Our own Onya Cycles is teaming up with Betabrand to put together the world’s first 100% sustainable stunt: Eco-Knievel will perform a death-defying jump of an electric bicycle over a bio-diesel monster truck this May at Maker Faire. Get excited!
Earlier this week, we wrote about embodied energy of buildings, and the concerns it poses when we think about legislating building efficiency measures. Today we take a broader view, examining economic limitations of any technology replacement effort, from rebuilding houses to replacing lightbulbs.
Suppose that high-efficiency washing machines are a necessary part of a low-carbon economy (as we believe they must be). Government tax write-offs are an effective way to encourage consumers to spend the extra money on these energy-saving machines. If the U.S. started an incentive program so effective that every consumer chose a high-efficiency machine over a conventional one, however, it would still take quite some time to replace all the energy-hogging washers in the country. Because they are such a large purchase, the vast majority of consumers replace their washing machine only when forced to do so by problems with the old machine’s operation. If you assume the average [...]
It’s been a while since you’ve heard anything from us at Energy Literacy, but rest assured, our minds are still on energy issues. Lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about methodologies for doing reasonably accurate whole-picture energy audits using limited data (Think Saul’s energy project, but for any scale). Working with something as complex as the total set of energy flows through the city of San Francisco, for example, we’re bound to rack up all kinds of uncertainty in our estimates. We’re convinced, however, that these calculations are still helpful, even if only to determine the relative orders of magnitude of sources of energy consumption. Just these ballpark estimates can have a remarkable effect on policy conversations, directing focus towards the lowest-hanging fruit and dispelling arguments that have little long-term relevancy.
In that vein, today we talk about the embodied energy of buildings, a topic which is understood [...]