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With its vast natural gas and petroleum resources, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a veritable energy gold mine. German industry now pays roughly 15 euro cents per kWh, which is 24 percent higher than the European average. Industrial companies in Europe have realized that energy conservation is a key factor in competing with regions where electricity costs are significantly lower. Intelligent building technologies can lower energy demand by as much as 40 percent, and solutions are also available to effectively put energy guzzlers in the steel industry on a a€?dieta€?.
Examples such as these illustrate that there are many ways to increase energy efficiency in industry, some of which can also boost a company's competitiveness by reducing costs, which in turn safeguards jobs. Still, additional legislation will be required to achieve a sustained long-term reduction in energy demand.
This increase in energy efficiency is crucial for the future, because the cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy that's never used.
The German government has recognized this risk and plans to amend Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Act and pass a new law that would go into effect late in 2014. It's already clear that wind and solar power in particular will result in growing fluctuations in the energy market over time. Although it is possible to supply an industrialized country with electricity obtained solely from renewable sources, the question is: how much would that energy cost? Devices that consume energy will also have to adjust demand in near-real time to fluctuating electricity supplies in order to ensure grid stability.
Siemens has therefore created forecasting software based on neural networks to make such fluctuations and thus future electricity markets more manageable. Energy efficiency is helping to mitigate climate change and maintain economic competitiveness. The first step to taking a whole house energy efficiency approach is to find out which parts of your house use the most energy. Check the insulation levels in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. Check for holes or cracks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets that can leak air into or out of your home. Study your family's lighting needs and use patterns, paying special attention to high-use areas such as the living room, kitchen, and outside lighting. How long will it take for an investment in energy efficiency to pay for itself in energy cost savings? Do the energy saving measures provide additional benefits that are important to you (for example, increased comfort from installing double-paned, efficient windows)?
Once you assign priorities to your energy needs, you can form a whole house efficiency plan. At the same time, the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that was fueled by the century-long binge on cheap fossil fuels has now disrupted a balance in the Earth's climate that has held sway for longer than humans have walked her soil. From here on, we need to how to live with less, and yet our profligate lifestyles are still expanding, still straining the web of nature. This workshop combines the first half of the Permaculture Design Course with introduction to peak oil and climate change, and practical response strategies such as building with straw, cob, earthbags and other natural materials. A full design course is being offered at Maya Mountain Research Farm near San Pedro Colombia, Belize in March, 2010.
Tucked into the foothills of the Maya Mountains, two miles up river from the village of San Pedro Columbia in southern Belize, Maya Mountain Research Farm is a working demonstration farm and registered NGO that promotes sustainable agriculture, appropriate technology and food security using permaculture principles and applied biodiversity. Through lecture, discussion, small groups, site visits and hands on experience, participants will gain the tools to create sustainable, ecologically based homes, farms, businesses and communities.
Instructors include Albert Bates, Andrew Goodheart Brown, Maria Martinez Ros, Christopher Nesbitt and local guest experts. Albert Bates is a former lawyer, paramedic, graphic artist and author of twelve books on energy, environment and law. Maria Martinez Ros has worked as a paramedic, has degrees in psychology (University of Mexico, University of Cleveland) and studied permaculture in Bolivia.
Through hands-on sessions each day, students will gain practical experience in integrating a number of simple and valuable technologies into appropriate working solutions for any situation. The instructors are biologists, botanists, agronomists, economists and natural builders, but they also include experienced community activists, protestors, legislative aides and draftspeople, labor organizers, conscientious objectors, and geopolitical strategists who have worked out a path from here to Utopia, and the methods needed to get there intact. In the early 1970's, Australian Bill Mollison coined the word Permaculture from permanent agriculture. Unless we begin to live what we believe in we are as hypocritical as the paradigm we are trying to subvert. Permaculture is less a specific method than it is a broad based, holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the development of the human being. A permaculturist is likely to study not only horticulture and botany but also geology, climatology, entomology, landscape architecture, hydrology, ichthyology, mycology, forestry, zoology, and just about any Earth science as well as ethics, sociology, political theory, economics, theology, and other aspects of the arts and humanities. Successful permaculture-based models of land development have shown increased yield and productivity, more return for less work, less disruption of land in general, greater protection for wild lands and an overall healthier approach for people. Work with nature, rather than against the natural elements, forces, pressures, processes, agencies, and evolutions, so that we assist rather than impede natural developments. For a list of the Permculture Course schedule for this year at the Ecovillage Training Center, see our calendar and our current course descriptions. There is also a great interview with David Holmgren here, and recent talks by him here and here.
A range of good compost bins are available from the Green Shop near Stroud (they do mail order).
There is also a rather sweet video made by a community in London about how to build compost bins for a community composting scheme. Using these, your formula is: roof area in m2 x runoff coefficient x filter efficiency x rainfall in mm = annual yield in litres. 33% gets flushed, 25% is used washing ourselves, 18% is spent on drinking and in preparing food, 12.5% is used in our laundry, 8.5% is used when we do the dishes, and 3% is used to wash the car and water our vegetable gardens! There is a nice article about cob here and a good overview of the Passive House concept here.
The best report on the oil dependency of our food system was produced by Sustain and is called Eating Oil - food supply in a changing climate.

Hemenway and Todd (2001) Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, Chelsea Green Publications.
31 May 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday formally launched energy saving bulbs, otherwise known as LED (light emitting diodes), aimed at encouraging Nigerians to buy the bulbs in order to reduce the cost of energy consumption in the country. The formal launching of the bulb is a first step in government’s commitment to ensuring that reputable companies are persuaded to come to Nigeria to begin local production of the bulb as well as encourage local manufacturers of electricity bulbs to change to the energy saving bulbs. President Jonathan, who performed the ceremony at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, noted that ‘ the whole world is changing, they are phasing out the bulbs that emit so much heat to ones that save energy. It not only helps to mitigate climate change, but is also crucial for maintaining economic competitiveness a€” not just in countries with high energy costs, but also in so-called energy oases. Nevertheless, the country is investing heavily in the development of new sustainability concepts. Roland Busch, CEO of the Siemens Infrastructure & Cities Sector, whose portfolio includes the building systems used in Masdar City. A look across the Atlantic is enough to make German companies queasy, as shale gas deposits in particular have led to extremely low electricity prices for American industry (currently around five euro cents per kWh).
One conservation method involves intelligent load management systems, such as the one used by garden tool manufacturer Gardena.
Such measures not only lower energy demand and emissions; they also substantially reduce operating costs. However, much more could be done to use energy efficiency as a lever for increasing competitiveness.
Here to, competitiveness will be very important in the future because it's nearly impossible to predict the development of prices for electricity and other forms of energy. Possible measures will include focusing on less expensive technologies, utilizing a bidding process to set subsidy levels from 2017 on, and switching to a binding direct marketing system or a system in which all electricity consumers make a reasonable contribution to financing renewable energy sources. That's because the use of such sources will cause not only energy demand but also its supply to fluctuate. An example of how this might work is on display in Europe's biggest smart grid project on the Danish island of Bornholm.There, building heating units, boilers, and heat pumps automatically adjust their operation to electricity supply without reducing the comfort of residents. A home energy audit will pinpoint those areas and suggest the most effective measures for cutting your energy costs. Look for ways to use lighting controls like occupancy sensors, dimmers, or timers to reduce lighting energy use, and replace standard (also called incandescent) light bulbs and fixtures with compact or standard fluorescent lamps. Your plan will provide you with a strategy for making smart purchases and home improvements that maximize energy efficiency and save the most money. For a fee, a professional contractor will analyze how well your home's energy systems work together and compare the analysis to your utility bills.
This thermal photograph shows heat leaking from a house during those expensive winter heating months.
Efficient useOne of the major sources of man-made global warming remains the combustion of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas for power generation and heating. With the rise of the industrial economies of China and India, and the population growing by a third in two decades, liquid fuels production is steadily falling behind demand. Participants will learn ecology, energy and resource conservation, social and community skills, and the economics of environmental sustainability. He produced two films on ecovillages, is the founder of the Ecovillage Network of the Americas, and was a central figure in the creation of the Global Ecovillage Network, where he currently serves as UN representative.
He has worked in agroforestry and cacao for much of the last 20 years and serves on the board of directors of Maya Mountain Research Farm, and is the on site manager. But don't think permaculture is just another fancy gardening method because it is much more than agriculture or gardening, it is about addressing the most serious issues of how we humans choose to live on this planet, how we use resources and whether we have any concern for future generations. Through ongoing evaluation and adjustments and a flexible, dynamic outlook, the permaculture approach provides outstanding benefits to the home gardener, commercial market gardeners, and full-scale agricultural operations in all types of climates from the desert to the tropics, alpine mountains to temperate plains.
It is only how we see things that makes them advantageous or not (if the wind blows cold, let us use both its strength and coolness to advantage). This has been refined by the original authors and others over the past 30 years and is now a standard 72-hour certification course. This means that individuals or business enterprises attempting to apply the mark in a commercial or educational setting will incur legal liabilities to the owners of the mark. An excellent resource on community peak oil activism, and organisers of the Community Solution conference each year.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems near Stroud sell all you need for rainwater harvesting, as do ISS Solutions for Water and FreeRain. This allows for loss of rainwater, from evaporation or from overflows before it reaches the tanks. Offer independent advice and information about renewable energy options, and the availability of grants. Aims to clear away the confusion and dispel the myths and misconceptions about topics such as climate change and DIY energy. We will continue to work hard to stabilise power and as we work hard, this is a big country, it will take us up to a year to create the awareness across the country and we don’t need to wait until we stabilise power before we begin to talk about changing our bulbs. All is to conserve energy and also for safety reasons because it is good to off the sockets and bulbs that we are not using. Bart Nnaji, in his remarks noted that the urban poor as well as rural dwellers would especially benefit from the usage of the bulb as it would not cost them too much.
Ironically, among the key cost drivers in this area are the efforts of European countries to develop concepts for battling rapidly evolving climate change. This price is unmatched by any other country, although China and India are close behind in the electricity cost rankings. Meanwhile, in Germany, emissions from electricity generation rose by around three percent during the same year. The company uses a system that automatically regulates power use in a manner that prevents load peaks. Research projects such as one in which Siemens is working with Volkswagen and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to optimize the movements, and thus the energy use, of automotive industry robots illustrate that energy efficiency will become the order of the day in the future. For example, a new directive stipulates that in the period from 2014 to 2020 EU member states will have to achieve annual energy savings equal to 1.5 percent of their annual average energy demand between 2010 and 2012. The reform is meant to slow further increases in electricity prices while retaining the goals of the energy transition.

A key question here, therefore, is what share of energy from renewable sources can be allowed into the grid without destabilizing it, while ensuring low prices. However, this won't be sufficient for the future, when the supply of energy from renewables will have to be planned several days in advance in order to ensure an appropriate response time to weather-related fluctuations. You can conduct a simple home energy audit yourself, you can contact your local utility, or you can call an independent energy auditor for a more comprehensive examination. He or she will use a variety of equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras, and surface thermometers to find leaks and drafts. Prices for gasoline, home energy, plastics, air travel, food, and many other consumer goods are now entering an upward spiral that will only get steeper. He has lectured at universities and government agencies and worked on natural buildings, village infrastructure, and sustainable development on 6 continents.
He also designs and installs renewable energy systems in protected areas, rural lighting systems, and photovoltaic pumping systems.
Much of the discussion about permaculture focuses on gardening, horticulture or design issues, however, the foundation of the permaculture movement rests on deep philosophical questions about living sustainably, caring for the earth and the people. A corollary of this is that everything is a positive resource; it is just up to us how we may use it as such.
The owners have set up a general policy to allow free licensing of the use of the mark to any graduate of an authorized permaculture design certification course. You can watch an excellent film produced by Greenpeace about decentralised energy systems here. The group’s thoughts on how to transition towards natural building can be found here. A valuable guide to some of the more unusual plants that might grace a permaculture garden. Only yesterday we were talking about grow local, eat local and buy local, encouraging Nigerians to begin to patronise Nigerian-made products. We realise that in this country, probably because it is government that pays the bills, in public offices and houses where government pay bills, people leave light on in day time. It calls for the construction of a completely CO2-free and environmentally-compatible urban settlement in Abu Dhabi. Thanks to the use of sustainable materials and, more importantly, Siemens technologies, the energy demand of the new Siemens headquarters is equivalent to that of a low-energy building in Germany.
Over the long term, only limited quantities of natural gas and petroleum will be available even in the Middle East. Another example is offered by a flat-glass manufacturer that uses production waste heat to generate electricity. Alexander Fleischanderl, Head of Technology and Innovation Management and ECO Solutions at Siemens VAI Metals Technologies in Linz, Austria.
Although it seems theoretically possible to supply an industrialized country such as Germany with electricity obtained solely from renewable sources it's not clear how much that would cost. After gathering information about your home, the contractor or auditor will give you a list of recommendations for cost-effective energy improvements and enhanced comfort and safety.
Financial institutions and instruments, predicated on access to unlimited energy and products backed only by paper values, are imploding. She has 15 years experience in permaculture, and has worked in Yucatan for the last 5 years.
Authority to give such courses and bestow certificates rests with regional Permaculture Institutes.
King Hubbert, Geophysicist, this website provides data, analysis and recommendations regarding the upcoming peak in the rate of global oil extraction. A very thorough overview of the compost toilet options available to you, covered in typical CAT thoroughness.
Where I got all the specifications on pot sizes for trees in small back gardens (or front gardens for that matter I suppose…). Despite some planning changes and construction delays, Masdar City is still expected to be completed in a few years.
The outer shell consists of metal panels that are aligned with the changing position of the sun throughout the day, ensuring sufficient shade. Countries are therefore investing in their future to ensure continued prosperity after the age of fossil fuels comes to an end.
The country's extensive promotion of renewable energy has caused prices for a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity to skyrocket. What is clear is that effective energy storage solutions and flexible and highly efficient gas-fired power plants would be required, as this would ensure that the grid could be replenished within minutes when wind or sunshine fail. A good contractor will also calculate the return on your investment in high-efficiency equipment compared with standard equipment. A recent article in the Guardian gave some useful information on the financial payback of various renewable options. A scholarly yet readable guide to all the elements (stone, timber, cob etc) that made up our architectural heritage. Since January 2014, one of the city's buildings in particular has been offering a preview of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient life in the desert a€” the new Siemens headquarters for the Middle East, which has received LEED Platinum certification for its outstanding energy efficiency. At the same time, glazed courtyards reflect sunlight into the building's public spaces below and thus into the building's offices as well.
The software also enables us to manage conventional power plants as back-up systems more efficiently, and thus at a lower cost.a€? These examples offer hope that Europe can make a virtue of necessity, or at least know the challenges it faces if European industry is to continue competing on the world market, even as its energy costs remain high. These gases would be produced in an environmentally friendly manner through electrolysis and methanization using surplus power from wind and solar facilities. The efforts made here might even lead to the creation of new products and solutions that will actually give Europe a competitive edge in the post fossil-fuel era. After all, who would have thought just a few years ago that a building in a desert climate could be as comfortable and efficient as a low-energy building in Germany?

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