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Earthships

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On the desert mesa of New Mexico, miles from the nearest town of Taos (pop. 5,700), Star-Wars-like shelters rise from the earth, half-buried and covered in adobe. Called “Earthships” – brainchild of architect Mike Reynolds in the 1970s- they’re nearly completely self-sufficient homes: no electrical grid, no water lines, no sewer.

The Greater World Earthship Community, about 70 passive solar homes built from earth and trash on 633 acres, had a rough start; they were shut down as an illegal subdivision in 1997 and it took them 7 years to come to compliance. Though today, the county fully cooperates with Reynolds and his Earthship Biotecture operation to turn trash (tires, cans, glass bottles) into shelters and has even given them 2 acres to experiment with housing in anyway they like (they also provide their recycling).

Sixteen years ago, Tom Duke had just finished over a decade on the pro volleyball circuit when he bought a bit of land here with his wife and began to build a tiny Earthship the size of a storage shed. When their first son was born they built their dream house on the property, a two bedroom that, like other Earthships, collects rainwater, uses its water four times (the plants in the indoor greenhouse filter the greywater) and even processes its own sewage.

In this video, Tom takes us on a tour of his home, his original “Earthship survival pod”, the “nest” ($50,000 studio apartment), the “Simple Survival Earthship” (aimed mainly at the developing world), a custom home designed to feed a family of four (including a tilapia pond in the greenhouse) and the “BMW of Earthships”, the “Global” (aimed at the typical American family).

Earthship Biotecture: earthship.com

Written by mattliving

July 14, 2017 at 8:07 am

Canadian Government Muzzles Climate Scientists

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The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age.

Natural Resources Canada scientists were told this spring they need “pre-approval” from Minister Christian Paradis’ office to speak with national and international journalists. Their “media lines” also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation. (Vancouver Sun)

Big surprise here. Tories continue to micro-manage the issues to try and reduce their responsibility for not addressing them in the first place. Harper reminds me so much of “W” it makes me wretch. Idiot PM has a photo opt on a piece of the Arctic ice pack that is shrinking at alarming rates thanks to the climate change his government continues to completely ignore. But heck at least them tar sands are getting greener by the minute right Stephen (:

Written by mattliving

September 13, 2010 at 8:25 am

ULTra Transportation System

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Written by mattliving

August 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Ontario’s Electric Car Requirements Make Pilot Project Virtually Useless. Who’s NOT Surprised.

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shoveitgreenCBC.ca: It looks as if low-speed electric vehicles will not make it onto Ontario’s roads.

The Ministry of Transportation has finalized its safety rules for a pilot project that would have allowed electric cars on the road, but the companies that make the cars say those regulations are too strict.

Torontonian Aaron Binder was looking forward to the arrival of the electric car. He’s a big believer in electric vehicles – and gets around the city on a Segway. He was encouraged when he heard the province had unveiled a pilot project to allow low-speed electric vehicles on the public streets, “so we could be like B.C., or even Alberta.”

But then came the fine print.

The ministry’s regulations for low-speed electric cars means adding safety features that are not demanded by Ottawa.

The rules in Ontario are even stricter than U.S. and European standards for the same class of vehicle.

Catherine Scrimgeor of Toronto-based ZENN Motors, the maker of an electric vehicle, says for her company it’s the final straw.

“The ZENN [electric car] as it exists right now – the ZENN car that we sell in Quebec and the United States – will not be marketed in Ontario,” she said.

Al Cormier is with Electric Mobility Canada, a group of electric vehicle manufacturers consulted by the province. He says the new rules reflect concerns about the safety when slow electric cars are added to the traffic mix.

“Ontario was trying to address that concern by having additional requirements. But these additions don’t make the project viable for [existing electric cars],” he said.

Cormier says he’ll be surprised if any electric car manufacturer will ever qualify for the province’s low-speed vehicle pilot project.

Electric car fans like Binder say they will have to wait until the full-speed models hit the streets.

bspcommentEnough is enough. Is there any god damn excuse that any level of government hasn’t already pulled out of their ass to try and keep this car from getting a fair shake on the roads of Ontario?

Thanks Dalton for blowing smoke up the asses of Ontario tax payers with your constant green washing about Ontario’s commitment to alternative energy and more importantly electric cars.

Once again ZENN Canada gets kicked in the teeth while Detroit gets BILLION$ on OUR tax dollars to play checkup. Looks rather anti-competitive to me sir!

First, it’s NOT about speed. Of course if you actually drove in some of Ontario’s underfunded cities you’d realize that the only thing going fast is our tax dollars on potholes and broken water mains that your government stopped funding years ago!

Second. It’s not about safety. If safety were truly the issue then why would YOUR GOVERNMENT allow motorcycles and more importantly electric bikes and scooters that go no faster than the ZENN and are a LOT LESS safe.

Funny your government sure doesn’t seem to give a rat’s backside about our safety when you allow massive Hummers and four wheel drive vehicles that have bumper heights at or near the height of average mid-sized cars. But somehow we’re safer when contractors to drive MASSIVE front end loaders and other non-street legal equipment around city streets without a slow moving vehicle sign or license plate!

So why not cut the green washing BS and let Ontarians decide which type of automobile they would like to drive and invest in.

Enough is enough. Let me drive a ZENN in Ontario.

This is absolutely criminal. Here is a provincial government that has poured BILLION$ of our tax dollars into those dinosaurs from Detroit yet we’re supposed to believe that they are going to give small companies like ZENN a fair shake at Ontario’s car market. BULLSHIT!

CONTACT DALTON MCGUINTY AND DEMAND HIS GOVERNMENT
ALLOW ONTARIANS TO DRIVE THE CANADIAN MADE ZENN ON OUR CITY STREETS!
FAX: (416) 325-3745
Online Comment Form

Written by mattliving

April 15, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Hybrids Powered by Compressed Air Instead of Batteries

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pneumatic_x220Technology Review: A new kind of hybrid vehicle being developed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich could save almost as much fuel as today’s gas-electric hybrids, but at a fraction of the cost. Swiss researchers will present the results of experiments with a test version of the new system at the Society for Automotive Engineer’s Congress in April.

Conventional gas-electric hybrids use batteries to store energy recovered during braking, which would otherwise be wasted as heat. They later use that energy to drive an electric motor that assists the car’s gas engine. But the high-cost of batteries, and the added cost of including two forms of propulsion–an electric motor and a gasoline engine–make such hybrids expensive. This has slowed their adoption and limited their impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

Lino Guzzella, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Swiss Institute, is developing a hybrid that requires no battery or electric motor. Instead, it stores energy by using the engine’s pistons to compress air. That air can later be released to drive the pistons and propel the vehicle along. Guzzella says that the system will add only about 20 percent to the cost of a conventional engine, whereas the extra components required in hybrid electric vehicles can add 200 percent to the cost. Computer simulations suggest that the design should reduce fuel consumption by 32 percent, which is about 80 percent of the fuel-savings of gas-electric hybrids, he says. Initial experiments have demonstrated that the design can be built.

bspcommentWhat better way to stimulate the economy than to get technology like this into cars ASAP. In fact North American governments should make implementing these new technologies a requirement of bailout funding.

Written by mattliving

February 11, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Posted in Economics, Green, Technology

Toyota Prius Used As Emergency Generator for 3 Days

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priusCollege Driver: As we all know the Northern States have been getting battered by snow since Friday, causing terrible accidents, flight delays, and Zeid and I to get stuck in the snow for two hours on the coast of Lake Ontario. With snow storms often come power outages, one of which affected the town of Harvard, Massachusetts. The Harvard Press has reported that a few of the residents of Harvard used their Priora (plural of Prius) as emergency generators for their houses when the power went out. Residents did this by simply hooking up an inverter to Prius battery, which converted the current from 12 volts DC to the 120 AC that most house appliances use. According to The Havard Press, John Sweeny was able to run his refrigerator, freezer, TV, woodstove fan, and several lights for three days using only five gallons of gas.

Written by mattliving

December 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

Posted in Energy, Green

CityZENN Power Source Patent Granted

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zenncar2008

TreeHugger: December 16th EEStor was granted a US patent for their EESU. The patent is a highly information-rich document that give a remarkable insight into these potential devices. EEStor notes “the present invention provides a unique lightweight electric-energy storage unit that has the capability to store ultrahigh amounts of energy”.

The core ingredient is an aluminum coated barium titanate powder immersed in a polyethylene terephthalate plastic matrix. The EESU is composed of 31,353 of these components arranged in parallel. It is said to have a total capacitance of 30.693 F and can hold 52.220 kWh of energy. The device is said to have a weight of 281.56 pound including the box and all hardware. Unlike lithium-ion cells, the technology is said not to degrade with cycling and thus has a functionally unlimited lifetime.

The Tesla Roadster’s li-ion battery pack holds around 53kwh, but to prolong battery life, a certain portion of the battery is never completely discharged. This would mean that functionally, more power would be available.

Written by mattliving

December 23, 2008 at 4:11 am

Posted in Green

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