Efficiency

Getting results with minimum waste of time, effort, or skill.

Accords, Treaties and Resolutions

January 1 Sunset at the Hyde Park Road Overlook

Observing the news over the past year I've come to a (probably obvious) realization or two. Climate Change is rapidly growing in global awareness, importance and the discussion has become heated (pun intended). It appears that our planet is rapidly approaching a point of change (cultural, economic, environmental, etc.) driven by climate change. Change brings uncertainty, so governments, companies, and people have chosen to either fight change or promote their vision of change.

LEEDing by Example

Santa Fe Community Convention Center - architectural rendering

The Santa Fe Community Convention Center (quite a mouthful) has just earned the LEED Gold certification. This means that the new convention center 'was designed (by Santa Fe-based Spears Architects and Fentress Architects) and built using strategies aimed at improving ...

Blue Christmas Lights Special

Blue and White LED Christmas Lights

On my street, 'keeping up with the Joneses' is something that comes up once a year around Christmas time. My neighbors have a unusually competitive streak when it comes to Christmas lights (instead of the traditional luminarias). I don't try to top anyone's holiday light show, but I do hang a few strings to participate. This year I finally upgraded to LED Christmas lights as the old lights were in pretty rough shape.

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.

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.

Living Off the Grid vs. in Town

Green Acres

Carbon Footprint. Peak Oil. Energy Independence. All of these are different ways to talk about how fossil fuels are a finite resource and supplies are running out, quickly*. Given that crude oil, dirty coal and natural (methane) gas reserves are at, or near, peak production how will you prepare for short supplies and high prices? In other words - Do you move off the grid or stick it out in town? Doug Fine has staked his claim on the Funky Butte Ranch in the backwoods of southwestern New Mexico while I'm here in suburban Santa Fe, NM.

High Speed Rail from Texas to Colorado

Santa Fe R.R. Freight Train

Could New Mexico be on the path of a new High-Speed Rail Corridor running from Texas to Colorado? Imagine being able to take a bullet train from El Paso, TX north to Denver, CO with stops in between at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Colorado Springs. You could catch a dedicated, high-speed passenger train instead of spending hours driving by car or trying to book a flight that doesn't connect through Phoenix, Dallas or even further away.

On not turning on the oven

Oh I felt so clever last night. I had radishes and pearly barley to use and, strangely enough, I found a recipe that used both. Thumbs up! But it involved turning on the oven to roasted some very pretty cubes and slices of vegetables. Thumbs down! It was hot yesterday evening and the house had not cooled off yet. But when I get an idea in my head...

Bike to Work Week 2009 - No More Excuses

Bike to Work Week Santa Fe 2009

Welcome to Bike to Work Week 2009! This is your annual reminder that bicycling is a great way to get in shape, save money on gas, explore your neighborhood and reduce your carbon footprint. To top it all off, riding a bike is fun too! Below is a schedule of Santa Fe Bike to Work Week free events to check out. Enjoy the warm spring weather and pedal on down to the Railyard Friday morning for a festive Bike to Work Day fun and giveaways. You know you want to ride your bike, so the question is what is stopping you?*

Bike to Work Week - May 11-16, 2009

Good Book, Bad Cover

Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air, book cover

Don't judge a book by it's cover, especially when the cover is this bad. Fortunately the book 'Sustainable Energy - without the hot air' by David JC MacKay is a much better book than its wrapping suggests. Professor McKay makes a case for, of all things, a fact and number-based energy policy. The idea that rational decision-making should drive energy policy shouldn't be a radical idea, but strangely enough it is.

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