Posted by: energyblogwalter | December 31, 2011

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: energyblogwalter | August 7, 2011

Not a gem but a first attempt generational home

Globe and Mail article here with photos

Not bad as a first attempt for generational home in Mississauga. Not my usual review of a condo, but it has characteristics more of a condo than a house. For the author to call it “stunner” though was too much. Is this really that good?

If it’s over two lots doesn’t that mean twice the tax? That’s fine but what plan is in place to reduce energy to alleviate those costs? Looking at the photos (follow G&M link above), that kitchen / living room area looks pretty artificial. Do people live there? No natural light incorporation makes the ceiling pretty bland. No wood. No skylights. I can assume 100% external energy requirements. (Nuclear power, natural gas) No net metering at this home, especially with a heated pool.

Why not let the Planet Earth help you? (Y’know .. we live on a planet yeah?) Renovated with geothermal tubes under the pool and around the lot would have cut the winter home heating. Water is a great thermal sink. Add solar on a packing crate no one would have noticed. Even solar thermal might have helped heat the pool. Certainly offset some costs. An interesting rain cache would have been easy as a funnel between the two blocks. Would have helped with a garden and such to keep summer light off the building reducing air conditioning. Doesn’t seem to be enough trees as the kids are playing in the shade of the building. House is not blocking summer sun much, so site characteristics were missed. You usually only need to block one side, opening up the other. One long line doesn’t use the space. Do they look comfortable to you in that group shot?

As a generational home such renovations would not be outrageous versus a traditional home. Thus having avoided it seems like a voided opportunity.

As a new project you have total site characteristic control. Pointing the building with a side with the most windows towards the winter sunlight direction would also have saved a bunch. Not the summer sun, you’re trying to avoid that. But even in summer the angle would have been enough to light up house or the kitchen or whatever design that conjures up.

It has many things going for it, but it doesn’t know where it is, so it seems out of place. Renovation in future will depend on available energy needs. Fine now, but seems too large for the need in a post carbon society. That may hamper efforts while always fighting the design.

Post Carbon Rating: C+

King Square
King Square

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/810797–asian-mall-set-to-be-largest-in-north-america

Nice for the 1990s maybe, but the mall-century is over

This is an unfortunate development. If we are to get serious about lower energy consumption then a(nother) colossal mall isn’t the way to go, nor any more parking lagoons. If it was made into a mini village area of 3-5 storey buildings then surface area green-roof with geothermal install would be amazing. This design though is 100% nuclear dependent and will not last. We need to build smarter. That would be a better investment.

Posted by: energyblogwalter | March 20, 2010

Re: Texas university has eureka moment for coal-to-gas

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/texas-university-has-eureka-moment-for-coal-to-gas/article1502823

(email to author:Neil Reynolds)

While an interesting article the comments as they relate to available
coal amounts do not take into account population and rates of
consumption, nor a base year since consumption rates are in constant
change. In fact there is no discussion of the data you used at all
for these assumptions.

Since coal consumption rates would go up in the use of this (new coal-to-gas) technology you cannot argue that it would last a long time, since that is based on current technology not the new one. Thus if the consumption rate went up, the finite resource would deplete faster and not last hundreds of years.

To explain and illustrate this very important point, please view
Arithmetic Population and Energy (2002) from Dr. Bartlett here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY . His analysis of coal is
particularly germane. I think it runs about 70 minutes but I highly
recommend it. I promise you won’t see your own article the same way
afterwards.

He first explains the exponential function but will get to discussing
various energy systems and the coal situation in the United States.
While a bit dated this video does reward repeat viewing and I hope you
will enjoy it.

After which you can re-read your article and note your own
assumptions. I hope as a result your analysis would incur more
interesting directions.

Best Regards,
Walter

Posted by: energyblogwalter | March 13, 2010

Real Condo Critic: Luna, 8 Telegram Mews

Omega density project for the environmental criminally insane

http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/columnsblogs/article/778060–condo-critic-cityplace-proving-its-critics-wrong

8 Telegram Mews is so new you can’t even Google it. But what’s in a name, Telegram Mews??? What kind of psychotropic delusion are we selling here? Mews is probably what this elephant destroyed. Why are people sold on living inside ironic graves? Forever more people will regard this as a joke of a name. A joke on everything we destroyed.

mews, (usually used with a singular verb) Chiefly British.
a. (formerly) an area of stables built around a small street.

b. a street having small apartments converted from such stables.

Maybe this Prozac name is distracting you from the real vision of a new money-machine human-less office tower? A future prison? A new sky farm? We can hardly tell from its looks, but no that would be wrong. Apparently this was INTENTIONALLY designed for people as their Dream Condo! What a bunch of suckers. Why not get something worthy of your humanity?

Certainly if your dream condo is yet another faceless colourless glass covered packing crate with matching balconies no definition of character and no hope of surviving Peak Oil, you have a winner and I apologize. Probably matches your faceless packing crate company office and your faceless packing crate cubicle. Surely you must be used to concrete and glass by now.

All the humanity of a place to live, all that was supposed to restore your humanity, has instead been steam-cleaned away replaced by yet another concrete and glass fortress with all the charm of a broom closet. Plan on taking many vacations…from where you live.

However, 38 storeys and 18 storeys jammed with people do not have access to enough energy from the sun or earth in order to support itself. Too many appliances and amenities and thus requires 100% external energy inputs (NG, nuclear). If we stop building like this, not be afraid to spread out a bit, we can then include the planet systems and live at a higher quality with cheaper energy and without nuclear. Goldilocks Lot level, not too few, not too many, just enough. That’s how earth’s renewable energy works. Scaled to a human level you’d get a more marketplace size, 2-3 storey village. This best possible outcome even with a renovation is not happening here. Not even in a dream.

Without access to land, or enough roof space, no one here will have a garden. Nor is a cellar possible unless the underground parking is converted. Condo fees will be brutal as the fine print will tell you no reduction due to solar, if you’re lucky to have the sunny side. People will move out in a few years and look for a place to really live when the joyless faceless glass delusion dies down.

This is off the scale. Major dependency in any city is the need to import 100% of our food. But with Peak Oil transportation upheavel inevitable, this place will have way too many people for the lot size, needing way too many resources with ZERO fallback position possible. What a disaster.

How can this be renovated to accommodate? As for now, you’ll know where to go when this place is abandoned due to food demand overshoot. This will keep ample supplies of local glass for new greenhouses. Later, demolish to 3-4 storeys with green roof garden, gardens around it and geothermal and solar thermal installs. Ground floor business, upper floors residence. In a village format marketplace can grow 30% or more local food. This current monster just pancakes the lot into oblivion.

We will have to learn that we can’t have everyone living on one spot, make local energy, and supplement with local foods. More surface area like a village marketplace means lots of roof space thus sun, land food gardens easy, and happy people who know their neighbours. A place to really live.

Therefore total demolition will give something for people to do, let alone help the neighbours from being blotted out from the sun. Otherwise may make a nice sky farm for water retention to grow some local vegetables, or after demo go for a village square. That’s a lot of work though and it would really have to be worth the effort.

Post Peak Oil Rating : FFFFFF

Posted by: energyblogwalter | February 25, 2010

Re: Bike lanes an election winner for Rossi :: Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/771020–bike-lanes-an-election-winner-for-rossi#article

(email)
To Mr Hepburn and Letter to Editor;

Thanks for the good laugh. According to City of Toronto’s own statistics, the “Largest increase in utilitarian cycling (is) in (the) suburbs. Although Toronto-East York has the highest proportion of utilitarian cyclists, the largest increase has occurred in the suburbs: Etobicoke increased from 15% to 26%; North York increased from 11% to 25%; Scarborough increased from 14% to 22%. Also noted that cycling by adults had increased from 48% in 1999 to 54% in 2009.

This should be retitled “Bike lanes an election winner” denoting instead support in the population. Given this clear and obvious trend, a candidate who bridges the issue between cars and bikes fairly, not create a wedge, can win the election. Instead we read indignation, instigation and culpability in ignoring trends.

When Tory lost provincially, there too he thought better of democracy and of the trends, with inevitable results. In this case we have actual statistics which took all of 5 seconds to find from the city’s own toronto.ca/cycling website. Thus if Rossi pursues this issue as a wedge instead of a bridge his loss is more likely and not less so.

Given this data and its ease of finding, it’s difficult to accept the analysis here and highlights more a knee-jerk reaction to instigate fear rather than build, even grudging acceptance. This unfortunately speaks to a delusion of some drivers who think they own the road, when it is in fact shared by the city. The issue is safe cycling and accepting reality because there will be no new roads built, and outlets to reducing increased traffic must be enthusiastically embraced for the best positive outcome. But hey, that takes leadership and bridge building. Something that unfortunately neither Rossi nor this author can find as the underlying deeper cogent election issue.

With Best Regards,
Walter

P.S.
Sources:
City of Toronto website http://www.toronto.ca/cycling
Key Findings: http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/reports/pdf/2010-survey-backgrounder.pdf

Posted by: energyblogwalter | February 13, 2010

Real Condo Critic: 1 Cole St.


ok… if a construction truck at the front door fits right in without distraction, your building is a Total Industrial Lemon. Congrats.

http://www.yourhome.ca/homes/columnsblogs/article/763649–hume-new-life-at-dundas-and-parliament

For a corner riddled with problems in the past, this new unhappy packing crate with balconies has decided to solve a lack of character with a lack of presence. Planners score 10 demoralization points.

I don’t get it. This is another building designed on a table, not designed for the corner. Does this speak to you as a residence? As a citizen? As Kunstler would say, a place worth caring about? You’d never know from looking at this that it’s on a corner. Compare this to other corner condos say in St. Lawrence Market that don’t impose on you, they welcome. Trees easily incorporated on balconies there, but not here. How can you screw that up? 1 Cole. There is nothing welcoming here. Ironically this view should get daytime sun or westward light, but there is little to suggest this opportunity to incorporate attributes of the site into a stronger balcony system. Even buttressed out to take in more, or more open space, not so set back to waste all that free energy. This is a building that doesn’t know it lives on a planet.

For height at 7 storeys this is ideal and would easily survive a minor demolition to 5 or less storeys during Peak Oil. Even just removing the top shack would offer increased gardening potential, with greenery instantly improving the scene. No doubt zero geothermal was added to the building which is unfortunate bad planning. As it tries to diminish 100% energy dependency it could incorporate more sun into a central atrium depending on site characteristics. A whole new raised gardening front possible. But the brick here is just like the balconies, tacked on a steel frame, so renovation in reality may be more problematic than if it was real brick design. Positive outcome possible.

Post Carbon Rating: D

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