Monday, May 28, 2007

The beginning of the end for analog TV - Engadget

The beginning of the end for analog TV - Engadget
Who knew? Our analogue TVs and radios will become obsolete in February of 2009. Will our existing TVs work with the new digital transmitters? Only with the addition of a converter box. I know this news has been out for a while but according to everything I read and see the big box retail stores are brimming with inventory of analogue TVs which will be obsolete after the Super Bowl in 2009. Seems there are a lot of advantages to the switchover. Stations will be able to transmit multiple channels of programming. Quality will be much better too. Too bad they are not telling everyone. I would hate to purchase a new TV in a big box store sometime in the next two years only to find out shortly thereafter that I would have to buy another box to make it work. Apparently, the law now requires all TVs sold to be labeled that it will be obsolete in February, 2009.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Roof



We are replacing our 40 year old concrete tile with a 5V metal panel roof. The new roof will be a Marine Green color. We are using a company in Lake Worth that specializes in metal roofs. The company is AMETCO and so far we are very happy with their work and would highly recommend them. I'll add to the photos as the project progresses.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

China's Solar-Powered City

China's Solar-Powered City: "A combination of regulations and public education spurred the broad adoption of solar heaters. The city mandates all new buildings to incorporate solar panels, and it oversees the construction process to ensure proper installation. To raise awareness, the city held open seminars and ran public advertising on television."

This is an ordinary city in China but the product of three key factors. As the article points out the convergence of government policy, local industry and strong political leadership made it possible. The city has the equivalent of one half megawatt of water electric water heaters. If an ordinary city and China can do this, why can't we do it in the US? We are in the process of trying to implement additional solar capability on our house but our little town can not be called progressive on this issue. While there are a few solar water heaters in the town there is not one major photovoltaic panel that I have been able to spot and I doubt seriously if the town will welcome our implementation with open arms. I hope I am just being overly pessimistic.

Monday, May 21, 2007

CarGurus Blog � 2007 � May

CarGurus Blog � 2007 � May

Is the Toyota Prius going to reach 100 mpg in 2009? Rumors say yes. This is from CarGurus Blog.

PML Builds 640hp Electric MINI

PML Builds 640hp Electric MINI

640 HP and 250 mile range in all electric mode. Out accelerates an Aston Martin and with its small internal combustion engine running a super efficient generator it has a 1,000 mile range.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

BoGo Light - Help Light the World!

BoGo Light - Help Light the World!

The BoGo Light
The BoGo Light is a scientific, eco-friendly breakthrough that is making an impact worldwide. From Cairo to Cape Town, from the Caribbean to the Amazon, it is improving the lives of individuals, families, and entire villages by replacing costly kerosene, candles, and disposable battery flashlights with an affordable, long lasting, solar flashlight.

BoGo means Buy one, Give one. We want our lights to benefit the less fortunate; therefore, with each light purchased in the developed world, a second identical light will be donated to an organization that will distribute it in the developing world with our direct financial support. Give the Gift of Light, and Help Us Change the World!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Florida Public Opinion Poll on Solar Energy

FloridaMaxon-DixonSolarPoll.pdf (application/pdf Object)
Public opinion is strongly in favor of the Florida Legislature encouraging investment in solar energy in Florida. Read the results of this recent survey. It is a PDF file requiring the Adobe PDF Reader.

Sun powers up part of Palm City Elementary

Sun powers up part of Palm City Elementary

As we prepare to install our own solar system we see news about new systems popping up everywhere. Discussions with friends and business acquaintances always seem to drift to this topic. Solar is not cheap but with state rebates and the panels working every day it can pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time. Here in Florida, the state rebates $4 a watt for residential PV systems. That means that if you put a 4 KW system up you will get $16,000 back from the state.

In spite of thinking that we have a lot of roof space for solar we find that it is a challenge to fit enough collectors on our roof to generate our desired 4 KW of power. Our design guys down at Vergona Bowersox in Boca Raton are working hard to fit the maximum number of panels on the roof.

We already have our solar water heating system in place and it has been happily making hot water for us since the end of last year. Yes, the water is extremely hot. It has an electric backup for short cloudy winter days but we keep it turned off most of the time. The water is so hot that one has to be very careful when opening the hot water tap. We have had solar hot water systems for about fifteen years now and have been extremely happy with their silent and efficient operation.

Here's a link to Palm City Elementary's website. Palm City Elementary

July 13, 2006: Supermarkets and Service Stations Now Competing for Grain

July 13, 2006: Supermarkets and Service Stations Now Competing for Grain

Biofuels are not the answer:

"In agricultural terms, the world appetite for automotive fuel is insatiable. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year. The grain it takes to fill the tank every two weeks over a year will feed 26 people.

Investors are jumping on the highly profitable biofuel-bandwagon so fast that hardly a day goes by without another ethanol distillery or biodiesel refinery being announced somewhere in the world. The amount of corn used in U.S. ethanol distilleries has tripled in five years, jumping from 18 million tons in 2001 to an estimated 55 million tons from the 2006 crop. "