Monday, March 26, 2007

Moving the Hands of Time

A key point about energy efficiency is how it can be manifested in many ways. A recent example is the early three week change of Daylight Savings time. When the hour is jumped ahead in the spring, our consumption of energy changes. It might sound strange, but the truth lies in your lifestyle.

During the winter months in Canada the sun will set at approximately 5 pm. This is typically when you would leave work, arrive at home after your commute and meet up with the rest of your family. Since the sun has set, the streets are lit up by the yellow glow of the city streetlights. At home, you turn on your front door light, and perhaps the hallway lights too. Someone in the kitchen has those lights on and whoever is in other rooms in the house have lit those spaces. The electricity is flowing strong into your house and as well as all the other houses around you.

This is peak power. Everyone activating the electricity service at the same time puts lots of pressure on the producers of electricity. It is expensive to produce electricity at this time too, because it is usually expensive fuel or an expensive system that needs to run, when all other cheaper sources are busy. In some places the cost during peak power can be as high as 20 cents for every kWh of electricity, while normal hour electricity is around 5-7 cents per kWh.

Now if we change the clock time, like all of you did a few weeks ago and I did it last night, by one hour, a shift in activities occurs. Now in a typical March day the sun will set at 6 pm, instead of the usual 5 pm. What happens at 6 pm in your household? You are probably finishing your meals or cleaning up, settling for an evening with a good book or a fun reality tv show. The usual hustle and bustle that happens at the 5 pm hour is all performed in daylight, which eliminates all those lights.

Peak power is reduced! The cost drops slightly, but still, a smaller peak consumption rate exists. When we add 4 weeks more to our summer hours (3 weeks earlier in spring, one week later in the fall), there is significant change in the size of peak electricity during the whole year.

Another simple example of energy efficiency at work. Imagine if we change all our lights to be low energy consumption bulbs....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Old Assignment

Moving from Point A to Point Z using Green Land Transportation

Agricultural Wastes. Waste feedstocks coupled with special enzymes can produce an alcohol fit enough to burn in any vehicle.
Bio-Fuels. Any oily plant can be processed to burn in an engine.
Carbon Fibre Structures. Using this material can reducing the weight of vehicles to gain valuable fuel efficiency, while not sacrificing safety.
Diesel Engines Powered on Bio-Oils. The diesel engine is an efficient machine and cleaning up it’s fuel is one way to find cheap solutions with existing technology.
Electric Vehicles. This is a no-brainer as battery technology is becoming more and more efficient.
Friendly Car Sharing. Instead of buying a car, share a vehicle with your neighbourhood.
Generating Capability. Parked vehicles have the capacity to power buildings.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Fleets. Having a central area to refill on hydrogen is key to operating your fleet on fuel cells and reducing infrastructure costs.
Internet Groups. Car-pooling can be easy when you know someone is going your way.
Jesus Sandals. To encourage walking, make sidewalks comfortable to walk on.
Kilometre Per Hour Reduction. Reduce speed limits to gain fuel efficiency.
Lorry Carriers. Train systems designed to carry freight trucks.
Magnetic Train Lines. Maglev trains are a new technology enabling fast transportation between large distances.
Nuke Powered Trains. Virtually unlimited power in small scale.
Operator-Less Vehicles. With current GPS and AI technology, operating a vehicle can become more efficient.
Phone Batteries. Lithium-Ion batteries from cell phones can be placed together to pawer vehicles, Tesla Motors proved it.
Quiet Transport. Noise is the sound of inefficiency.
Rails On Highways. Plug yourself onto an electric rail system to take you to destination.
Super Ports. Airports can be converted into high speed train stations providing fast regional transportation, eliminating short-haul flights.
Tank Treads. Alternative to wheels.
Urban Bike Systems. Many cities are taking the effort to plan proper bike routes which are easy accessible and safe.
Vegetable Oil. Waste vegetable oil from restaurants can be used as bio-oil in diesel engines.
Water Powered Vehicles. Compress water to make parts move.
Xenograft Vehicles. Using nature designs in vehicles, bio-mimicry
Young Generation. Designs need to appeal to the young generation who are looking for innovation.
Zone for Greens. Green vehicles should have their own lanes, or even roads.