Tuesday, 04 January 2011 11:16

Sustainable Future: The Green School In Bali

Imagine learning in an environment that's giving its students a relevant, holistic, green education in one of the most amazing environments on the planet (along with being completely off of the power grid!)

That's exactly what John Hardy, and his wife, Cynthia envisioned a few short years ago as they made this dream a reality in Bali, Indonesia...

At the Green School, kids learn in open-air classrooms surrounded by acres of gardens that they tend; they learn to build with bamboo; and meanwhile they're being prepared for traditional British school exams. The school is international -- 20 percent of students are Bali locals, some on scholarship. The centerpiece of the campus is the spiraling Heart of School, which may be called Asia's largest bamboo building.

Learn more about John Hardy, and view his presentation of exactly how the school was created, and the materials used used.

It's truly amazing! 

Looking to have some fun with the Internet?

Try to find the Bali Green School using Google Earth!   The beautiful swirling rooftops are unmistakable. Be sure to let me know if you find it, too. :)

Here's to the future - as bright as it will be!

Less Harm, More Harmony~

Dan

Published in News
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 11:43

Florida Can Be Energy and Food Independent

Here's my thought for the Thanksgiving weekend...

Florida Can Be Energy and Food Independent
Florida has an abundance of natural resources.
Plenty of sunshine.
Plenty of (moving) water.
Plenty of land.
There's enough energy landing on our roofs and flowing in the Gulf Stream to provide all the power we need.
There's enough land and water to provide all the food we need.
There's enough intelligence to make it happen.

How do you feel about this?  Please comment below, and I'd love to hear from you...

-Dan

Wow! I stumbled upon this video today and it really sums up how fossil fuels have powered human growth and ingenuity for centuries -- all in 5 short minutes!

Now that we're reaching the end of cheap and abundant oil and coal supplies, we're in for an exciting ride. While there's a real risk that we'll fall off a cliff, there's still time to control our transition to a post-carbon future.

This amazing animated short movie is written and narrated by Richard Heinberg, author of many related books.

Be sure to watch it and let me know what you think by commenting below!

While offshore oil and gas drilling is the slowest, dirtiest, most hazardous and expensive way to produce energy - investing in clean energy would create four times as many jobs as investing the same amount of money in oil.

We need energy efficiency coupled with new, advanced, sophisticated, clean renewable energy technologies such as solar energy.

What we can do is thank Florida Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson for their continued strong opposition to drilling and spilling oil on America’s best beaches, drilling that would ruin our state’s number one economic resource: our beach sand.

People in other states can help by getting their Senators to take Florida drilling out of the Senate’s energy bill.

Renewable energy technology works extremely well in an iPad world!

Fafco Solar, Southwest Florida's leading renewable energy company, will be participating in the Charlotte County Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference.

FORT MYERS, Florida—October 14, 2009—Fafco Solar Energy, Cape Coral’s most trusted renewable energy solutions company, will be participating in the Southwest Florida Green Futures Expo and Energy Options Conference in Charlotte County.

The expo is sponsored by Charlotte County Building Construction Services in conjunction with the Economic Development Office and will take place November 1-2, 2009 at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, 75 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950. The Expo is open to the public, free of charge and runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days.

The Expo will bring together many representatives from major companies and organizations in the alternative energy industry. Participants will be able to discuss issues, policies and strategies as well as the future of the industry.

Fafco will debut their latest renewable energy product.

Be sure to stop by the Fafco booth to find out what it is and how it can help you! For more information on the Charlotte County Energy Show, please visit http://charlottecountyfl.com/BCS/GreenFutures.

About Fafco Solar Energy:
The Fafco Solar Team is a wonderful blend of talent and dedication. They are committed to giving professional customer service. Fafco Solar is the oldest and most trusted name in Southwest Florida. With over 116 years of pooled solar energy experience, the Fafco Solar Team is committed to reducing your use of fossil fuel to zero. Customers of Fafco Solar can benefit from a 30% tax credit. To find out more, call Fafco Solar at (239) 574-1500 or visit them online at Fafco Solar Energy.  Also, be sure to check out their blog at: GoSolarEnergyForLife

Servicing Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Bonita Springs, and all of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades Counties in Florida.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Melissa DeRoso
(239) 574-1500
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in News

Nationwide, electricity rates have increased an average of 4.4% per year over the past 35 years, twice that rate in some parts of the country.

At the local level, Florida Power & Light (FPL) is asking for a $1.3 billion annual increase in base rates, which amounts to about $12.40 per month for the first 1,000-kilowatt hours used.

FPL dubiously notes that declining fuel costs will more than offset that increase for its customers. Regulators will vote on the increase in the beginning of 2010. As you probably know, the Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) is not an energy producer and their goal is to buy all of their power from FPL within the next couple of years. This means rising prices at FPL will be passed onto LCEC and its customers.

One way to offset the inevitable rise in the cost of electricity is to become a small-scale energy producer at your home and/or business. Incorporating solar hot water and solar electricity (or PV) technologies into residential and commercial buildings can significantly offset the rising price of fossil fuels. As you move towards less reliance on nonrenewable energy from the large utility corporations, you´ll gain some independence from the utility companies, reduce your monthly bills, and minimize the impact our energy use has on the environment.

The first step is to apply the basic principles of conservation and efficiency to all of your energy choices. Then consider your energy appetite and needs, your site, and the resources available to you. A solar thermal system to heat hot water for the home, business, and/or pool can reduce about a third of your electric bill. Photovoltaics or solar electric will generate free electricity for decades and allow you to send power back to the grid. Think through your renewable energy choices carefully, speak with a solar professional, and evaluate how you can become a small-scale energy producer as there are numerous options.

You will immediately start saving money with solar technologies because the energy from the sun is free so rates will never increase!

I received this from the Rocky Mountain Institute, and it's pretty impressive, so I thought I'd share with you, and spread their word.

"Today, we do not need to convince the world that Reinventing Fire is necessary. Instead, we must work together to make it happen."            – Amory B. Lovins

 

Dear Dan,

Since 1982, Rocky Mountain Institute has been hatching gamechanging innovations to help make the world richer, fairer, cooler, and safer. Among other things, RMI has made important contributions toward achieving tripled-efficiency cars, trucks, and airplanes; laid many conceptual and practical foundations for electric and water efficiency, widespread renewable energy, and community economic development; devised profitable approaches to solving climate change, oil dependence, global insecurity, nuclear nonproliferation, and critical-infrastructure vulnerability; and forged (with Paul Hawken) a natural version of capitalism. All this work has prepared us well for what comes now.

RMI’s Next Big Thing will bring together all of our 27 years of innovation and engage the world in our most ambitious and important work yet. Put simply, this effort is aimed at changing the way most people have been getting and using energy since the Industrial Revolution. We mean to speed the transformation from pervasive waste to elegant frugality, from causing scarcity by inattention to creating abundance by design, from liquidating energy capital to living better on energy income. In short, we are Reinventing Fire: driving the business-led transition from oil, coal, and ultimately gas to efficiency and renewables.

Reinventing Fire will require tapping, in particular, the two biggest motherlodes of energy, efficiency and the Sun. Efficient use is generally the largest, least expensive, most benign, most quickly deployable, least visible, least understood, and most neglected opportunity in the whole economy. Efficiency can save half of U.S. oil and gas at about a fifth of their current price, and probably three-fourths of U.S. electricity at about an eighth of its price. RMI is speeding the expansion and capture of this vast “efficiency resource” by showing, in our 10xE (Factor Ten Engineering) project, how whole-system design integration can often make very large (sometimes even tenfold) energy savings cost less than small or no savings.

Once we use energy in a way that saves money, supply becomes much easier, and important synergies emerge between efficient use and renewable supply. Every 70 minutes or so, the sun supplies the Earth with enough energy to run global civilization for a year. An average square meter of land receives each year as much energy from the sun as is in a barrel of oil, and it falls reliably, freely, and relatively evenly on rich and poor alike. The world’s electricity use could in theory be provided 20 times over just by modern 20-percent-efficient solar cells on the rooftops of buildings in the 1 percent of land area that dense cities already cover. Solar power is always in stock, never runs out (even at night when it’s shining elsewhere), is safe, and never threatens us with terrorist plots.

The sun also causes wind, which could cost-effectively provide over 35 times global electricity needs, particularly at night. Sun and wind are the fastest-growing global energy sources: windpower was the biggest addition to power generating capacity in the U.S. in 2008, and in Europe in 2007–08. Sun and wind in 2008 added, respectively, 6 and 27 of the 40 billion watts of new renewable power worldwide (excluding big hydro dams). Sun powers photosynthesis, which can produce the biofuels for efficient mobility without interfering with food and fiber production or destroying natural ecosystems. Solar warmth already does 98 percent of our space-heating: without it, the Earth’s surface temperature would average not 15˚C but nearer –269˚C. Reinventing Fire is about putting the sun’s benign warmth to efficient use in vehicles, homes, factories, neighborhoods, planes, electricity systems, ships, appliances, trucks, and cities, with all these devices, systems, and social orders sharing power and information to create mutual value.

But the Reinventing Fire story is not just about efficiency, the sun, wind, and other renewables. In the third of a century since my “soft energy path,” a powerful new force has begun to reshape society: modern information technology (IT). Putting IT to work can speed the leap from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. Thirty years ago, few utility managers thought about influencing a home’s or a factory’s power consumption. Now, many smart utility managers are doing just that, sniffing out places—swimming pools, water heaters, air conditioners, manufacturing equipment, commercial lights—where sharing information with consumers to inform smarter choices can retime use, cut costs, and curb emissions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has found up to 188 billion watts of such “demand response” potential in the United States; we suspect there may be even more.

Information technology has further transformed how renewables can mesh with each other and with the power grid. A prevalent myth holds that solar cells and windpower can’t do much because they don’t always work. (Neither does any other source of electricity: the various types of power plants differ only in the size, frequency, duration, predictability, and cause of their failures.) RMI’s analysts have developed a unique simulation tool to explore how to integrate these variable renewables into utility operations, backing out coal- and gas-burning stations whenever the wind blows or the sun shines. Our initial findings suggest that integrating even very large amounts of variable renewables into the grid—just as utilities now integrate intermittent big power plants and cope with fluctuating demand—requires not new technology but new attitudes and operating procedures that can deliver better service at lower cost and make more profit with less risk. To help our utility partners understand how to do this, as some in Europe already do, RMI is now synthesizing with them a practical vision of the shape, stability, economics, and transitional path of an efficient, diverse, dispersed, renewable, resilient, economical, and climate-safe electricity system.

Modern society is built from fossil fuels. They are the root source of our society’s wealth and power. But as their rising costs to our security, wallets, and habitat become ever more intolerable, we see one system dying and another struggling to be born. The inflection point at this moment in history is both evolutionary and revolutionary. The evolving tools to reinvent fire have at last caught up with the vision that has been hatching for decades. And it’s a revolutionary moment because we can at last move beyond just conceiving answers to actually getting off oil, coal, and gas by integrating, articulating, and applying what we know. Today we need not convince the world that Reinventing Fire is necessary. Instead, we must work together to make it happen.

Hence, Reinventing Fire is a “grand synthesis” that will systematically combine decades of intellectual capital, both ours and others’, into a practical map of the road beyond fossil fuels—then help the world head down that road with due deliberate speed. Integrating the latest developments that make getting off oil and coal even more attractive than we thought five years ago, Reinventing Fire weaves together a resilient, multi-layered web of connected, efficient, renewable replacements for fossil fuel, chiefly in the U.S. but in a global context.

The pieces of the most complex jigsaw puzzle in human history are falling into place. The world that we at RMI imagine, and that we strive daily to create, is starting to take shape. We need to form it even faster, because humanity, as Dana Meadows said, has “exactly enough time—starting now.” Please join us as we embark on one of the most important phases in the 27-year history of Rocky Mountain Institute.

Sincerely,

Amory B. Lovins
Cofounder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist

Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Institute on their web site at: www.RMI.org.

Tuesday, 01 December 2009 13:53

The Best Solar Use - Creating A Better World!

I was recently in front of a large, friendly group of open-minded people, when I stated my mission...

“I want to help people replace their use of fossil fuels with renewable energy within 10 years or sooner.”

The speaker interrupted me and asked a very simple question: “Why? Why would you want to do that?”

I was surprised, not only by the interruption, but also because in the 35 years I’ve been in the solar industry, no one has ever asked me that question directly.

My reply was inadequate due to my ineptness of thinking fast on my feet, but, after further consideration… you know how it goes… oh I should have said this; I should have said that… here’s my answer:

I want to create a better world, a world that works well (I consider this the best solar energy use):

1) I want to create a world in which all people can bring out the divinity within.

2) There’s something inside of me, from way back that compels me to leave the world a better place than when I got here.  (Did my father instill this in me? “If it’s worth doing, it's worth doing right.”)

The area in which I can make a difference is in our use of energy.

Scientific evidence supports my belief that our current use of energy is causing very serious problems.

We each need to address these problems.

If you wait for someone else to address these problems for you, you might not like the solutions or worse; you might not live long enough to solve the problem. YOU need to address these problems because they are YOUR problems. I can help you. I want to help you.


Thursday, 05 November 2009 12:57

Going Green with Renewable Energy Products

A photo of our building back in late 70's!

In 2002, I decided to renovate our 25 year old, Fafco Solar building in Cape Coral...

In doing so, I tried to use as many green products and practices as I could afford...

Problem #1: I didn’t know anything about green building.
Problem #2: I didn’t know anyone else who did.

So, I had to go to Sarasota to find someone who had some knowledge and experience with green building.

Unfortunately, after his one visit to my shop, he never called back and I could never get him to return my calls. So, I was forced to search for another builder.

Eventually, I decided to use a local builder.

One I was familiar with, even though he had no knowledge or experience in green building. I had known him and his wife for many years. They both knew my father and on occasion he played cards with him. They also knew my son. They had a good reputation and I liked them.

So, I educated myself a little and told my builder what I wanted in the building. He thought some of my green ideas were strange but he did as I requested. When all was done, I was happy with my decision.

Unknowingly, my decision to renovate my existing building, rather than move and build somewhere else, was my first green decision.

By far, the most visible and impressive green aspect of the building is the 21 solar lights (tubular skylights) installed throughout the building. They allow the employees to work in natural daylight almost all day long without using any electricity... and they love it.

It also is a great demonstration of a product we offer.

People who visit are usually quite surprised when we tell them there’s no electric lights on. Stop in and take a look for yourself when you’re in the neighborhood!

All interior walls were painted with no VOC paint. (That stands for volatile organic compounds.) It wasn’t hard to find...even in 2002. We just had to ask for it.

We sprayed foam under the roof and into the block walls of the air conditioned portion of the building. During construction, it was noticeably cooler under the foamed portion of the roof.

We reused lumber from the deconstruction of the old shop in the new offices.

We installed a tankless water heater to eliminate stand-by losses since we hardly ever use hot water.

We also installed a dual flush toilet, a water cooled air conditionerlow E windowstile floors (except in two offices) and ceiling tiles made with partially recycled content.

On the outside, we planted native plants.

After moving into our newly renovated offices, we started improving our personal green habits, too. We, now, recycle almost all our paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and copper items.

Ultimately, my goal is to use zero fossil fuel within ten years. That would be a wonderful achievement! There’s still more to do, but we’re well on our way!

If YOU are interested in doing the same, contact me and we’ll make a plan to do it!

Energy independence is definitely possible!

For more information on green building, check out these links:

Have fun 'going green with renewable energy products', I sure did!

- Dan

Monday, 15 June 2009 11:37

Kilowatt Ours - an excellent movie!

“Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers Beach Sand Removal
to Provide Clean Energy to West Virginia!”

sandburg 412835 1280

How would you like it if the beaches of Florida were dug up to provide energy for West Virginia?

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, this is, in essence, what Florida is doing to West Virginia.
A significant portion of the energy Florida uses is produced by coal from West Virginia. The coal is “mined” by blowing up mountains!

The people of West Virginia don’t really like their mountains being destroyed.
The question is… do you care?

If so, what are you going to do about it?

Kilowatt Ours

Once you watch this movie, Kilowatt Ours, you’ll understand:

•    where does most of your energy comes from?
•    what harm does it cause?
•    what are your options?

Oh, and by the way, here's another interest related resource I found recently:

http://ilovemountains.org/

Learn more by searching for "mountaintop removal" on Google.com.

Have a great day,

Dan

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