PV Modules

PV_Modules

 This just in from resident Net Zero House expert and Edmonton green leader Bob Heath:

The latest issue of Home Power magazine has an article entitled "Blast From The Past" written by Martin Holladay. He tested a 33 watt PV module that he had bought in 1980 for $275.00 US. He found that the module was still performing at better than factory spec. A quote from the article - "A PV cell is a rock that makes electricity."
Another quote from the same issue of HP - "A PV module is the closest thing we have to perpetual motion [and] is the most reliable electric generator in the known universe." —Joel Davidson, SOLutions in Solar Electricity

Germany will install 6,000,000 kilowatts of PV modules this year. Shouldn’t we Albertans also be investing in these en masse in order to make our electricity supply more resilient (not to mention greener) in a future of declining fossil fuel availability?

Personal Finance - Part 3, Investments

This is the final installment in a three-part series about personal finance for the conscious green Edmontonian. It covers:

  1. day to day finances
  2. retirement
  3. investments

image

The above picture is the world oil consumption curve. It is often displayed as just data, allowing what will happen on the down slope to our imaginations.

Peak oil is just one of many ways in which we are reaching the limits of our growth as a species. I find it highly absurd, then, that adults (you know, the ones who are all grow’ds up)  cannot rationally discuss the end of growth in polite company. And it’s virtually never discussed by anyone with any power. The fact of the matter is, infinite growth is impossible in a finite world. Let me repeat that:

Infinite growth is impossible in a finite world

Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s inconvenient. But it’s true.

Maybe it’s a facet of denial, but it is easy to “understand” on one level about growth ending, and then turn around and invest our money in mutual funds and stock markets.

In my humble opinion, investing your money in stocks/mutual funds means one of two things:

  1. image The Unicorn Option - You believe that infinite growth is possible in our finite ecosystem. If this describes you, stop reading – the unicorns will deliver your fortune when the time is right.

    OR

  2. image The Playa Option - You recognize that growth will end, but you think that you’re smart and ruthless enough to get out of the stock market before all the suckers do (you know, your children and all those those other weaklings).

Option one speaks for itself, and I personally wouldn’t be counting on option two if my retirement was more than a couple of years away.  read more... »

Links

So many times the so-called experts that the media trots out don’t have a clue about the little situation that humanity finds itself in. Shafraaz Kaba is not one of those. He is an architect at Manasc Isaac Architects who is acting as the general contractor for his net zero home right here in Edmonton. And he totally gets it.

  • He is building an amazing house, and his blog is highly detailed. Check it out: Chasing Net Zero.

 

Local Organic Tomatoes - Not Just for the Rich and Famous Anymore

IMG_3379 (Small)

An Edmontonian's backyard tomato crop, 2010

The term elitist has been popping up more and more in the media when describing local organic food. I think that using the term displays a lack of imagination and out-of-the-box thinking (to use a tired term).

We just hauled in this year’s tomato crop (I described starting the tomatoes from seed earlier in the year). We transplanted them in late May in 30-40 square feet of garden space. I picked a few weeds along the way (like, 50), but we hardly paid them any mind until today.

With fewer hot days in late summer than usual, it was a bad year for tomatoes in Edmonton. Late blight took all of a neighbour’s tomatoes, and we lost most of our crop at the community garden to blight as well (seems that the cool wet weather is what causes it). Also, usually by this time at least half of our tomatoes are red, but we've only picked three red ones to date. No matter - covering them with newspaper will enable them to ripen on their own, and I for one can’t tell the difference between on ripened inside and one ripened outside.

So in a bad year we grew 10 gallons of local organic tomatoes with minimal effort, for $5-10 worth of seed. And, for those without a yard there are a plethora of community gardens in this city.

What exactly is elitist about local organic food again?