December 1, 2011

sustainable energy - without the hot air

the tl;dr summary - this stuff is hard. really, really hard, there are no easy answers and ones ability to make effective personal changes in their lifestyle has depressingly limited impact.

sure, you can put a turbine on your roof, but the impact is negligible. PV on the roof top is a good thing if you’re in the right area, etc.. still, there’s a lot of retooling that needs to be done, and that’s going to chew up carbon. in a stroke of, go check my math, brilliance, all the content is online. (http://www.withouthotair.com) go check the facts, go check out the analysis, run the numbers for yourself. more books should do this. particularly those on contentious topics.

p229 - has a rather handy chart that outlines individual actions which can have a rather profound impact on your personal energy footprint. going vegetarian has some notable bonus points in addition to the health benefits.

something resembling a review

this book was a birthday present from my folks this year and i’ve finally got around to reading it. i really should have prioritized it much higher in the reading queue since it’s proven to be a most illuminating read. over the past few years i’ve been doing a surprising amount of reading on the topic of climate change, sustainability and energy economics. the majority of this reading has been polemics on either side of the topic or pretty academic in nature. this book is a nerds approach to the personal application of various energy technologies and their mapping to ones personal energy consumption. if you’re at all interested on the topic of the viability of a wide range of sustainable energy mechanisms this is probably the definitive source. if you’re inclined, there’s plenty of technical detail in here for the folks that really want to get into an analysis of the relative performance or applicability one energy technology vs. another.

the narrative throughout the book is a look at what your personal energy utilization is (skewed towards the behaviors of a UK reader) and then layers a range of sustainable energy technologies against this energy use and shows how much of each technology would be required to address your energy use. the scenarios are readily digestible and if you’re genuinely interested in the viability of living a sustainable lifestyle or getting an understanding where you should be pushing for technological development in either the market or regulatory space i can’t recommend this book enough.

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