7/31/2010

Home Energy Calculators

Finally a home energy meter that is easy to use. If you are seeking efforts to cut your energy use-age. The Micro Soft hohm energy meter can aid in reducing your energy use-age.

Dear Hohm user:

Here at Microsoft Hohm, we listened when you asked for a more immediate way to monitor and manage your home energy use. And today, we have great news: we're thrilled to announce that the Hohm-compatible PowerCost Monitor™ WiFi from Blue Line is now available!

Blue Line's PowerCost Monitor WiFi is a portable, wireless device that's easy to install (no electrician required!) and easy to use. It wirelessly sends your near real-time energy use to Hohm, providing you with more detailed energy use information than your monthly utility bill. You can view and track changes in energy use almost instantly, discovering potential energy waste in your home and areas where you can save. With Hohm and the PowerCost Monitor WiFi, you can now:

  • See moment-to-moment energy use and costs
  • Measure how much specific appliances are costing you, in dollars and electricity
  • Track long-term energy use, which you can reset as often as you wish

Why is this a big deal? Studies show that consumers who are aware of their energy use can save up to 18% on their home energy bill on average. Just take a look at the graph below for an example: At about 9:15, Mike turned on his air conditioner for a few minutes after cleaning out the compressor. You can see the spike in energy use that it caused. At about 2:30, Mike turned on the air conditioning and let it run. That's where you see a spike followed by consistent energy use at close to 6 kilowatts. At about 3:15, one of Mike's kids also turned on a hair dryer- that's the next spike you see. Hohm captured all this information from the Blue Line device in near real time and made it easy to see and understand.

Microsoft Hohm powercost monitor

We think seeing near real-time energy data will make people smarter about how much energy things in their house use, and help them make better decisions accordingly. So if you've ever wondered how much energy you're really saving when you adjust your thermostat or wash your laundry in cold water versus hot, Hohm and Blue Line will help you find out the answer! Get the PowerCost Monitor WiFi today, and be one of the first to try it out and tell your friends! For more info on the PowerCost Monitor WiFi,

Thanks!

The Microsoft Hohm team

-- Scott's Contracting scottscontracting@gmail.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

7/30/2010

Our Sorry Ass Politicians and Renewable Energy Policy

I've been secretly hoping our chosen leaders were directing our Nations Energy Policy in the right direction. When I read articles such as this one I get T-d off. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!! If you need help finding your legislators I'll be glad to assist. email me

Why We Advocate July 29, 2010
An anecdote, to start with…
A colleague, on a recent visit to Washington DC, found himself in conversation with a recently retired, well-known and -respected U.S. senator. He took the opportunity to ask him what it would take for a congressman to vote for an issue that he knew in his heart was right for the country and the planet, irrespective of partisan attachments and personal considerations. The retired senator (whom, in order not to betray a trust, we will not name, but who is known as a strong supporter of energy independence) replied that only when the congressman no longer needed an influx of money, e.g., after he had decided not to run for office again, might this happen. Until then he would always vote in accordance with his source of funding, working hard to produce whatever arguments were needed to justify his vote.
Lamentably, the above is probably not particularly surprising to readers. The pernicious influence of 'big money' in politics (one would say 'campaigns' except that campaigns seem to be a permanent condition of politics today) is well known, but it's sobering to hear a veteran legislator sympathetic to renewable energy confirm, in effect, that until our industry can throw money at his former colleagues with as much abandon as does the fossil fuel industry, then that latter industry can absolutely count on congressional votes in its favor. What works for the country, what is needed for the health of the planet, what can revitalize American jobs and create new industries here will always lose out to the demands of the campaign chest.

Unless…
Well, there's always an 'unless', isn't there? And in this case, it came from the retired senator, who asserted that the only exception to the above-described dynamic would occur if the congressman were convinced that enough constituents would predicate their vote for or against him on a single issue, to negate the effects of massive campaign contributions.

And that's why we advocate. We beat the drum for solar energy and all the reasons why it makes sense - energy independence, climate regulation, clean energy, sustainability and more - because we want our elected legislators to hear something other than the sound of money falling into their war chests. And we work for the day when those legislators turn to their deep-pocket corporate contributors and say (apologetically) that they would like to oblige them on this upcoming vote, but there are so many voters in their districts demanding action on clean energy that, for once, they have to do what the people want.
Wouldn't that be special?

Article sent by email to me from: http://www.solar-nation.org
This is a follow-up to articles:
You can also check contributions during political campaigns. Barack Obama received $898, 251 from oil companies during his winning 2008 campaign, most of that coming from ExxonMobil ($113646). BP gave President Obama $39405.
Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit the Center for Responsive Politics. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact the Center. ..
Politics and Climate Change July News. Hot enough for you? It's not hot enough for our Senators, clearly. Record-breaking temperatures around the country and around the globe didn't cause any groundswell of support for climate ...
Obama's greenhouse gas rules survive Senate vote ... Build Green, Scotty -- Scott's Contracting scottscontracting@gmail.com http://stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com

7/29/2010

Politics and Climate Change July News

Hot enough for you?

It's not hot enough for our Senators, clearly. Record-breaking temperatures around the country and around the globe didn't cause any groundswell of support for climate legislation in the Senate last week, when our leaders simply decided any actual effort to cut carbon in the atmosphere was not worth the effort.

After years of work from many of our colleagues in the progressive community, they didn't even bother to vote down a cap on Carbon--senators simply refused to even consider it. 

It wasn't a perfect bill by any means--in fact, it was deeply compromised. But the Senate didn't reject it because they wanted something stronger, they rejected it because they simply didn't feel any pressure to act on global warming -- Even after the warmest six months ever recorded.

So your senators need to hear from you this August recess. If they're in your community for some event, they need to see a fired-up grassroots movement that is ready to hold them accountable. They need to get to work, because they work for you.

Sign up here to Keep the Heat on your senators over the August Recess, when they'll be back in district and waiting to hear from you.


The basic idea is to attend an event where your senator is speaking. Have a few friends stand outside with signs, and then have one or two people inside the event ask when we can expect Senate action on climate change. We've put together a guide that explains how to do this.

The recess lasts from August 9 to September 12, so you have a lot of time to attend a local event and let your senators know that they have to get to work. If senators return to DC having heard, over and over again, that people are outraged about their lack of action, they can't drop the issue. Lots of our allies (Energy Action Coalition and 1Sky, to name two) are working on this, so we're confident our movement can send a strong message.

To make it easier, we made a little guide about what not to do when you meet your senators.

Watch the new video!

Normally we recommend complete politeness with political leaders. But frankly it might be okay to show a little anger. I know what I'm going to say: I'm hot as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more.


Many thanks in advance,

Bill McKibben and the 350.org Team


NASAs Climate Change Prediction

How Much More Will Earth Warm?

To further explore the causes and effects of global warming and to predict future warming, scientists build climate models—computer simulations of the climate system. Climate models are designed to simulate the responses and interactions of the oceans and atmosphere, and to account for changes to the land surface, both natural and human-induced. They comply with fundamental laws of physics—conservation of energy, mass, and momentum—and account for dozens of factors that influence Earth's climate.

Though the models are complicated, rigorous tests with real-world data hone them into powerful tools that allow scientists to explore our understanding of climate in ways not otherwise possible. By experimenting with the models—removing greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of fossil fuels or changing the intensity of the Sun to see how each influences the climate—scientists use the models to better understand Earth's current climate and to predict future climate.

The models predict that as the world consumes ever more fossil fuel, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise, and Earth's average surface temperature will rise with them. Based on a range of plausible emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could rise between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century.

Graph of predicted temperature change based on 4 scenarios of carbon dioxide emissions.

Model simulations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that Earth will warm between two and six degrees Celsius over the next century, depending on how fast carbon dioxide emissions grow. Scenarios that assume that people will burn more and more fossil fuel provide the estimates in the top end of the temperature range, while scenarios that assume that greenhouse gas emissions will grow slowly give lower temperature predictions. The orange line provides an estimate of global temperatures if greenhouse gases stayed at year 2000 levels. (©2007 IPCC WG1 AR-4.)

Climate Feedbacks

Greenhouse gases are only part of the story when it comes to global warming. Changes to one part of the climate system can cause additional changes to the way the planet absorbs or reflects energy. These secondary changes are called climate feedbacks, and they could more than double the amount of warming caused by carbon dioxide alone. The primary feedbacks are due to snow and ice, water vapor, clouds, and the carbon cycle.

Snow and ice

Perhaps the most well known feedback comes from melting snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere. Warming temperatures are already melting a growing percentage of Arctic sea ice, exposing dark ocean water during the perpetual sunlight of summer. Snow cover on land is also dwindling in many areas. In the absence of snow and ice, these areas go from having bright, sunlight-reflecting surfaces that cool the planet to having dark, sunlight-absorbing surfaces that bring more energy into the Earth system and cause more warming.

Photograph of the retreating Athabasca Glacier, Jasper National Park, Canada.

Canada's Athabasca Glacier has been shrinking by about 15 meters per year. In the past 125 years, the glacier has lost half its volume and has retreated more than 1.5 kilometers. As glaciers retreat, sea ice disappears, and snow melts earlier in the spring, the Earth absorbs more sunlight than it would if the reflective snow and ice remained. (Photograph ©2005 Hugh Saxby.)

Water Vapor

The largest feedback is water vapor. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas. In fact, because of its abundance in the atmosphere, water vapor causes about two-thirds of greenhouse warming, a key factor in keeping temperatures in the habitable range on Earth. But as temperatures warm, more water vapor evaporates from the surface into the atmosphere, where it can cause temperatures to climb further.

The question that scientists ask is, how much water vapor will be in the atmosphere in a warming world? The atmosphere currently has an average equilibrium or balance between water vapor concentration and temperature. As temperatures warm, the atmosphere becomes capable of containing more water vapor, and so water vapor concentrations go up to regain equilibrium. Will that trend hold as temperatures continue to warm?

The amount of water vapor that enters the atmosphere ultimately determines how much additional warming will occur due to the water vapor feedback. The atmosphere responds quickly to the water vapor feedback. So far, most of the atmosphere has maintained a near constant balance between temperature and water vapor concentration as temperatures have gone up in recent decades. If this trend continues, and many models say that it will, water vapor has the capacity to double the warming caused by carbon dioxide alone.

Clouds

Closely related to the water vapor feedback is the cloud feedback. Clouds cause cooling by reflecting solar energy, but they also cause warming by absorbing infrared energy (like greenhouse gases) from the surface when they are over areas that are warmer than they are. In our current climate, clouds have a cooling effect overall, but that could change in a warmer environment.

Astronaut photograph of clouds over Florida.

Clouds can both cool the planet (by reflecting visible light from the sun) and warm the planet (by absorbing heat radiation emitted by the surface). On balance, clouds slightly cool the Earth. (NASA Astronaut Photograph STS31-E-9552 courtesy Johnson space Center Earth Observations Lab.)

If clouds become brighter, or the geographical extent of bright clouds expands, they will tend to cool Earth's surface. Clouds can become brighter if more moisture converges in a particular region or if more fine particles (aerosols) enter the air. If fewer bright clouds form, it will contribute to warming from the cloud feedback.

See Ship Tracks South of Alaska to learn how aerosols can make clouds brighter.

Clouds, like greenhouse gases, also absorb and re-emit infrared energy. Low, warm clouds emit more energy than high, cold clouds. However, in many parts of the world, energy emitted by low clouds can be absorbed by the abundant water vapor above them. Further, low clouds often have nearly the same temperatures as the Earth's surface, and so emit similar amounts of infrared energy. In a world without low clouds, the amount of emitted infrared energy escaping to space would not be too different from a world with low clouds.

Thermal infrared image of the Western Hemisphere from GOES.

Clouds emit thermal infrared (heat) radiation in proportion to their temperature, which is related to altitude. This image shows the Western Hemisphere in the thermal infrared. Warm ocean and land surface areas are white and light gray; cool, low-level clouds are medium gray; and cold, high-altitude clouds are dark gray and black. (NASA image courtesy GOES Project Science.)

High cold clouds, however, form in a part of the atmosphere where energy-absorbing water vapor is scarce. These clouds trap (absorb) energy coming from the lower atmosphere, and emit little energy to space because of their frigid temperatures. In a world with high clouds, a significant amount of energy that would otherwise escape to space is captured in the atmosphere. As a result, global temperatures are higher than in a world without high clouds.

If warmer temperatures result in a greater amount of high clouds, then less infrared energy will be emitted to space. In other words, more high clouds would enhance the greenhouse effect, reducing the Earth's capability to cool and causing temperatures to warm.

See Clouds and Radiation for a more complete description.

Scientists aren't entirely sure where and to what degree clouds will end up amplifying or moderating warming, but most climate models predict a slight overall positive feedback or amplification of warming due to a reduction in low cloud cover. A recent observational study found that fewer low, dense clouds formed over a region in the Pacific Ocean when temperatures warmed, suggesting a positive cloud feedback in this region as the models predicted. Such direct observational evidence is limited, however, and clouds remain the biggest source of uncertainty--apart from human choices to control greenhouse gases—in predicting how much the climate will change.

The Carbon Cycle

Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and warming temperatures are causing changes in the Earth's natural carbon cycle that also can feedback on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. For now, primarily ocean water, and to some extent ecosystems on land, are taking up about half of our fossil fuel and biomass burning emissions. This behavior slows global warming by decreasing the rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase, but that trend may not continue. Warmer ocean waters will hold less dissolved carbon, leaving more in the atmosphere.

Map of anthropogenic carbon dissolved in the oceans.

About half the carbon dioxide emitted into the air from burning fossil fuels dissolves in the ocean. This map shows the total amount of human-made carbon dioxide in ocean water from the surface to the sea floor. Blue areas have low amounts, while yellow regions are rich in anthropogenic carbon dioxide. High amounts occur where currents carry the carbon-dioxide-rich surface water into the ocean depths. (Map adapted from Sabine et al., 2004.)

See The Ocean's Carbon Balance on the Earth Observatory.

On land, changes in the carbon cycle are more complicated. Under a warmer climate, soils, especially thawing Arctic tundra, could release trapped carbon dioxide or methane to the atmosphere. Increased fire frequency and insect infestations also release more carbon as trees burn or die and decay.

On the other hand, extra carbon dioxide can stimulate plant growth in some ecosystems, allowing these plants to take additional carbon out of the atmosphere. However, this effect may be reduced when plant growth is limited by water, nitrogen, and temperature. This effect may also diminish as carbon dioxide increases to levels that become saturating for photosynthesis. Because of these complications, it is not clear how much additional carbon dioxide plants can take out of the atmosphere and how long they could continue to do so.

The impact of climate change on the land carbon cycle is extremely complex, but on balance, land carbon sinks will become less efficient as plants reach saturation, where they can no longer take up additional carbon dioxide, and other limitations on growth occur, and as land starts to add more carbon to the atmosphere from warming soil, fires, and insect infestations. This will result in a faster increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and more rapid global warming. In some climate models, carbon cycle feedbacks from both land and ocean add more than a degree Celsius to global temperatures by 2100.

Emission Scenarios

Scientists predict the range of likely temperature increase by running many possible future scenarios through climate models. Although some of the uncertainty in climate forecasts comes from imperfect knowledge of climate feedbacks, the most significant source of uncertainty in these predictions is that scientists don't know what choices people will make to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The higher estimates are made on the assumption that the entire world will continue using more and more fossil fuel per capita, a scenario scientists call "business-as-usual." More modest estimates come from scenarios in which environmentally friendly technologies such as fuel cells, solar panels, and wind energy replace much of today's fossil fuel combustion.

It takes decades to centuries for Earth to fully react to increases in greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, among other greenhouse gases, will remain in the atmosphere long after emissions are reduced, contributing to continuing warming. In addition, as Earth has warmed, much of the excess energy has gone into heating the upper layers of the ocean. Like a hot water bottle on a cold night, the heated ocean will continue warming the lower atmosphere well after greenhouse gases have stopped increasing.

These considerations mean that people won't immediately see the impact of reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6°C over the next century because of greenhouses gases already in the atmosphere.

See Earth's Big Heat Bucket, Correcting Ocean Cooling, and Climate Q&A: If we immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases, would global warming stop? to learn more about the ocean heat and global warming.

Next Page: How Will Global Warming Change Earth? -- Scott's Contracting scottscontracting@gmail.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

RealClimate- Report from Climate Scientist

RealClimate logo


Start here

Filed under: — group @ 22 May 2007 - (Slovenčina) (Polski)

We've often been asked to provide a one stop link for resources that people can use to get up to speed on the issue of climate change, and so here is a first cut. Unlike our other postings, we'll amend this as we discover or are pointed to new resources. Different people have different needs and so we will group resources according to the level people start at.

For complete beginners:

NCAR: Weather and climate basics
Oxford University: The basics of climate prediction
Pew Center: Global Warming basics
Wikipedia: Global Warming
NASA: Global Warming update
National Academy of Science: Understanding and Responding to Climate Change
Encyclopedia of Earth: Climate Change Collection
Global Warming FAQ (Tom Rees)
Global Warming: Man or Myth? (Scott Mandia, SUNY Suffolk)

There is a new booklet on Climate Literacy from multiple agencies (NOAA, NSF, AAAS) available here (pdf).

Those with some knowledge:

The IPCC AR4 Frequently Asked Questions (here (pdf)) are an excellent start. These cover:

RealClimate: Start with our index

Informed, but in need of more detail:

Science: You can't do better than the IPCC reports themselves (AR4 2007, TAR 2001).

History: Spencer Weart's "Discovery of Global Warming" (AIP)

Art: Robert Rohde's "Global Warming Art'

Informed, but seeking serious discussion of common contrarian talking points:

All of the below links have indexed debunks of most of the common points of confusion:



--
Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

The Discovery of Global Warming

The Discovery of Global Warming                      July 2009


A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.

This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, occasionally updated.

If you want basic facts about climate change, or detailed current technical information, you might do better using the links page. But if you want to use history to really understand it all...

The Discovery of Global Warming book cover image
Second edition, revised
and updated (2008)

Basic navigation: On the right of each essay are links to essays about other topics. Follow forward an arrow to see how the events that you are reading about gave something => TO the other topic. Follow back an arrow to track influence <= FROM the other topic. Double arrow <=> shows MUTUAL interaction.

Click on a numbered note, e.g., (12) for references. Some notes, indicated thus: (12*) have additional text. In the note, click on a reference to reach the bibliography—use your browser's BACK button to return.

About this site: top of page        

Contents/Site Map                 July 2009 version

Introduction and Summary of the history           SEARCH all the essays


Influences on climate
The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
     Roger Revelle's Discovery
     Other Greenhouse Gases
Aerosols: Volcanoes, Dust, Clouds
Biosphere: How Life Alters Climate
Changing Sun, Changing Climate?
     Interview with Jack Eddy
Ocean Currents and Climate

Climate data
The Modern Temperature Trend
Rapid Climate Change Abrupt climate change
     Uses of Radiocarbon Dating
     Greenland Ice Drilling (J. Genuth)
Past Climate Cycles and Ice Ages
     Temperatures from Fossil Shells

Theory
Simple Models of Climate Change
     Chaos in the Atmosphere
     Venus & Mars
General Circulation Models of Climate
     Basic Radiation Calculations
     Arakawa's Computation Device 
 


LINKS to basic and current information

SEARCH all the essays

Climate and society
Impacts of Global Warming

The Public and Climate Change (1)  (2)
     Wintry Doom
     Ice Sheets and Rising Seas
Government: The View from Washington
     Climate Modification Schemes
     Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels
International Cooperation
     Climatology as a Profession

Reflections on the Scientific Process

Conclusions: A Personal Note
     Talking Points (pdf)

About this site/Reference/Utilities
History in Hypertext  - methods, sources
TIMELINE of milestones
     List of external influences
BIBLIOGRAPHY by author
     Bibliography by year
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Please contribute comments, corrections.
Author, Spencer Weart


DOWNLOAD entire site (Zip file)
PDF files
to download and print


      This is mounted on the Website of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.
Discovery of Global Warming
site created by Spencer Weart with support from the American Institute of Physics, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
      The statements on this site represent the views of the autho
r and are not positions endorsed by the American Institute of Physics. Two of the Institute's Member Societies have taken positions on climate change; see the American Physical Society's statement and the American Geophysical Union's statement.

Copyright © 2003-2010 Spencer Weart and the American Institute of Physics.
Index terms: anthropogenic climate change, history of global warming, greenhouse effect, temperature change geophysics meteorology climatology, computer models,proof evidence research pollution aerosols Sun,\ solar atmosphere,\ carbon dioxide, CO2, history of science - Book cover photo © AbleStock.



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Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

A Balanced View: Climate Scientists in the Press

As project managers, we often find ourselves at the fulcrum of decisions in which we must take diverse viewpoints into account and make key project decisions, sometimes in the 'heat of battle'.

For example, does this sound familiar?

Quality Engineer: "We need 5 weeks to do this verification test!"

Product Manager: "They can do that testing in 2 weeks."

Quality Engineer: "Actually, now it looks like we need 6 weeks!"

Product Manager: "Let's skip that test altogether, it adds no value!"

So you know this to be true.  We constantly have to make our best judgments based on what we hear, what we benchmark, and we always try to base decisions on facts and not emotion.  That is 'the way' for a good PM to work.

A few months ago, the press was pretty bad for climate scientists.  From what you were hearing, it sounded like they made up the whole of climate change.  They were fudging results, sending fake emails, and if you believed some people, were the devil incarnate.

The problem is that now many folks have 'written off' the warnings of climate scientists because of that bad press.

Now it turns out that several independent agencies have – with the exceptions of a few minor mistakes of judgment – cleared the findings of the scientists.

In this story, from the BBC, for example, the conclusion of a Dutch government panel was that there were "no errors that would undermine the main conclusions" on probable impacts of climate change.

We urge you to make up your own mind.  One way to do that is to get informed.  And one way to do that is to check out this very well-researched, and heavily hypertexed "history of global warming" by physicist turned historian Spencer Weart.

One other resource we'd like you to check out is "The Six Americas"

It's all about audience.  And whether it's regarding climate change or scope creep, project managers need to know their audience.  In this case (well, this is EarthPM after all) it is indeed about climate change.

Studies at George Mason University determined that there are really six different audiences – or mindsets – about climate change:

  • The Alarmed
  • The Concerned
  • The Cautious
  • The Unconcerned
  • The Doubtful
  • The Dismissive

The full report is summarized in this compact PDF.

But you can see in the image below that the audience is split along these six mindsets and if you wanted to get your green project message across you should understand each audience.  Again, this could be true for ANY message.

sixamericas

So consider your audience, collect facts, and look at aspects of your project – including green aspects – in a fair and balanced way.


July 26, 2010 by RichMaltzman

--
Scott's Contracting
scottscontracting@gmail.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

Oil and US Politics-Following the Oil Money

Following the Oil Money: How 'Slick' are Your Representatives?

I recently wrote a post about the BP Republicans in Congress. Those are the no-brainers like Joe Barton who apologized to the now infamous oil (spilling) company because President Obama took some semblance of leadership on the issue by forcing BP to set aside billions for the relief effort.

bipartisan oil money

The actual list of BP Republicans was put together by the Democratic National Committee and I took a lot of guff for harboring "one-sided," "partisan" and [insert other buzzword] politics. 

Now while I regret no part of the word-lashing we gave these frankly out-of-touch and steeped-in-oil-money Republicans (Joe Barton is the leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives), those who admonished me are not wrong, either.

oil money bp republicans

Obviously, the DNC is not an impartial source of information, and while Barton and the BP Republicans are, in my opinion, fools, at least they had the wherewithal to openly stand up for their benefactors. Many Democrats in Congress will loudly scold BP for its negligence and incompetence but quietly take their money at the same time, defending them in any way they can in the legislative process (i.e. yell NAY, vote YEA).

Democrat Chet Edwards (TX) is the second-leading beneficiary of oil money in the 111th House of Representatives.

bp oil spill logoSo I thought hard about writing up a "Who are the BP Democrats?" piece in fairness, and knowing even without looking at any data that perhaps the only non-partisan deals in Washington were political contributions, especially from the energy industry. However, when I did look at the data, I noticed BP contributions were small potatoes in the grand scheme of oil and gas donations; BP is not even in the top 75 percent of total contributions by company in either house.

Nevertheless, oil money flows freely and abundantly throughout Congress, and like tributaries, the majority of senators and representatives feed into a system that carefully and quietly protects dirty energy interests.

The proof-laden pudding containing all this information regarding oil money is a web tool developed by Oil Change International. There you can follow every dime of oil money straight to its Congressperson.

For instance, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has accepted nearly $34,000 of oil money since 1999, although very little since 2002, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Kerry's co-author of recent climate change legislation, has received nearly $100,000 since 1999.

You can also check contributions during political campaigns. Barack Obama received $898, 251 from oil companies during his winning 2008 campaign, most of that coming from ExxonMobil ($113,646). BP gave President Obama $39,405.

Obama's rival, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), blew everybody out of the water in oil contributions. He pulled in more than $2.4 million from oil and gas companies, spread out over a wide range of sources. McCain did receive a comparatively small $18,850 from BP.

Bear in mind that every major party candidate, including the likes of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, and Bill Richardson, took money from oil companies during their 2008 campaign. And in an election system where the candidate with the most money tends to win, who's going to turn it down?congress oil money Not to excuse politicians that prize oil companies over constituents, but the problem may be more systemic than it is individual.

The oil and gas industry has in the realm of 600 registered lobbyists pestering Capitol Hill, and three out of every four of them once worked for the federal government. That, in political jargon, is what you call a revolving door (by far the most used door in D.C.).

How does an out-of-work shrimper in Louisiana stand up against that?

Whether Republican or Democrat, the money can be followed — as required by law — and it's important that we follow it. This way, we can know why on one hand John Kerry wants to put a cap on carbon emissions but on the other votes no on ending tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

Here are the top 10 recipients of oil and gas contributions in each house during the current 111th Congress:

Top Ten House Members (contributions 2009-2010)
  1. Joe Linus Barton (R-TX) – $85,770
  2. Chet Edwards (D-TX) – $73,430
  3. Michael Conaway (R-TX) – $72,800
  4. Eric Cantor (R-VA) – $69,400
  5. David Daniel Boren (D-OK) – $65,100
  6. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) – $64,750
  7. Peter G. Olson (R-TX) – $54,400
  8. Michael Avery Ross (D-AR) – $54,250
  9. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) – $49,450
  10. John Calvin Fleming Jr. (R-LA) – $44,800
Top Ten Senate Members (contributions 2009-2010)
  1. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR) – $216,700
  2. David Vitter (R-LA) – 170,200
  3. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – $146,550
  4. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) – $117,650
  5. John Cornyn (R-TX) – $87,575
  6. Thomas Coburn (R-OK) – $76,500
  7. Arlen Specter (D-PA) – $74,000
  8. Byron Dorgon (D-ND) – $70,950
  9. Evan Bayh (D-IN) – $62,150
  10. James Demint (R-SC) – $58,850

Look to Oil Change International to learn more about oil contributions for these as well as your own representatives in Congress. Follow the money and then follow their actions. Connections between the two are hard to miss.

Also check out OpenSecrets.org for more comprehensive information on campaign contributions to senators and representatives.

BP Oil Logo: Seven-Sided Cube & Congress Oil Money: Not the Answer


July 28, 2010 by TaylenPeterson


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Scott's Contracting
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New Study Shows- Solar power is cheaper than nuclear

The Holy Grail of the solar industry — reaching grid parity — may no longer be a distant dream. Solar may have already reached that point, at least when compared to nuclear power, according to a new study by two researchers at Duke University.

It's no secret that the cost of producing photovoltaic cells (PV) has been dropping for years. A PV system today costs just 50 percent of what it did in 1998. Breakthroughs in technology and manufacturing combined with an increase in demand and production have caused the price of solar power to decline steadily. At the same time, estimated costs for building new nuclear power plants have ballooned.

The result of these trends: "In the past year, the lines have crossed in North Carolina," say study authors John Blackburn and Sam Cunningham. "Electricity from new solar installations is now cheaper than electricity from proposed new nuclear plants."

If the data analysis is correct, the pricing would represent the "Historic Crossover" claimed in the study's title.

Two factors not stressed in the study bolster the case for solar even more:

1) North Carolina is not a "sun-rich" state. The savings found in North Carolina are likely to be even greater for states with more sunshine –Arizona, southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, west Texas, Nevada and Utah.

2) The data include only PV-generated electricity, without factoring in what is likely the most encouraging development in solar technology: concentrating solar power (CSP). CSP promises utility scale production and solar thermal storage, making electrical generation practical for at least six hours after sunset.

Power costs are generally measured in cents per kilowatt hour – the cost of the electricity needed to illuminate a 1,000 watt light bulb (for example) for one hour. When the cost of a kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar power fell to 16 cents earlier this year, it "crossed over" the trend-line associated with nuclear power. (see chart below)

Solar-Nuclear cost comparison (from Blackburn and Cunningham)


The authors point out that some commercial scale solar developers are now offering electricity at 14 cents a kWh in North Carolina, a price which is expected to continue to drop.

While the study includes subsidies for both solar and nuclear power, it estimates that if subsidies were removed from solar power, the crossover point would be delayed by a maximum of nine years.

The report is significant not only because it shows solar to be a cheaper source of energy than nuclear. The results are also important because, despite the Senate's failure to pass a climate and energy bill this year, taxpayers now bear the burden of putting carbon into the atmosphere through a variety of hidden charges – or externalities, as economists call them. Fossil fuels currently account for 70 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. annually. (Nuclear generates 20 percent.)

Having dropped below nuclear power, solar power is now one of the least expensive energy sources in America.


July 27, 2010 by OshaDavidson
18

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Scott's Contracting
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scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

7/27/2010

FORM 2010-Guest Post

Guest Post: Form 2010 http://formdesignshow.com/ FORM 2010 is the first installment of an annual contemporary furniture, functional object and architectural design show in Saint Louis, MO. Presented by The Luminary Center for the Arts, the two-day event will bring together some of the best designers and firms from around the country on August 13-14, with a focus on sustainable design. FORM is one of the the first events of its kind in the area and is a developing platform for the cultivation of contemporary design. FORM is a fundraiser for The Luminary Center for the Arts, a nonprofit artist resourcing organization that that seeks to provide meaningful support to emerging artists, audiences and appreciators in the St. Louis area. Proceeds from FORM will benefit an innovative new artist equipment library at The Luminary, which will provide area artists and creative professionals with access to specialized equipment such as a woodshop, media lab, film and video equipment, and large format printers. For more information about the Luminary Center for the Arts, please visit http://theluminaryarts.com/ or contact Brea McAnally (brea@theluminaryarts.com). Guest Post Provided by: Scott's Contracting scottscontracting@gmail.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

Green Build-Business Referrals

Scotts Contracting- latest Green Build Web Promotions includes:
  • While working for a Business I will document the work done with photos/video of my Crew Doing the Actual Work and post them to my web pages, associate links and other business advertising mediums. I will list Your Business Name, Web Site, Contact Links, Tag Lines, etc. Advertisements will be Custom Tailored for your Business.
  • I will enable a Dual Promotion that entails: Promotion for your Business while promoting my Green Build Services. We will custom tailor your Business in the Promo. The advertising campaign can be viewed at http://stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com/p/advertising-invitation-green-and-eco.html will be FREE- $500 Value.
  • Our Business will Gain extra exposure to our web sites by Promoting Web Site content with services such as: linkedin, stumble upon, digg, delicious, friendster, etc.
    • What this does- is create back-links for Internet Search Engines
    • ie: useful back-links create higher Search Engine Listings
    • I am currently in Excellent Standing with Google, Yahoo, and other search engines.
  • I feel this is my way of Thanking the Company I do business with and also highlights my skills and abilities as a Green Builder.
  • Prior Job Site Photos can be viewed

Objective

Seeking Employment/ Contract Labor for Renovations, Weatherization, and Building Up-Grades-

Profession Profile

Affordable-Punctual-Experienced: Carpenter, Green Builder, Handy-Man, Maintenance professional with over 15 years of industry experience. Experienced in many areas of residential / commercial building and improvements

Miscellaneous Job Skills

Design and Estimating
Door & Window Installation/Repair
Lock Changes / Board Up
RE (Renewable Energy) Producing Systems Framing [metal or wood], Drywall [Installation & Finishing]
Weatherization for Homes and Business Concrete / Cabinetry / Appliances
Carpentry, Custom Wood Work, Flooring: Carpet, Tile, Wood Roofing: Flat-Torch Down / Pitch- Shingles or Metal
Painting / Staining / Wood Refinishing / Custom Finishes Basic: Plumbing, HVAC, Electric
Masonry / Tuck Pointing Green Builder seeking additional training

Recent Employment History

Scotts Contracting Contract Labor / Skilled Labor 2007-Present St. Louis, MO
Improved homes and offices in the St. Louis area. Green Build Services- carpentry, repairs, remodels, rehabs, and maintenance. Residential or Commercial
G & H Home Improvement Carpenter/Rehabber 2006-2007 St. Louis, MO
Performed duties including: Carpentry from framing to finish, basic plumbing and electric, drywall installation, flooring, and finishing.
American National Skyline Inc. High Rise Window Cleaner/Crew Leader 2006 St. Louis, MO. Ensured safety of self and crew members. Cleaned windows by utilizing Boatman Chairs and Rolling Roof Rigs on buildings in St. Louis area.
Spanish Lake Development Rehabber 2005-2006 St. Louis, MO. Performed all tasks involved in rehab of 20-25 building apartment complex. Duties included power washing, welding, carpentry, concrete, and plumbing.
Education
  • Milan C-2, High School Diploma-Milan, MO 63556
  • Western Iowa Tech Com College, Residential and Commercial Draftsman
  • USARMY Wire Systems Installer/Tower and Antennae Maintenance
  • Enrolled- Green Building Energy Auditor Certification (testing July 30)- Solar and Wind Electricity Production
References
Scotty, Scott's Contracting St Louis Renewable Energy
Holly Hills/Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63109
(314) 243-1953
email:Scotts Contracting
:http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com

Generating Electricity with Your Toilet

Waste Not Want Not with DMU Student's Electric Idea

Tom Broadbent

A graduating industrial design student at Leicester's De Montfort University (DMU) is hoping for award-winning success with his innovative design which transforms falling wastewater into electricity.

DMU Industrial design student, Tom Broadbent's money and energy-saving brainwave is called the HighDro Power and works by harnessing the energy from falling waste water in the soil pipes of high-rise buildings, converting it to electricity through an ingenious device.

As well as having developed a potentially commercially viable product, Tom is waiting to hear whether he will win accolades from the Institute of Engineering Designers (IED) and the Dyson Awards. He is also entering the Kevin McCloud Green Heroes award to win the opportunity to show HighDro Power at the NEC's Grand Designs Live show.

The invention was developed in answer to targets set at the G8 Summit by governments to reduce their country's carbon dioxide emissions and dependency on fossil fuels for energy production by 2050. In HighDro Power, the electricity can either be utilised in the building to save £926-per-year for a seven-storey building or sold back to the national grid on a buy-back tariff.

Tom, who is from Cropwell Butler, near Nottingham, said: "The inspiration for HighDro Power was literally a 'Eureka!' moment that came when I emptied a bath in a hotel and found that it cleared very quickly and with a large amount of force. It seemed logical that this energy should be harnessed in some way to create green electricity and help governments meet targets and it filled an obvious gap in the market."

To make a working prototype of the design, Tom used rapid prototyping techniques – laser sintering and CNC milling machinery – as well as vacuum forming. He sourced bearings, gears and other materials from companies supplying standard components.

He added: "HighDro Power works by using the water discharged from appliances such as showers, toilets and sinks in high-rise apartments. The water goes down the pipe and hits four turbine blades that drive one generator.

"The whole thing was influenced by traditional waterwheels to ensure that any solids passing through had limited effects on whether they could function."

In the future, Tom hopes to take his innovation to the next stage by having it fitted to a building for testing.

"I am currently a freelance designer but would love to work for James Dyson or a design team at a consultancy or company. My vision is to design products that actually benefit society in some way and get released on the market," he said.

Dr Guy Bingham, DMU Senior Lecturer for the Faculty of Art and Design and programme leader for the Industrial design course within the University's Faculty of Art and Design, said: "Tom's idea is truly an innovation in the area of energy micro-generation and the actual prototype is simply fantastic; I hope to see this go into production very soon. His work is a great example of what can be achieved from DMU's design degrees."

During his second year, Tom's EarPill was shortlisted for the RNID's national competition to redesign earplugs so that they were more attractive and 'cool' to wear in clubs and bars. He also spent a placement year with Vauxhall Motors Ltd in Ellesmere Port.



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Scott's Contracting
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http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com
http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com
scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

Green and Eco Friendly Wine Guide

Green Wine Guide: Solar-Powered Wine from Jacuzzi Vineyards and Cline Cellars

Jacuzzi Vineyards and Cline Cellars go beyond organic with 100-percent solar power and a flock of sheep to do their weeding.

Jerry James Stone

By Jerry James Stone | Mon Jul 19, 2010 02:40


White Wine from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

 A Jacuzzi white for those hot summer days
Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch

READ MORE ABOUT:

While the name Jacuzzi is better known for its spa and hot tub fame, the family itself has a long history of innovation. They first made their mark with the construction of the very first enclosed-cabin monoplane during the 1900s. In 1925 they revolutionized California's orange grove industry (and the agricultural industry, for that matter) by creating the first submersible pump. From there it was just a hop, skip and a soak to the hydrotherapy tub...and then of course, hot tubs in the 1960s!

And Fred Cline, owner of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and Cline Cellars, is an apple that doesn't fall from the tree. Cline started Cline Cellars in 1982 with a $9,000 inheritance from his grandfather, Valeriano Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards came some twelve years later but the actual vineyard itself didn't break ground until 2005.

Cline Cellars has been practicing sustainable farming since 2000. The grapes are grown organically without the use of pesticides. The weeding is done by an army of sheep and goats who--called the Woolly Weeders--also, um, "fertilize" the fields. In 2005, over 2,000 high-capacity solar panels were installed providing 100-percent of the vineyards electricity.

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos Photo
Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch

But Charlie Tsegeletos explains, "You can make good wine organically, or you can make good wine conventionally farmed. We do it because we feel good about it." Organic farming means healthy soil and clean water systems. He boasts how their "dog can [safely] swim in the pond." And we'll drink to that!

Follow the @GreenWineGuide or @JerryJamesStone on Twitter or fan us on Facebook.

Wine Pairing + Recipes
Homemade Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese and Thyme
Chèvre-Stuffed Dates with Pomegranate Molasses and Chili Oil

Slideshows
A Green Wine Tour of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
Solar-Powered Winemaking with Cline Cellars

Take our green wine quiz!

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Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit

Do-It-Yourself Energy Audit: Go On, Try These Improvements Yourself!

Whether you Do-It-Yourself or choose to hire outside assistance, Build Green and do your part in reducing the US Oil Dependency- while becoming an Energy Wise User of Electricity!

If you find outside Assistance is needed-Scotts Contracting if available to Help. Scotty will provide a Cost Effective solution to your Home or Business Energy Needs. Click Here to Email Scotty for a No-Cost Free Green Site Inspection
Home Energy Audit Do-It-Yourself
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What is a Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit

As a homeowner you can easily perform your own home energy audit as there are many improvements that thousands and thousands of Americans have made in their homes to save energy. Below we have compiled a list of the critical areas in your home for you to inspect and take action on to fix in order to save energy. All of these suggestions require you to walk around your home and see how your home stacks up, then make the appropriate small home improvement.
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D-I-Y Home Audit Checklist

HOME AREA
WHAT IS WASTING ENERGY?
HOW TO SAVE ENERGY?
1
Lighting
Incandescent or halogen Light bulbs; lights turned on all the time
Switch to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs or LEDs; turn off lights in rooms that you're not using
2
Water Heater & Piping
Un-insulated
Upgrade or install insulation
3
Water Heater Thermostat Setting
Set to 125 °F
Set to 120 °F or lower
4
Electronics and small appliances
Left on when not using, plugged directly into outlets (but still using electric power even when turned off!)
Plug all electronics and appliances into power strips that you turn off when not in use (turning off power strip completely shuts off power use)
5
Heating & Cooling Equipment
Older than 10-12 years
Time to replace with energy efficient equipment; Install programmable thermostat; make sure air conditioner has proper amount of refrigerant
6
Forced Air Furnace
Dirty, old filter on the air intake
Replace or clean air intake filter once every 1-2 months during high use season
7
Electrical outlets, windows and window frames, baseboards, doors, attic hatch and wall/window mounted air conditioners
Air flowing in due to gaps or deteriorating of exterior caulking or weather stripping*
Apply new caulking, seal or weather stripping**
8
Exposed faucets, pipes, electric outlets and wiring
Cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation, and siding
Seal effectively with mortar or caulking to prevent any heat loss
9
Attic floor
Poorly insulated floor with gaps, thin insulation
Upgrade or install insulation including the attic hatch cover
10
Attic vents
Vent and interior air flow blocked by insulation
Clear vents of any insulation to help interior air circulation
11
All exterior corners of home; where siding and chimneys meet; and areas where the foundation and siding meet
Air flowing in due to cracks and holes in the mortar, foundation, and/or siding
Apply new mortar, sealer or siding to seal leak*
* To determine whether there is a gap for air to flow in any of these areas, consider the following: rattle your windows and doors to see if there is a proper seal; put your hand on seams or joints and see if there is any air flowing through them; and use the incense test: carefully (avoiding drapes and other flammables) move a lit stick along walls or potential openings and where smoke flutters, you have air sneaking in.
** When sealing your home, please be aware of backdrafting. Backdrafting is when various appliances and exhaust fans pull the combustion gases they emit back into the living space which can create an unhealthy situation in the home.
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