Monthly ArchiveOctober 2007

Eco Sac: The Water Bladder For Your Home

ByGroovy Green Oct 23, 2007

If giant rain barrels aren’t aesthetically pleasing or you lack the room for installation, you may want to consider the Eco Sac; a flexible rainwater bladder storage system that hides away under decks or floors. Each sac is manufactured using “industrial strength fabric sealed by high frequency welding.”

According to the site, the eco sac is better than your average rain barrel because a.) it captures water faster than rigid tanks, b.) you can use multiple bladders which all fill at the same rate and at the same time c.) it is guaranteed not to leak and d.) it is algae resistant and the water stored is potable.

Pretty cool idea for those with limited space to capture rainfall. There are 54 different sizes to choose from, ranging from 2,200 liters to 8,600 liters. Apparently, you can join multiple sacs together to get up to 50,000 liters or more water storage.

Much like the portable grey water recycler we wrote about earlier this week, this product is currently only available in Australia. Something tells me however — with the water woes currently affecting parts of the U.S. — that we’ll be seeing more of these stateside shortly.

Best Of Both Worlds: The Bluenergy Solar Wind Turbine

ByGroovy Green Oct 18, 2007

A German company has created what appears to be the first integrated solar vertical axis wind turbine. Obviously, the advantage here is that when one resource isn’t available, the other may still come through to help produce some energy.

The company, Bluenergy AG, based their design on sailing engineering. The wind rotor is rotated by two spiral-formed vanes. According to the site, the installation costs relatively little, produces no noise or significant shadowing, and can be easily maintained from ground level. It also appears that the vertical wings can be lowered horizontal for access as well. One interesting design highlight claimed by the site is that the solar cells are cooled by the rotation of the turbine and thus generate more electricity. Anyone know if this would add significant output?

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One Trillion Reasons To Invest In Clean, Green Energy

ByGroovy Green Oct 18, 2007

U.S. Bank Morgan Stanley has estimated that global sales from clean energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power and biofuels could grow to as much as $1 trillion a year by 2030. In the meantime, the market may hit $505 billion in sales by 2020 — almost 9 times the level in 2005. Not a bad idea to invest, right?

Well, maybe. While it’s a sure bet that renewable energy will grow in percentage sales of global energy sources; there’s no telling how rapid or sustained such growth might be. Morgan Stanley was clear to indicate that current numbers are based on bullish investments, the rising value of oil, and current worldwide concerns over global warming. A change in any number of these factors could affect the industry. From the article,

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Blog Action Day: The Pig Farmer

ByGroovy Green Oct 15, 2007

One of the stories that should circulate the “green” blogosphere, and be posted on everyone’s site. I usually skim longer posts, but when I realized the heart and depth of the writing, I took the time to slow down and read a truly wonderful and heart-wrenching story.

From Celais, by John Robbins:

One day in Iowa I met a particular gentleman—and I use that term, gentleman, frankly, only because I am trying to be polite, for that is certainly not how I saw him at the time. He owned and ran what he called a “pork production facility.” I, on the other hand, would have called it a pig Auschwitz.

The conditions were brutal. The pigs were confined in cages that were barely larger than their own bodies, with the cages stacked on top of each other in tiers, three high. The sides and the bottoms of the cages were steel slats, so that excrement from the animals in the upper and middle tiers dropped through the slats on to the animals below.
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But eating local is so expensive…

ByGroovy Green Oct 4, 2007

Really? Here is a picture of a few things I picked up yesterday. 6 butternut squash. 1 hubbard squash and 15 pounds of sweet potatoes. Set me back $29.

The ad flyer for my local grocery store lists butternut squash at $.49 per pound. I have 27 pounds in my pictures. That works out to $13.23 for the squash. (No comparison for hubbard’s so I included it with the butternut squashes)

In the same ad sweet potatoes are listed at $.69 per pound for a total of $10.35.

Total cost at the store is $23.58. Total cost from the farmer is $29. The difference is that in my case the farmer got the entire $29 instead of a wholesale percentage of the cost.

From the same farmer I also have on order 75 lbs of potatoes. They’ll cost me about $30. That works out to $.40 a pound compared to a sale price in the ad flyer of $.26.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ll gladly pay that slight premium for fresh local foods that support farmer’s more. The squashes I purchased had just been picked yesterday morning. Now that’s fresh!

Blind People Appeal To Automakers For Noisier Hybrids, Electric Vehicles

ByGroovy Green Oct 3, 2007

A couple months ago, I casually wrote a post wondering aloud if quiet hybrids and electric cars would be a hazard to pedestrians who are visually disabled. After all, it’s quite easy to hear a combustion engine from a distance. Many commenters bashed the post saying that it was stupid to suggest adding some type of small noise to the vehicles. Apparently, these people were not blind.

Today, the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind will present written testimony asking for a minimum sound standard for hybrids to be included in the state’s emissions regulations. As the President of the group, Marc Maurer, mentioned, he’s not interested in returning to gas-guzzling vehicles, they just want fuel-efficient hybrids to have some type of warning noise. From the article,

“‘I don’t want to pick that way of going, but I don’t want to get run over by a quiet car, either,’ Maurer said.

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