GreenUp – Climate change stops with you!

green-ivy-covered-house-ivy

English:

Since more than 90% of new year resolutions are forgotten by 15th of January we decided to announce our own agenda for 2015 after this date.

Last year was the hottest year on record so the main goal for this year is to take massive action in preventing 2015 from being even worse. If you want to find out more about global warming you can check out the article ‘Global warning!

You are probably wondering how do we plan to do that?

Focusing like always on this site on what can we improve in our life and our home that can impact climate in a positive way. And this year the main problems we want to address are reducing carbon emissions by using energy more efficiently and increasing carbon storage with the help of easy to grow plants.

As this is a super important task we need all the help we can get. So if you are a green enthusiast, you are full of energy and ideas and you can spare half an hour of your time that can be dedicated to saving our planet write us your ideas at reconstructromania@gmail.com and join us on the journey of improving the world starting with ourselves and our home. All ideas are welcomed so be confident and send us an email.

For the GreenUp part of the project we will focus on creating step by step easy to follow brochures, focusing on 2 main directions:

-GreenUp your Apartment:

*Green walls

*Growing food indoor

*Sustainable and automated irrigation

*Regrow plants from food waste.

-GreenUp your House and Garden:

*Plant a small forest anywhere

*Maximize your space and food production

*Sustainable irrigation

*Green roofs

If you have any information about these topics or any other ideas join our project by contacting reconstructromania@gmail.com . As we would like to get to know you better please send us also a few lines about your passions and what drives you to improve.

At the end of the article you will find some links for inspiration.

Have a green year.

F.M.B.

Romana:

Deoarece majoritatea rezolutiilor de anul nou sunt abandonate pina la data de 15 Ianuarie, noi am hotarit sa facem publice rezolutiile pe 2015 dupa aceasta data pentru a fi siguri ca le vom indeplini.

Probabil stiti deja ca anul 2014 a fost cel mai calduros de pina acum, si nu in sensul bun al cuvantului, de aceea telul nostru pe 2015 e sa prevenim ca anii ce urmeaza sa fie si mai rai.

Si cum orice schimbare incepe cu noi, ne propunem sa facem asta prin a incuraja schimbarea mediului in care locuim. In articolul ‚Global Warning‘ veti gasi mai multe detalii legate de schimbarile climatice din ultimii ani.

Anul acesta ne propunem sa luptam impotriva schimbarilor climatice pe doua fronturi: reducerea emisiilor de carbon prin utilizarea eficienta a energiei si folosirea surselor de energie regenerabila si reducerea cantitatii de dioxid de carbon din aer prin inbunatatirea spatiilor verzi.

Pentru ca este o sarcina extreme de importanta avem nevoie de ajutorul dumneavoastra. Daca sunteti pasionat de ecologie si un trai sanatos, daca aveti o multime de idei si mult entuziasm si daca aveti o jumatate de ora libera pe care vreti sa o folositi pentru a face planeta putin mai frumoasa pentru voi si generatiile viitoare, scrieti-ne la reconstrucromania@gmail.com. Toate ideile sunt bine venite.

In acest articol ne vom axa pe directiile principale pentru inbunatatirea spatiilor verzi. Ne propune sa creem doua brosuri cu instructiuni pas cu pas pentru doua directii principale:

GreenUp Apartamente:

*Pereti verzi

*Cum crestem legume si fructe in apartament

*Sisteme de irigatie sustenabile si automatizate

*Cum sa folosim deseurile alimentare pentru a produce mincare

GreenUp Casa si Gradina:

*Cum sa cresti o mica padure in spatele casei.

*Cum sa te folosesti la maxim de spatial pe care il ai sis a cresti productia de alimente

*Metode de irigatie sustenabile

*Acoperisuri verzi

Daca aveti idei, informatii sau sugestii legate de aceste subiecte alaturati-va proiectului nostru trimitand un email la reconstrucromania@gmail.com . Si pentru ca ne dorim sa va cunoastem mai bine scrieti-ne cateva randuri despre pasiunile dumneavoastra si cee ace va motiveaza sa faceti o schimbare.

Mai jos veti gasi si cateva surse de inspiratie.

Un an verde va doresc.

F.M.B.

Picture credit: http://www.treeability.co.uk/

http://www.diyncrafts.com/5350/home/40-genius-space-savvy-small-garden-ideas-solution

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_wall

https://reconstructromania.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/the-green-roof/

Cum ne pregătim casa pentru iarnă?

Logo ReConstruct nou 3

– Aveți facturi mari la încălzire?
– Vă e frig în casă în timpul iernii chiar dacă radiatorul este pornit?
– Auziți cu ușurință ce se întâmplă afară?
– Aveți o casă veche fără îmbunatățiri la izolația exterioară?

Dacă răspunsul la majoritatea întrebărilor de mai sus este ‚Da’ descărcați broșura “Cum ne pregătim casa pentru iarnă” în care sunt prezentate metode sustenabile, ieftine și inedite referitoare la:

-izolarea geamurilor/pereților/acoperișului/podelelor

-eficientizarea radiatoarelor

-surse alternative de căldură

Descărcați gratuit broșura dand click pe linkul de mai jos:

Cum ne pregatim casa pentru iarna

Contactați-ne pentru anexe la: reconstructromania@gmail.com

Home improvement program: part II

In the last article we covered some fun and easy ways to reduce cooling cost and in this post we will look at the opposite side of the coin: where we lose money on heating and what cheap sustainable solution we could use instead?

So where do we lose most of the heat?

1. Insulation:
This is a subject on which many of you already know allot. It is something that we also covered in a previous article so if you want to find out more about why polystyrene, although cheap and very popular is not necessarily the best option for insulating your walls, click here.
An easy way to check where you lose most of the heat is by taking a thermal picture of your home.
Energy-Loss3

2. Radiator loses:
If you have good insulated walls and good windows but are still not satisfied with the way your radiators are performing you might wish to apply the following improvements:
A. mounting a radiator shelf: will push the hot air flow towards the room rather than letting it rise up to the ceiling.
B. placing a radiator reflector panel from aluminium foil or similar will have a similar effect and it is especially useful in old houses and apartments.
C. releasing the pressure from your radiators if you feel the radiator cold at the top can drastically improve it’s efficiency. If you do not have a pressure valve on your radiator now it is the time to get it.
D. removing any obstacles that are in front of your radiator will also insure you get most of the heat into the room. Curtains and drapes are good for insulation, especially when you have old windows as long as the curtain is not covering the radiator. You will have more heat from the radiator by keeping the curtains above it’s shelf instead of blocking the air flow and loosing money on heating.

3. Inefficient old heating systems:
This is probably the most expensive and hardest part of the heating system to improve without professional help.
But hard does not mean impossible and if you do not have the money right now to buy an energy efficient system like geothermal or solar there are many people out there that offer guides on how to built alternative and sustainable heaters with recycled or cheap materials.
A. Solar air heaters: great for reducing the use of your traditional heating system during the sunny days.
There are different types of solar air heaters but the basic principal behind them is that you have a frame covered with a transparent material (glass or polycarbonate) in which you have a dark heat absorbing material. The transparent cover allows the sun to enter the sealed frame and keeps the heat absorbed by the dark foil inside the panel.

For maximum output place the panel facing South and away of shadow from nearby obstacles.
solar heater
You can find a link bellow that shows how this system works and many more videos are available in the descriptions at the end of the article.

B. Using recycled waste as fuel for an existing furnace. Most of this solutions are not made by professionals, some might work better then others and all of them require allot of caution when testing an operating. If you do test these ideas make it in a controlled environment which is fire proved and always be careful when playing with fire.

– one idea is to use recycled paper as fuel for your timber furnace. The tools you would need to transform paper into logs are 2 buckets: one with holes and a normal bucket same size or bigger then the first one, a drilling machine some water and whatever paper you have around the house that you normally just trow away. The video bellow explains very well the process.

– another option could be to use burned oil to fire your furnace. This will not only save you money but will also help the environment as Oil is one of the biggest pollutants we constantly trow away in the water system.
Converting an existing system into one that uses burned oil can be difficult so a professional help might be needed. Bellow you can find an example of a home built furnace that runs on used oil. There are also companies that build new furnaces designed to run on used oil, so if you eat allot of french fries(not so good for your abs), if you run a garage or if you have a fast food business you might wish to look further into this option and instead of polluting the waters recover the waste and lose less money on heating.

C. And for people that are close to the black sea the invention of John Kanssas could be the answer. He is using a radio frequencies generator to release oxygen and hydrogen from salt water to create an incredibly intense flame.

Although these systems might not give you total independence they can prevent you loosing money while providing a warmer environment at your home.

If you found this article useful share the love and leave your comments bellow.

F.M.B.
reconstructromania@gmail.com




The home improvement program

 

The house has been in the center of our lives since the dawn of civilization. It has also become in the last years a center for most of our expenses, from taxes to electricity and from water to heating.

In the US a typical household pays around 1400 $ a year for electricity while a family in Germany would pay around 1200 Euros per year. This does not include the cost for heating and cooling which can add to the final bill around 40%. Off course each individual case may vary but for the purpose of this example we will consider an average yearly expenses for energy for a house in the US of 2000 $ and 1700 Euros for Germany. In Romania we could assume that the average yearly expenses for energy are around 800 Euros.

From this amount we waste around 25% of the energy or per year around 500 $ in the US, 425 Euros in Germany or 200 Euros in Romania.

Considering that private houses are responsible for between 26% to 40% of the total Energy consumption, depending on the country,  we reach the conclusion that we are wasting between 6.5% and 10% of the total Energy produced. That in the US translates, in an optimistic scenario, to around 278 billion kWh, enough energy to power more than 2.5 million household in the US per year. At an average price of 12 Cents per kWh that is more than 33 billion $ wasted every year. And the situation is similar in Europe, for example in Romania we are wasting 4.2 billion kWh per year. At an average price of 9 cents per kWh this means more than 380 million Euros losses every year. We could build 100 km of highways with this money, a couple of world class stadiums or buy 20 F-16 Fighting Falcon.  And in addition to the billions we are wasting every year we are also having a huge impact on the environment by releasing, just for the energy that we do not use, more than 191 million metric tons of CO2.

This figures are based on average energy consumption data from the past available online. For details please check resources.

So where is this huge waste coming from and what can we do about it?

Well to answer this we should first have a look at the graph bellow to see what are the main consumers of energy in a typical household

Picture1

 

As we can see the main energy consumption is related to heating and cooling with more than 50% of total consumption if we consider also water heating and electronics with more than 35% in total energy consumption.

That is why in the future posts we will focus on providing  low-budget and eco-friendly solutions for improving heating, cooling and electrical systems. This suggestions will reduce significantly not only the waste but also the total consumption so that you can use the 500 $ that you save each year to take a vacation, by a new smart phone or whatever else your heart desires.

In regards to heating and cooling insulation plays a vital role and for more details about it you can check this advises from an earlier post.

But this changes are usually expensive and hard to make especially if you are living in a rented apartment. And since the summer is coming and this relates to an increase in energy consumption for cooling we will start the tips regarding home improvement with some easy to implement changes that can decrease temperatures in your home with up to 6 degrees without using air conditioning.

1. Use window blinds during the day

Blocking the sun at it’s peak can reduce temperatures in the room with up to 3 degrees Celsius. If you have no money to buy them or you want to give your room a personal touch you can simply make them from scratch. And if you get creative you might even turn them into a piece of art that not only helps the environment and saves you money but also makes you happy. You can find an example on how to create a roman shade here and for design inspiration you can click here.

2. Mount a ceiling fan or buy a desk fan

This can also reduce the temperature with up to 3 degrees and is relatively cheap. You can check out how to built a small portable fan here or you could buy one already made.

3. Change your daily habits and your rooms position depending on the season

This works best for people that spend allot of time during the day at home. For instance you might want to have your office facing South in the winter so you get as much heat and light ass possible from the sun but you might want to do the opposite in summer to avoid overheating.

The advantages of this options are that they reduce temperature and energy consumption, they can be fun to build and you can also take them with you when you move so they can be implemented regardless if you are renting or owning a home. Individual impact in energy savings can vary allot depending on the building  so it’s always good if you can monitor the progress in order to determine which of this tips are the best for your home. Please keep in mind that for special solutions it is always recommended to consult with a professional.

You can also check out allot of cool resources and ideas in the descriptions bellow. We will also share new tips about home improvement in the future so follow the blog, like us on Facebook, join us on Linkedin and keep saving money.

I am sure that there are many other tips on how we can reduce our energy waste and I would really appreciate if you would share your experiences and ideas in the comments bellow. Together we can make our home and our wallet smile again.

 

Until next time live green!

F.M.B

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Resources:

https://reconstructromania.wordpress.com/category/green-buildings/

http://www.instructables.com/id/Create-Your-Own-Top-Down-Blinds/

http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/refs.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_in_the_United_States

http://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energia_electric%C4%83_%C3%AEn_Rom%C3%A2nia

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.ELC.PROD.KH

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/electricity-production-kwh-wb-data.html

http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/each-year-75000-homes-waste-as-much-energy-as-contained-in-entire-bp-gulf-spill.html

http://homeenergysaver.lbl.gov/community

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/26/us-wastes-61-86-of-its-energy/

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090305091603AA3CBnG

http://www.mnn.com/money/personal-finance/blogs/americans-spend-2k-on-home-energy-costs-annually#

https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/publications/foee_ecofys_saving_energy_june2012.pdf

http://www.wikihow.com/

http://casasolara.blogspot.de/2011/03/povestea-mea.html

http://www.termo.utcluj.ro/regenerabile/1_2.pdf

http://remodece.isr.uc.pt/downloads/brochures/Brochure_RO.pdf

 

 

 

 

Global warning!

Global warning?

Dr Adam Scaife, head of long range forecasting at the Met Office, said: “The 3 leading global temperature datasets show that 2010 is clearly warmer than 2009. They also show that 2010 is the warmest or second warmest year on record as suggested in the Met Office’s annual forecast of global temperature issued in December 2009.” (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2011/2010-global-temperature)

If you are a green enthusiast and agree with the data from Met office, you are probably already taken steps to reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the planet for your children and grandchildren, convinced that we are part of the cause for the extreme climatic conditions we have seen in the last decade. Considering that more than 26% of total energy in the EU is consumed by private households it is easy to see that each of us must take action and become more careful on how we consume energy and how much CO2 we put in the atmosphere, in order to not melt in the future.

On the other hand you could be skeptical about global warming and find that scientific data is not conclusive. According to Nate Silver author of “The Signal and the Noise” : “statistical forecasting methods suggest that if you measure temperature trend one decade at a time in any given decade there is a warming trend 75% of the time since 1900 but a cooling trend the other 25% of the time”. On the other hand a steady increase in global temperature of about 1dg C has occurred over the last century. Also we can’t ignore the increase in extreme heat waves that we see and feel everywhere in the last years.

hot

https://www.coursera.org/learn/sustainabledevelopment1

Although a large number of scientists believe that carbon dioxide is not the only major cause of global warming, in 2010, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties 16 (COP 16) approved a non-legally binding commitment to cap global average temperature rises to 2°C. A 2°C rise is considered consistent with capping atmospheric CO2 equivalent (CO2-e) concentration levels to 450 parts per million (ppm) by 2050 (IPCC 2007). On current projections, by 2050 CO2 emissions must reduce significantly below not only ‘business as usual’ levels, but also current levels in order to reach the cap of 450ppm. This particularly applies to emissions of CO2 resulting from the use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas.http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/

Scientist have agreed that climate change is due to man made action and that we have already crossed many of the sustainability boundaries that keep our planet in balance. Some of these boundaries are shown in the infographic bellow by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs from a longer course, “The Age of Sustainable Development.” An introduction to this course can be found on Courserra. https://www.coursera.org/learn/sustainabledevelopment1

Beyond the boundry

The decision about what to believe is only yours, but the evidence point in only one direction, and we have to start taking responsability for our actions and start working togheter on the solution.

Regardless of what you choose to believe it will not hurt you or anyone else if you reduce your carbon foot print.

If you need some easy to implement ideas on how to do that you can find a small list below.

Use your car less.

Our ancestors used to go everywhere by foot, now we do not even walk for 30 min. each day. Not only driving less will help the environment it will also help your health, posture, looks, self-esteem and wallet.

Don’t waste energy on unnecessary lights or idle appliances. 

You can install sensors that automatically close the light when you are not in a room or have a fancy smart-home system installed, if you are forgetful about this kind of things. Or just use a post-it note above your light switch. In the long term you would be helping the environment and saving also money on electricity bills.

Eat more local and BIO food.

This will reduce the pollution related to producing the plants especially the release of nitrogen, used as fertilizer, in land and water, the use of pesticides, and the pollution related to transporting food on long distances.

Not only you will reduce pollution but you will also improve your health since most of nutritionist agree that having a diversified diet, based on seasonal foods, can bring major improvements to your overall well-being. Except from making you beautiful eating only how much you need will also save you money and reduce the waste you produce, I think it is safe to say that this can also make you happier.

Michael Pollan tracked how much oil we use to produce a Hamburger. If this doesn’t change your mind about how much our eating habits affect us I do not know what will.

https://reconstructromania.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/how-food-affects-our-environment/

Use less water.

70% of our water is used for irrigations. If you have a lawn that requires allot of water for maintenance in the summer you should consider replacing it with small bushes that are fit for arid conditions. This will save water, be just as pretty and will also save you money. If you have a garden where you grow vegetables you could implement a drip irrigation system that uses significantly less water.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drip_irrigation

If you do not have a garden you can reduce water and energy use by taking cold or colder showers. In my personal experience this has proved great for burning fat, increasing testosterone and adapting better to extreme temperature changes. Although we are not always fully aware of it our body has to deal with these changes every day- for example going from 20 degrees in a car or office to 40 degrees outside in the summer.

Another easy way to save some time, energy and water is by using a dish washer.

Plant more trees.

They do not produce WIFI but they produce Oxygen, fruits and a cool place for a swing if you have kids. Also when they are close to buildings they can reduce the energy loads by providing shadow in the summer, and protection against wind in the winter, meaning you will need less energy to heat your home.

As you can see sustainability is not hard, or expensive as many would want us to believe. It just needs a little will power applied in the right direction every day. And since will power is hard to find this days with so many choices around us take consume it, small reminders like post-its above the light switch, an inspirational quote or a picture with your baby, to remind you why this is important, or sharing this article can be good all good motivators for taking action now.

These are just few ideas so I would love to get allot more thoughts on how we can achieve sustainability from you. Share with us your ideas and also tell us what keeps you motivated to be sustainable?

FMB
reconstructromania@gmail.com

A new way of building: 3D printing

Image

It is the start of a new year and hopefully it will be the one that will bring a revolution in the way we build houses.

For ages the house or shelter has been at the heart of human life, being one of the most basic needs we have, together with food and love. But still right now in our country and many other places around the world there are many people that leave in slumps which are the breading ground for disease, violence, and poverty.

But thank to some inspiring people solution are being found to provide amazing houses that are affordable for everyone..

1. 3D Printer
At The University of Southern California, Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis has built a 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours. It does this with a nozzle that spreads out concrete replicating a home based on a computer pattern.
This is an astonishing discovery. Not only it will make the construction industry cheaper, but it will also make it more transparent and more flexible, removing the limits of traditional box shape houses.The machine can be used also to incorporate pluming, electricity, hitting and reinforcements into the walls of the building, and because it allows complex shapes to be built we can use geometry to further reduce the quantity of materials required while increasing the overall strength of the structure. And above all this, it is fully automatic so no qualified personal is required to use it.

http://www.contourcrafting.org/

2. Open source house
Another great approach to affordable houses is developed by architect Alastair Parvin from http://www.wikihouse.cc .This is basically an opened source construction set, where you can find printable patterns for building houses out of plywood. By using large scale cutters and computer design this houses can be constructed by almost everyone with very little cost.

3. Paper houses
Shigeru Ban is maybe one of the pioneers of easy to built structures out of cheap material. He is focusing on building shelters from paper especially for emergency situations. His designs and technics of building are surprising and inspiring and could be a great solution also for areas in our country deeply affected by floods.

4. Self healing asphalt
And to close with an optimistic view of a future where pot holes will be a thing of the past I would like to share some thoughts about self healing asphalt developed by Erik Schlangen. The name speaks for itself and the discovery it’s amazing because with only a minor increase in initial building cost you can substantially increase the service life of the road. The system uses in its mixture metal fibers which when heated “heal” the cracks in the road.

For more info and videos regarding this topics check the links at the bottom of the page.

The future looks bright let’s all help turn this vision into reality.

The choice is always yours.

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Parking like a SuperHero

Finding a good parking place and wining the Lottery have, in most cities around Europe, the same probability. And when you do find one there is a high chance that this happens:

Image

 

or this….

Image

 

So what can we do to prevent this problems?

One option, very popular especially in N-W Europe could be to use a bike for short distances and public transport for long distances. I support this idea, however it presents some challenges especially without proper infrastructure.

Another option could be to share a car with friends to reduce the number of cars on the road. Off course if you have a family of 4 and you have to drive your kids to school this is maybe not the best option.

Fortunately if none of the options above works for you, there is another solution, inspired most likely by superhero movies like Batman or Ironman.

Image

 

The system is based on hydraulic pistons that lower or raise the platform and can accommodate most types of cars available on the market including large SUV’s.

This will keep your car safe, have minimum impact on landscape, provide more space for the second Porsche and make you look like a superhero.

So even if you want to start using a bike or continue using a car there is always a solution.

The choice is always yours.

Best regards,

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Pictures from:

www.automotto.com

http://www.hotnews.ro

http://www.realitatea.net

 

Modular Houses

 Image
picture from http://www.archinspire.org/

  Modular houses are buildings that consist of multiple sections called modules. The modules can be 6 dimension boxes or wall panels constructed in advance at a remote facility, usually in standard sections that can be easily transported and assembled.

What are the advantages of a modular house?

  • Speed of construction, a modular home can be completed on site, depending on size and complexity, in 10 up to 20 days.
  • High quality. Because the modules are constructed in a controlled environment the common faults that appear on site due to poor execution are avoided.
  • Environmentally friendly due to low waste and optimum use of resources. The factory process consumes less materials and, due to controlled procurement produces less waste than a traditional construction site.
  • Provide a healthier living environment. Because modular houses are built in a controlled environment,  the risk of mold, mildew, rust, and sun damage that can often lead to human respiratory problems, is eliminated.
  • Flexibility is another great feature of modular houses. They can be extended or relocated with ease. When a modular house is relocated the amount of energy used is approximately 3% of the energy that is required to manufacture a new equivalent modular building.

Although the list of advantages is long there are also some disadvantages.

  • Constructed area. Because of transport restrictions the size of the modules can be small affecting the overall size of the rooms.
  • Aesthetics: prefabricated identical units may be viewed as less aesthetically pleasing and less desirable, but now most of the factories that produce modular homes have also design departments that use computer aided design (CAD) programs to draw plans to your specifications or to modify one of their standard plans so almost any home can be made as a modular one.

Modular homes are eco-friendly, fast to build and very flexible. They have to follow the same laws and requirements as normal constructions and have the same taxes and insurance costs as a normal house.

The modular house might be cheaper and faster to built but the value of the property is at the same level as the one of a normal house so if you want to move soon in a new house it might take less to construct a prefabricated building then searching true the real estate pages for a good offer.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Best regards,

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

Why should we believe in renewable energy?

 Image

  A very intense debate about the future of renewable energy in Romania has started at the beginning of this year, with numerous voices claiming that it only brings cost not value to our country.

  Before we decide if renewable energy is good or bad let’s first see WHY the EU ( European Union) and IEA (International Energy Association) care so much about this type of energy?

  So WHY are these organizations promoting renewable energy an WHY should we believe in it ?

  1. Does it bring value to the economy?

   According to the debaters from our country it seems that renewable energy is only increasing the cost of energy, so economic growth is not the reason, but IEA seems to disagree, so let’s have a look at some facts about energy subsidies.

   IEA (International Energy Agency) in the WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2011 FACTSHEET :

 ” Fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $409 billion in 2010 while global renewable-energy subsidies increased from $39 billion in 2007 to $66 billion in 2010, in line with rising production of biofuels and electricity from renewable sources. In a global survey covering 37 countries where subsidies exist, at least 15 have taken steps to phase them out since the start of 2010. Without further reform, the cost of fossil-fuel consumption subsidies is set to reach $660 billion in 2020, or 0.7% of global GDP while phasing them out completely by 2020 would result in savings in oil demand in 2035 of 4.4mb/d. Global primary energy demand would be cut by nearly 5% and CO2 emissions by 5.8%. Delaying action is a false economy: for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions. “

   I agree that the subsidies for renewable energy are now bared by the population and that leads to an increase in the energy bill but no one speaks about the subsidies for fossil-fuel generation?  As we can see from the IEA report these are far more expensive world wide then the subsidies for the renewable energy and in the long term they will only increase so we might be saving 1 Euro now but it will cost us 4 Euros in the future. 

After looking at the facts it seems that one reason for investing in cleaner technology might be that it brings economic value.

  2. Does it create more jobs?

  According to the debaters the answer is again No. Renewable energy leads to job losses in coal industry, steel industry and does nothing in return but IRENA seems to think differently so lets again look at some facts :

  According to IRENA ( International Renewable Energy Agency)”Renewable Energy Jobs: Status, Prospects & Policies” when we look at the job market for renewable energy there are 3 types of jobs:

“Direct jobs are relatively easy to measure and understand. These are jobs related to a sector’s core activities, such as feedstock conversion, manufacturing, project development (including site preparation and installation) and operations and maintenance.

 Indirect jobs include all those involved in supplying the renewable energy industry. these are jobs in the industrial input sectors in the production and the operation and maintenance of renewable energy technologies. Examples might include the labour required to extract and process raw materials, such as steel for wind turbine towers as well as positions in government ministries, regulatory bodies, consultancy firms and research organisations working on renewables. 

Induced jobs are created when wealth generated by the renewable energy industry, directly or indirectly, is spent elsewhere in the economy, thus stimulating demand in industries that may be entirely unrelated. Renewable energy technicians, for example, may spend part of their wages on a holiday, thus inducing jobs in the tourism industry.”

  It seems that actually renewable energy creates a variety of jobs across all sectors of the economy. Also according to the same study it creates better jobs also.

“Many essential jobs in the renewable energy industry require a skilled workforce. Industry surveys in Germany have suggested that on average renewable energy jobs are relatively high-skilled, across both fuel-free and fuel-based technologies: 82% of employees in the industry have vocational qualifications and almost 40% of these have a university degree, compared to an average for the whole industrial sector of 70% and 10%, respectively (Lehr et al., 2011).”

After seeing these facts maybe the better question to ask is:  Do we really want to keep doing jobs that have a low income, high accident rate and provide bad health after a few years of activity, for example coal mining, or we want to have jobs that are safer, provide more income and require more qualification?

3. Does it make us independent?

 To answer the question lets look again at some facts:

   In 2007, the EU was importing 82% of its oil and 57% of its gas, which then made it the world’s leading importer of these fuels. 

   The EU Treaty of Lisbon of 2007 legally includes solidarity in matters of energy supply and changes to the energy policy within the EU. The European Commission has proposed in its Renewable Energy Roadmap a binding target of increasing the level of renewable energy in the EU’s overall mix from less than 7% today to 20% by 2020 and a minimum target of 10% for the use of biofuels by 2020.

  Romania produces now in average more then 45 % of its power from fossil fuels. If we achieve the target of 20 % renewable energy by 2020 that means we will only have space for 25 % fossil fuels left in the energy mix making us almost independent of imports from other countries. 

    So maybe we can become independent by using renewable energy.

4. Does it make the grid better?

At the present moment no. The wind and the sun cannot be controlled and that provides challenges to the grid. This has been the problem at the heart of many sustainable-energy systems: How to store power so it can be delivered to the grid all the time, day and night, even when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining? 

One example is the use of large water reservoirs that can be filled by pumping water when there is excess energy from the renewable sources, water that can be used to produce energy when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.

Another example is the use of high capacity batteries developed at MIT, where Donald Sadoway has been working on a grid-size battery system that stores energy using a three-layer liquid-metal core. 

So it is only a meter of time until the renewable energy will become also grid friendly.

5. Are we doing it to create a better, cleaner, safer world?

The EU Treaty of Lisbon of 2007 also includes some other proposal like :

A cut of up to 95% in carbon emissions from primary energy sources by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

A cut of at least 20% in greenhouse gas emissions from all primary energy sources by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels), while pushing for an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol aimed at achieving a 30% cut by all developed nations by 2020 this means limiting temperature increase to 2⁰ Celsius which would require the long-term atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to be limited to 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent.

 IEA (International Energy Agency) states in the WORLD ENERGY OUTLOOK 2011 FACTSHEET: 

 ” If internationally co-ordinated action is not taken by 2017, we project that all permissible emissions in the 450 Scenario would come from the infrastructure then existing, so that all new infrastructure from then until 2035 would need to be zero-carbon, unless emitting infrastructure is retired before the end of its economic lifetime to make headroom for new investment. This would theoretically be possible at very high cost, but is probably not practicable politically”

So it seems that in order to not increase the global temperature with more then 2 degrees Celsius all the investments in energy from 2017 need to be 100% green.

Maybe 2 degrees Celsius does not seem like allot but think about the damages that would bring to wildlife, crops, climate and even landscape. Desertification is happening as we speak, Alan Savoy addressed the problem and provided a proven solution to reverse this, but it must be collaborated with the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Renewable energy is at a starting point, it has problems and is expensive but when we ask WHY do we believe in renewable energy and the facts lead us to answers like:

 “Because it brings economic value, because it provides better jobs, because it makes us independent and because it makes the world a better place where we can actually live and not melt” maybe these are things worth paying extra for…

  Spread the word and ask WHY?

 Sincerely yours,

F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com

The Green Roof

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What is a green roof ?

It consists of a lot of things but, to make it easy and explain it in very few words, it’s a roof covered with vegetation.

Why should you have one?

Simply because it will make you happier 🙂

How will it do that?

For start green is the most relaxing color for your eyes so whenever you get home from your 9 to 5 job you will have something relaxing to look at and you will fell more positive about going into your 5 to 9 job.
Also a green roof filters pollutants and carbon dioxide so you will not only have a good mood but you will also have more energy for your 5 to 9 job.
It creates also a natural habitat for wildlife so you will have more friends that are willing to listen to you without saying a word. Also in urban areas it creates a gathering place perfect for socializing whit your neighbors.
The green roof can also save you trips to the supermarket if you chose to grow food on it. You will get joy from seeing the plants grow and you will also be shore that you are eating bio-food.
When you get inside your home, the benefits of having a green roof become even more obvious.
Because the soil blocks low frequencies sounds and the plants block higher frequencies it will act like a sound barrier for the building making you feel safer.
The green roof will also act as insulation making you feel warmer and also saving you money.

What is the downside to all of this?

The only downside of a green roof is the initial cost of the building structure which will be a little bit higher than a normal one. But a part of that investment will be recovered true the savings from your energy bill.

Still not convinced?

Try to think at all the money we spend every day on things that bring us only temporary joy, like the latest gadget or the latest designer dress. How long dose the happiness of owning that item lasts ? In the best case until the new model comes along. I am not saying that those things can’t bring you joy but please remember that you can also spend money on something that not only makes you and the people in your area happier every day but also makes the world a greener place.
The choice is always yours.

With best regards,
F.M.B.

reconstructromania@gmail.com