Tag Archives: alternative energy

Behold the US’s Energy Footprint with This Animated Guide

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 3.43.55 PMIt’s no secret, the US’s energy usage is staggering. We are the second largest per capita consumers of energy, right after Canada and right before Saudi Arabia. We love our cars, packaged food products, imported goods, and controlled heating, and we unfortunately tend to use and use without discretion. Hopefully much of the problem lies in a lack of education on energy and climate change, which is where this video will come in handy!

Alexis Madrigal, senior technology editor at The Atlantic, outlines the key energy sources we rely on, as well as the larger network of energy waste and efficiency in this brilliantly animated short. Check it out:

Here are the top 10 electrical energy sources, laid out from best to worst by Stanford professor of civil and environment engineering, Mark Jacobson:

  1. Wind
  2. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
  3. Geothermal power
  4. Tidal power
  5. Solar photovoltaics (PV)
  6. Wave power
  7. Hydroelectric power
  8. Nuclear power
  9. Coal (even with Carbon Capture and Sequestration, CCS)

Wind energy, as Jacobson’s number one option, is an interesting case. On the one hand, it is a renewable, never-ending source of immense power (more than human beings could ever use). It is space and cost efficient and produces no pollution. On the other hand, wind fluctuates and isn’t necessarily reliable. It’s also noisy, not aesthetically pleasing, and can be a threat to wildlife.

There are bound to be pros and cons with every energy option, but we can probably agree that some are worse than others. Our global lust for fossil fuels has led to wars, oil spills, decimation of forests, mountains and bodies of water, and toxic emissions into the atmosphere. What we might sacrifice by investing in renewable energy sources would surely pale in comparison to the sacrifices we’ve already endured.

What do you think are the best renewable energy options? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Electric Cars

Tesla Model SAdvocates of the gasoline engine point to the high costs, low speeds and the unproven track record of the electric car as its caveats. However, the facts are clear: electric cars are drastically falling in price, are competing with ordinary driver vehicles for speed, entail far less maintenance and are proving even more reliable than cars using petrol. Bet you didn’t know these astounding facts.

1. Electric Cars Aren’t New Kids on the Block

In fact, electric cars have been around for more than 170 years. Robert Anderson of Scotland is credited with creating the first electric carriage in 1832. Electric cars have, of course, progressed significantly since then, as the technology has improved by leaps and bounds. You now have the option of controlling many of car’s functions from your smartphone. So if it’s cold outside, use your smartphone to start up your car and save yourself some freezing discomfort. Some of the best cell phones of 2013 now have the technology to seamlessly interact with your smart car.

2. Once Upon a Time, Electric Cars Were More Popular than Petrol Cars

Before the twentieth century, there were more electric cars on the road than gas-powered ones. Until the Model T was invented and petrol became readily available, that is. In 1897, all New York City taxis were electric-powered, built by Electric Carriage and Wagon Company in Chicago.

3. Ironically, Electricity Made Petrol More PopularKarma at speed in the fog

At first, petrol cars were less popular because they had to be hand cranked. When the electric starter was installed, it made starting petrol engines easier. So, electricity is what bolstered gasoline engines into popularity.

4. Electric Cars Need Almost No Maintenance

Other than replacing windshield wipers and buying tires, there is virtually no maintenance in owning an electric car. Even the brakes last longer due to the design of electric cars. The Mars Rovers have worked continually for over seven years with no mechanical issues at all.

5. Electric Cars are Speed Demons!

In 1899, the world speed record on land was made by an electric car from Belgium called La Janais Contante. It made history at 68 mph (109 km/h). Today, the world’s fastest electric car reaches speeds of 305 km/h and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in a mere 2.8 seconds.

6. Electric Cars are More Available, Less Costly All the Time

In 2009, a consumer paid £21,334 for an electric car. Today that price has fallen to £10,990. By 2015, consumers are expected to pay a mere £6,500. Not only are the prices falling, but more vehicles are becoming available. Almost every major auto manufacturer in the world is expected to offer an electric vehicle within two years. Thirteen models are currently available, with 18 to come. The Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are just a few of the currently available electric cars to choose from.

7. Charging An Electric Car is Easy

Many consumers fear that charging the car will be difficult, expensive, time-consuming or impossible. However, charging electric cars is cheaper than buying petrol at today’s prices and most owners charge their cars overnight and lose no time at all out of their busy schedules. In fact, as your smartphone charges, so can your car! Increasingly, petrol stations are offering fueling stations for electric cars to meet customer demands.

8. Electric Cars are More Efficient With Less Pollutants

Eighty percent of the energy in an electric car goes toward powering the vehicle, while only 14-26 percent of the energy used by a petrol car does so. Additionally, electric cars introduce no pollutants, while petrol vehicles produce nitrous oxide, particulates and many other air pollutants.

Clearly, there is much we can learn about electric cars. Are you in the market?


Image via Flickr by Al Abut

Image via Flickr by Fisker Auto

6 Creative Ways to Green Your Life in Time for Summer

First out of the trapThere’s a lot of pressure these days to be sustainable superheroes with canteen-packing totes, perfectly organic diets, and pricey hybrid cars. Most people are lucky to have access to a grocery store that even stocks local, organic foods, let alone at a price that’s amenable to the average income. These issues aside, sustainability and environmental decline are real issues that every individual should feel it within their power to combat with simple measures in their daily lives. That’s why we’ve collected 6 online resources that will hopefully inspire you to green your home, live healthier, and feel confident in the contribution you are able to make toward a sustainable world. Have fun!

  1. Start composting: An oldie but goodie, if you haven’t joined the compost bandwagon yet then now is your chance! It requires a bit of effort in the set up, but once your compost is up and running, sustaining it will be a breeze. And you don’t need a big backyard or garden to make it happen. Here is the ultimate guide to urban composting.
  2. Make an alternative energy source: You probably never even thought it within your power to create your own alternative energy. But think again! Here is a super simple, efficient DIY video on how to make your own backyard wind turbine. Even if you don’t feel like building a whole wind power generator, consider the ways you can reduce electricity – make use of natural light, look into energy-efficient shower heads, etc.
  3. Try backyard farming: Please don’t buy a $1,300 chicken coop (unless that’s what you’re into.) But do let this fascinating article on chic backyard farming inspire you to try your hand at raising chickens, growing vegetables, making preserves, or whatever you have the time and energy for. You don’t need to spend exorbitant amounts on boutique tools and tailor made gardening gear – a bit of space, time, and love are the most important ingredients.
  4. Recycle creatively: Recycling isn’t just about throwing bottles and cans in the proper bin. Explore ways to get creative with your recycling, like by making gifts and household products out of broken bike chains, old clothes, empty jars, and more.
  5. Make your own clothes: You don’t need a degree in fashion to start making your own clothes, but let this new sustainable fashion program, recently launched by Buckinghamshire New University, inspire you to work good eco-habits into your wardrobe. Thrifting is a great place to start, or have a clothing exchange party with your friends!
  6. Green your office: Whether you work from home or in a big office, there are lots of ways to reduce your footprint (and save money) at work. This can include switching entirely to Googledocs and electronic files to cut back on printing, using recycled paper, instituting communal office lunches, and more.

We hope you feel inspired and empowered to incorporate some green practices into your home and work environment! Summer is a particularly great time to get outside and plant those backyard gardens, start biking to work, take a thrift store outing, and the like. What tips do you have for green living? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!


Green stock continues to be a very lucrative investment. This trend will continue as the planet’s resources become ever more scarce and renewable energy is increasingly mainstream. Green technologies are smart investments for the next decade and beyond.  To continue reading  go to THE GREEN MARKET.

Prayer as an alternative energy source to power homes and street lights

Taikkun Li has invented a Prayer Wheel Energy Generator designed to power homes and street lights in Tibet by the electricity created when tourists spin the traditional prayer wheels that line many streets. Inventor Spot pointed out, "If you think about it, countless people spinning countless prayer wheels for over 1,500 years would have generated an incredible amount of electrical energy had the prayer wheels been crafted to produce and capture it." Here is the full article: Prayer as an alternative energy source.

Nevada Solar Field Produces Lower Cost Power


Greentech Media reports that a solar plant in Nevada is now able to produce power at the same or lower cost as fossil fuel burning plants.

It’s essential to remember that there isn’t one technology that’s going to wean the country off dirty and (when accounted for holistically) expensive fossil fuels, it’s a number of different technologies. Solar is an excellent options for the parts of the world that receive the most sun, wind has its place as done geothermal and on and on. It’s easy to poke holes in any single alternative fuel or energy source, but when looked at as a bloc, we see that these technologies have the potential to be much less expensive overall than fossil fuels, when one calculates the hidden cost of fossil fuels. Hard data such as the Nevada plant shows that continued development is going to produce a true revolution in power sources as the economics become clearer.


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