The Low Down On Green Living
September 15th, 2009
Earlier this year, Colorado passed House Bill 1331, “Incentives for Efficient Motor Vehicles,” which creates new tax credits of up to $6,000 for the purchase of, or conversion to, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
The new credit will be a substantial discount off the average price of a plug-in conversion, which generally run around $10-14,000. On top of the Federal Tax Credit of 10% (up to $4,000), plug-in retrofits could start to make a lot of sense for some car owners. … read the rest of this entry »
Popularity: 21% [?]
September 14th, 2009
Over 4 billion people in the world have cell phones. They’re handy, portable, inexpensive and we wonder how we even got along with out them before we had one. Cell phones are here to stay, there’s no doubt about that. But there are mounting concerns about the adverse health affects from radiation emitted from your cell phone. Nothing has been proven, but considering that a cell phone operates by sending out radio waves made up of electromagnetic radiation, it’d be wise to be conscious and make smart choices. All phones release radiation, but some release more than others, so one way to make smarter choices is to choose a phone that emits less. The Environmental Working Group has just provided a new online Cell Phone Radiation Guide providing the radiation levels for about 1,000 cell phones. What’s your cell phone’s radiation level?
Popularity: 22% [?]
September 11th, 2009
Pavement is one of the defining characteristics of our urban existence. From pop-culture terms like “asphalt jungle” to the Joni Mitchell song and its famous lyrics about paving paradise for parking lots, pavement is often used as a symbol of both the progress and peril of our urbanizing ways. Unfortunately, all of this pavement is more than a downer in our collective psyche. By catching car-based pollutants and funneling rainfall straight into storm drains and gutters, pavement destroys rivers and streams and kills the animals and plants that depend on them. Oh, and it also produces the dirty water that makes millions of people sick each year after they swim in polluted water.
Unfortunately, it’s much easier to lay pavement down than it is to take it out. The physical process is difficult, it’s hard to dispose of, and most of our zoning regulations and building codes make it difficult to remove once it’s in place. Decommissioning a parking lot or underused street for environmental reasons isn’t for the faint of heart, but fortunately there are some ambitious folks out there willing to confront the challenge head-on. Read on to see how they’re creating some beautiful and useful public spaces. … read the rest of this entry »
Popularity: 23% [?]
September 8th, 2009
When houses cost upwards of $150 per square foot, the prospect of building a new house can be downright frightening, even if it is green, sustainable and energy efficient. And for many, that price is absolutely out of reach. With prices skyrocketing and wages low, affordable housing is even more important these days, which is in part why Dan Phillips, a self-taught builder, is helping individuals get into their own houses for very reasonable prices. How’s he doing it when most builders in the world are looking to make a profit? He’s using salvaged materials and at the same time teaching unskilled workers about construction.
Popularity: 24% [?]
September 1st, 2009
Written by Christopher DeMorro, courtesy of Gas2.0, originally published on September 1, 2009
I’ve always held a certain affinity for the El Camino. It makes no apologies for what it is; niether car nor truck nor particularly attractive. But it lasted a long time and plenty of people purchased one. With the body of a truck but the handling of a car (sorta) many unfair stigmas came to be attached with the El Camino.
But just like the original El Camino did back in its heyday, Tom Leitschuh’s El Camino is breaking conventions by going 100% electric. Say what? An electric El Camino? It seems almost too outlandish to believe, but its true.
Tom removed the engine, gas tank, radiator, and other unessceary elements, but held on to the Chevy 3-speed manual transmission. This lessened the weight of the 1981 El Camino, allowing him to drop in 46 lithium-ferrite batteries. These batteries are good in 0 degree weather, something a lot of hybrids have a problem with. That is a good thing too, because Tom lives in Wisconsin, and the cheese state can get mighty cold.
But that is over 900 pounds of battery weight, a common problem with electric conversions. The batteries are spread out evenly between the engine bay and over the rear axle though, somewhat off-setting the precarious imbalance. Ground clearance may be an issue if he ever decides to laden the El Camino down with say, a dead cow (Top Gear reference).
The El Camino can supposedly get 200 miles on a single charge if carefully driven, but averages about half that. I can’t find anything on how fast this car will go, how much horsepower it has (probably not enough) or how long it takes to charge. But Tom has his own solar and wind farm, so he doesn’t pay a penny for energy. Whats more, the entire conversion, including El Camino purchase, cost only $30,000. In the grand scheme of things, that is a pretty good price (though several companies donated time and parts to the project).
I wholly encourage the use of any old muscle cars for alternative energy conversion projects. Tom’s next project? A clean Corvette. In my opinion, that is awesome, but ONLY if it can go at least as fast as its gas-powered cousins. If he chooses something from the late 70’s/early 80’s, that shouldn’t be a problem. But a slow Corvette is heresy, no matter what.
Popularity: 22% [?]