Tom Denham

Recent Posts

Houses Follow the Sun Like Sunflowers

Posted by Tom Denham on Apr 25, 2017 1:14:39 PM

Plants don’t appear to move until you use time lapse photography.  But when you do, you will notice that many plants almost imperceptibly follow the sun from sunrise to sunset.  Can houses do the same thing?

Apparently they can but whether this can become something that can be mass produced remains to be seen.  But the prototype is off the drawing board and on the sales floor.  A Portuguese company called Casas em Movimento (Houses in Motion) has designed rotating solar-powered houses that follow the sun just like a sunflower to harness the maximum amount of solar energy.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Google's Project Sunroof Expands to All 50 States

Posted by Tom Denham on Apr 11, 2017 12:50:26 PM

For homeowners and potential homeowners who have never had an energy efficient home, calculating the projected energy costs can sometimes be confusing and challenging due to different projections.  But now there is a new tool that can help.

Google announced recently that its online tool to assist homeowners in calculating energy savings from rooftop solar installations has now expanded to all 50 US states.  Approximately 60 million buildings have already analyzed by the program.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Florida Solar Bill May Hurt Solar Companies

Posted by Tom Denham on Apr 3, 2017 4:47:14 PM

A bill winding its way through the Florida legislature that was supposed to assist solar industries in the sunshine state is being criticized as a way for the utility industries to hinder rooftop solar installations.

Legislators supporting the bill say they are trying to assist Florida consumers, but critics say it is a smoke screen for the utilities to do what they were unsuccessful in doing in the last election – impose roadblocks to solar industries.  Members of the solar industry warned that a long list of "consumer protections" in the bill will actually serve to keep legitimate companies from doing business in Florida.


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Topics: Solar Pricing

Purdue University’s Biowall Improves Indoor Air Quality

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 31, 2017 12:16:43 PM

The basic premise of most energy efficient homes is that they prevent the outdoor environment from seeping into the home, creating HVAC efficiency and reducing power consumption.  The goal is to seal air inside the home and keep outside air outside, but that has presented a new problem – air quality problems due to lack of ventilation.

A research team from Purdue University has attacked this problem by presenting a concept known as the “BioWall” to improve air quality in such airtight homes.

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Topics: General Green Home Topics

Germans Turns Lemons Into Lemonade

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 28, 2017 1:01:49 PM

The demise of coal mines as countries turn to renewable energy leaves behind employment losses in the surrounding communities and large tracts of unusable land.

Germany may have found a solution to the problem.  It is turning one of its old coal mines into a giant 'battery station' that will be a pumped storage plant that will provide hydroelectric power and provide energy to around 400,000 homes.

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Topics: Alternative fuel energy

Energy Performance to Soon Include Energy Ratings

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 23, 2017 1:37:53 PM

The most comprehensive, nationally recognized system that measures the home energy is known as the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index.  But this index score has never been part of the home appraisal process – that is about to change.

 A new partnership between the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and the Appraisal Institute will soon include these HERS scores in appraisals.  This score is the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home's energy performance.


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Topics: going green

New York State Wants 50% Renewable Energy by 2030

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 21, 2017 1:09:10 PM

New York State Public Service Commission is beginning to work through the details of the Clean Energy Standard that requires 50 percent of the state’s electricity to be provided from renewable energy sources by 2030.

 New York’s goal is similar to the 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 law adopted by the California legislature last year. The Massachusetts legislature also passed an energy bill in 2016 ensuring that by 2030, 40 percent of the state’s electricity will be provided from renewable sources, while including a major commitment to offshore wind power.

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Topics: Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Milestone: It is Now the Top U.S. New Energy Source

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 13, 2017 1:49:10 PM

For the first time, solar power is now the top new energy source and credit for the milestone goes to large commercial projects that almost doubled in 2016, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Solar accounted for 39 percent of new power coming on to the grid, more than natural gas, wind or coal.

Part of the reason for the increase in large commercial projects was because investors were worried about the possible expiration at the end of 2015 of the federal investment tax credit. Congress eventually extended the 30 percent credit for solar projects into 2021. Solar panels have also become cheaper and more competitive with fossil fuels.

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Topics: Renewable Energy

Geothermal Strides in Iceland Could Benefit California

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 10, 2017 12:57:21 PM

In 2009, the Iceland Deep Drilling Project accidentally drilled into a magma reservoir about a mile below the surface when it was planning to construct a conventional geothermal well. As an experiment, researchers poured water down the magma well to see how much energy it could generate, and they ended up creating the most powerful geothermal well ever drilled, generating approximately 30 megawatts of power.

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Topics: Alternative fuel energy

Abundant Natural Gas Changes Everything

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 3, 2017 2:28:37 PM

It is not solar, wind or even politics that knocked coal from its perch atop the US energy provider market, but natural gas.  However, there is an environmental price to pay.  Although it does not contribute to global warming as much as coal, it does contribute to an increase in CO2 emissions.

Natural gas is expected to replace not just declining coal power in the future, but also a significant portion of low-carbon nuclear power plants scheduled to close. Compared to coal, natural gas produces approximately half of the carbon emissions per unit of electricity generated than coal.

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Topics: Renewable Energy