Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Reading Roundup: July 9

Reading Roundup is a regular feature of WebEchoes. It exists to limit the number of "read this" posts with minimal commentary on my part.

Home Depot Announces Nationwide CFL Recycling ( Home+Depot,)
Still doesn't respond to the complaint about the mercury in CFLs that many are using to justify not switching. But it does take that mercury out of the waste stream. Is it possible to recycle a normal bulb?

Refrigeration without electricity | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
This is a very cool idea. I think some of the commenters on the Grist post have lost sight of the utility of this tool, objecting that starting a fire every day is a burden, and why not use other heat sources. My thoughts are is that it probably requires pretty high temperatures to initiate the effect that may be difficult to achieve without combustion. A good question though for the designers...could a solar oven be used to recharge them in alternating day pairs...

Agilewaves: Knowledge is Power - Conservation through Information | Triple Pundit
The best way to fix any problem is to have enough data available to understand and deal with it effectively (too bad lawmakers don't have this sort of easy data/response loop). Agilewaves collects data on water, power and displays it at a single point, making the impacts of changes to behavior obvious and immediate. Much better than putting in an energy saving appliance and hoping your electric bills go down.

Milk jug gets a makeover | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Big box stores can cause innovation...granted in the pursuit of reduced costs, but sometimes that innovation is good for more than just the bottom line. Though, if they're putting more milk in the coolers do the chillers run more/harder?

Jon Stewart on EPA and email | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Jon Stewart summarizes 7 years of environmental policy by the Bush administration.... Stick fingers in ears and go "LALALALALALAL" really loud, and don't read anything.

Sun block | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Sheesh. Talk about hypocrisy. Solar projects need to have environmental impact studies done for the next 2 years before they can be built on public lands. But the known effects of mining, logging, drilling are okay to continue.

Scorpion gives hydrogen on demand | GreenBang
Interesting, using a portion of engine power to generate hydrogen from water, which is then used as a fuel additive to boost combustion efficiency. Presumably the system uses electricity that would normally be wasted, otherwise this starts becoming a perpetual motion boondoggle. Cool Name too.

Flipswap • Consumer Home
Another way to recycle gadgets and cell phones, aside from local collections for women's causes or the anonymous mailing envelopes of the Post Office or Best Buy. FlipSwap lets you choose how the device or its cash value is handled -- redeem for store credit, get a check, donate its value to a charity. Get paid, make a donation, etc. And they handle figuring out if the device is usable/resellable or only fit for recycling. (found via The Unofficial Apple Weblog [TUAW])

CCS: Environmental whack-a-mole | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
Hard to know the real costs of CCS since it isn't widely deployed yet, but it certainly makes sense that it will cut efficiency of a power plant using it, which of course leads to other knock on effects.

Victorian Houses Can Have A Green Makeover Too : TreeHugger
An unsatisfying article that at least mentions one of the most important topics in efficiency: retrofitting the existing housing stock, particularly older/historical homes. Unsatisfying because it doesn't really link any resources for readers who are in that predicament.