Archive for the ‘energy’ Tag

Planning for Future Energy

A light reflecting solar power plant http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/43447

A typical light reflecting solar power plant http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/43447

The solar industry is no doubt a rising force in the energy market. With no emissions, solar is attractive because of its clean producing ways. Recently, solar advocates and lobbyists headed down to Washington to rally for a “permanent manufacturing tax credit” on solar panels. But while  solar energy is clean, I believe it is still likely that only energy companies will be using solar panels due to the hassle of having to install all the infrastructure on private housing for solar energy. But as I have consistently said before, I believe it is best to plan for flexibility because no one knows exactly what the future holds. If subsidies are given to solar, then they should also be equally allocated to similar clean energy sources such as wind and tidal (the debate is still on for nuclear), while also taken away from dirty energy sources like coal, natural gas, and oil.

One of the misconceptions people say is switching from coal and oil is impossible because too many people will lose jobs. According to The Energy Collective however, “Dow Corning [a solar panel manufacturer] deserves enormous credit for investing about $5 billion in manufacturing plants in Michigan—which sorely needs new jobs.” I consider it a testament to people’s ability to adapt to unique situations that would allow a state like Michigan- known for its (now declining) car manufacturing- would turn to solar manufacturing. It reminds me about how many different manufacturing factories in the 1940’s adapted to make war materials as a collective machine against a common enemy. Although the public attentiveness is not as acute compared to the time during the war, it still holds unquestionable parallels and these two situations show a lot about the human personality in times of serious needs and change.

On the other side of the coin, it should be the goal of policy makers to make clean energy available not to energy companies, but people; allowing people a reasonable cost to install solar panels, wind turbines, and any other clean energy method on their property is a first step because companies don’t change and live in the world, people do. At the same time, energy demanding buildings should also be plugged into the grid in the event they need more electricity, but I think more people and their businesses would appreciate energy more if they were producing it on their own. Now of course this is all completely unrealistic to have every single energy demanding building producing their own share of clean energy, but the idea may not be far from the future as solar panel companies are starting to find ways to make their product more durable and affordable. New development should try to embrace this change to make the individual buildings and communities more sustainable, flexible, and energy efficient.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, VERTICES LLC

All material including quotes and pictures from http://theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/43447

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Colorado Rockies Green Initiatives

The initiative put forth by the Colorado Rockies

The initiative put forth by the Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies are making head ways in becoming a more community oriented asset. The team has plans this summer for certain “green weeks”, where the team will pay to plant a tree around Denver for every home run hit during that week. In addition, The Denver Post included posters showing the team’s schedule for fans. On each day on the poster’s calender there is a tip for being more energy efficient and sustainable. Today’s tip was turn your thermostat 2 degrees higher in summer. Just 2 degrees saves a lot of energy due to the exponential increase in the amount of energy needed to maintain cooler houses.

The Rockies also offer many other “going green incentives” such as riding your bike to the game. This Sunday for instance, the Rockies will be offering 2 box seats normally at a set price of around $75 for only $20, 5 dollars of which will be donated to a tree planting fund. Although a far stretch, I think it would be a better move to plant new trees over parking spaces around the stadium, further discouraging driving to the game. It could also be a competition enjoyed by fans and players to try to fill up an entire section of a parking lot then dedicate it to a game day street fair.

Not only is there a significant incentive to ride your bike for Sunday’s game, but it can also encourage you to ride your bike to other games too. Maybe some fans will realize that navigating through congested traffic after the game is much easier when you have a bicycle that can squeeze through or around jammed cars.

Large incentives like these show to me a strong willingness for the ball club to connect with the community and its people, and should be emulated or adapted in other businesses. Connecting local people with local business is part of a sustainable and desirable community.  Hats off to you Colorado Rockies and any other teams doing similar programs.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices LLC

http://mlb.mlb.com/col/fan_forum/greenweek_calendar.jsp

Streetscaping in Salisbury, NC

An area of Salisbury, NC where improvements have already taken place www.ci.salisbury.nc.us

An area of Salisbury, NC where improvements have already taken place http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us

Streetscapes are seldom recognized as one of the most important parts of streetlife. But when red brick textured sidewalks are shaded by trees on a hot summer day, streetscapes can be appreciated. Good streetscapes also contribute to a walkable culture, and attract window shoppers to stop and check out what local businesses have to offer.

Salisbury, NC is currently working on sprucing up their streetscape in hopes of making the downtown area more of an attractive and unique place. The first step to this visioned plan is to bury the utility wires. Removing the wires from the air above and placing them below the sidewalk will allow for more shade trees to line the promenade and will remove the ugly overhanging wires from view. In addition to the utility lines being buried, “other streetscape improvements envisioned include a mast-arm traffic signal pole at Kerr Street, the elevation of granite curbing, brick sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian lighting and parking improvements.”

Sidewalk texturing can be a big aesthetic improvement. Since us human tend to look down at an angle of 15 degrees or so, we naturally are looking at the ground ahead of us. An interesting sidewalk pattern and color is subconsciously an attraction for our eyes.

Street trees allow for shade on the sidewalk during the warmer months. It is a small comfort feature that few might think would be a result of planning, but rather a result of landscaping. Street trees also shade off store fronts from sunlight that would otherwise heat up the insides of the buildings, resulting in a greater need for air conditioning. In the colder months, trees shed their shade and allow the sun to heat up the insides of the buildings. Street trees are a small example of how landscaping can help improve energy efficiency.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices, LLC

Material drawn from: http://www.salisburypost.com/Area/062609-north-lee-street-utility-work