Posts filed under ‘Energy’

The monster footprint of digital technology

Circuit board 1

The power consumption of our high-tech machines and devices is hugely underestimated.

When we talk about energy consumption, all attention goes to the electricity use of a device or a machine while in operation. A 30 watt laptop is considered more energy efficient than a 300 watt refrigerator. This may sound logical, but this kind of comparisons does not make much sense if you don’t also consider the energy that was required to manufacture the devices you compare. This is especially true for high-tech products, which are produced by means of extremely material- and energy-intensive manufacturing processes. How much energy do our high-tech gadgets really consume?

A handful of microchips can have as much embodied energy as a car. And since digital technology has brought about a plethora of new products, and has also infiltrated almost all existing products, this change has vast consequences.

Last, but not least: the energy-intensive nature of digital technology is not due only to energy-intensive manufacturing processes. Equally as important is the extremely short lifecycle of most gadgets. If digital products would last a lifetime (or at least a decade), embodied energy would not be such an issue. Most computers and other electronic devices are replaced only after a couple of years, while they are still perfectly workable devices. Addressing technological obsolescence would be the most powerful approach to lower the ecological footprint of digital technology.

Read the full article: The monster footprint of digital technology at by Kris De Decker Low Tech Magazine.

July 12, 2017 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

Ontario earmarks $200M from cap and trade to make schools greener

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced on Tuesday that $200 million from the province’s cap and trade program will go towards making schools in the province more energy efficient.

The amount is part of the $1.4 billion that has been earmarked in the 2017-18 fiscal year for school renewal and repairs, Wynne and Hunter said at a news conference at a northwest Toronto school.

Wynne said the money from what is known as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) will enable schools to install such energy-efficient features as new windows, lights and furnaces. Funded by Ontario’s cap and trade auctions, the GGRF supports retrofit projects designed to reduce energy use in schools.

Read Ontario earmarks $200M from cap and trade to make schools greener by Muriel Draaisma at CBC News.

June 19, 2017 at 10:33 am Leave a comment

Cornwall Public Library wants to raise $250K for rooftop oasis

Dawn Kiddell and volunteer Anne Downing

The Cornwall Public Library could have a “roof oasis” by 2020.

Maybe sooner.

“If we have a good, solid fundraising strategy and the support we need, it could (be completed before 2020),” said Francois Marineau, chair of the Library Roofop Development Committee, at a Tuesday night stakeholder meeting.

The proposed $250,000 project would have the roof at the library on Second Street transformed into a gathering place, what Marineau called “an oasis in downtown Cornwall, a unique and attractive public venue that fosters learning, socialization and relaxation.”

The project, still considered to be in its early stages, would have the roof including a wellness area with quiet times for reading and reflection, and there could be activities including everything from yoga and Tai Chi to a night sky observatory. There could be music events, a green space café, a giant chessboard out of patio stones, community gardening and private social events, too.

Read Cornwall Public Library wants to raise $250K for rooftop oasis by Todd Hambleton at the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder.

June 12, 2017 at 10:23 am Leave a comment

Ottawa Salus, city’s new affordable housing complex, boasts top efficiency rating

Lisa Ker, executive director of Ottawa Salus, expects tenants to move into the charity's latest supportive housing complex next weekend.

How would you like to pay $28 to heat your apartment – for the entire year?

That’s exactly what Ottawa Salus hopes to offer when it opens its new 42-unit affordable housing building this week.

The four-storey supportive housing complex on Clementine Boulevard near Billings Bridge will serve adults with severe mental illness, but it’s also designed to support ambitious environmental and cost-saving goals through a passive house design never before used for affordable housing apartments in North America, according to executive director Lisa Ker.

Using things like thick insulation, tightly sealed doors and windows and a special energy recovery ventilator that circulates fresh air into the building, the apartments will likely be up to 90 per cent more efficient than regular buildings.

Read Ottawa Salus, city’s new affordable housing complex, boasts top efficiency rating at MetroNews.ca.

Hat tip to Transition Brockville for this post!

May 3, 2017 at 10:17 am Leave a comment

Line-Drying Problems Solved

There are lots of reasons to line dry clothes, but sometimes a single problem can make it seem like more of a hassle than it’s worth. If your line-drying efforts have been plagued with problems, check out these simple solutions.

Read the full article Line-Drying Problems Solved by Erin Huffstetler at The Balance.

April 30, 2017 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Is 100% renewable energy realistic? Here’s what we know.

The world has agreed to a set of shared targets on climate change. Those targets require deep (80 to 100 percent) decarbonization, relatively quickly.

What’s the best way to get fully decarbonized? In my previous post, I summarized a raging debate on that subject. Let’s quickly review.

There are plenty of criticisms of current models of how climate change and human politics and economics interact. Let’s touch on a few briefly, and then I’ll get to a few takeaways.

Above all, the haziness of the long-term view argues for humility on all sides. There’s much we do not yet know and cannot possibly anticipate, so it’s probably best for everyone to keep an open mind, support a range of bet-hedging experiments and initiatives, and maintain a healthy allergy to dogma.

Read Is 100% renewable energy realistic? Here’s what we know. by David Roberts at Vox.

April 17, 2017 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017: Part I, Taking Stock

Most of our consumption of oil is so deeply embedded in our way of life that we’re unconscious of it or believe there’s no alternative. The antidote is to first make that consumption conscious and then get creative with alternatives, tailoring them to our specific situations. Here’s the good news: most of the steps you can take to purge oil from your life will make you healthier, happier, and your household more resilient! If you have kids, many of the steps will make them healthier, happier and perform better in school! Many of the steps will also make your community healthier, more prosperous, and more resilient. And if your prosperity is linked to your community’s prosperity, it will make you more prosperous as well.

So let’s bring the unconscious to the light of day. Just how oily is your life?

Read  Make Your Life Less Oily in 2017: Part I, Taking Stock by Karen Lynn Allen at Musings.

March 29, 2017 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

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