Book or Kindle?

How Many Trees Will the Kindle Save?

The festive season during late 2011 could have been called the gadget season as tablet computer owners increased from 10% to 19% of the US population from mid December 2011 to early January 2012. The same figures applied to owners of eBook readers – Amazon don’t and won’t say exactly how many Kindles they sold. Some people bought both. An incredible 29% of people (up from 18%) now own at least a tablet or an eBook reader – that’s almost one in three of the entire population according to the figures from pewinternet.org.

So how many trees are being saved by Americans reading books on either their dedicated eBook reader or via software on their tablet computer?

How many trees to make a book?

There isn’t an easy mathematical equation to definitely show how many trees are needed to make a book because there are too many unknown figures in the equation. Trees vary in size both in height and width, even within the same species. Books vary in size in both size and length – number of pages, making it impossible to give a simple answer to the question, but some experts have taken averages into account to show some results.

How far does one cord go?

You may not have heard of the measurement cord, but one cord of dense hardwood, air-dried, produces 942 copies of a 100 page hardcover book. TAPPI, who provided the figures, based their results on roughly 15 trees with a 10 inch diameter to make up one cord. If you click on the link you will find out more about the tree to book making process.

Working backwards, that means each tree makes around 60 100-page books, but as the average novel appears to contain around 300 pages, each tree makes about 20 books. If you have been reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy concerning his heroine Lisbeth Salander, you will know that each tree will provide just over 3 sets of the trilogy. 65 million of you have bought the set so let us hope more now have it in the shape of an eBook file rather than downing a full forest to provide for the book’s paper.

The cost of maintaining a Kindle

The cost of books bought – mostly as paperbacks from your grocery store – is close to the cost of downloading an eBook from your favorite online store, be that for your iPad, your Kindle, your Nook or Sony reader. However, there has been a surge in books available in eBook format at anything from 99 cents to less than three dollars. Your local Wal-Mart won’t sell you a paperback at less than 4 dollars.

There has been a general encouragement to read more books because they are priced so cheaply in the electronic version. As eBook readers mostly store at least 1,000 books, it will be easier to take enough books on vacation without affecting the ever dwindling baggage allowances. Therefore, the eBook reader will save you money over the traditional paperback purchase in weight allowance alone. More importantly, your carryon baggage can be considerably lighter as each paperback weighs more than an eBook reader and most avid readers carry at least two in fear of having nothing to read.

The lowering of weight on the airplane per passenger will reduce the weight of the airplane which means they will gain more miles to the gallon of air fuel. You should not wait around to collect your cheaper ticker based on this assumption.

Your Kindle or other eBook reader still needs to be charged. That costs electricity even if you charge from your laptop computer. It may only be a trickle, but there are several million more trickles going out through the system since the festive season. However, this needs to be balanced against the costs of making a paperback which uses more energy than charging an eBook and the time spent online downloading a new book or two.

Who wins?

Even if you balance up the cost of making the eBook reader and the cost of charging the gadget, a lot less energy is being used compared to the process of making paperbacks. You will still buy paperbacks, but only if your choice of downloading provider doesn’t have the book in its store.

Demi Relf is a self-confessed bookworm but always felt guilty about the paper she was consuming. After a decade of reading only second hand books on her organic latex mattress, she can now read books without endangering a single tree.

So can’t we just pipe the oil to where we need it?

 

You can do whatever you want but you might want to step back and make sure it’s a good idea.

The US is probably going to build a pipeline from Canada down to the gulf of mexico.  As you can imagine this is a source of concern for people living anywhere near this pipe.  This seems reasonable because transporting large amounts of toxic liquid great distances is inherently dangerous.  Trucks crash, boats sink, rigs explode, and pipes leak.  It is included in the cost of doing business.

Proponents argue that the project will create jobs and decrease our reliance on foreign oil.  How many and how permanent these jobs will be is still under debate.  Also we will be relying on foreign oil until it runs out or we find a cheaper alternative so I wish people would stop using that phrase.

The pipeline will be the equivalent of building a giant highway across the country that no one can drive on and poisons the drinking water.  So as of right now we will have to wait for the 2012 elections because god knows politicians can’t do ANYTHING while they are trying trick people into voting for them.

Green Vacation

Planning a Green Vacation

Everybody wants to do their part for the environment, but at the same time, we don’t want to stop living and doing the things we like and want to do out of fear of damaging the environment.

Travel is one particularly sensitive issue for anyone who is eco-friendly, because there are very few environmentally beneficial modes of travel available, and because, while traveling, there isn’t much we can control in the way of saving energy.

We are largely at the mercy of the options available to us, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. With a little bit of research, you can reduce the size of your travel’s carbon footprint, and feel good knowing that you are supporting the environment, even while living the dream.

Consider looking into the following things when planning your next trip:

  • Alternative modes of travel, part I: While every kind of travel is environmentally taxing, some kinds are far less damaging than others. Cars are generally better than planes, for example, and trains are even better than cars. If it is possible to take a train to your next destination, do that instead and you’ll be able to rest easier knowing you did what you could. It might take a little longer, but it will be worth it.
  • Stay at green hotels: As a rule, a hotel will never be as energy efficient as a house, simply because they are so large and have so much space to light and heat or cool, but similar to the tiers of transportation, some are better than others. There are websites that list eco-friendly lodgings, which should be a great help when trying to decide. Some of these sites are:
    • It’sAGreenWorld.com
    • Eco Green Hotel
    • Eco Hotels of the World
  • Alternative modes of travel, part II: Once you have arrived at your destination, you have the option of several different kinds of transportation. These should be more familiar to you, because they are basic city transit options: cars, buses, bicycles, walking, horse carriage, etc. I probably don’t have to say (but I will anyway) that walking, bicycling, or taking a horse ride or more eco-friendly than cars or even riding on the bus; if you can plan to take these methods of transportation while you are vacationing, instead of renting cars or taking cabs, you’ll be helping to save the environment, and saving some cash, too.
  • Sight-see green: Another big source of energy consumption on vacations is the activities you do while there (wherever “there” happens to be). Try to plan green activities, such as eco-tourism, while out, instead of high energy activities like theme parks or movie theaters.

It will take a little extra planning to get your vacation to green status, but it isn’t impossible, and every little bit helps. Just think how much good we could do if every person planned green vacations!

 

Two pronged attack Energy Efficiency and Conservation

The total energy efficiency of the United States is less than 50% and the total amount of energy produced by oil and coal together is almost 75%.

Now let’s pretend we would like to put less carbon into the atmosphere and as a given oil and coal happen to be the sources that put most of the carbon into the air. If we could increase the overall efficiency by a quarter, we could use a third less carbon fuel.

So I guess the question is what are the obstacles to not wasting more than half of the energy we produce? Are the costs associated with such an endeavor so high that it is really not worth the investment?

Doing some research on fuels and their various efficiencies,  wood can burned generating heat energy at above 90% efficiency in the right kind of fireplace.  The technology for burning wood has been developed since the beginning of mankind but I still think we could still waste less energy with other fuels as well.

Cap and Trade Infographic

I have been meaning to write an article on cap and trade in the United States but it can be hard for people to understand and without other major polluting countries having similar programs, the whole thing seemed somewhat pointless.

In the US, however, the program will have an effect on our poor sad economy and thus should be addressed.  I still don’t want to write about though, so here is a great ideographic from the people at http://www.wellhome.com

 

 

When is Green Technology Most Useful?


It’s a term that’s being bandied about regularly these days, and if you want to be perceived asdoing your bit for the environment, it goes without saying that you must be interested in allthings green as well. Green technology is all the rage today – if you’re not going green, you’reviewed as a villain by many. However, no matter how much you invest in green technology, it isuseless if you don’t change habits that have been ingrained in you from childhood and over thecourse of your life. Green technology is useful only when:

You utilize it efficiently: If you’ve invested in a solar panel yet insist on using your oldwater heater, if you’ve installed energy efficient appliances yet hold on to your oldrefrigerator and stove because they’re still in good working condition, or if your home isnaturally insulated/aired yet you insist on using air conditioners and heating units, thenyou’re not using green technology efficiently. Green technology works only when youoptimize its use and minimize your overall energy usage.You minimize waste: There’re no significant gains to be realized when you replace allthe lights in your home with CFL bulbs, yet fail to switch them off when you don’t needto use them. Minimizing energy costs is all well and good, but it’s still a waste whenyou use energy unnecessarily, even if you’re expending just the minimum. So when youinvest in and install green technology, ensure that you don’t use much more energythan you need – shut your computer down when you’re not going to be using it for afew hours; remove charging units from the socket and switch off the main when you’redone charging your devices, and use the main switch to turn the TV off instead of justpointing your remote at it.You adopt greener habits: You may have just bought a hybrid car, but that doesn’tmean you have to drive it even to the store around the corner. Walk when you caninstead of taking your car, use the stairs even if your building is green and has energy-efficient elevators, avoid smoking to safeguard your health and the environment, andtry to minimize the effect of your carbon footprint as much as possible.


For green technology to be successful and sustainable, we have to change our way of life andadopt new habits, habits which may seem like drops in the ocean, but which have a significantrole to play in determining the future of our planet.

This guest post is contributed by Cathy Thomas, she writes on the topic of Computer Technician OnlineDegrees . She welcomes your comments at her email id: cathy83.thomas<@>gmail<.>com.

Sky Farms

Sky farms – The new Green farm?

Sky farms are quite literally multilevel agricultural farms, much like
skyscrapers. These sky farms are springing up all over the world, and the
economics of sky farming are already showing positive results. Sky farming
is basically a form of hydroponic farming. It includes significant potential for
organic farming, and major improvements in water usage efficiency. Sky farms
to involve some logistics and infrastructure, notably provision of in-house water
management systems and electrical services, but these are actually far more
economic than traditional agricultural systems.

Sky farm basics

Sky farms are essentially high-rise buildings. They’re designed to achieve
maximum efficiency in the growth and harvesting of agricultural products of all
kinds.  They’ve already shown significant potential for commercial production.
Many growers are particularly interested in the fact that sky farms also provide
enclosed spaces, which naturally provide significant protection against the
elements, weeds, droughts and insect and fungal pests.

Sky farms and agricultural issues

Because sky farms provide a lot of vertical and cubic space, they can overcome
the limitations of the “two-dimensional” traditional farming environment. It’s
possible that the sky farms may be the solution to the increasing problems
of conflicting land use where urban land is displacing agricultural land and
agricultural land is destroying natural habitat and ecology.

The appalling condition of rural land around the world is a major issue
currently being raised at government and international levels regarding the
sustainability of future food production. Sky farms have the potential to
completely eliminate this problem. Theoretically they can grow more food in
far less space than traditional farming.

The economics of traditional rural land use can also be drastically improved by
sky farming. The fact is that it takes extraordinary amounts of water and soil to
produce basic agricultural products. That situation is definitely not sustainable,
and far more efficient means of food production are desperately required.

Because of the quasi-hydroponic nature of sky farming, water usage can be
improved by up to 200%. Soil degradation can be drastically decreased, due to
the fact that sky farm plants use significantly less soil in their growth media.

Organic growers concerned about the possibility of contamination and cross
pollination of their crops with genetically modified organisms have also
expressed interest in sky farms, which provide enclosed growing habitats for
their products. Sky farming could in fact be a particularly useful method of
ensuring agricultural and botanic genetic lines.

The future of sky farming

The big winners in sky farming will be farmers, consumers and the
environment. Sky farms have so far shown themselves to be very easy to
manage, logistically simpler to operate in terms of crop management, and to
have the potential for significant flexibility in choice of commercial crops.

It may be strange for a while for farmers when they realize that instead
of using a backhoe they’ll have to call an electrician, but the cost savings
and peace of mind may be the greatest breakthrough for farmers since the
Agricultural Revolution.

Sky farming is a very much more efficient, profitable approach to a serious
food supply situation which traditional commercial farming has so far shown
itself to be completely unable to address.

Natural Gas to hydrates for transport and back to gas

A while back I wrote a post HERE and HERE on collecting natural gas hydrates from the sea floor.  I was not really in favor of the idea because of the possible/probable dangers.  For good or bad like drilling at 5000ft for oil, extracting these frozen naturals gasses is going to happen so might as well examine the effects..

One of the often cited problems with natural gas as an energy source is that they are hard to safety transport over long distances because of the volatile and hazardous properties of the fuels.  A proposed solution is to turn the fuel back into a solid by freezing and applying pressure like at the bottom of the ocean where fuels like methane are in a solid and thus more stable state.

My concern in using this method of freezing and unfreezing is how much energy will be needed to convert a gas like methane into a solid.  The melting point of methane is about -297 F(162.5C) so an extremely cold environment would be need to convert and keep methane as a solid.  The other problem is that natural gas is another limited resource so putting lots of energy into collecting it is not a good long term energy strategy.

However, just like coal and oil, we will take natural gas as long as we can get it and so having a viable fuel transportation strategy is an important development.

Savor your shrimp as it may be your last, Oil is the new seaweed

I have been wanting to write about the disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico but whenever I tried to learn about the impacts of the oil, the more irritated I got.

So now that I am in a more objective emotional state of mind I will try to asses the future term impacts.  This is just the start as ridiculous amounts of poison gasses liquid, and solids will be pumping into the ocean for several more months.

The oil we see washing ashore and being burnt up on top of the water is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. What is coming out of the bottom of the gulf is a diverse mixture of petroleum with different densities and thus buoyancy.  The vast majority is under the surface mingling with the fishes and shrimp.

Dispersants makes even more oil go underwater but is necessary to protect the coastlines. Either way most of the oil will collect in The Gulf and then the ocean currants will take it around the world, first the North Atlantic, then the South Atlantic, and then on to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Pacific.

The politics surrounding this event are also very disconcerting. This was not a completely unanticipated event.  There has always been the possibility that offshore rigs can be compromised. It is unfortunate that is takes a real disaster to wake people up.

The best shrimp came from the Bayou but I believe those days may already be over.

The Mississippi Meets the oil

Tech Companies Make Push For Home Energy Efficiency

Microsoft Hohm is an online service that makes it possible for consumers to see how much electrical power and gas they use in a given month along with suggestions on how to reduce their consumption.

This application was recently updated with some new features including two dozen behavior recommendations for those who take the time to create a Hohm energy profile and information pages covering every zip code in the United States. Additionally, Hohm now features an energy breakdown dashboard that gives more thorough information about where your household is using the most energy.

Microsoft is not alone in their home energy efficiency efforts. A group of appliance and energy companies that includes Best Buy, Direct Energy, Lennox International, OpenPeak and Whirlpool are working on what they call the Home Energy Management Center. What makes this effort distinctive is that it focuses on homes of all income levels rather than the middle or upper class approach that most other companies are taking.

The Home Energy Management Center is being described as a “command center” for the smart home. It will allow them to manage their energy consumption according to certain predetermined budget levels or operating limits as well as provide access to news, weather, social networking, music and movie applications. It is projected that consumers will be able to save up to 25% on their energy bill every month.

Another company taking a very unique approach to home energy efficiency is EcoFactor. Their system will merge your home energy consumption with information about environmental conditions. The thought behind this system is that the consumer does not necessarily want the temperature of their house set to the same level everyday. The temperature outside may not change very much day to day, but the same temperature can feel different depending on how much moisture is in the air.

These are just a few of the companies that are working hard to cut down home energy consumption. The hope is that in the coming years a wide variety of systems will make it possible for everyone to watch their energy usage regardless of whether or not they can meet the expense of home automation.

This was a guest post from Richard Moyle

For more about monitoring home energy usage visit www.measurementsystems.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: