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Latest revision as of 18:48, 2 December 2015

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Earth bound radiation losses
The solar resource. Solar energy is the source of all energy on earth, available to us in a number of derivatives. Plant matter for example, which relies on solar energy for nutrition, experiences natural compression and decomposition over millions of years to form the the fossil fuels we use today for electrical generation and transportation. Other examples of this can be seen in use of biomass for fuel or the harvesting of wind energy which is reliant on solar heated air for the formation of currents.

We are also able to utilize the solar resource directly. Solar thermal technologies take advantage of this resource to heat a working fluid that can transfer energy to an air stream or water for domestic or commercial use. Solar Photovoltaic or PV devices exploit various materials (principally Silicon) that experience sub-atomic variations when exposed to solar energy in order to induce an electric current. Both solar PV and thermal technologies provide a useful source of energy with little to no moving parts, no pollution and very little embodied energy.

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Ethanol from organic sugar beets versus refined cane sugar

Determine the cost inputs and energy outputs of small scale ethanol production from local and conventional sources.

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Community action news / Hot topics

Community action news more Hot topics
Street Party Table.jpg
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Blog

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Geoff Lawton
You can solve all the world's problems in a garden.

Geoff LawtonW
Bicycle wheel
Transport. According to the Appropriate transport manual, sustainable transportation is a strategy for the flow of people and goods across the Earth that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Transportation accounted for 32.6% of US green house gas emissions in 2005. In addition to the widely publicized environmental consequences of driving automobiles, it is also socially and economically costly:
  • Land use: Parking and roads use valuable land resources.
  • Transportation equity: Driving, with all of its expenses, costs the average U.S. household $7,000 per year per vehicle.
  • Economics: Most of the money spent on driving leaves a local economy, weakening it.
  • Community: Travelers outside of their cars interact more with their physical environment and each other.
  • Safety: The presence of pedestrians and cyclists make our neighborhoods safer from crime. Conversely, 42,000 Americans are killed in car accidents every year.
  • Health: Increasingly, Americans are suffering from weight-related illnesses. This is partly attributable to the decline in active transportation use and availability.

Building and encouraging alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle, or, for short "alternative transportation," is imperative. Some alternative transportation advocates have taken to using the term, sustainable transportation, instead of the previous, widely-used "alternative transportation" term to avoid sidelining their interest from the mainstream.

Many efficient, practical, and inexpensive sustainable transportation technologies already exist, meaning activism, policy work, and planning research is most often more crucial to developing sustainable transportation than technology development.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Fall 2010: HBCSL Somoa Hostel: The Fall 2010 semester of Engineering 215 worked with Humboldt Bay Center for Sustainable Living to design and build projects that support a proposed eco-hostel in Humboldt County.

Fall 2010 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - HBCSL
Thermosyphon Solar Shower System
An outdoor shower that utilizes solar energy to heat the water  
Samoa Hostel Truth Tank
Provides greywater treatment system for a satellite solar shower  
Samoa Hostel Wattimus Prime
A metering scheme that monitors the amount of energy used by the visitors  
Can You Feel The Heatloss?
An education display about convection and heat loss  
Samoa Hostel Natural Paints
A natural paint display to educate visitors of the Samoa Hostel  
Pain in the Axle
A bicycle-powered electrical generator that powers a television and DVD player  
Samoa Hostel Windbelt
An array of wind belts that can charge a cell phone  
The Mechanical Munchy-Maker
A mechanical bicycle that generates energy to power a kitchen appliance  
Samoa Hostel Insulation Station
Educates visitors about the effectiveness insulation types and their relative costs  
Samoa Hostel greywater island
Models, designs, and educates guests and implementers of hostel size greywater treatment  
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Energy

Solar
Water
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