Posts filed under ‘Solar Power’

Solar Shingles coming to a home near you?

Having just finally got some solar panels installed on the roof of my garage, I wish these solar shingles would come down in price soon!  My fairly large footprint house cant take standard panels do to the roof configuration and local fire code.   These shingles are definitely the answer for me!

solar-shingles-lumaresources_ss01-270x105Read all about this exciting technology at: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/02/08/solar-shingles-renewable-energy-solution-curb-appeal/

The article concentrates on the curb appeal aspect but I think as in my case the ability to use them in more challenging situations presents an even larger potential audience.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

 

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February 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm Leave a comment

Solar Power A Requirement For New Construction

It is looking like the wave of the future is increasing requirements to include renewable energy for newly constructed homes and commercial buildings.

The most interesting new story is somewhat local to me here in Southern California where the City of Lancaster now requires 1 kilowatt of solar power for all newly constructed single family homes.  The ordinance that passed last March went into effect in Jan. 1, 2014.  Here is the link to an article that covers it more in depth. (http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/04/lancaster-home-solar-mandate-1st-us-world-leads-city-2014/).

This is a significant escalation on the Californian mandate of net zero homes by 2020.  The City of Los Angeles has been requiring that the conduit and wiring be put in place in all new home construction to make adding solar panels easier in the future for the homeowner.

I certainly hope that more cities follow Lancaster’s lead and make similar requirements as it can only help the environment and speed the transition to the renewable energy economy.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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January 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

The Dark Side of Efficiency

We have all been bombarded with the need to live more efficiently and have less of an impact on our planet.  The problem comes when we possibly make our homes unsafe in the pursuit of this efficiency.

There has been a notable upswing in reports of moisture related problems in recent years.  A large portion of the cause for this is the tightening of the building envelope without regard to proper ventilation. Typically homes built 25 or more years ago allowed a significant amount of  air to leak both in and out. This not only increased our cost to heat and cool our homes but allowed for sufficient air circulation albeit by accident!

The other possible issue is one of safety. By tightening the building envelope we may create a situation where carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can build up to unsafe levels.  Possible improvements that plug those worrisome air leaks or replace windows should include combustion safety testing both before and after completion.

Here are my suggestions for safely pursuing any energy efficiency project for your home:

  • Have a reputable energy consultant evaluate your current conditions and create a prioritized by return on possible investment list of options.
  • Work with a licensed and certified Building Performance Contractor
  • Acquire applicable permits for all work so that it is properly inspected
  • Have the energy consultant come back at the end of the project to inspect the work and to make sure it is working properly so that you get the maximum return on your investment

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

August 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

Coming Solar Storm – Disaster of major proportions?

Interesting article on Forbes.com (http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2011/08/09/sky-full-of-trouble-bracing-for-super-solar-storms/) tells about the fact that the results of a major solar storm is headed our way in the next few days…..There is even a possibility that the electromagnetic pulse could even shut off the water to your house by disabling the computers at the pumping station near you.

How likely is this, well the answer is not very even according to the story.  It would take a direct hit from a “super” storm to do any real damage.  We have been being shot at by the sun pretty regularly since mid June and I am sure that if your toilet stopped working during that time it was due to a more typical cause.

Why am I writing about this here in a blog about building, construction and disaster recovery?  Well it is a disaster you should consider if you are responsible for planning for recovery for your business and there has been more than a little scare mongering lately about this topic.  However if you have planned ahead to survive a major earthquake and a solar storm hits you should be just fine as the things you will need are very similar.

And the government is planning for the event.  Here is an official link from NASA all about it: (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/22jun_swef2011/)

Also here is a Youtube video showing what one looks like: (http://youtu.be/G4gwEpNYygU)

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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August 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

New Solar Energy Tools

Tonight I found a very interesting and exciting web page to share.  It is from the folks at the University of California at San Diego and it gives us all several new tools to help figure out the optimal design for the solar system you are putting on your roof.  You are planning to do that aren’t you?

They harness another of my favorite tools, Google Earth via a KMZ file which produces interactive overlays to the basic mapping data.  The tools provide data on the solar energy density for your area, the optimal alignment and tilt for your panels and there is also shadow mapping that will allow future versions to calculate solar irradiance forecasts for specific areas.  All this can be found at:

http://solar.ucsd.edu/
As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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February 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm Leave a comment

Building Technology Update for Dec. 26, 2009

Hope that you all are having a wonderful holiday time wherever you are. Tonight I have three entries into the neat new building technology category!

First we have an entry from Panasonic, reported by Green Beat (http://green.venturebeat.com/2009/12/24/panasonics-new-home-battery-could-store-a-weeks-worth-of-electricity/) where they are proposing battery technology that may be able to store a weeks worth of energy for your home.

Excerpt: ” Panasonic is charging into the green space headlong — first with deals to supply batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles — and now announcing that it will launch a massive lithium-ion storage battery capable of powering an average home for up to a week, the company says.”

Next we have Hemcrete, a brick type material made from you guessed it, Hemp using a lime binder.  The article on  Gajitz.com (http://gajitz.com/not-just-for-macrame-carbon-negative-hemp-buildings/) covers the subject matter well with only a slight wistfulness about the illegality of the source material.  However it is probably time to rethink the use of this very versatile material and maybe our lawmakers will give it a look again under this new administration.  I especially like the thought of being able to recycle the material when you tear a building down into fertilizer!

Last tonight we have a wallpaper that is stronger than the wall it is used on. Popular Science (http://www.popsci.com/node/42027) has a great article on a material used like wallpaper to make a building blast resistant.  I really like the idea and the possible other uses that aren’t in a war zone.  I can easily imagine being able to better stabilize older buildings here in earthquake prone California where I live.

Excerpt: “X-Flex bonds so tightly, it helps walls keep their shape after blast waves. Two layers are strong enough to stop a blunt object, like a flying 2×4, from knocking down drywall. During our tests, just a single layer kept a wrecking ball from smashing through a brick wall. The wallpaper’s strength and ductility is derived from a layer of Kevlar-like material sandwiched by sheets of elastic polymer wrap. The combination works so well that the Army is now considering wallpapering bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Civilians could soon start remodeling too—Berry Plastics plans to develop a commercial version next year.”

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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December 26, 2009 at 9:41 pm Leave a comment

Technology Update – Southern California Edition July 22, 2009

It is good to see that good ole California is getting some positive news at least on the building and technology fronts!

First some good news on the water recycling front. Both California and Oregon are both relaxing the rules surround the use of gray water.  The full story is here at Green Tech Gazette (http://www.greentechgazette.com/index.php/water-conservation/california-and-oregon-to-ease-gray-water-laws/) but as soon as Aug. 1 2009 in California we can start putting in systems that could save an average household 25% of its daily usage.  Truly an important move here in the overpopulated desert!

Next I am glad to report that we have figured out that lighting up our parks can reduce crime!  Who would have thought it? The article on Treehugger (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/07/to-fight-street-gangs-los-angeles-just-adds-summer-night-lights.php?dcitc=th_rss_design) is all about how the city has raised private money to fund the extra expense, but does give hope and a tech tie in with the city’s five year plan for LED streetlights.

Southern California GAS, our local natural gas utility is making news by installing small or at least building sized solar thermal units.  they are installing these units made by Honolulu base Sopogy on the building that is to house their R&D and green showcase. The story on Earth2TEch (http://earth2tech.com/2009/07/21/photos-sopogys-small-scale-solar-thermal-at-socal-gas/) highlights this very cool technology!

Lastly tonight we have Orange County , CA getting a 21st century high speed rail station.  The story on Inhabitat (http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/07/21/21st-century-rail-station-for-orange-county/) shows us a very neat looking structure that is obviously for sometime in the future as the high speed trains haven’t even been begun yet.  Still the design is curious as it is a greenhouse like structure in sunny Southern California!

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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July 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

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