Skip to comments."Green" design, what do you think
Posted on 05/05/2002 7:32:07 PM PDT by Andrewksu
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There's nothing that says conservatives shouldn't care for the environment. In fact, WE should be the protectors, not the liberals. For decades humanity has built and built and built without considering the consequences. We can and should take responsibility for our environment without being "eco-freaks."
Although your question of "green design" is based in architecture and construction, it applies in many other fields. My opinion about the "green design" debate is simply - let the market decide.
Around my industry, the supporters of green design, in general, want this type of design imposed by governmental or industry code. If "being green" were such a good idea, consumers and businesses would convert to green design of their own free will because of the overwhelming benefits of "being green". There is a shift towards energy and raw-material conservation that is market driven because some consumers and business already see the return on their green investments. If there is a marked advantage in green products and services in the open market, these goods will eventually dominate over those that are not green. Borrowing from the environmentalists' vocabulary, I would say that current green-market trends are a "natural" and "evolutionary" process.
If government or industry imposes green design codes on products, this act is an "artificial" process in the market. Typically, these regulations are out of step with the needs of consumers and business. The impacted products and services do not fare as well as their predecessors and their costs are driven up due to compliance issues. In the end, the consumer pays more for something they did not necessarily want.
In the end, the green design movement must come to terms with the market. If green designs can make it in direct competition with other products, they will survive. Otherwise, they will go the way of the dodo.
One mans trash the manure produced at Tinedale Farms in Wrightstown, Wisconsin can be another mans treasure electricity and fertilizer generated from that manure. In short, that was the story shared at a media conference held at the dairy in August.
Carl Theunis, an owner of Tinedale Farms, and several of his environmental partners announced the formation of Ag Environmental Solutions LLC (AES) and its objective to demonstrate how to convert manure into renewable energy and value-added products. These products will enhance the environment and provide an economically viable option for U.S. dairy operations. Theunis reported, "The primary focus of AES will be on anaerobic digestion, with a stated goal of maximizing solids conversion to methane." This project is based on the principle that if life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
The first AES project will be constructed at Tinedale Farms with engineering services provided by STS Consultants Ltd. Even though his neighbors dont complain about the odor, Theunis realizes its a problem. This manure-to-energy operation will eliminate the odor and produce a nonoffensive sludge for land spreading. Plus, it will produce electricity for 200-300 neighboring homes. Eventually, Theunis also plans to market fertilizer. "Itll be very high value, Class A sludge," he stated. Hell target gardeners, landscapers, golf course managers and crop producers in his marketing efforts.
Terry Stebor, an engineer with STS Consultants, defined anaerobic digestion as the biological oxidation of organic matter by microbes in an environment in which there is no molecular oxygen. The organic matter (manure) is a food source for the microbes, which convert it into gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide.
Manures consistency is an advantage
Compared to other waste-generating sources, Stebor said manure offers several advantages. "Its very consistent," he commented. Stebor credited cows relatively static diet for this consistency. Also, manure flow varies little from day to day. "This is a big benefit for dairy producers, compared to municipalities and other businesses, such as canneries and paper mills." Anaerobic digestion can occur at 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit or 120-135 degrees Fahrenheit. At the higher temperature, degradation occurs faster. Consequently, an operation uses a smaller reactor, which costs less. Plus, theres better control of bacterial and viral pathogens. The disadvantage, however, is that more heat must be added to the system.
Biogas (methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide), the product of anaerobic digestion, can be burned in boilers to produce hot water, in engines to power electrical generators, and in absorption coolers to produce refrigeration.
Utilities need renewable energy sources
Alex De Pillis of the Wisconsin Energy Bureau said that Wisconsin power companies are required to sell a certain amount of energy produced by renewable energy sources. The anaerobic digestion of biomass, including animal wastes, appears to be a logical choice in Americas Dairyland.
Tinedale Farms received funding from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, Brown County Revolving Loan Fund and Wisconsin Focus on Energy for this environmental stewardship project. A full-service environmental business, it has the potential to create 20 new jobs in the areas of facility management, biosolids marketing, labor management, public relations and financing. Theunis anticipates a four to five year payback for the project.
The goal is to cram everyone into small apartments in high density urban areas, while preserving huge tracts of greenspace with access only to goverment biologists and those with an "in". This is nothing new. The Left's war on suburbia and the private automobile have been going on for decades. They're not even sneaky about it. As I say, it's in the newspaper every day. You just have to connect the dots.
Landfill Gas Processing
During the past three years CFS has developed a landfill gas processing system that is capable of producing high quality LNG (or pipeline quality gas) from landfill gas.
The novel LFG processing system uses multiple stages of purification to reach the final high quality state. First, the critical removal of corrosive and troublesome trace impurities is accomplished through the use of phase separators, coalescing filters and impregnated\non-impregnated activated carbon adsorbents.
Next, a zeolite adsorbent removes remaining polar molecules (specifically water) to a concentration of a few ppm. Oxygen must also be removed at this point if present in more than trace quantities.
The resultant gas then enters our cryogenic purifier where the carbon dioxide is separated out leaving a high grade LNG product consisting of 90%-97% methane. The remainder of the LNG is dissolved nitrogen. If desired, the nitrogen may be removed with additional CFS equipment at modest incremental costs.
The high value of LNG relative to the raw landfill gas and the capital cost of the system create excellent returns on the capital investment. Because our LFG processing system is based on the same mid-sided liquefier used in our refueling systems they can make good investments for small and medium sized landfills. Our LFG processing system is ideal for landfills that are big enough to require gas collection systems but too small to attract larger capital projects.
What do you feel about tax incentives for using techniques and technologies that reduce your energy consumtion and environmental impact?
The difference between First Cost and Life Cycle Cost is certainly always worthy of analysis. The Net Present Value of money, the capitalization costs and similar calculations must be taken into account to have a sensible analysis however. If you want to be able to sell the benefit, you better take an accounting course, or audit one, to do the financial analysis and expalin it.
Even when it is expalined well, many who make the buying decision for new structures, have their finacial interests shaded by either their Ownership Horizon (Developers or others with resale in mind at some point) or cpitalization mandates by their job dictates (Corporate Buyers effected by internal Cap limits). Even when a proper study shows that it is in the financial interest of the project, it may not be in the finacial interest of the buyer.
Tax incentives are really tax burdens shifted and the accompanying inefficiencies of Government Planned Economies. These have been the things that Conservatives have fought against accross the board. Sure there is the Humane Market of a Roepke that doesn't require the full blind hand of the von Mises, or even short of the Hayek approach, but do we want to give an inch where Leftists want to take a mile.
Do your thinking, and your promotion, outside of government programs. They can change overnight and often should, to be eliminated. Sell on the merits and desirability or not at all.
There are a lot of people that will buy something Sensible, without undue consideration to the bottom line or government largess. Find them.
Try this alternative.
Don't use electricity for these devices, use Natural gas.
High efficiency Gas Furnaces are rated in the 90% to 98% efficiency rating nowadays.
Much more efficient than any electric furnace.
I dunno about that; electric heat pumps can have useful-heat efficiencies exceeding 100% [as a side effect of operation, they cool the outside, but this is not generally a problem]. To be sure, this over-100% efficiency is marred by costs for capital, maintenance, and repair; and by the fact that production of the electricity to run the heat pump is not 100% efficient. Still, at least in the winter, heat pumps may be a sensible alternative to direct heating.
Such economic realities, driven by the costs of production, yield such new thinking as the "off-peak" production of ice and the realted ice storage and harvest systems tied into the chillers on building. The chiller makes ice during off-peak hours then shuts down during peak hours, keeping the facility from adding to the peak demand and staying out of the ratchet rate impact for the buyer of electricity. The building cooling system "harvests" the ice for cooling and the occupants have little knowledge that the system is beyond-typical. Thus real world economic forces, coupled with inovation, yield advancement. That is what makes sense and will be self sustaining development in this field.
Schemes of "planned outcome", fueled by games with my money, are the work of socialists.
Many homes, and buildings are built in such a temporary fashion that they do see as much value in these longer term investments. Building are no longer designed/built to last for long(100+ years), either the quality of contruction and materials is poor, or the building was designed for on narrow purpose and is not suitable for much else. For instance the new Sprint headquarters, the build quality looks decent, but what in the hell will that be when Sprint moves? (which has already become an possible issue.)
Don't get me wrong, I am not at home stewing about the environment, I just see sustainble design as better, more complete design, that is financially rewarding, if you can convince cleints for more intial invesment on DESIGN, and then maybe technology. The proper design of a building is much more important than the systems, they are there only to slightly modify the lighting/temp/air circ. of a space. A couple of hundred years ago there were buildings that were "comfortable" before these technologies came along, but we have ignored some of those techniques. As a young designer, I see that I can make some difference, so I want to start my career off in the right direction.
If I were doing a "green" design I think I would use all clear-cutted mature Redwood and decorate with spotted owls...