Doug Tapia posted this in January. It was exciting enough, I thought it worth posting one more time. GRM Read more of this >>
Imagine, a world where recycling is required, food wastes are turned into organic fertilizer, and most energy comes from solar, sea, wind, and geothermal power. This green utopia was envisioned by Ernest Callenbach in his 1975 novel “Ecotopia.”
Even in the 1970s, Callenbach’s vision was firmly grounded in sound science. Says Callenbach in a recent piece in The Capital Times (Madison, WI), ”I was trying to raise the question that we could be doing all this stuff in 1975 and why aren’t we? Our goose will be cooked if we don’t do it now.”
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Since my last post on the merits of biodiesel, I’ve been able to gather more information and I wanted to pass it on to you. What continues to intrigue me about home brewing biodiesel is that it is emblematic of the type of lifestyle changes we all need to take on in the 21st century. Taking waste frier oil and converting it, at home into a cleaner burning, less toxic and more biodegradable fuel is something akin to modern day alchemy.
Nabih Tahan, an architect in Berkley, California has built a “passive house” that captures and recycles heat produced in the home, thus eliminating the need for a furnace altogether. Essentially the house is very well sealed, making forced air ventilation a necessity. The heart of the system is a heat exchanger that strips the old, stale air of its heat and uses it to heat the incoming fresh air. Tahan explains that this concept is best applied to new construction or to major remodels, due to the extensive sealing and insulation required.
“By doing smaller insulating renovations, you can improve energy consumption and you’ll definitely make a difference,” he said. “But to get to Passive House standards, you really have to either rip out the outside or the inside of the house.”