Sunday, November 23, 2008

Today's Theme is Efficiency

Articles in the news about new "greener" technologies and practices are seemingly everywhere these days. Local news programs, national networks, and even my church are all talking about efficiency, reducing waste, and other ways of being better stewards of the planet. Given my long standing interest in watching high tech solutions to environmental issues go from science fiction to reality, and its recent dominance of my news link-posts, I figure it's well past time that environmental tech and related postings got their own label. Welcome to the first "green tech" post. No doubt others will be following, since I'm apparently standing at the edge of a pragmatic environmental movement I didn't even know had a name: bright green environmentalism. And that's about enough blather from me, on with the nifty tech links.

First up, MIT and NASA are teaming up to design airplanes that are not only more efficient, but are quieter too. Anyone who lives near an airport can get behind that initiative.

Wind turbines suffer from varying efficiency at different wind speeds and current transmissions add cost and mechanical inefficiencies. Using a series of simple, innovative changes, one company claims their new generator can increase wind turbine generated power output by an average fifty percent. And since it uses fewer mechanical parts, it can keep costs down as well, which is critically important in the competitive energy market.

Ars Technica reports on the recent EPA Climate Leaders meeting, and the potential effects of the current credit crunch on corporate efficiency projects. It's an interesting look at how businesses look at the opportunities available to them.

Finally, I've mentioned before that compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) are much more efficient than incandescents, but they contain murcury. Since murcury poses a health hazard, CFLs are hard to dispose of. Also, I hate flourescent lights. Barring the appearance of some sort of high efficiency incandescent bulb, Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are the next best option. They are more efficient than CFLs, long lasting, and don't flicker. Or so the reports go. I haven't seen one in a store. However, I did find some available at ThinkGeek and a different selection at Amazon. In theory, over the life of the bulb, you would recoup the initial investment several times over through electricity savings. Unfortunately, I'm not quite willing to shell out one hundred dollars on a 100W-equivalent bulb without seeing what the light looks like first. But, it's nice to see the technology out there in the market.

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