So, you've noticed that there hasn't been the same volume of EcoGeek
content that there once was, and you were wondering if something was awry at EcoGeek
Well, no, not at all, it's just that I, Chief Editor Hank Green, just
got banded and bound to Katherine, who has been my partner in crime for
about eight years now. The wedding was marvelous, lots of friends, video games
and dancing. But it wasn't particularly EcoGeeky
, so I'll keep this short.
is by no means a
one-man show, but things were slow in the last week, and will be slow
again when we go to Italy in a couple of weeks. But we'll keep
providing all the news of environmental innovation that sparks in our
brains or wonders across our plates. I often feel like there's a lot of
despair in the environmental movement, but my marriage and my magazine
are both completely contrary to the idea of despair. The world is
getting more awesome every day, that's what my marriage is about, and
that's what EcoGeek
Refrigerators used to consume 2000 kilowatt-hours per year, now they use 450 kwh
Windows used to let in every ounce of heat that hit them, now the
reflect the majority of infra-red light. Light bulbs used to be made
of white-hot tungsten, now they're made of cool fluorescent gasses.
All of these innovations, added together, have saved the America $800
billion dollars since the 1950's. All of these innovations were
contributed to or created by the laboratory of one man: Dr. Arthur Rosenfeld
an 80 year old particle physicist, who has worked on the physics and
policy of energy efficiency in the United States for longer than just
about anyone. From 90% efficient motors to low-emissivity windows to
light bulbs, Rosenfeld
worked on it all. In 1975, during the first oil crisis, he
persuaded the U.S. government to create (and place him in charge of)
the Center for Building Science, quite possibly making him the world's
first EcoGeek. In the next thirty years, hundreds of innovations
would spring from the Center for Building Science (now called the
Environmental Energy Technologies Division,) every one devoted to
decreasing the amount of energy wasted in the world.
Not only are we in an $800 billion debt to him, that number is growing
by more each year. By 2010, we will owe him over a trillion dollars.
If anyone thinks that energy efficiency is bad for buisness, we need look no further than that number. And, on top of it, the environmental benefits of Rosenfeld's innovations are incalculable.
Rosenfeld won the Enrico
Fermi award, the US Department of Energy's highest honor, this year. He
took home $375,000, not a great return on $800 billion. But Rosenfeld says the
recognition and gratitude from the community was his real reward. Dr.
Rosenfeld, you have our recognition, and our sincerest gratitude.
Toon Beerten, a guy with some LED experience, has put together an amazing 3 watt LED mood light
pretty much from scratch. The device actually plugs into a wall socket, while his previous lamps have run off batteries. Using batteries actually significantly reduces the overall efficiency of any electronic device, so I like this one for that.
I also like it because it's really well done. He's programmed the LEDs to fade between colors, or go through a variety of transitions that he can control with an input. If I went over to his house, I'd probably assume he bought it from Target for fifty bucks.
Definitely a worthwhile project.
has been running a amazing series called Green Building 101
. Today, the series got ultra-ecogeeky with their Design Innovation
segment. They list the top 10 eco-innovations for green living and I wanted to share them.
1. Living roofs and facades
2. Building-integrated photovoltaics
3. Light emitting diodes
4. Organic light emitting diodes
5. Rain water and grey water
6. Electrochromic Glass
7. Energy monitoring devices
8. Sunlight Transport
9. Structural insulated panels
10. Insulated daylight panels.
On the whole, I find each of these innovations very cool and very necessary. All of them (except OLED's) are available to consumers right now, and each of them have a strong place in the future of a sustainable world.
Below is an amazing scene from an amazing movie, You Cant Take it With
You. About half way through to film, Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur sit
down on a park bench and have a five minute conversation that covers
the meaning of life, the politics of fear, the future of solar power
and falling in love. It's five minutes long and has no cuts, just Jimmy
and Jean acting their hearts out. The longest piece of the scene is the
bit about solar power.
It was 1938, and Jimmy's character, Tony Kirby, had been
forced to decided between his utopian research and joining in his
families bank. This scene says a lot of things, but it's worth watching
just for the little bit about solar power, quoted below.
"We wanted to find out what made the grass
grow green. Now that sounds silly and everything, but it's the biggest
research problem in the world today and I'll tell you why. Because
there's a tiny little engine in the green of this grass, and in the
green of the trees, that has the mysterious gift of being able to take
energy from the rays of the sun and store it up. You see, that's how
the heat and power of coal and oil and wood is stored up.
"Well, we thought if we could find the secret of all those millions of
little engines in this green stuff, we could make big ones. And then
we could take all the power we'd ever need right from the sun's rays."
A quick look at the work being done with porphyrins
that there's still a lot of work to be done. But, Tony Kirby, your work
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