Eco-houses are on their way


Construction of environmentally friendly houses is a new trend in modern architecture, which benefits both to art and energy efficiency. Multiple definitions might be provided to enclose main purposes and peculiarities of such housebuilding, but the prime idea is finding a way to live in harmony with nature. To give some details, there are some requirements if to construct an eco-house.

Firstly, it should be made of local materials, which are low-cost in the context of production, processing, transportation methods and letting to apply the house building technology without heavy equipment. In this way, after accomplishment of exploit period the materials used might be utilized just on the site. Small financial expenses facilitate the availability of ecohouses to the majority of people. Secondly, energy efficiency systems contribute to living in a harmony with surrounding environment. In particular, they include solar panels embedded on the roofs, small wind turbines, geothermal power generators, etc. Thirdly, residence in ecohouses stipulates the engagement in essential biointensive technologies usage, which emphasizes processing and recycling of organic wastes and improvement of soil fertility. In the majority of cases it is associated with agricultural activity featuring cultivation of compost plants and organic farming. Ecohouse must ensure the accumulation of environmental resource area, on which it is built.

There are several magnificent examples of ecohouse building, which alert an attention by brave ideas and original construction. One of the recent advancements is observed in Peking, where this architect trend is performed not by single house, but the whole apartment complex. To be more précised, Linked Hybrid (the project name) is based on the geothermal power generators: the heating is provided by 660 geothermal springs located on the 100-meter depth. The entire complex consists of 8 linked buildings, maintaining 750 apartments, cinema, school, hotel, sport facilities and department stores. The total area is 220 thousand square meters. The other green technologies, embedded in Linked Hybrid Project, are recirculation of water and greenery on roofs. Hence, ecohouse building involves not only separate suburban houses, but the apartment complexes in the hearts of urban living nowadays.

It is also appropriate to name the best example of ecohouse construction in the world. Lumenhaus in the United States is a true reflection of scientific breakthrough and exquisite architect style. The achievements of Lumanhaus include low cost, simplicity and, of course, energy efficiency. The energy support of the building is ensured by 45 solar panels, implemented on the rooftop and along the perimeter (the total area is 72 square meters). The architect merits were estimated from the point of ergonomics: the house is opened and spacious enough to change a room configuration in correspondence to owner’s preference.

Notwithstanding architect art engagement, ecohouses appear to be systems with positive ecological resource. Therefore, their main value is in establishing a compromise with nature and further improvement of human-environment relationship.

This has been a guest post by Maria Kruk, an author for

Geothermal energy waste into lithium batteries

Most geothermal energy plants inject water deep into the ground where the earth’s heat energy turns it into steam used to generate electricity.

The wastewater from this process is full of elements that are not abundant on the surface and that includes lithium.  Without going too far into battery technology lithium batteries last four times as long as conventional ones and can deliver a lot of energy quickly.  The latter feature is extremely useful for electronics and hybrid cars.  The 150 MPG cars you hear about are made with lithium-ion batteries.

This is a great example of a change needed at the demand level.  Energizer makes them but  the cost makes them a rare purchase despite the advantages.  A synergistic relationship between battery makers and geothermal energy producers is very important. The educated consumer will buy them but needs to realize that you get what you pay for and 99 cent batteries last only hours.


geothermal geysers

The best  and most plentiful source of power on this planet is geological activity.  I have mentioned this belief before particularly when talking about what exactly the oil companies will do when the oil runs out.

I have recently become a resident of the State of California so instead of trying to cover national companies, I will focus on companies in the Southwest in addition to ones in New England.

This corporation has a longish history of natural gas plants in Wisconsin and the Southwest and has a truly sustainable geothermal plant in Northern California. It is estimated that the development meets 60 percent of the power demand for the coastal region between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Oregon state line.[1]

The Geysers, a geothermal power field located 72 miles (116 km) north of San Francisco, California, is the largest geothermal development in the world. . The Geysers consists of 22 separate power plants that utilize steam from more than 350 producing wells. The Calpine Corporation operates and owns 19 of the 22 facilities. The other three facilities are operated by the Northern California Power Agency and the Western GeoPower Corporation.

It is currently outputting over 750 MW

And I have a great history of the company from someone who knows them well, both from a financial and personal perspective:

Calpine had a hard time of it
because of the nature of the energy business and its proximity to National
Security.  When Enron was overbought and tried to characterize loan
payments to various off-the-books entities such as Chewco and Raptor
(Raptor was also the name of a state of the art jet program at the Defense
Department) as revenue, their competitive entities, the oil companies,
banks, insurers and the U.S. Government, did it in with the Enron Task
Force (ETF is also the acronym for Electronically Traded Funds)–because,
as the saying goes–the public must diversify!).  Anyway, the spill-off
from Enron, 911 and the NYSE shut down by Grasso et al., didn’t help
Calpine to say the least.  Their funding was cut off and Buffett (yes
Warren) demanded pipeline companies carry more insurance coverage due to
the terrorist threat.   It took six years to bankrupt Calpine and in late
2007 they filed Chapter 11.  They emerged from bankruptcy with a five
billion dollar loan in 2008.  They have various properties generating
geo-thermal power and build gas-fired power plants internationally.
Calpine has several “bases” headquarter loci, among them San Jose
California and Houston Texas and have a large Canadian real estate
portfolio including natural gas related interests.


calpine geothermal

$467 Million for Solar and Geothermal


Congratulations to the president for making a good decision, he has done some things well and other poorly but this is a good step.

For one, these are the two alternative energy sources that have by far the most potential.  Ignoring investment into bio-fuels and wind is very smart.

Also the bulk of the money goes towards research and development, which is important because this will allow us to perfect the technologies before putting them into widespread use.

$350 million for geothermal shows great foresight as, in my opinion anyway, this is truly a source of unlimited dependable energy.

Many will probably aygrue that this money would be better spent on some other part of the economy and as someone who has been laid off due to this recession I can understand the point.  However, this constitutes a very small chunk of the overall stimulus package and if you don’t think long term, you’re doomed to live in the past.

Plus I plan on having kids and I know they will benifit from this even if I don’t see the results anytime soon.

The future of Exxon-Mobil

What will the giant oil companies of the world do when production declines and what will they do when the black gold runs out entirely?

If the Arctic continues it’s recessive trend, the Exxon-Mobils will have a brief stay of execution with new-found reserves in the former great white north, but then what?

They may use their drilling expertise to mine gas hydrates at the bottom of the ocean. I have mentioned that this is really a bad idea.

Exxon Mobil is the largest company in the world and something should be done with their equipment and employees, most of the companies are American owned anyway so we have a personal stake in the future of the oil companies…imagine having to bail them out!

So the solution is Geothermal.

I don’t know if I’ve commented on this before but I believe that Geothermal is the best renewable energy resource we have.

-It’s unlimited

-It’s constant

-Requires small overhead to convert heat energy to electric

—We have perfected the technology of drilling!

Ok maybe it’s not perfect but if there is any technology we have improved to the utmost, it’s oil drilling.  Bottom line; drilling a big hole is how we harness geothermal energy.

So there’s your future big oil, you make a profit no matter what the price per barrel but someday those barrels will be empty.


Interactive renewable energy map


This is an interesting little tool showing the potential energy of different parts of the US.

also more on this later but

“Several types of energy resources and specific technologies used to capture these resources claim to be renewable, despite either relying on dirty fossil fuel energy resources or creating other pollution hazards in the process. Following are three often-cited resources whose proponents claim are renewable but in fact they are not:

  • Coal waste from coal mining
  • Methane gas from coal mines
  • Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facilities, i.e. waste incineration”

The future of energy storage

What is the best way to store energy in the long run?

and by long run I mean after all the fossil fuels have been used up.

It is safe to say that eventually the power we get will originate as electricity whether from geothermal, solar, or wind (I exclude bio-fuels because it is not a long term energy solution and should be abandoned at some point)
Electricity isn’t very portable though, very difficult to pick up and carry. Batteries are the traditional way to store direct current but with the current design of a battery, I don’t think we have enough battery making material to hold the energy we need. There have been some developments in Supercapcitor technology that would greatly help the battery problem but I think there is probably a better solution.

My suggestion would be hydrogen.  Use electricity to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen (hydrolysis) and when hydrogen is used as fuel the only by-product is water. (I’m sure many of us did this experiment in high school)

The first element, from which all other elements descend, hundreds of times more abundant than any other substance.

Let’s take advantage.


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