Friday, February 25, 2011

GD SEE Squad in Action

While at Glendale this week, I was able to catch their SEE Squad agents in action out and about in the building. These two take their duties very seriously as they monitor energy use around their school.

The GD SEE Squad
is doing a great job.
Thank you, Glendale
students, staff and SEE Squad!

Thank you 1st Graders!

Thank you to Ms. Kirchner at Glendale Elementary and her wonderful first graders for having me as a guest reader in their classroom yesterday. I shared the book Fancy Nancy Everyday is Earth Day and then we had a lively discussion afterward about being energy efficient at both school and home. I was impressed with how much these attentive and respectful first graders already knew about being "green" and taking good care of our planet and natural resources. Thank you, First Graders, you are awesome!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why save energy at school?

Five reasons why Energy Management
                     is important to our school district:
  • U.S. Schools spend $8 billion per year on energy
  • Average annual energy costs are $250 per student
  • Energy costs in a school are not fixed; these expenses are controllable
  • Nearly 1/3 of the energy consumed in schools is wasted
  • 80% of greenhouse gas emissions are from the production, distribution and disposal of energy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today's Energy Thought

"Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power—that is, power to move things. Take any given space of the earth's surface— for instance, Illinois; and all the power exerted by all the men, and beasts, and running-water, and steam, over and upon it, shall not equal the one hundredth part of what is exerted by the blowing of the wind over and upon the same space. And yet it has not, so far in the world's history, become proportionably valuable as a motive power. It is applied extensively, and advantageously, to sail-vessels in navigation. Add to this a few windmills, and pumps, and you have about all. ... As yet, the wind is an untamed, and unharnessed force; and quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made, will be the taming, and harnessing of it."

— Abraham Lincoln

Monday, February 21, 2011

Global Warming

Which of the following human activities
contributes the most to global warming?

A)  driving motorized vehicles
B)  cutting down trees
C)  using fossil fuels for energy

scroll down for the answer...

The correct answer is C. Burning fossil fuels for energy contributes the most to global warming compared to any other human activity. About 90% of the energy used around the world comes from coal, oil and natural gas. The carbon dioxide released from obtaining and expending these fossil fuels is the largest source of greenhouse gases from human activities.

Friday, February 18, 2011

from the U.S. Energy Secretary

Earlier this week President Obama’s Energy Secretary went before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Steven Chu was encouraging the continued use of coal as an energy source and also spoke of the United States needing to support continued investment into advanced coal technologies.

“We must also invest in the improvement of existing sources of energy that will provide a bridge between current and future technologies. These technologies are already a major segment of the energy mix and will play a critical role in providing a solid foundation that will make possible the creation of a new energy economy … The world will continue to rely on coal-fired electrical generation to meet energy demand. It is imperative that the United States develop the technology to ensure that base-load electricity generation is as clean and reliable as possible … The United States has 25 percent of the world’s coal reserves …”

Today's Energy Thought

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that."

            — Thomas Edison

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The gift that keeps on giving

Carleton College is getting a second wind turbine on its Northfield campus. The pair of windmills, when operating together, will generate more than half of the power required to meet Carleton's needs. The second wind turbine being added this summer will join the one currently in operation since 2004.

But that is not the best part of the story. The new turbine is actually a 30th wedding anniversary gift from one Carleton graduate to another. These alumni are giving back with the gift of sustainable energy, how cool is that??? To read the complete story on the Star Tribune website, click here.

1.65-megawatt wind turbine at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Did you know?

The largest primary source of
electrical energy in the United States is:

        A)  uranium
        B)  petroleum
        C)  natural gas
        D)  coal

Scroll down for the answer...

D) coal
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "Coal is one of the true measures of the energy strength of the United States. One quarter of the world's coal reserves are found within the United States, and the energy content of the nation's coal resources exceeds that of all the world's known recoverable oil. Coal is also the workhorse of the nation's electric power industry, supplying more than half the electricity consumed by Americans."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What is a negawatt?

Quite simply, a negawatt is a way to measure energy efficiency or simpler yet: A megawatt saved is a negawatt earned. Essentially a negawatt is a negative megawatt or a megawatt of power that is not yet produced or expended but it represents a unit of energy saved.
The origin of the word negawatt goes back to 1989 when environmentalist and energy efficiency expert Amory Lewis made a simple typo on a Colorado Public Utilities Commission report and used negawatt instead of megawatt. The misspelling perfectly captured Lovins' concept of a watt of electricity saved due to conservation efforts but still available for use. The term negawatt first used by Lovins was then adopted and is still prevelent today. Information regarding negawatts and energy efficiency can be found in the latest report from the United Nations entitled "Energy for a Sustainable Future."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy 164th Birthday...

to Thomas Alva Edison, the patented inventor of the first light bulb. Today we recognize this great scientist who perfected and patented the incandescent light bulbs still being used today. This is not a day to bash inefficient incandescent bulbs and hearld the energy saving LED and CFL bulbs. No, today we must honor a world-changing and revolutionary inventor and scientist who gave us the electric light bulb and many other life-changing inventions.

And here's an energy thought to close out the week:  Edison made thousands of unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Electricity demands are increasing...

... and statistics indicate this trend shows no sign of slowing down in the years ahead. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), electronic devices and appliances including computers, MP3s, mobile phones, video game consoles, and flat screen TVs have increased the demand for residential energy use annually by 3.4% since 1990.

With a progressive increase over the past 10 years, the IEA estimates that residential electrical energy usage will triple in the next twenty years worldwide. Energy efficiency awareness and efforts to conserve energy are both more important than ever as the world seems to be moving forward at break-neck speed in this age of technological advances and the constant release of updated versions of whatever the must-have gadget is these days.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Today's Energy Thought

Recycling just one aluminum can will save enough energy
to run a television for how long?

   a)  15 minutes
             b)  30 minutes
                       c)  1 hour
                               d)  3 hours

Scroll down for the correct answer...

The answer is:  d) 3 hours!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Turn it Down to Save

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you save up to 1% on your heating bill for every degree you turn down the thermostat. You can manually lower the temperature setting when you leave the house or go to bed or with a programmable thermostat, you can set it to automatically lower and raise at specific times. So either way, you can definitely save energy when you turn down your thermostat, even just a few degrees can make a difference.

For more information and tips for saving energy and money at home check out the Energy Savers Booklet available on line from the U.S. Department of Energy.