Tag Archives: energy

Be the Buffy to your Vampire Energy

vampire-energyDid you know billions of dollars are wasted each year on electricity for appliances in homes that are “turned off?”

Yesterday, the Earth Day Network introduced their first action of the series: Slaying Vampire Energy. Even when appliances are turned off, they still consume electricity, called “Vampire Energy.” Each year, vampire energy is estimated to cost US consumers $11 billion. Since the majority of electricity is produced by fossil fuel power plants, vampire energy is also responsible for millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year!

Fortunately, there are several easy steps we can take to cut down on vampire energy. Unplug appliances and chargers when they are not in use, plug appliances into power strips, which can be easily turned on and off with one button, or replace old appliances with energy efficient models.

Make the pledge to reduce the amount of electricity wasted in your home today! Tell your friends! And be sure to engage with the Earth Day Network on Twitter: #ActOfGreen.

Car diverts you from bad weather; You can go Bionic

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are testing an innovative technological system in the Detroit area this month that ultimately will help protect drivers from being surprised by black ice, fog, and other hazardous weather conditions.

The prototype system is designed to gather detailed information about weather and road conditions from moving vehicles. Within about a decade, it should enable motor vehicles equipped with wireless technology to transmit automated updates about local conditions to a central database, which will then relay alerts to other drivers in the area.

“The goal is to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths by getting drivers the information they need about nearby hazards,” says Sheldon Drobot, the NCAR program manager in charge of the project. “The system will tell drivers what they can expect to run into in the next few seconds and minutes, giving them a critical chance to slow down or take other action.”

Maybe then we could all have cheaper auto insurance!? Yeah, I know, I’m dreaming.

(Credit: Copyright UCAR, photo by Michael Chapman)

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Years after the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) suit first debuted, it seems that Cyberdyne’s pride and joy is about to get really real. According to a report over at HPlus Magazine, the company is linking up with Daiwa House in order to “begin mass production” of the cybernetic bodysuit.

Sounds like someone really wants to be like Iron Man.

The cybernetic suit that “augments body movement and increases user strength by up to tenfold.”

Though whether or not that warrants the $4,200 price tag remains to be seen.

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A new blog hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Technology Transfer Program promises to be a nexus of information on energy research across the University campus and around the world.

The blog, “SIU Energy Technology,” will promote energy research at SIU’s campuses, publish articles by researchers, carry links to outside information and act as a general clearinghouse for energy research information.

Water, Waste, Energy and Green Building

The Center for ReSource Conservation has been around for over 30 years (in one form or another) educating people about energy technology. It has only been during the last 5 years they have branched out and begun working within four realms: Water, Waste, Energy, and Green Building.

In May of 2007 they released an article to the press titled, “Spring greening: 50 simple ways to be environmentally responsible.” The article includes tips such as, “Water before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. to prevent evaporation.” Helpful green tips like that are important to share because a lot of people honestly just don’t know why or what to do to “be green.”

They are also responsible for installing solar hot water systems in low income housing units around Boulder, Colorado, their home base. On Sunday, September 30, 2007, they will be presenting The Boulder Tour of Solar and Green Built Homes. If you can make it out there you should check it out to “see first-hand that solar and green built homes are comfortable, practical, reliable, and affordable.” It’s all part of Solar Week in Boulder.

Let’s talk biofuel

Of course I checked out the Sierra Club website today, it’s something I try to do everyday. There was an article about biofuels, so I decided to give it a read through.

It seems that these are the days in which because are scrambling to figure out how to fix the mess that our environment is in…and figuring out other sources to make fuel from is a topic that keeps coming up. Biofuels produce less carbon dioxide.

BUT

Biofuel crops are typically grown on land which is burnt and reclaimed from tropical forests. Of course also, if you are clearing land to grow brops to make biofuel, there will be less land for farming and therefore the cost of food will rise. Like high yielding crops of corn and soy that will most likely be used to make biofuel. Corn will be the new caviar.

And I digress.

There will probably always be a Catch 22, an equal and opposite reaction…Murphys law, etc.

Back to the drawing board folks. How can we make carbon-free, renewable energy? If only the sun would shed some light on this problem…

Windmill cell phone charger

Hehe.
Got wind?

That’s the motto for the Orange wind charger prototype. “The wind generator produces enough power to trickle charge an independent rechargeable battery.”

They say that it is a convenient solution for people who spends a lot of time outdoors camping or hiking or whatever it may be…and still must have their cell phone attached to them. =o/

Windmills for energy is nothing new, but thinking outside of the box and figuring out ways to store energy for even small products like a cell phone is pretty darn cool.

Blackle

The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about Google’s evil step brother, Blackle. Okay so maybe not evil, but considering the extreme difference in Google versus Blackle, I wasn’t sure how else to explain the polar opposite of the look.

The question is…does Blackle really help with energy output just because it’s…well..black?

Not so much folks.

The federal Energy Star program found that modern LCD computer monitors don’t see much benefit from a black screen. But if you have one of those old big honkin’ tube monitors you may be saving yourself a small bit of energy. CRT screens saw energy savings with Blackle of between 5% and 20%.

And so there you have it. Yes, we do need to be more conscious of how we use energy, but no…Blackle is not really the way to go.

WiTricity

Marin Soljacic, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Physics and Research Laboratory of Electronics had a thought. Quite often we forget to recharge our cell phone, and when it is about to die it emits an unpleasant noise. “Needless to say, this always happens in the middle of the night,” he said. “So, one night, at 3 a.m., it occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be great if this thing charged itself?” He began to wonder if any of the physics principles he knew of could result in new ways of transmitting energy.

MIT is known for being at the forefront of new technology. Marin Soljacic and researchers there have made a 60 watt light bulb glow via wireless energy 7 feet away. Wireless energy!. This is significant. We are now closer to having small gadgets run without having to be plugged in somewhere. This technology works by using tuned waves – setting the recharging device and the same frequency. Much work has yet to be done, but either way how cool is this?

MIT News