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Sustainability

Relative Humidity, by Socks and Jeans

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Sustainability No Comments
It is mid-June, and strangely here in the northern Midwest we have experienced virtually no warm, humid weather yet this year.  The weather can flip like a switch from a pattern of rain and clouds of the past several weeks to one that is hot and humid with little precipitation.  Now is a good time to talk about relative humidity and moisture. Relative humidity is something everyone knows about but hardly anyone understands.  How many times have you heard “It was 100 degrees with 99 percent humidity?”  I guarantee these conditions are 100% impossible, at least in the ambient[1] outdoors,...
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Energy Storage v Storing Energy’s Benefits

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy, Sustainability, Utility Stuff 4 Comments
[vc_single_image image="9225" img_size="full" onclick="link_image"] As we march along with the nation’s rather massive build-out of renewable energy resources, questions emerge for how to fill the gaps when the sun sets and the wind stops blowing – i.e., when it’s nice to be outdoors, especially in the summer.  So there you have it – turn off the lights, grab a drink and go out on the deck to hang out with your friends and family.  Now there is a behavior program to get behind!  Patent underway.  Unfortunately, the discussion is focused on energy storage rather than “quality time”, a term that...
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Watering the Atmosphere

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Sustainability No Comments
Last week Wisconsin’s Governor Walker pronounced drought emergencies for 40-plus counties in the land of cheese[1].  I’m not sure what that means other than the obvious fact that it is dry and it’s been hotter than bejeezus for quite some time, with the peak being the week of Independence Day. A “blocking” high pressure system was parked in the middle of the country.  High pressure systems result in sinking air, the opposite of low pressure systems where surface air rises to cold altitudes causing clouds and rain.  Sinking air results in no clouds and heat of compression.  Heat of compression...
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Cah Tawk

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Sustainability 2 Comments
This week’s feature presentation is one of my favorites for saving energy: automobiles.  Let’s take this recent post from Fuel Fix and dive right in. The first one I read is “make sure your gas cap is broken or missing.”  That’s right.  You can save 3 cents per gallon if it is broken or missing.  I think they need some proofreading.  I suggest using a well-oiled and fully functional gas cap.  Where they get the 3 cents per gallon savings, I have no idea.  That’s like saying a 20 minute power walk will reduce the energy content of a milkshake...
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The Smoking Gleick

By Energy Rant, Government, Sustainability One Comment
Last week I described a hypothetical, unethical scam to achieve a desired outcome, which leads up to this week’s rant, which I didn’t have space for last week. I first came across this in The Wall Street Journal editorial page.  The Heartland institute, which I had never heard of, or at best I forgot about, is a global-warming-crisis skeptic.  From the horse’s mouth, they believe global warming is real, that man contributes, but they are skeptics of the alarmism and the magnitude of man’s impacts. They are a privately funded non-profit and yes, they get money from big oil just...
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Evil V Clueless

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Stimulus, Sustainability, Tax Stuff 2 Comments
This week I have an I-can’t-take-it-anymore topic: gasoline prices.  It is not the gasoline prices that chap me, but the pouting, mud throwing, food fights, whining and probably worst of all the stupid solutions to the so-called problems. Gasoline is like any other product or service that is a must-have in society and therefore, like electricity and natural gas, consumers feel entitled to all they want at a negligible price.  And by the way, why all the hype right now?  It’s around $3.50 per gallon.  Being an election year obviously feeds the flames and I guess there just isn’t enough...
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America to Construction Guy – Drop Dead

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Renewable Energy, Sustainability No Comments
Remember the old kooks who thought they knew better, gave you stupid rules, and warned you about things you would come to regret because you ignored them?  They were your parents.  If you are old enough, maybe a parent yourself, or maybe not, you should realize that OMG!  I’ve turned into my parents!  It’s wisdom through experience and in particular from making mistakes and failure. As a supervisor, one thing I learned, and is unfortunately a fact of life, is that you have to let staff make their own mistakes because no matter how many times you tell people not...
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Replacing the Burger

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Sustainability 2 Comments
The race is on to develop and deliver next generation successful energy efficiency programs.  There is indeed innovation in the marketplace.  The days of what I call “hamburger selling” will end, probably in the next decade.  Selling EE in these cases is like selling hamburgers – who can sell the most and the cheapest hamburgers that people will eat.  The product is unsophisticated – lighting, primarily.  The market is huge and opportunities ubiquitous.  Marketing and selling the burger is the name of the game and will be for a few more years. In the past five years, energy efficiency has...
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Monty and Me

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Sustainability One Comment
Back in August I wrote about our “non-energy policy” and that our federal administrations since Nixon have vowed to reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, especially from hostile regions - and exactly the opposite has occurred.  We are better positioned to control our energy destiny right now, for decades, more so than any time in my life. Technology for tapping conventional fossil fuels has vastly outstripped and expanded the gap between inexpensive fossil fuel supply and alternative energy sources.  Unfortunately or fortunately, this is reality.  Two major energy sources being tapped of course include natural gas from shale...
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Peer Review This, Please

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Renewable Energy, Sustainability No Comments
This week I provide my own analysis of raw data to nail this Jell-O to the wall, and I’m done.  It’s all good.  Does anyone know what the “O” stands for?  Orama?  Jell Orama? First a recap from last week from which I got some blowback.  But would you believe it if I told you I received substantially more support and backslapping from critics of climate change?  As with any highly charged issue, readers/observers tend to attack on a hair trigger anything that challenges established positions and assign you to a broad group of in-duh-viduals to which you do not...
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