Getting started with Appropedia[edit | edit source]

Before you begin, take your time to read about Appropedia on Appropedia:About and what we consider to be Appropriate_technology. After this, explore some resources to help you to collaborate in creating and editing content:

Week 1 - Problem definition[edit | edit source]

Focus Proposal[edit | edit source]

(Dom) Petroleum burning cars make up 97% of automobile sales in the United States. This means there is an opportunity to flip big oil on its head. I would like to focus on production of alcohol fuel, which can be utilized in standard octane burning engines. The best place to start is small scale. Most people have small engines in their household, lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers, etc. I will be starting very small scale as in testing fuel on my own equipment. Once I achieve sufficient results, I would like to expand to the Tahoe area. Distillation will be a major factor both in time and resources. I am going to attempt to distil my own alcohol fuel, my findings will dictate the path forward. Sources:

Focus Proposal: Solar Powered Ski Lifts --Logan Meyer[edit | edit source]

Canvas Solar Powered Ski Lifts.png

Ski resorts have always had to tread lightly when it comes to being sustainable. Many ski resorts across America operate on or near parts of national forestry land that is partially protected. With this being the case, ski resorts wish to promote more sustainable practices throughout their operations. I think that if the amount of energy being consumed at a resort can be reduced, it would be a huge positive for the environment all together. I am going to design a solar panel system that will allow ski resorts to harness the energy of the sun and convert it into usable power to operate their mountain. On average it takes close to 400kW to run a ski lift at a given time. If enough solar panels can be installed, we can make the lift self-sustaining. The solar panels are going to be designed to be put on top of ski lifts where they will be out of the way and not as noticeable to the public. Our target community is obviously ski resorts, but primarily ski resorts that receive the most amount of sunlight during the winter. My project will go on to discuss the many questions surrounding the installation of solar panels, snow cover and will take a deeper look into the numbers. I think that if ski resorts install these solar panels, they can ultimately save money on their overall expenses, while being more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Sources:

Focus Proposal by (ADRIAN RHOMBERG)[edit | edit source]

Even though an increasing amount of organic waste is recycled and reused, the degradation of waste in the landfill results in the production of leachate and gases. These emissions, which are mostly methane and other toxic gases, are potential threats to human health and to the quality of the environment. Considering the exposure of human beings to toxic gases, landfill sites contribute roughly 20% of the global anthropogenic methane emissions. Therefore, automatic aerobic decomposition of organic waste with the help of a smart and environmental friendly technology in form of a solar panel can help waste management companies and individual households in the Tahoe area to sustainably decompose their waste. Additionally, the resulting organic soil can be used in gardens and agriculture to create a cycle that protects/supports the environment.


FOCUS PROPOSAL -Grayson Crump[edit | edit source]

The tops of ski resort mountains see extremely powerful winds often. It's been shown that harnessing the power of wind can greatly help out with running a ski resort (Jiminy Peak in MA), and I think it would be awesome to get this around to resorts in Tahoe. However, I don't think the same massive kind of windmill would work at most resorts in the area due to difficulty with terrain and likely upset visitors and locals. So I want to look into designing and setting up numerous smaller, more versatile windmills that don't stick out and ruin the view of the landscape as much and putting them at the windiest parts of the mountain to help out with running the resort.

FOCUS PROPOSAL-Michelle Williams[edit | edit source]

Agricultural waste has been rising rapidly all over the world. Putting on the lens of a Radical Mycologist, I will be implementing an open source mushroom cultivation center for resiliency and food security within the community. This center will be an easily built yurt style building that gives the community autonomy in their building and placement. Not only will it be a biodynamic mushroom cultivation farm and hub for education but will also produce appropriate mushroom technologies, or mycotechnologies, for cleaning pollution (mycoremediation), filtering water (mycofiltration), composting, textiles, and biofuel. The idea of these mushroom hubs is that the waste of one is useful for another, as there is no such thing as waste, as well as giving a community the tools and resources they need to repair their landscapes and restore vitality within the community. These mushroom hubs will create an integrated mushroom economy steering us away from our addiction to fossil fuels. The focus audience will be the most vulnerable communities that have been negatively impacted by climate change and environmental racism. "[1]"

FOCUS PROPOSAL-Sam Rusak[edit | edit source]

My proposal for a sustainable alternative energy source is the G-Bike. The G-Bike is an accessory that can fit on the back of almost all bikes, where it collects kinetic energy from the rotation of the back tire. The G-Bike uses the rotation of the back tire to spin a turbine in the system that creates electricity to then be stored in a battery. From there the battery can be plugged in and stored into a larger, separate battery in the house. After a while of pedaling, the power that is created can then be used to power different electronics in the house when there is a power outage, or natural disaster.

My target market at the moment is going to start out with people in the northern California area who are interested in or already interested in being fit and being sustainable. The G-Bike is a great motivator to workout and go on bike rides because not only will you be creating a reserve of electricity for emergencies, but will be anaerobically exercising at the same time. Once the G-Bike is being sold locally around the Northern California area, I hope to continue the growth of the product until it can be used in “developing” countries around the world to produce clean, sustainable electricity for those who do not have it.

This will be a very positive impact for those communities because it will give them a clean source of electricity and will allow them to further develop their communities. Any amount of pedaling that will occur will allow them to have lights at night, or run small appliances to make their everyday lives that much easier. The G-Bike will also allow them to get off of burning dangerous fuels such as kerosene, that is dangerous to burn in small, enclosed, and not ventilated buildings.

Focus Proposal-Zac McCreight[edit | edit source]

The use of fossil fuels at the rate our society uses them has a direct negative impact on our global climate, the environment, and different groups of people throughout the world. It is about time that we start using renewable energy, and greatly reduce our fossil fuel consumption. There are many different forms of renewable energy, some of the major ones being: Wind, hydropower, and solar. Using just one type is not the answer, but using all three in the best manner is. Although large scale renewable energy is needed, small scale renewable energy is also needed. I propose building a small, portable power plant capable of harnessing energy from sunlight, wind, and water. Small scale solar panels, hydropower turbines, and wind turbines are all being sold already, but individually. This device would allow people to use hydropower when near a stream, solar power when it's sunny, and wind power when it is windy. This combination of all three types of energy will allow for power no matter where you are. between all three, there will never be a place or time you can't get power. It can be great for camping or van life, but it can also be brought to developing nations.

Focus Proposal-Tyler Sites[edit | edit source]

For my focus proposal I want to try and convert a ski resort to run entirely on renewable energy. It is an industry that is greatly affected by climate change however it still uses a lot of energy themselves. I would most likely start with a smaller resort, something sizable to Diamond Peaks. This will be my target community. I want to research different ways to make the lifts run off solar and wind energy. From what I have gathered so far, lifts use anywhere from 7.5kW - 750kW depending on their size and capacity. I also know that the average wind turbine can produce up to 2 mega watts of energy. I was also thinking about ways to have one end of the lift become its own generator by using different gear ratios to spin a generator that would put power back into the system. This in conjunction with solar panels on every building possible.

The ski industry is something I am very passionate about and it is where I am hoping to be working for the rest of my life. I obviously want it to stick around as long as it possibly can and I feel that ski resorts also need to be doing their part to be as green as possible.

Focus Proposal- Sam McChesney[edit | edit source]

Preface: In modern times, so many businesses and institutions are working to create a more sustainable future, and so many positive ideas have been brought to fruition. From green initiatives such as recycling or composting, to actively re-strategizing to reduce carbon footprints, efforts are being made everywhere. Currently I am in Slovenia, where my girlfriend's parents own and operate a large metal forging company called Marovt. They forge parts for all sorts of industries, such as automobile, nautical, firearm, and medical, and their production facility is large. They are working to create a closed loop system, in order to create a much more sustainable production process. After talking with Tomaš Marovt, the CEO of the company, I learned about a very unique idea that I will work on planning and refining.

The idea: The plan is to construct a parking garage next to the production plant, with a large greenhouse on top. This greenhouse will operate year round to grow local, organic vegetables. However, it gets very cold here in the wintertime, so there needs to be a heat source to keep the vegetables alive. This is where the production plant comes into play. Everyday their plant produces large amounts of heat from multiple sources. First, an induction heating coil is used to heat the raw material before it goes into the forging process. This coil is cooled using water that flows in a closed loop system, but before the water can be re-circulated, it has to cool down. The water will be re-routed into a heat exchange system in the greenhouse, with fans blowing the heat into it. The second source is generated after the material has gone through the forging process. After it has been forged the metal is still extremely hot, and needs to cool down. The heat being released from the cooling process will be captured, and also routed into the greenhouse. These two sources together will keep the greenhouse heated and operating for the cooler fall and winter months, to successfully produce local organic vegetables for sale and giving, all year round.

Focus Proposal- Laura Ethans[edit | edit source]

Plastic is made and it stays that way; some pieces of plastic can exist for up to 1,000 years. With over 8.3 billion metric tons of it produced the Earth is quite literally chocking on hardened pieces of the same petro oils in our atmosphere that accelerated the climate crisis. Although traditional recycling is the pushed as the core solution, society has only successfully recycled 2% of these products in the past 50 years. Even if society is able to achieve a complete reduction of plastic production, these pieces will still be littering the environment for generations to come. However, there have been massive advancements in research for new techniques to tackle plastic pollution, including utilizing a mushroom species, Pestalotiopsis microspore, that consumes polyurethane and converts it to organic matter. In addition, these fungi can live without oxygen, which suggests enormous potential for feeding on our over-flowing landfills. My focus proposal is to design a decomposing unit able to transfigure plastic products back into organic matter for Sierra Nevada University. As a test site, the school would be able to develop and participate in an innovative solution towards evolving into a more sustainable campus.

Focus Proposal- Clayton Fritschi[edit | edit source]

South Tucson is the fifth poorest city in America today. Being located in the desert, Tucson receives a lot of sunlight time throughout the day. In fact, more average sunlight annually than any other state and on average, 3852 hours of sunlight per year. I think this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the amount of solar energy that can be used by households in Tucson. Now with Tucson being the fifth poorest town in the united states, many homes aren’t going to be able to afford entire Solar grids to power their homes completely. This is, however, getting them started down the path of saving money and the planet. Even on a small scale, Tucson residents need all the help they can get when it comes to paying the bills. The goals and objectives of this research project are to devise a plan that shows the residents of Tucson just how beneficial solar panels can be and plan DIY solar panels to power household electronics for the residents of Tucson.

Focus Proposal--Owen Greene[edit | edit source]

For my focus proposal, quite similar to Tyler's, I am going to convert a ski resort to become mostly, if not completely, sustainable. I am planning on using a mix of wind and solar energy along with rain catchment systems. My original idea was to convert a small town to using only wind and solar energy. As I was researching that I thought I might as well try a ski resort instead, because I'm a Ski Bus major. I started off researching big wind turbines until I realized that they are expensive, ugly, and somewhat dangerous. Though, if I were to use them, they can generate up to 2.5 mw per hour. I then came across smaller wind turbines that can go on tops of buildings and lift towers as well as being put in the ground in high, treeless areas. These smaller wind turbines can generate up to 100 kw per hour. I haven't done more research on solar or rain catchment systems, but I plan to incorporate both of those into the conversion of the resort. With the research I've done and the knowledge I have of ski resorts, converting one to become full sustainable seems like an unreachable goal. But I'll give it my best shot as I'm sure Tyler will, too.

Focus Proposal-Cameron Brod[edit | edit source]

In our world today, about 4.5 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation and about one billion people do not have access to power. These two problems can be solved in many different communities with one simple solution, creating biofuel from human waste. This very short and efficient process is called hydrothermal liquefaction(HTL) and turns about 60% of the excrement into biofuel. Implementing this system into powerless communities will help boost their economy while giving them the benefits of electricity. This will create benefit from something that would have been considered a burden and waste before. I think that this system would be most beneficial to communities without basic sanitation or power because it will simultaneously improve both problems. It won’t be a simple task, but the benefits will outweigh the time and effort put into the implementation.

Focus Proposal-Jason Dahl[edit | edit source]

For my alternative energy idea I want to create a small community that runs off only renewable energy. The town will be located in the remote mountains of Montana. We are going to make use of all 3 types of renewable energy in their best ways. Also when building the village the structures will be built sustainably, using sustainable materials and building methods like adding extra windows for more sunlight. There will also be a rain catchment system on all the roofs to maximize our water use. The town will also need to be located next to a river so we can use the current to make hydroelectricity. Solar panels will also be incorporated into the designs of the buildings when being constructed. Finally we are going to design lower scale wind turbines that will be placed on top of ridges in the windiest spots. The town is not supposed to be that big because the capabilities of micro power is only so little, but from the combination of all 3 systems and just a generally sustainable lifestyle the village should be able to hold 4-5 small families.

Focus Proposal - Frankie Sanchez[edit | edit source]

The scalability of mixed hybrid energy systems is what makes them so adaptable to different environments. Mixed hybrid energy systems combine the ability to harness wind, solar, hydroelectric and/or geothermal power. By combining the ability to harness multiple sources of energy allows for adaptability and scalability. Mixed hybrid systems can be used on a micro level to power a single house/tiny home, but they can also be designed to generate and store energy on larger scales if it is appropriate. For my research, I want to look into the efficiency of mixed hybrid systems (mainly wind and solar) at different scales, micro, macro and somewhere in between.

1.3 billion people around the world don’t have access to electricity. I want to research how efficient mixed hybrid systems can be and their potential to bring energy independence to people in these countries that don’t have access to energy/electricity. I want to look into how a slightly larger scale mixed hybrid systems can generate electricity at a communal level as well. Through this I hope to gain a better understanding of the efficiency of mixed hybrid systems, when and where to use them and how easy it is to scale them up or down and when it is appropriate to do so. I want to look into the details of how many kw/h’s are needed to properly supply energy at different scales and in different regions. (Frankie Sanchez)

“Facts on Energy Access.” Facts on Energy Access, Energising Development, 2018,

Focus Proposal- The Garden Mobile The production of food accounts for 68% of emissions, while transportation accounts for 5%. Food production emissions consist mainly of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (NO2), and methane (CH4), which result primarily from agricultural practices. The term "local" is not a legally defined term. For some retailers it means within 100 miles of a store, while others define it as within the same state or within a generally defined region. Although there has been a rise in farmers markets, people still have trouble finding time to get to go to a farmers market, or just don't see it as enough of a convenience to them. My proposal is to build a Garden Mobile. I want to find an old, large van and cut off the roof of the back, or find a pickup truck with a large bed and convert it to an electric powered vehicle. Then, i would grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables in the back or at my house using a grey water system to water them and create some sort of app or call number where people can pretty much pick out what they want to buy. Then I would drive to their house with all the mature plants available, ready for picking, in the vehicle and allow them to pick their own fruit and vegetables. This would create a new, fun experience with the consumer encouraging eating of locally sourced food and also eliminate the large CO2 emissions produced through the production and transportation of large scale farms. It would be the real deal of fresh local food but provide a new and fun meaning to the term from farm to table. - Jake Pranke

Week 2 - Users definition[edit | edit source]

Use this article to discuss your user personas.

  • Who are your users?
  • What are their interests/needs?
  • What kinds of activities do they need to perform?
  • What are they unhappy about? (pains)
  • What are they looking to achieve? (gains)

Solar Powered Ski Lifts (Logan Meyer) • Who are your users? Users and early adopters are primarily ski resorts with ski lifts. Depending our success, we may start targeting residential users living in snowy environments. • What are their interests/needs? Ski resorts are interested largely in being sustainable and practicing environmental stewardship. A specific need they all have is cutting costs where they can. By installing our solar panels, they will be able to cut their operating costs. Ski resorts will be able to be more self-sustaining rely less on the power grid. • What kinds of activities do they need to perform? Ski resorts need to be able to host large amounts of people during the day and provide them with excellent service and a fun experience on the mountain. Resorts also want to give guests the feeling of satisfaction that they are supporting an environmentally sustainable business. In order to show that a resort is sustainable, solar panels will bring a positive look. If resorts are spending less on operating costs, they can spend money in other divisions to better enhance the experience for their customers.

• What are they unhappy about? (pains) Resorts are generally unhappy about spending too much on annual operating costs. They also are unhappy when the EPA gives them bad ratings and reports about how they are not a sustainable business. When a resort is dependent on the power grid for supplying power, they are supporting non-renewable energy sources. This gives resorts a bad image to the public who want to support business who are sustainable. • What are they looking to achieve? (gains) Resorts want to save money in the long run. They also want to present a more positive image for their business by attracting the community who only supports business that are sustainable. By attracting more people to their resort, they will ultimately make more profit. Many resorts operate near or on national forest land and in order to maintain their relationship with the government they must do their part to protect the environment.

Literature Review

Borgobello, Bridget. “Swiss Village Hosts World's First-of-Its-Kind Solar-Powered Ski Lift.” New Atlas, 2 May 2015,

Abstract: A small ski resort in the town of Tenna in Switzerland has built a small T-bar surface lift run completely off of solar power. The lift incorporates nearly 80 panels running the length of the lift. The lift has a capacity to haul 800 people up the mountain an hour. It also produces nearly 90,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually. During the off season the solar panels will supply power to the nearby alpine town.

Queri, Jillian. “Wolf Creek Ski Area Has Gone Solar.” POWDER Magazine, Powder Magazine, 17 July 2018, Abstract: Wolf Creek is a small ski resort in Colorado that has recently decided to go 100 percent solar. They have always been a leader in practicing new sustainable techniques across their resort including waterless restrooms. The article explains how Colorado receives nearly 300 days of sunlight a year, so the question is asked, why don’t all resorts switch to solar power?

Literature Review - Tyler Sites Literature Review: Journey to Renewable Energy Ski Resorts In today’s world, it comes with no surprise that climate change is having a huge effect on our winters. This effects the ski industry greatly who rely on snowfall to keep their doors open. However, these same ski resorts are also responsible for large amounts of energy consumption to keep the lifts spinning and buildings in working condition. Since this industry is so heavily affected by climate change they need to be leaders and role models for the fight against the warming of our planet. It is not enough to be considered a sustainable ski resort just by having recycling and EV charging stations. One resort that stands out from all the rest when it comes to sustainability is Wolf Creek in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. They are first and only ski resort in the US to run completely on solar powered energy. Their power comes from a 25-acre solar farm located in Saguache county which is about 50 miles from Wolf Creek (Queri, 2). This farm produces around 7,000 kilowatt hours per year, 1,000 of which Wolf Creek uses to stay open both in the winter and summer months. They purchase this power through a company named Renewable Energy Systems, RES. RES is one of the top renewable energy companies in North America. On top of solar energy, Wolf Creek also powers its snow groomers using grapeseed oil as well as having three water-less bathrooms that produce zero discharge (Granada, 3). Another ski resort that is leading the charge in sustainable energy is Squaw Valley- Alpine Meadows. In 2011, the CEO of Squaw valley, Andrew Wirth, discovered that they were getting their power from a very dirty power plant in Nevada that was notorious for high pollution (Sweet, 2). Immediately Wirth knew a change needed to be made. From that day forward they set a goal to have the resort run entirely on renewable energy. Through a company named Liberty Utilities, Squaw Valley plans to get its energy through solar, wind, and hydroelectricity. Currently Liberty Utilities has made huge strides with a very innovative 50-megawatt lunar solar plant as well as a recent project that was just approved for a 10-megawatt Turquoise solar facility. Squaw valley also plans to install a separate solar-array that will provide on-site clean energy to the resort. They also have a vision to install Tesla batteries sourced from the Reno Gigafactory that would provide Squaw Valley as well as 900 homes in the Olympic Village with 40 megawatt-hours of energy for four to six hours (Sweets, 4). With these changes in place Squaw Valley plans to cut its carbon emissions from 13,078 metric tons to just 6,682 metric tons. That is 49 percent decrease in carbon emissions which is equivalent to roughly the annual electric us of 959 homes (Hepburn, 2). Wolf Creek and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows have paved the way and set a perfect example for what all ski resorts should strive for. It is important for the ski industry to be a part of this bandwagon because they are the ones that are so greatly affected by climate change. This is no hiding that fact that keeping a ski resort in operation is very energy intensive. By showing that ski resorts are taking appropriate action to greatly reduce their nonrenewable energy consumption, it allows them to possibly have an even bigger voice in congress when it comes to making policy change.

Work Cited Granada, Stephanie. “Best Ski Resorts for Eco-Conscious Travelers.” Sunset Magazine, 7 Dec. 2019, Hepburn, Liesl, and Alex Spychalsky. “100 Percent Renewable Energy.” Squaw Alpine, 10 Aug. 2019, Queri, Jillian. “Wolf Creek Ski Area Has Gone Solar.” POWDER Magazine, Powder Magazine, 17 July 2018, Sweet, Cassandra, and GreenBiz Group. “How Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows Are Cruising toward Renewables.” Greenbiz, 5 Feb. 2018,

SAM RUSAK LITERATURE RERVIEW In 2011, the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security started the Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations (SPIDERS JCTD) which established an objective to demonstrate secure microgrid technology with the ability to maintain operational security in a military base setting. This was a three phase program that took place in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, then Fort Carson in Colorado, and lastly in Camp H.M. Smith in Hawaii. The SPIDERS JCTD had four critical requirements that needed to be met in order to provide the data and prove that a microgrid is a safe and manageable way to ensure mission security during a power outage or cyber attack. The microgrid needs to demonstrate enhanced electrical power security for national security, protect task critical assets from power loss due to cyber attacks, integrate renewable and other distributed generation to power task critical assets in times of emergency, and manage installation electrical power and consumption efficiency to reduce petroleum demand, carbon footprints, and costs. Fort Carson, which is the second phase in SPIDERS JCTD, is a 137,000 acre military base located right outside Colorado Springs, Colorado with a population of around 14,000 people. The SPIDERS JCTD focused on seven buildings in the densely developed area of the fort with a variety of ranges with respect to critical mission operations. At the time, Fort Carson had an already existing two-megawatt photovoltaic (PV (Solar)) farm where they allowed one megawatt to be used toward the microgrid. Without the microgrid being implemented, the Fort Carson PV would be automatically disconnected from the grid during any sort of power outage or distribution instability. Since the implementation of the Microgrid, the PV is now able to contribute to the fort’s energy load during a grid failure as well as reduce the fuel consumed by generators during normal times of operation. Since the initial demonstration, Fort Carson has continued towards its plan of becoming a complete net zero facility using the PV resources, as well as wind, ground source heat pumps, biomass, and solar water heating (Fort Carson). The implementation itself of all zero net energy measures would result in 7,543 jobs per year, assuming that there is a $92,000 initial investment in the jobs in its first year (SPIDERS). Leaders in the SPIDERS JCTD at Fort Carson are hoping there will be more privately funded projects to help Fort Carson reach its zero emission goals so it can be implemented without spending any of its own capital. It would also allow for Fort Carson to take advantage of federal tax credits. The geographical region that the implementation of the microgrid would take place around the boundaries of the fort itself. Although a majority of the fort’s geographical region is open land used primarily for training, the main section would be the highly populated area towards the North where the posts lay. During the day, the solar energy may produce more than needed by the installation during the day, and it will feed the excess energy back into the main public electric grid. During night time when the solar grids are not producing any electricity, it will pull the required electricity from that public grid. This is a great example of how microgrids can be used to keep important information, and locations safe by staying off of the main electricity grid. When critical operations are being employed for the U.S. military, it is imperative that there can be no setbacks such as power outages at the base of operations. With an operation as big as Fort Carson, it is not feasible to immediately get rid of all diesel and fossil fuel products, but rather work seamlessly into renewable energies in stages. Since there cannot be any sort of delay in the transition from the main electrical grid to the microgrid, the military base needs to have the microgrid power stored, and ready to go at any time (Targeting Net Zero). This means that there will be a constant give and take from Fort Carson where it will be giving the public power grid electricity when it has excess, and take when it needs more. This relates to the G-Bike, and other small scale micro grids because as of right now the G-Bike will not be able to run a house constantly. Rather it will be able to contribute during times where the main power grid is turned off after being used consistently during normal periods. Likewise, the two MW solar farm at Fort Carson does not produce enough electricity to have the entire fort running off it all the time, but rather contributes to a part of the reserve in times of need. This demonstration is important because it shows how effective microgrids can be, anywhere from running your house during a power outage to running a military base’s operations buildings during a cyber attack.

Fort Carson. (n.d.). Retrieved from

SPIDERS - Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security. (2015). Technology Transition Final Public Report (FI072414122826). Retrieved from

SPIDERS III Microgrid. (2018, May 18). Retrieved from

Targeting Net Zero Energy at Fort Carson Assessment and Recommendations. (2011). U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program. Retrieved from

Michelle Williams Literature Review

Fungal functional ecology: bringing a trait-based approach to plant-associated fungi[edit | edit source]

ABSTRACT Fungi play many essential roles in ecosystems. They facilitate plant access to nutrients and water, serve as decay agents that cycle carbon and nutrients through the soil, water and atmosphere, and are major regulators of macro-organismal populations. Although technological advances are improving the detection and identification of fungi, there still exist key gaps in our ecological knowledge of this kingdom, especially related to function. Trait-based approaches have been instrumental in strengthening our understanding of plant functional ecology and, as such, provide excellent models for deepening our understanding of fungal functional ecology in ways that complement insights gained from traditional and -omics-based techniques. In this review, we synthesize current knowledge of fungal functional ecology, taxonomy and systematics and introduce a novel database of fungal functional traits (FunFun). FunFun is built to interface with other

Mushroom cultivation in the circular economy[edit | edit source]

Daniel Grimm1 & Han A. B. Wösten1 "[2]"
Abstract Commercial mushrooms are produced on lignocellulose such as straw, saw dust, and wood chips. As such, mushroom-forming fungi convert low-quality waste streams into high-quality food. Spent mushroom substrate (SMS) is usually considered a waste product. This review discusses the applications of SMS to promote the transition to a circular economy. SMS can be used as compost, as a substrate for other mushroom-forming fungi, as animal feed, to promote health of animals, and to produce packaging and construction materials, biofuels, and enzymes. This range of applications can make agricultural production more sustainable and efficient, especially if the CO2 emission and heat from mushroom cultivation can be used to promote plant growth in greenhouses.

Earthworms, mushrooms and zero waste in China[edit | edit source]

Author(s) : Pauli, G. "[3]"
Abstract : The reuse of agro-industrial residues in the mushroom farming region of Qingyuan, China, is described. Mushrooms are grown on agro-industrial wastes including rice straw, coffee hulls, tea residues, cotton seeds, wheat husks, spent grain from breweries and residual fibres from paper processing. The spent substrate from mushroom growing is currently used as a fuel by farmers. However, there is increasing interest in the use of the substrate for growing earthworms, which convert the mushroom protein into humus, with recovery of animal protein.

Fungi and Sustainability[edit | edit source]

Ron Spinosa* "[4]"
Abstract The concept of “sustainability” is becoming ever more prominent in almost every area of human affairs, from individual households to the planet Earth itself. A brief history of the development of the concept of sustainability and its implementation is presented. The United Nation’s Earth Summits have been especially important in creating programs to promote sustainable development in response to the global crisis that has resulted from a century of exploitation of the Earth’s resources and exponential human population growth. Fungi can play a significant role in the pursuit of sustainability. For example, mushroom cultivation may be integrated into schemes for recycling agricultural waste as well as providing nutrition and income for peoples living in developing nations. Fungi are essential for the health and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems. In the case of catastrophic destabilization of the earth’s ecosystems by human folly, fungi will prepare the way for the future.

Delivery systems for mycotechnologies, mycofiltration and mycoremediation[edit | edit source]

Author: Paul Stamets "[5]"
Abstract The present invention utilizes fungal spore mass or hyphal fragments in burlap bags or sacks filled with biodegradable materials. The fungi may include saprophytic fungi, including gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, mycorrhizal fungi, entomopathogenic fungi, parasitic fungi and fungi imperfecti. The fungi function as keystone species, delivering benefits to both the microsphere and biosphere. Such fungal delivery systems are useful for purposes including ecological rehabilitation and restoration, preservation and improvement of habitats, bioremediation of toxic wastes and polluted sites, filtration of agricultural, mine and urban runoff, improvement of agricultural yields and control of biological organisms.

Mycoremediation (bioremediation with fungi) – growing mushrooms to clean the earth[edit | edit source]

Christopher J. Rhodes "[6]"
Abstract Some of the prospects of using fungi, principally white-rot fungi, for cleaning contaminated land are surveyed. That white-rot fungi are so effective in degrading a wide range of organic molecules is due to their release of extra-cellular lignin-modifying enzymes, with a low substrate-specificity, so they can act upon various molecules that are broadly similar to lignin. The enzymes present in the system employed for degrading lignin include lignin-peroxidase (LiP), manganese peroxidase (MnP), various H2O2 producing enzymes and laccase. The degradation can be augmented by adding carbon sources such as sawdust, straw and corn cob at polluted sites.

Bioremediation[edit | edit source]

Leila Darwish "[7]"

  • microbrial remediation
  • phytoremediation
  • mycoremediation
  • disaster response

EarthRx: How Community Mycoremediation Projects Can Clean Up Oil Spills Around the Planet[edit | edit source]

Ocean Malandra


  • nature based solution coupled with communal effort
  • grassroots level
  • partner with indigenous tribes

Permaculture with a Mycological Twist[edit | edit source]

Paul Stamets "[9]"

  • biodynamics of permaculture
  • biodynamic mushroom cultivation
  • benefits of mushrooms in the garden

Mycofiltration for Urban Storm Water Treatment Receives EPA Research and Development Funding[edit | edit source]

Paul Stamets "[10]"

  • mushroom technology to filter contaminants out of water
  • mycofiltration, coined by Paul Stamets
  • low cost solution

Biodynamic Principles and Practices[edit | edit source]


  • living organism
  • regenerative solutions
  • in-tune with rhythm of earth

Roots of Earth Repair: Decolonization and Environmental Justice[edit | edit source]


  • radical remedies
  • environmental racism
  • decolonization
  • enliven people and planet

Literature Review (Dominic Antonucci)


Bioethanol is an excellent replacement for pure petroleum gas. The average household in the US has 2 cars, 97% of those cars are gas burning vehicles. Bio ethanol gas or E-85 is the first step in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels. Both commercial and recreational drivers could switch to biofuel with if appropriate technology is applied.

    Interests and Needs:

For biofuel to replace fossil fuel the new gas needs to be just as efficient if not more so. The average consumer is not going to switch fuels unless it makes sense financially and economically. Consumers need reliability, E-85 if produced in high capacity can replace fossil fuels.

    Key Activities:

This transition is possible, but automobile manufacturers need to be on board by producing flex-fuel engines on base model vehicles. Consumers have the power to influence change, there needs to be enough market opportunity for manufacturers to make a change. If the market shifts to biogas petroleum companies will jump on the opportunity. Petroleum gas is popular because it’s what we have always done, if consumers show they want biofuel then manufacturers will respond.


Price fluctuation of oil is a major pain for consumers. With a reliable source of fuel, the price will even out, and remain close to constant. Although most people don’t seem to care, environmental impact is also a major pain for consumers. People feel they cannot be environmentally conscious because it’s too expensive. If biofuel had the same availability as petrol people would likely opt for the biofuel.


Transitioning to biofuel will help both the US economy and the environment. Farming and distillation would create more jobs in the United States, reducing the amount of oil imported from other countries. Using biofuel will also reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses produced.   Sources:

Cameron Brod

Leichman, A. K., Barak, N., Kaplan-Zantopp, M., Halfin, J., Ben-Michael, R., & Leichman, A. K. (2018, November 18). New Israeli technology can turn human waste into biofuel. Retrieved from This article is about a new israeli technology of turning human waste to biofuel. researchers at the Ben-Gurion University Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research refined a process using hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) to heat solid human waste in a special “pressure cooker” to create hydrochar, a safe, reusable biomass fuel resembling charcoal.” This process has been tested before with the waste from different species of poultry. Human waste was heated at various temperatures for different amounts of time to find the best recipe. The substance that was created is called hydrochar is sterile and can be burned or used as fertilizer. Burning waste for power will still create GHG emissions, so this system is not perfect. However it is more of a priority to give power and sanitation to the people in the world who need it. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Efficiency. (2019). Q&A with Bioenergy Researchers: Making Biocrude and Biofuel from Human Waste. Retrieved from This is a question and answer from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Efficiency. 34 billion gallons of human waste is treated every single day in the United States and could create 30 million barrels of bio-oil every year. It is done by putting extreme pressure and heat on the waste and is called hydrothermal liquefaction. Over half of the waste is able to turn into biocrude, and each human creates about 2-3 gallons of biocrude every year. This is also a very efficient process, the article says that it takes 30 minutes but does not state how much bio-crude is created. This process has huge potential at sewage and wastewater treatment plants. This system would be better implemented in an area with some basic sanitation and plumbing to work efficiently. UNICEF. (2019). Universal Access to Sanitation. Retrieved from A lack of toilets is a major reason for lack of sanitation in many areas. “About 2 billion people still lack a basic sanitation service and among them almost 673 million people still practised open defecation”. These high numbers of people without basic, safely managed sanitation show that it is a problem that we need to fix. Open defecation is a major influencer of people's lack of sanitation. Not only does open defecation hurt the environment's health but also the people living within it. The waste ends up building up and eventually people end up living in their own waste, that is carrying diseases. When it ends up in the waterways it creates a whole new problem within communities decreasing their access to clean water. Even when toilets are present in many “developing countries”, sludge is often dumped in ecosystems that cannot support it and it is rarely treated. Implementing systems turning human waste into usable power is something that will require improvements in waste management. Improving waste management in countries that need it will result in improved sanitation and have a domino effect of improvements along the way. The combination of safely managed sanitation and increased access to power will allow people to focus on reaching their full potential while not being as worried about their health. Appropedia. (2019). Biogas from human waste. Retrieved from “Waterborne disease transmitted through human excrement is a leading cause of death worldwide, especially in the so-called developing world.” Untreated sewage is the main reason for the pollution in waterways. Human waste as of now is nothing but a burden and a problem for us, so that makes it the perfect thing for us to try and make use for. Human waste does not create power as efficiently as animal waste and natural gas, however it will still have a huge impact on countries with little or no power at all. Especially when the waste begins to build up, as it does. A major concern with this idea is the fact that more people will be in contact with human waste and the pathogens they carry. Many biodigesters do not kill all pathogens, just reduce the amount of them, meaning they aren’t sterile. Heat pretreatment and treatment through retention are common ways of treating human waste. Common secondary treatments are Ultrafiltration, Ultraviolet Light (UV), a Treatment Wetland, Composting, or Aerobic Treatment. Some biodigesters are able to control pathogens because the waste is held in an environment that is too hot for them to survive. Once treated the waste is no longer “waste” and can be used to create energy and even fertilizer. Cook, P. (2010, September 24). Retrieved from This link describes how to create power from waste at home. This small scale system could be a great way to start the implementation process in communities with lack of power and bathrooms. “When organic material (including human feces, animal waste, and plants) is digested by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic digestion) a gas is released consisting of 60% methane and 40% carbon dioxide”. In this system the waste sits in a brick or concrete chamber where the bogas rises to the top and the leftover sludge can be used for fertilizer. The gas created can be used for heating and cooking. Again this isn’t the most efficient form of creating power but it eliminates waste, improves sanitation and can give power to people who need it.

Zac McCreight- Literature review: Three in one, solar, wind and hydro portable power plant. In the age we live in, the fossil fuel industry rules the world. Energy is harnessed through the burning of fossil fuels, leading to the degradation of our natural environment. Although this is true, we are also in a time where many people are looking further, toward a world run on renewable energy. Large-scale renewable energy is great, but it comes with its own issues, and the implementation of it is long and difficult to do. That is why while we do what we can to implement large-scale renewables, we should be taking a step back, and using small-scale renewables too. Small-scale renewable energy is easier to implement because it works more on an individual level. Additionally, bringing small scale renewable energy to less “developed” nations offers a great opportunity for them individuals to stop relying on the fossil fuel industry, and begin making their own progress toward a better world, and a better life for themselves.. In Kenya, the power grid does not reach the small farming village of Kiptusuri. People of the village must spend time travelling to the nearest town on the grid in order to obtain energy. Even then, it can be up to a three-day wait just to charge a phone. One resident decided to install small solar panels, which ended up changing their lives. Now, their children were able to study after dark, and residents were able to charge their devices for less cost, and without travelling to other towns. After this, other residents in this village were able to install their own small-scale solar panels, and the abilities of the village grew (Marchetti, 2020). This shows the power that small-scale renewable energy can have on the lives of people outside of the energy grid. You don’t need a megawatt wind turbine farm to make a difference; all it takes is the ability to turn a light on after dark. Due to the fact that small-scale renewable energy does not have the same output as larger scale, it is important for it to be as efficient as possible. “The producer should keep in mind what the users want at the local level and make technological advancements in the goods being used by the common person on a more regular basis” (AENews, 2020). This quote from Alterative Energy News shows that as the person producing the renewable energy plants, it is important to know what the consumers want. For small-scale renewable energy, it is important to be able to get energy from more than one source, because different energy sources work better at different times and in different locations. A small hydro turbine is great, but a small hydro turbine that can also be powered by the wind is even better, because the user will get more out of the product. The Water Lilly is a small-scale hydropower propeller turbine that does exactly that. It is a portable water turbine that can charge most small devices, even up to a 12V device. This device is great, but what makes it even better is the fact that due to the shape of the blades, it can also be powered by the wind. Additionally it has a hand crank attachment, which allows the user to harness energy with without water or wind (Lilly, 2019). These references all relate to the idea of a three in one, hydro, wind and solar power plant because it shows that small scale renewable energy is important and does make a profound impact, and that it is very possible to have one device capable of getting energy from multiple sources.

Advantages of Renewable Energy at Macro and Micro Level. (2020, January 27). Retrieved

  May 11, 2020, from

Lilly, W. (2019). WaterLily Turbine: Energy Anywhere. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from

Marchetti, N. (n.d.). Small-Scale Renewable Energy In Developing Countries. Retrieved

  May 11, 2020, from

Sam McChesney -- Literature Review --

This review will cover a past project about building a greenhouse that I have found. I was specifically focused on finding a project where people designed and built a greenhouse that operates year round, and is heated in the winter using a creative source. I will focus on this type of project, because it is the most relevant to what I am designing. Most greenhouses use natural gas to maintain the proper temperature for growing in the winter, but I am interested in finding other ways people have used. I will include a review about a project I found on Appropedia, along with general information about greenhouses that is relevant to my project. A project I found on Appropedia titled “Greenhouse Waste Heat Exchange”, published by Queens University Applied Sustainability Research Group, is extremely similar to my idea. Their goal is to heat a greenhouse using wasted heat from a sheet glass factory in Ontario. Some key parameters that are covered in the literature revolve around determining the waste heat availability, and determining the financial and environmental benefits of the project. Determining the amount of waste heat available is crucial, because from that you can determine the appropriate size of greenhouse to build. If you build a larger greenhouse than can be heated by the excess heat, you will need to figure out another source, such as solar power. Analyzing the economic and environmental impact of the project is also important, because you have to show results in order for something like this to be approved. There has to be a reason for someone to spend money on building a system like this, or is shouldn’t be done. They say that from this glass plant, they can generate enough heat to build a 3.9-acre greenhouse, which will generate $1.3 million in tomato crops per year. Clearly this project would be a success, and should be brought to fruition. Another piece of literature I found surrounds a different, important topic connected with greenhouses. This article written on Fifth Season Gardening covers the importance of C02 when it comes to growing plants in a greenhouse. We all know that carbon dioxide is crucial for plants to grow because it fuels the process of photosynthesis. In an outdoor setting, C02 is plentiful, but inside a greenhouse, the growing plants can deplete it quickly. This article titled “Managing Carbon Dioxide In Your Grow Space” covers the importance of supplementing carbon dioxide levels. The global atmospheric average of C02 is 400 parts per million, but inside a greenhouse, this number will be much lower. If you supplement C02 inside to around 1500ppm, you could see a yield increase of about 30%. That is a massive a gain, and is well worth setting up a system to produce and increase C02. This brings me back around to the first piece of literature on Appropedia. They cover the most effective, and most environmentally friendly way to supplement C02, which I would also utilize in my project. They found that investing in the proper emission controls and running a system to combust C02 is going to be the most ideal. Even though emission regulations don’t mandate you have a proper control system setup, it’s better to build it now, because regulations will get tighter going forward. This system will also save you millions over the years when compared to a liquid C02 system. Even though the initial investment will increase due to this installation, it will be well worth it in the long run. These two pieces of literature I found helped me understand more deeply what I have to do, and what important factors I have to consider, in order to properly construct a greenhouse to run off of excess heat created by production. I believe with the elements listed above I have a rough outline of how to start the process.

Citations –

“Greenhouse Waste Heat Exchange.” Appropedia,

Colman, Brandon, et al. “Stores.” Fifth Season Gardening, 25 Feb. 2014,

Literature Review - Adrian Rhomberg

Basic Information about Landfill Gas “Basic Information about Landfill Gas.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 4 May 2020,

This source reflects the negative impact of dumping organic waste at the landfill but it also shows how Waste Management Companies collect and treat landfill gas in order to produce an energy source. Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of the decomposition of organic waste in landfill. Thereby, the gas is composed of two main components that are methane (50%) and carbon dioxide (50%). According to the article, municipal waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States with about 15% in 2018. By collecting, converting, and using this gas as a renewable energy resource, companies manage to avoid an escape of the toxic gas into the air.

Composting At Home “Composting At Home.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 13 Nov. 2019,

Organic waste can make up more than 28% of what we currently throw away and should be composted instead. This article discusses the basic components, processes, and benefits of composting organic materials at home, which can be later on added to soil to help plants to grow. The three basic ingredients of composting that are mentioned in that source are browns, greens, and water. Firstly, browns include materials like branches or dead leaves. Secondly, greens mean grass clippings, vegetables, fruits, and coffee grounds. And thirdly, having the right amount of water with the other two ingredients provides moisture that is very important in the composting process.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost “How Much Do Solar Panels Cost.” Energy Informative, 23 Mar. 2015,

This source discusses the cost of solar panels and the cost savings, which is shown by a case study. Even though it is very difficult to represent the exact cost of solar panels because of different factors that play into the cost, the article/case study showed a broader example of the possible costs and savings that can occur. Residential solar systems are typically sized from 3 to 8kW and end up costing between $15,000 and $40,000. This cost (per watt) includes the parts, labor, permission fees, overhead, and profit. Generally, it can be said that the bigger the system, the lower the cost per watt. But it also can be seen that over the last couple of years, the price per watt has decreased and is now between 6 and 8 dollars. The case study also states an estimate of savings. Thereby, the payback time is close to 10 years, a 215% ROI, and it also increases the property value significantly.

Compost Physics Trautmann, Nancy. “Compost Physics.” Compost Physics - Cornell Composting, Cornell University,

This article that was published by Cornell University addresses the temperature of the composting process as a key parameter determining the success of the operation. The most effective and least time-consuming process of decomposition occurs during the thermophilic stage of composting (40-60 degrees Celsius). This stage lasts for several weeks and is also important for destroying thermosensitive pathogens, fly larvae, and weed seeds. Most species of microorganisms can’t survive at temperatures above 65 degrees Celsius, so it is very important for compost managers to control the temperature. Other physical factors that influence the temperature of the composting process are particle size, aeration, moisture (optimum is 50 to 60%), and the size/shape of the compost system itself.

Types of Composting and Understanding the Process “Types of Composting and Understanding the Process.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 29 Aug. 2016,

The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States describes five different types of composting. • On-site Composting – Organizations, educational institutions etc. that compost small amounts of food waste on-site. • Vermicomposting – Red worms in bins feed on organic waste to create compost • Aerated Windrow Composting – Involves forming organic waste into rows of long piles and aerating them periodically. • Aerated Static Pile Composting – Organic waste is mixed in large piles that have layers of loosely piled bulking agents (e.g. wood chips) to provide airflow. • In-Vessel Composting – This method involves putting organic waste into a drum or silo, which allows good control of the environmental conditions.

Literature Review - Clayton Fritschi Users: Tucson is the fifth poorest city in America. Tucson also shares 3rd place for the sunniest city in America receiving over 3800 hours of sunshine annually. Home solar panels systems are the future for Tucson and all of Arizona’s residents. We want to help them save money as efficiently as possible by using home solar panel systems as well as DIY solar panel technology. Interests/Needs: Arizona Households spend 3% less for energy than the United States average which is just above $2000 dollars. For our users, Tucson residents this is a big bill as many of them live below the poverty line. For the residents of Tucson and the State, the money saved by installing solar panels has to outweigh the initial investment. The residents need to be educated on the savings that are possible through utilizing solar technologies. Key Activities: Arizona households will adopt the idea of solar technology once we educate them on the benefits. The average price of a 6KW home solar system in Arizona is $12,254 and this is enough to power 94% of a particular household per system. The initial investment is a real obstacle as many of our residents live below the poverty line. I think our best shot at combating this is providing the residents with a payment plan option where they don’t have to pay the full amount initially. Another way we can help the residents in Tucson and Arizona is by teaching them DIY solar technologies. These are much more inexpensive but also much less practical than a real home solar panel system. Remember, our goal is to reduce the carbon footprint as well as the money spent on electricity. Pains: Arizona residents have to spend a ton of money on electricity and that is a burden to them. A quarter of the energy consumed in Arizona homes is for air conditioning, which is more than four times the national average, and cooling one’s home is a necessity that many other states across the United States aren’t burdened by. Consumers might be nervous to switch if uneducated or financially unstable but if we can show them a plan that benefits them, they will be quick to adopt solar technologies. Even showing them the reduction on their gas bill by using a solar over can still be extremely beneficial. Gains: Powering homes through solar technology will help the residents of Tucson save money and the planet. The residents of Tucson and Arizona would be able to power most of their homes year-round just from the solar panels and that is a win-win for the planet and economy. This also creates jobs and other opportunities in the field of solar technologies.

Owen Greene

  • Who are your users?

- My user will be a ski resort. Since this is a fictitious project, I will create a fictitious ski resort named Big O's Ski Resort. This will be the user in my project. Indirectly, all of the skiers and snowboarders will also be users of the renewable energy sources.

  • What are their interests/needs?

- One of the biggest interests is cutting costs. Using renewable energy is a cheap substitute for traditional energy, such as coal. Along with this, the ski industry is very forward about fighting climate change and global warming. One such way we could do that is by transitioning to renewable energies to reduce carbon emissions. With the influx of knowledge around climate change and its effect on the ski industry, resorts all around the world are looking for and putting in place policies that will help them become "greener." What better time than right now to put some solar panels, micro wind turbines, or water catchment systems in ski resorts. It will also show their customers that they care about the environment and that would be a good source of advertising.

  • What kinds of activities do they need to perform?

- The ski resort just needs to take proper care of and maintain the panels and turbines and such. They could also advertise that they are a green, sustainable business.

  • What are they unhappy about? (pains)

- Ski resorts are unhappy about relying on nonrenewable resources for their energy. They're unhappy about spending so much money on operating costs daily. They're unhappy that the continued use of nonrenewable energy is going to shut down all ski resorts unless we turn this around and use renewables. They're unhappy that there isn't an easier way for businesses to "go green."

  • What are they looking to achieve? (gains)

- They are looking to achieve energy dependence. This way they wouldn't have to rely on the grid or any other nonrenewable energy source. They would look better in the customers' mind, too. Customers can then advertise for the resort about their sustainable practices. The ski resort could also use the money they would have saved by choosing the cheaper energy source for upgrades or more sustainable practices. Either way, using renewable energy at a ski resort is a win win on paper. They look good in the customers' mind and their helping by not destroying the environment.

Week 3 - Documentation[edit | edit source]

List here the links to the articles where you will be working.

Notes[edit | edit source]

You can leave here any content that for editing later

Resources[edit | edit source]

Share here any interesting links that can aid your research.

  • Resource 1...
  • Resource 2...