Friday, December 28, 2007

New Way of Getting Energy?

by Vinny

There is a new study on a whole different way to get cheap, environmentally safe energy. In Israel, they found that if you make a huge tunnel, and make the hot air at the top turn cold, the cold air would drop very fast and power some turbines to make energy. This machine would work in hot, dry climates and would be the cheapest form of energy out there. They are still waiting for funding, but let's hope they can get a few up and running soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Energy Saving Schools

In Quinter, Kansas, a wind turbine has been installed to power the school. It saves them one thousand dollars per month. Why can't our schools in the valley be equipped similarly? The Fruita 8/9 is a school in its second year of operation, and the utility bills are over $12,000 a month. Installing solar panels would significantly reduce this bill. Every new school built in Mesa County Valley School District 51 should be equiped with solar panels. Students will attend these new schools for several decades, so why not save all this money?

Greenland's Ice Sheet

According to preliminary satellite data released by NASA, 552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet. That is 15% more than the annual average summer melt, and it beat 2005's record of worst ice melt. A record amount of surface ice was also lost from the Greenland ice sheet, 12% more than the previous worst year in 2005, according to the data recently released by the University of Colorado. That is nearly quadruple the amount that melted just 15 years ago. It is an amount that could cover Washington D. C. a half mile deep. The surface area of summer sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean this summer was 23% the previous record. And for the first time in history, the Northwest Passage was open to navigation.

Could be these signs of global warming? The earth is heating up, but is it caused by human activity or is it natural? Before you decide, imagine the earth without machines polluting it, and then compare it with earth today.

Comparing Fuel Costs

Current November 2007 December 2006

National Average $2.990 $3.101 $2.292

State Average $2.913 $3.092 $2.205

Denver $2.833 $3.033 $2.139

Grand Junction $2.897 $3.127 $2.230

Monday, December 10, 2007

A few tips to save energy...

by Vinny

Try these simple tips to save on your heating and energy consumption

1. Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
2. Turn off your computer monitor if you aren't using it or won't be for at least 10 miniutes.
3. Set your thermostat 3 degrees cooler in the winter and 3 degrees hotter in the summer.
4. When you go on vacation, unplug all computers and any other electronics.
5. Keep the temperature cooler during the night.

Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize

To those of you who are disappointed with Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize, ask yourselves these questions. Right now are you more aware about what is happening to the environment than you have ever been? Do you think that Al Gore has helped advertise this information? He may set a "do as I say not as I do example," but give the man some credit for stating what he believes is important.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Colorado's Climate Plan

Governor Bill Ritter's goal is to reduce Colorado's greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. Who knows if it will be achieved, but even if we can lower the emissions by only a small amount, it would be better than what's happening now. Here are some suggestions on how everyone can get involved: carpool, drive a hybrid, use compact florescent light bulbs, use low flow toilets and showers, and recycle. No one has to go Al Gore, but if everyone can chip in and do his part, it would significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. The first deadline is 20% by 2020. This plan may seem ambitious, but it is achievable.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Explosion and fire damage Durango Natural Gas plant

Daily sentinel
November 30, 2007
By the Associated Press
posted by Landon
There was an explosion at a Durango, Colorado, natural gas plant . It damaged a cooling tower and out buildings, including a control room. There were no injuries reported from this explosion. A Durango Fire and Rescue Authority spokesman said that the explosion happened at about 3:30 A.M.. A woman, Diane Millch, who lives within a mile of the plant, said, "it was really loud."Also, a fire resulting from the explosion burned two priate vehicles, but the seven people running the plant at that time a safe.

Monday, December 3, 2007

How a Hybrid Works

by Vinny

The hybrid car is becoming more and more popular. It's important to understand how it works. Hybrids combine a battery and gas to power the car. When you start your drive and accelerate, you normally use a combination of the gas and battery. When you are coasting, the wheels have turbines on them to power the battery thereby not using gas. These cars are best used in big cities, but will save you money for other areas, too.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

5 Tips for Saving Energy During the Holidays

1. Shop online.

You will save time and gas.

2. Donate to a cause.

You can make a donation to environmental projects. For ideas, contact Grand Valley Peace and Juctice at 243-0209.

3. Buy rechargeable batteries.

Rechargeable batteries save money, and prevent toxic chemicals from harming the environment.

4. Buy recyled holiday cards and gift wrap.

If you don't keep your cards recyle them. Metallic and plastic gift paper take longer to decompose, so buy paper gift wrap.

5. Buy LED lights and put them on a timer.

LED lights last longer and use less energy. The timer also saves electricity. For more holidy green tips log on to

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

LED Tube Lights

Popular Science

November 07

Posted by Scott

You may be accustomed to seeing the usual fluorescent light tubes in offices, stores and schools. Yet they might not be the smartest choice. LED tubes consume 25% less power than the fluorescent tubes and they contain no toxic chemicals in them (such as the mercury found in flourescents). The downside to these LED lights is the initial cost. At $150 a tube, they may be a bit to pricey for most consumers. The savings on the utility bills, however, may make these LED lights a populare choice.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The Pac Car is the most fuel efficient car ever. The Pac-Car II, a concept car, set the world record of 5,384 kilometers per liter of hydrogen fuel (the equivalent of 12,867.76 miles per gallon) at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Ladoux (France) on June 26, 2005. The PAC-Car II won the international Energy Globe 2005 award for its contribution to energy conservation. Even though it is only a concept car, the engine, aerodynamics, and body could be seen in future car designs. ETH or Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering are the groups behind this bright idea.

Professor Lino Guzzella, Project Director, says he is sure many of the designs and structures of the Pac-Car will be integrated into the future vehicles of the road. The Pac-Car isn’t just fuel efficient, it uses hydrogen fuel meaning the only exhaust is clean water vapor. The Pac-Car is definitely one wonderful ride.

Wind Energy on the rise

by Vinny

While I was looking around Wikipedia, trying to find more information on alternative energy, I saw a graph showing the growth of Wind energy. It showed that since 1997 the usage of Wind has gone way up. Hopefully this trend will continue to build making us go farther for green.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Comparing Fuel Costs

Current October 2007 November 2006

National Average $3.089 $2.819 $2.233

State Average $3.084 $2.842 $2.192

Denver $3.013 $2.782 $2.129

Grand Junction $3.092 $2.840 $2.245

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Solar Paper

Popular Science

December 2007

Michael Moyer

Posted by Scott

A solar panel that can now be printed like a document on a computer. That is exactly what the company, Nanosolar, is making...thin-film solar cells. Nanosolar's cells are made with a printing press which means they can be created for about one tenth of what regular solar panels cost. Nanosolar has already begun producing these cells. When traditional solar cells are manufactured, up to 70 percent of the silicon is wasted. The Nanosolar cells do NOT use silicon, and they are just as efficient. Normal cells are usually 4$ per watt. Nanosolar cells can be made for as little as 30 cents per watt. Soon we could be seeing these cell on top of 18-wheelers, garages, and schools. There are endless possibilities since Nanosolar panels will work anywhere there is sunlight.

These Nanosolar cells are made of a base layer of aluminum, which supports a layer of electrodes. This is a coating of molybdenum. Light falls on a semiconductor which kicks electrons loose. Next a P/N junction layer moves the electrons onto a clear zinc oxide electrode, which can be used to power your home and then go back to the first electron which then completes the circuit.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Corn or Sugercane? You choose

By Vinny

There are two different plants that are used to produce ethanol, and each has its own attributes. Corn, produces more ethanol per plant than sugercane. However, sugercane has more plant per square yard. They both get about the same amount of ethanol produced if they had identical fields. Which one do you think is better?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Xcel Energy Targets Cameo Power Plant for Closure

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel - November 16, 2007
By Bobby Magill
Posted by Landon

Cleaner energy eyed to replace outdated plant

Concerns about global warming might cost 35 people their jobs in Mesa County, Colorado.
Xcel energy is proposing to shut down its 73-megawatt Cameo Generating Station in
DeBeque Canyon before December 2010. This will lay off 35 employees in the process.
Xcel is looking to go green. They say this will reduce Xcel's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10 percent by 2017. Xcel pans to replace the Cameo and the Arapahoe (near Denver) coal fired generating plants with cleaner burning natural gas plants.
Plans by the energy giant include the addition of 800 additional megawatts of wind power, 225 megawats of solar power, and 800 megawatts of other "mostly renewable" power to its portfolio over the next decade.
Xcel's efforts to "go green" aren't the only reason for terminating the Cameo power plant. It is over 50 years old, inefficient, and reaching the end of its useful life.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conflicted Consumers

Denver Post - November 13, 2007 - Douglas Brown
Posted by Caden

Hybrid cars, fluorescent lightbulbs , and organic foods. Are you buying all of these things just to make yourself feel better, just to make yourself feel "green?" Did you know that your hybrid car actually took more energy to manufacture than a regular gas-guzzling car? How about your fluorescent lightbulbs? These last much longer and conserve a lot of energy but contain a trace of mercury which is a byproduct of fossil fuel mining. What about your organic foods? Sure, they don't use chemicals that damage the earth but are they locally grown? If they're not, think about all of the fossil fuels used to ship them to your local grocery store. Is it really any better? These are all questions that green consumers need to ask themselves. It's nearly impossible to be perfect about being green. Joel Makower, a long time environmentalist, says that, "you should pick one significant battle." Some things you can do to do your part are bringing your own tote bag to the grocery store instead of using the cheap plastic bags that the grocery store provides which takes years to decompose. Carpool as much as possible to cut down on the amount of fossil fuels used in your daily commute. Remember, it's not easy being green and it's nearly impossible to be perfect at it so don't try to be or you will drive yourself and others around you absolutely crazy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Environment and Methamphetamine

By Vinny

Methamphetamine is bad for you. But if that doesn't make you want to stop or try it, then think of this. Instead of cleaning up all of the toxic chemicals that goes into meth in a safe way, the cooks just throw it into a creek or pond. Where the meth cook chooses to dump the waste becomes a hazardous waste site. This pollutes our air water, and ground and can hurt those who come into contact with the area without the proper attire.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Solar Power Efforts in Carbondale

Aspen Skiing Co. will fund a $1 million, 147-kilowatt solar-electric system that will be installed on about an acre of Colorado Rocky Mountain School's campus. The solar panels will provide enough energy for around twenty households and the main building of the school. The system will eliminate approximately 200 tons of carbon emissions annually. Under the plan, renewable energy in the community would increase by 50% in two years. Many town officials are worried about property-tax rates jumping, though.

Solar Power Efforts in Carbondale

Comparing Fuel Costs

November 2007 October 2007 One Year Ago

National Average $3.043 $2.767 $2.196

State Average $3.027 $2.810 $2.214

Denver $2.960 $2.743 $2.112

Grand Junction $3.073 $2.805 $2.239

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Better Way to Travel

Believe it or not, trains use one fifth the energy of cars and planes. They also run in bad weather. Yet the use of trains in the United States has rapidly declined since the 1960s. Why has the use of trains in the U. S. become obsolete? Other counties use them just fine. It is time for Americans to revive this method of transportation. You can always rely on a train in bad weather, and there is no traffic either.

6 Ways to Lower Energy Bills

Replace light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy and last ten times as long as traditional incandescent bulbs.

Add insulation. Keep the heat in this winter by adding insulation to your attic.

Install a programmable thermostat. A thermostat only takes a couple of minutes to install, and can be programmed so you are never uncomfortable.

Use a special paint. Mix a nontoxic ceramic powder into your paint to reduce the amount of heat being passed through the walls.

Protect your pipes. An insulating wrap can keep pipes from freezing, and keep hot water pipes hot.

Redirect the heat. Move the fan's switch to reverse so the blades run counterclockwise and push the hot air down from the ceiling.

Traveling Green - Tips for saving energy on your vacations

Stay at a green hotel. A green hotel will use shower mounted dispensers, instead of little plastic bottles, and change your linens less often (at your request). Look for a list of green hotels at

Go green when you rent a car. Try to rent a hybrid. If this proposition seems scary to you, many rental car companies will happily give you instructions.

Take a vacation with a higher purpose. Check out to learn about volunteering on wilderness projects with environmental agencies such as National Park Service.

Buy carbon offsets for your travel. You can donate a little money to websites such as and This money is used to fund various carbon reducing projects.

Shut down the house before you leave. Even if they are turned off, some appliances continue to use energy. Unplug as much as you can before you head out. Set timers for your lights, if they even need to be on while you are gone.

Check out these cities. Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Oakland are the top "greenest" cities ranked by SustainLane, a green media company.

Twister Power

Popular Science - November 2007

by Gregory Mone

posted by Scott

Most people try to avoid tornadoes, but a Canadian Scientist, Louis Michaud wants to start them. Michaud wants to turn these havok wreaking twisters into power plants. Now, one question is that it would take too much energy to create the twister, making the output meaningless. Yet Michaud says that the start up energy would be free. The first test of this machine will be this spring in Sarnia, Ontario.

This is how the machine should work. First, it takes in hot water, most likely from a nearby nuclear power plant. The hot water runs around the exterior of the vortex machine. Next, fans that are placed in a series of cells, take in hot air heated by the water. They then blow it through slanted channels to a 330-foot-wide chamber. The air flows to the walls of the camber and spins up through a 100 foot wide hole in the top, thus making the twister. The ongoing supply of more hot air could produce a 30 foot wide tornado. After the twister is formed the fans become generators that create electricity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wildfires Spew Tons of Global-warming Gas

The wildfires in California two weeks ago spewed 8.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Wildfires in the United States dump 322 million tons annually into the sky, but this alone accounts for only five percent of what the United States emits by burning fossil fuels. This is according to the new research published online by the peer-reviewed journal Carbon Balance and Management. Some people believe that global warming is caused by these fires, because in addition to releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide, they destroy millions of trees. This is called a carbon offset.

Did you know that every acre burned the carbon dioxide emissions are equivalent to two cars being driven for a year?

Cuba and Venezuela Turn Against Ethanol.

By Wyatt

Cuba's Castro and Venezuela's Chavez say that ethanol production will increase global hunger and poverty. They also believe that food prices will increase because crops will be used for cars instead of people. These allies agreed with biofuel until George W. Bush made a deal with Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Do you think that it is ironic that Castro and Chavez turned against ethanol right after Brazil and the United States made an ethanol deal together? The U.S. gets most of its crude oil and natural gas from these two countries. Switching to ethanol would decrease the value of crude oil that is bought from Cuba and Venezuela. Therefore these countries wouldn’t want the U.S. to buy less of their products. Chavez says that when a car’s gas tank is filled with ethanol it uses enough food and water to feed seven people.

Critics claim that using ethanol would raise the price of crops and the price of the animals that eat these crops. Castro and Chavez backed up these arguments when president George W. Bush visited Latin America. A newly released column stated that 3 billion people would die prematurely of hunger and thirst. Chavez and Castro said that this is not an exaggerated number but a cautious one.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Xcel delays coal-gasifecation plant, citing cost

Rocky Mountain News
November 1, 2007

By Landon

Xcel Energy is delaying plans for a Colorado power plant because of cost concerns and the desire to find project partners.
Xcel doesn't actually need the power from the plant (which would be fueled by synthetic gas that is derived from coal). The plant would use a process known as "Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle."
Xcel delayed the project to study "IGCC" more thoroughly. Xcel pushed the planned completion date back to 2016. The delay was reported Tuesday, October 30, by the Denver Business Journal.