Efficiency

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

Global Energy: from Potential to Kinetic

Global New Energy Summit 2010

What: Global New Energy Summit 2010
When: Sunday, March 21 through Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Where: Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino (15 miles north of Santa Fe)

Home Improvement, but Smarter

Home Improvement TV show

Somedays homeownership feels more like home repair triage to me. Managing and completing our home improvement / maintenance projects can seem never-ending. Adding energy efficiency to our goals makes the task even more daunting. I've been considering a comprehensive home energy audit so I can better understand our energy use. Thankfully, I found a FREE! online tool for evaluating our home efficiency projects. Behold the Home Energy Saver.

Tuesday Night Plumbing Club

My scraped head

How do you have fun on a Tuesday night? I like to unwind with a little amateur plumbing repair. This Tuesday I dismantled the kitchen faucet assembly, rushed over to the hardware store minutes before closing time and pawed madly through the plumbing section for valves and bits. Then I ran back home to reassemble the whole mess and I only had to reverse one valve body! In the process I also banged my head under the sink. All of this so I can stop a maddening drip at the kitchen faucet. Yep, good times at our house.

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.

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