Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Deja Vu, All Over Again

The current situation in the Arab world reminds me strongly of the end of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies in the early 1990's.  Though the Arabs do not have a centrally-controlled power structure like that of the late USSR, they nevertheless possess many more similarities, chief among them a reliance on a single core activity (oil vs. military), authoritarian/dictatorial regimes and enormous social inequalities.

It looks as if the Arab "Berlin Wall" is crumbling right in front of our very own eyes.  What it means for our hydrocarbon energy regime is impossible to predict.  It could be that radicals take over and attempt to hold the world hostage to much pricier oil.  Or, it could be that they pump all-out to satisfy popular demands for social goods and services, driving prices much lower.  No one really knows.

What is crystal clear, however, is that we urgently need to create to our own renewable, locally produced, stable energy sources and finally become independent of the Arab "street", as well as the Arab "sheiks".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Real Reason For Real Optimism

I'm stricken with a bad case of blog-writer's block.  It's not the first time, so I know how to get by until the spirit grabs me once more: recommend a book or two or, as is the case today, send readers to an article I find interesting.

Soaking Up the Sun to Squeeze Bills to Zero, appearing in today's NY Times, made me feel happy, optimistic and vindicated for my long-held belief that it is absolutely achievable to transition to a Sustainable Economy regime powered largely by renewable energy.

The article describes how the new 222,000 sq. ft. Research Support Facility of the National Renewable Energy Lab (Dept. of Energy) in Golden, Colorado uses a net zero amount of energy via widely available and cost-effective technologies.

But did it cost the taxpayer an arm and a leg to construct this super-efficient office building?  From the article we learn that: "Ultimately, construction costs were brought in at only $259 a square foot, nearly $77 below the average cost of a new super-efficient commercial office building, according to figures from Haselden Construction, the builder."

I'll say it once again... It CAN BE DONE.  Please read the article.

The RSF in Golden, Colorado

Designed to Provide Maximum Day-Lighting Throughout the Building