Vampire energy, aka phantom loads, is estimated to cost U.S. consumers about $3 billion per year. I know, it’s not really that much … I mean, if you break it down to the individual level, that’s only $10 per person ($3 billion / 300 million). But the point is, it’s money that goes in the pocketbook of energy companies and their shareholders — it’s not going in yours. The chart above is courtesy of GOOD, the magazine that always brings a full-page spread to otherwise obfuscatory information.
It’s Friday and as I like to say, why not watch a little video? If you’ve been to Dwell lately, you’ll know they just unveiled their new, completely overhauled website. It’s super nice now, with easy access to images and information from their archives. There’s also a new video page with content of some very interesting leaders in design. Hence, the name for their new video series, Dwell Design Leaders. I’ve embedded the video of Michelle Kaufmann above talking about prefab and the mkLotus. The next video below is of David Baker. I found his comments extremely interesting. The last video below is Christopher Deam talking about his modern interpretation and design of the Airstream and his collaboration with Design Within Reach. Very compelling, really inspiring.
If you know me, you know I like to read. You name it, I read it. Books. Magazines. Newspapers. Online. Actually, I have a theory on book reading, which goes like this: if you don’t pay reasonable market value for it, you won’t be motivated to read it. It’s like a gym membership. With this in mind, I’ve put together an online shop of sustainable books, The Jetson Green Sustainability Bookstore, in case anyone is searching for good material on environmentalism. There’s a lot out there. Let me know if I left something out that you think merits inclusion. Here are the categories:
++ Non-fiction/Business + Green Lifestyle ++
This isn’t a money maker for JG, I’ve never made more than $10 /quarter from Amazon…this is more intended to be a resource library for those of us at all levels in the journey towards living and working in a greener way. Again, let me know if I left a good book out. Also, I’ve gotten into Eco-Libris thanks to Victoria-E. Eco-Libris plants a tree for every book that you purchase an offset for. I’m not going to get into the offset controversy, but suffice it to say, I like the idea and will do it from now on.
Do you read GreenSource? There’s a free read of the April 2007 edition of GreenSource online. I highly recommend it, if you have a little free time and a fast connection. It’s a quarterly production, supported by the editors of McGraw-Hill Construction, BuildingGreen, Inc., and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). GreenSource has a circulation of about 42,000 readers. In March 2007, it was given the prestigious Neal Award for Best Start-Up Publication. I spent way too much time online reading the articles…it just sucked me right in.
A few years ago, my brother sent me an email link to a couple hundred acres of land in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada. Seriously, it was the ugliest land in the world with no development—no lines, no fences, no roads? I told him that there was a reason the land there was selling for such a cheap price, and while I couldn’t put my finger it, I’m sure there was a real good one (like aliens or nuclear waste dumping). He said, “don’t be dumb, dude, land’s land, there’s always value in it.” Well, not really, but I’m starting to think this land might have been a good deal. Here’s why…
EnviroMission is on the verge—it’s tested and ready to go—of breaking ground on the world’s first commercial solar tower power station. Todd Woody from Business 2.0, did an awesome article on this technology. It’s so serious that a half-mile tall solar tower is in planning for China and EnviroMission is hunting for land in the Southwestern United States.
Here are some of the pluses: (1) there’s no fuel (no exploration, transport, disposal, smog, or landscaping costs), (2) you can put it in the desert and it will be perfect—no one will live out there anyway, (3) the primary cost is in the initial development as operating costs are minimal, (4) it produces enough energy to power 100,000 homes sans pollution or planet-warming gases, (5) as compared to wind farms, the sun is more consistent (in the right locations), and (6) a large version of the tower could produce energy for the same cost (or better) as conventional power plants. Oh yeah, it looks good, too.
The cool thing about this technology is its potential to be disruptive. When you consider the costs of using coal, you can’t just think in terms of the purchase price (if you’re a commercial entity, the government, or public person). Why? Because there are hidden costs associated with things like coal: smog, mining deaths/accidents/health concerns, and transportation costs. With China and Australia on board with the solar tower, the global supply for other varieties of energy increases. They stop using coal as much as before. Ex: if China uses the solar tower instead of coal, then there’s more coal for other people to use. Coal will then get cheaper to use for those people that can’t use/afford the solar tower (or other alternative energy). My economics might be a little jacked, but I still think this will be an interesting business to follow.