3 Developments Accelerate Clean Energy Evolution

 3 Developments Accelerate Clean Energy Evolution

 

When I was 17, I discovered how fast my step-father’s then almost-new 1976 SR5 Celica fastback would go.

105 mph.

Urging me on was a not-so-shabby Chevelle. It passed me heading out the deserted Glenn decentralized finance news Highway near Mirror Lake going about 90. I blew past it at what I discovered to be top speed, catching a little air on the rolling frost heaves outside Anchorage.

I’m getting that same sense of wide-open acceleration now, watching developments in clean energy. Technologies appear to be testing just how fast they can move forward.

Solar and LED lighting threaten to go mainstream with price reductions. But other technologies also show exceptional promise.

  1. Passive House. A house at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History designed with no furnace — honest — has been completed and is already catching attention. The residence, which uses “passive house” design and technology, cuts its greenhouse gas footprint and utility costs to the quick. SmartHome Cleveland received a national write-up from Renee Schoof of McClatchy Newspapers.

“Because the house is so well insulated, it can hold heat from sunshine, body heat, lights and appliances,” she wrote.

I did a piece on the house while it was under construction in January 2011, explaining how the passive house movement is gaining a foothold in Europe and possibly finding its way into this country. Super-insulated homes are hardly new, especially in the North. I worked on one at 14 in 1975 in Fairbanks. But their adoption has been slow going.

That may certainly change when people paying hundreds of dollars a month in heating bills see an option for cutting that to near nothing.

The stakes are high. Buildings account for about half of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. And while there’s a big push nationally and worldwide to address that with retrofits, upgrades and better building practices, finding the mainstream remains a challenge.

But I’m feeling positive, especially with efforts like the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building certification system, which was designed to improve energy savings, water efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction. And more stringent building practices, now in play, would make a big dent in greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.

  1. Buildings that clean the air. This boggles the mind. A domestic alumninum manufacturer has developed a proprietary process, using a titanium dioxide coating that offers, in the company’s words, “the world’s first coil-coated aluminum architectural panel that helps clean itself and the air around it.”

 

 

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