Amory Lovins completed the construction of a large, solarheated, solarpowered, super insulated, partially earthshelter home and office in Snowmass, Colorado, serving as headquarters for the Rocky
Mountain Institute. The office uses energy from the sun by using heavy roof insulation, thick stone walls, energy efficient windows and a wasteheat recovery system, providing 99% hot water, 95% daytime lighting, and 90% household electricity. It also contains a greenhouse containing a variety of plants to humidify the building, help heat air and purify it.
Energy efficiency is the measure of how much work we can get from each unit of energy we use.
Each unit of energy saved eliminates the need to produce that energy and it saves us money.
U.S has wasted 84% commercial energy
. 41% lost due to degradation of energy quality imposed by the second law of thermodynamics. 43% lost unnecessarily due to the inefficiency o incandescent light bulbs, furnaces, industrial motors, most motor vehicles, coal and nuclear power plants. Four widely used devices are the incandescent light bulbs
: 510% electricity draws to produce lights, 9095% wasted as heat.
The internal combustion engine
: propels most motor vehicles and waste 80% of the energy in its fuel.
Nuclear power plant
: produce electricity for space heating, water heating, waste
Coalfired power plant
: waste 66% through release by burning and 7580% to dig up and transport.
Advantages for reducing energy includes
: prolongs fossil fuel supplies, reduces oil imports and improves energy security, very high net energy, low cost, reduces pollution and environmental degradation, buys time to phase renewable energy and creates local jobs.
Three ways to save energy through transportation: using cogeneration which involves using a combined heat and power system
. Two useful forms are energy is produced from the same fuel source. Steam produced in generating electricity in CHP can be used to heat the power plant rather than released into environment and wasted. Energy efficiency is 7590% and emits 1/3 as much co2 per unit of energy produced as do conventional coalfired boilers.
Recycling materials such as steel and metals . Producing steel from recycled scrap iron uses 75% less energy than producing steel from virgin iron ore and emits 40% co2, cut energy by 40% and reduces energy.
Replacing energywasting electric motors which uses ¼ of electricity produced in US and 65% of the electricity used in US industry. Most motor are inefficient b/c they run only at full speed with their output throttled to match the task. Replacing them with variable speed motors which runs at minimum rate need for each job saves energy and reduces the environmental impact of electric motor use.
Save in transportation
have governor give consumers’ tax breaks or other economic incentives to encourage them to buy more fuelefficient.
Feebate program in which buyers of fuelinefficient vehicles would pay a high fee and resulting revenues would be given to buyers of efficient vehicles as rebates.
Shifting from dieselpowered to electrified rail systems
, building accessible mass transit systems within cities, constructing highspeed rail lines b/w cities as is done in Japan, china and Europe, carrying more freight by train instead of by truck.
Encourage bicycle use by building bike lanes along highways and city streets
, US can cut oil import by half if each American driver biked to work 1day/week, reduce car use, greenhouse gas emissions and parking congestion.
New buildings: orientating a building to face the sun so it can get more of its heat from solar energy can save up to 20% of heating cost and 75% of such cost when the building is well insulated and airtight.
: make use of natural lighting, passive solar heating, solar…