. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club the EPA released a list of 584 coal ash dump sites across the country. 35 states, including New Mexico, have coal ash dumps containing arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins.

Breeding Diversity Organically

IFOAM Conference logo

What: 1st International IFOAM Conference on Organic Animal and Plant Breeding
Where: Santa Fe Convention Center, Sante Fe, NM, USA
When: August 25-28, 2009

  • The Conference Opening Ceremony and Reception on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7 pm, are open to the public at $10 per person. Keynote speakers include New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Miley Gonzalez and Indian food activist Vandana Shiva.
  • IFOAM Conference Program
  • Julia Stiles Cares About The Environment More Than You

    Dry humor for a hot Friday afternoon.

    How Can You Stop The Sun From Shining?

    NREL Solar Photovoltaic Resource Map

    For a state with so much solar potential, New Mexico has realized very little actual solar power. PNM (the major electrical utility in NM) currently has about 1.4 megawatts of solar PV capacity, almost all of which is owned by individual customers. PNM owns two solar facilities, a 25kW solar PV system located in Algodones and a 5kW system in Aztec. With so little solar photovoltaic power in place, PNM's most recent proposal to limit privately-owned, grid-tied solar PV systems has the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM) concerned.

    Syndicate content