Sunday, July 26, 2009

focusing the cyrstal mouse, don't blink

As you know Linuxville is a virtual place in the hearts of all Linux users. If it were a real place we would be stretching to use what ever technology we have at our disposal. I like to focus on the home front because that is where the practical effect of progress is to be felt. Yeah, we all know some businesses have the money to do this stuff (if they want to invest), but us home folk never seem to get it until years later.

I live in a small city. It is an older post industrial city (nobody here will admit that post part!). There is too much talk about revival of industry of the same nature, scale, scope and reuse of infrastructure. I can hear Springsteen singing "Glory Days". The problem is that most of the older era folks are near to retirement and the younger only want that kind of work if they can't find anything else.

Then the governor wants to put green technology here. So we got a couple of wind turbines to tack onto the grid. Oh, we are making progress in the green direction. The smidgen of power produced is not noticed and most of us don't care where our energy comes from, nor can we say, we just flip the switch. The only green things we can do is buy mercury laced light bulbs, double pane windows and wall/ceiling insulation. If I could afford to buy solar panels and a wind turbine for my home there would need to be new ordinances on the books and insurance options. We don't have flag poles, we won't have home wind turbines on poles either (at least in the city).

How will the green effect sweep down into our lives on a level where we can touch it, see it, feel it? If this does not happen, we will always resist anything dubbed green.

Let the city have it's whirly pin-wheels in the sky, it is a good symbol of green, but plugging them into the existing grid is tacky in small numbers. I would have used that nearly free energy to power a wind turbine factory to make more turbines for us.

On the home front I would install a low power subsystem, first in a group of houses, then a block. On or near these homes put solar arrays and those vertical wind turbines and some batteries, not to power the whole house but the subsystems. On this subsystem the first item would be lighting. GE, an American company, is developing OLED lighting, that's Organic Light Emitting Diodes. It is thin as a sheet of paper and is low power, yet will light a room at way lower energy requirements. Our communications, computers and entertainment stuff would also be on this subsystem, so the AC adapter would become an antique over time. A big part of our living just became low powered, green, off-grid........ things we use daily.

Then we slowly begin to add other green ways and means to our homes. The point is to lower SOME of the demand side. We don't need to insist solar cells and wind turbines meet ALL our needs before we jump into it. This all or nothing view is killing our efforts and support. We could call the few homes a "Green Village", having local contractors and local trade schools working side by side to practice installing and applying green technology. It would spread as green technology and products here find usefulness and value in the lives of actual people. It buys us time as we develop greener products to replace the energy guzzlers we have in the home.

Will that be gas or electric please? There should be city cars like the Smartcar, I would want something a tad bit bigger, then for long trips I could lease or rent a fuel efficient distance car. Maybe personal car ownership is not the best way. A car dealer could be a one stop shop. You could rent or lease, get insurance, mechanic service, any car related service, etc, etc, etc.

Small homes should be discounted for military folks and for college grads to stay and build communities. Larger homes should remain an incentive for those who can afford them. We should change our attitude about smaller homes, make them energy efficient and desirable and resist unreasonable pricing, and............ it getting fuzzy, you blinked.

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