Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Alternative and Sustainable Energy Technologies and Examples That Actually Work

A couple days ago I posted on Solar and Wind energy alternatives to the conventional corporate run Coal-Fired or Nuclear Electrical Energy Power Plant systems which shackles the average consumer to a Grid Network of complicated unappealing eye sore infrastructure. A system over which the consumer is at the mercy of these corporations whose industry is quite often not only challenged for finding newer sources of raw materials and must pass on the extra expense to it's customer base, also responsible for some of the habitat destruction for acquiring these resources. Unfortunately this antiquated system ALSO needs to change because they are also a global industry that is directly or even indirectly responsible for some of the present climate change. Some champion alternative energy ideas which are termed Eco-Solutions. Yet all too often even these are mere marketing ploys and not real viable answers. (See: Green Grabs: The Dark Side of the Green Economy ) Here is the post from two days ago below:
Today however I want to focus on a REAL success story of sorts. This is one I saw and watched over here in Sweden on CNN Europe a few days back. It's the success story of a Physicist, Innovator, co-founder, chairman and chief scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute  and private Colorado Home Owner, Amory Lovins who was a guest on "Fareed Zakaria GPS" show on October 21, 2012. This was a great show and one that not only addresses some of the ideas and concepts of an individual who claims to be an expert on the subject, but one who actually practices what he preaches by his own personal home habitat. Many of the ideas are so simple and logical that anyone could accomplish such things even on a much smaller scale. Take a look here at some photos of his home.

Photo & Text by C/NET
"The Snowmass, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in three main areas: energy, transportation, and buildings At about 8,000 feet, RMI founder Amory Lovins' house, which is the nonprofit's original headquarters, serves as a showcase for the kind of ultra-efficient housing that is possible today. Though it was built years ago, it has recently been renovated and now includes a new, large set of solar panels - on top of a set of panels it already had . that allow the building to produce more energy than it uses. The house is filled with a series of systems designed to get the most out of the building and to make the place as livable as possible. As Lovins is apparently fond of saying, people who live in energy efficient houses need not skimp on hot showers or cold beer!"
Remoldeling of Amory Lovins Home, by Yahoo News

photo by Judy Hill Lovins
I actually found this part of the home intriguing. He lives at 8,000 feet elevation and harvest 28 Banana Crops of Bananas. In the interview with CNN, he joked about sitting in his living room in the frigid dead of winter and not ever turning his heater on and sitting among his tropical plants. It is his combined home and work space which is equipped with insulated walls, solar panels, wood burning stove and a green house that gathers all the heat collected to be the power of the entire house and excess stored for future use.
Credit by Solaripedia
Here is Amory Lovins watering his tropical plants in a Hot House that serves as a natural furnace for his home-office in Old Snowmass, Colorado where again the sub-freezing temperatures are common throughout the winter. I suppose if you are going to test your idea and theory, then di it in an extreme climate.
Here's the home in Wintertime. 

While this is impressive, here is a video of
Amory Explaining how the home works in
Amory Lovins: Tour the "Greenest House" on Earth!
Anyway I just thought this was an interesting add on to my post a few days ago. Many of these things are so logical even for folks in a frigid climate. Such energy efficient concepts could inspire even warm crop production and environmental space where such climate in northern hemispheres prevents such a pleasant lifestyle. I certainly live in such an environment here in Sweden and often I long for such an indoor concept to become a reality. I often wonder why Sweden doesn't create an indoor mall where such an environment could be recreated to allow it's citizens a measure of winter enjoyment while all the frigid temperatures and darkness remain on the outside. I have been in Stockholm once to an indoor setting which had a number of large Palm Trees and other tropical plants. In making large scale application in an agricultural setting, many things would no longer have to be imported from 1000s of miles away. In an area where there is much talk of localizing everything we consume, it makes perfect $€N$€!!!

Rocky Mountain Institute Website & Blog


  1. What an amazing place and guy. A beautiful State, too! We lived in northern Sweden for some years and agree with your thoughts on it. "Tis a strange country indeed, at times!

    1. Yeah the only real Shopping Mall here in Göteborg is Nordstan and they basically took a couple cross streets and put green house framing over the tops and blocked off the ends of the streets. This is the area where people walk and shop. Clearly they could do more to develop a landscaping that would accommodate several palms and other tropic plants to at least give the illusion of warmer climates.

  2. I like your thoughts on other money-making enterprises who can afford such things, like grow food and items locally, instead of importing them from far away. Aspen probably gets more sun than Sweden does in winter to really pull off what you would like to see, though A$pen is a pricey area irrelevant to much of the US...his house looks pretty pricey and well-laid out.

    Now, imagine what could be done in a cool to mild, but sunny, winter place like Abq, but on a mortal's budget? Some of it, but not other parts - my lot looks smaller than his atrium and adjacent rooms. If I stay in the SW, I'd consider passive solar, as well as lay out the house and site better on the lot, to soak up more winter heat; summer shade not so easy with bedrock. But some possibilities, though not all Lovins', given more modest incomes. (I don't have a "non-profit", so I'm poor in comparison!)

    1. Really, Can you imagine what someone with money and brains could do with innovative green house construction and design and making some practical applications utilizing some of Lovins techniques and possibly even improving upon them ?

      Do I hear "New Mexico Bananas" ? It's a whole different kind of Ristra , the yellow kind.


  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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