Unit 7: pollution, health

————Unit 7 pollution, waste—————

Ch. 14 Aquatic pollution (frog 14.3) poisoned waters

2001.4, 2002.2, 2003.3, 2007.1, 2008.2, 2009.3, 2010.1, 20011.2, 2012.4, 2013.1, 2014.2, 2015.1, 2017.1, 2019.3

  • mod 41 wastewater
  • mod 42 heavy metals
  • mod 43 oil
  • mod 44 non chemical
  • mod 45 laws
  • PEX p. 533

Ch. 15 Air pollution (frog 15.2, 15.3)

2000.1, 2001.3, 2006.2, 2007.3, 2009.1, 2010.1, 2013.3, 2019.3

  • mod 46 criteria pollutants
  • mod 47 smog, acid rain
  • mod 48 controls
  • mod 49 ozone
  • mod 50 IAP
  • PEX p. 569

Ch. 16 Waste (frog 19)

2000.2, 2004.3, 2006.3, 2008.2, 2015.2, 2016.3,

  • mod 51 generation
  • mod 52 RRR
  • mod 53 landfills
  • mod 54 hazmat
  • mod 55 future
  • PEX 16 p.604

Ch. 17 Health, disease (frog 9)

2001.3, 2002.3, 2004.1, 2005.1, 2012.3, 2018.4,

  • mod 56 disease
  • mod 57 toxicology
  • mod 58 risk
  • PEX p. 641
  • Unit 7 PEX p. 647

Poisoned waters video:

  1. Chesepeake Bay
  2. Factory farms
  3. Endocrine disrupters
  4. Puget Sound
  5. Fairfax
  • Chesapeake watershed
  • EPA CWA 1970
  • Perdue/hog Ag farms
  • endocrine disrupters-drinking water
  • bioaccumulation-PCB
  • Puget Sound-Boeing
  • runoff-water transit time King County
  • Tyson’s corner/Fairfax-transit time, sediment runoff
  • Loudon county-traffic
  • Arlington-urban planning


Ch. 14 Water Pollution

Water Pollution-Ch. 14 F/R, 14.3 in Frog book (iPad)
Big ideas:
1. Rivers are continuous, so easier to find sources along the route (continuity analysis: all sources add to total)
2. Groundwater is harder to determine point sources, as flow is over larger area (not confined by river banks) and there is no continuity analysis possible (we don't know sources and sinks)
3. Oceans are the hardest to trace, and impact everyone eventually

Surface water impairment:

Module 41-Humans and livestock
Point source vs. non-point source Legal liability? Tracking? How is this different in oil spills?
BOD: impacted by anything that will decompose aerobically

Dead zones: low DO levels (via BOD or thermal pollution)
Eutrophication: too much food (nutrients), algal bloom (know the mechanism)
Cultural Eutrophication: anthropogenic
Pathogens: cholera and hepatitis (esp. after disasters)
Explain cholera mechanism: intestinal, shock dehydration, cure for infants: salt and sugar water
Fecal Coliform: e. coli from humans, used as an indicator species (see recent rains here)
Septic systems:
Septic tank: septage into leach field (elab into the trees)
Cesspool: deeper, raw sewage leaks into groundwater/ocean (e.g. puako)

Wastewater treatment:
Primary: sedimentation tanks
Secondary: bacterial breakdown
Tertiary: chemical breakdown (chlorine, ozone-only ozone kills viruses)

Module 42-Heavy metals and chemicals
Lead-heavy metal, damages brain, nervous system and kidneys, can be chelated from body using EDTA:
Arsenic (e.g. ant poison, mystery novel poison), found in well water in E. India/Bangladesh:
Often found where mining occurs:
n.b. no arsenic in Hawaii (why not?)
Mercury-organic Methyl Mercury and inorganic (thermometers) "elemental mercury"
Burning coal, gold refining, mining, battery production (Minamata:
Limits to large fish consumption in pregnant women
"mad as a hatter" Milliners
Acid deposition:
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (N2O)
"acid snow" and acid rain
also runoff into streams
Pesticides with long decay rates (e.g. DDT)
Hormones and drugs:
Endocrine disrupters, not cleared by municipal water treatment systems
From rocket fuels (solid rockets, boosters) and explosives (Pohakuloa Training Area: PTA)
PCB: Poly chlorinated biphenyls (recall the orcas from "poisoned waters"), fat soluble, bioaccumulation in orcas, used as an insulating fluid in transformers (n.b. fire departments use hazmat suits when a transformer catches fire)
PBDE: poly brominated diphenyl ethers-brain damage (TRIS in children's clothing as flame retardant)
POP: persistent organic pollutants
Module 43: oil pollution
Slow to decompose, settles to bottom of ocean, e.g. Exxon Valdez (captain was drunk on duty) and BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico ("Deepwater Horizon")
Oil plumes to 3000' deep in ocean
Damage to fisheries, beaches and corals/seabed animals
Module 44: solid, thermal and noise pollution
Flotsam=floating stuff, jetsam=thrown (jettisoned) stuff
Garbage patch in pacific: pacific gyre
Thermal pollution: usually associated with power plants (30% efficient, so 1000 mW power plant spews 2000mW of heat into water system)
Decreases DO levels, also thermal shock to smaller organisms
Noise pollution: serious threat to animals and humans
notice health impacts
dB (decibel scale): 210 dB = Saturn V rocket blastoff, 0 dB = anechoic chamber
>100 dB causes permanent hearing damage (ringing in the ears=dead cilia in cochlea)
Module 45: water pollution laws
Clean Water Act (CWA) 1972-protection and propagation of fish, shellfish and wildlife. Maintain and restore chemical, physical and biological props. of surface waters (n.b. not aquifers, n.b. economic impact of violations, externalized costs)
CWA 1972
RCRA 1976
TOSCA 1976

Safe Water drinking act (SWDA)
1974-EPA (formed under Nixon) est. max contaminant levels (MCL) (see list)


e2: state of resolve

e2 state of resolve:

APES questions energy 4 state of resolve

  1. What is the double entendre in “left coast”? “Fruits and nuts”?
  2. If you have ever been to LA, would you describe it as a pedestrian friendly city? How did this evolve, and why is it key to urban sprawl?
  3. What is the advantage of CA vs. the government vis a vis change and action?
  4. This was filmed in 2007. Who was president then? Did he support emission standards? Explain.
  5. it is said that what happens in CA is what will happen in the US ten years later. Why?
  6. Look up Fran Pavley, and see what has happened since the video was produced.
  7. What percentage of US cars are sold in CA?
  8. Car manufacturers used to produce two models of car: “CA” and “49 states”. Why don’t they do this now?
  9. What is the #2 polluter in CA? What did they do about this?
  10. What did Senate bill 1368 do? Why? What economic driver does this present?
  11. What the heck is “dirty energy”? What does Dan Kammen (Go Bears) say about this?
  12. How is the dirty energy plan like the car plan in how it might lead change in the US?
  13. Why are subsidies bad?
  14. What are the 5 parts of the CA plan?
  15. The price of PV panels in 2008 (when the elab was being built) was $10/Watt. What is the price per Watt for PV panels now? Why?
  16. What is the million roof plan in CA?
  17. Who replaced Bodman as Secretary of Energy? What was his strength?
  18. How much money have oil companies contributed to political campaigns, and how many dollars did they get back for every dollar invested in these campaigns?
  19. What does Kammen say about voluntary compliance? Do you agree?
  20. President Bush declared in 2007 that global climate change is a problem. Why are some folks still resisting this admission?
  21. What percentage of the global population is the US, and how much energy do we use?
  22. What does a large state like CA enable other states to do? How does it exclude any excuses?


e2: Paving the way

APES questions—e2 Energy 3: Paving the way

  1. How many gallons of gas does each American use each day?
  2. Why is it encouraging that the VP of research and development (R&D) at GM says what he does?
  3. Look up Amory Lovins, what does he think represents the best solution?
  4. Hydrogen is not really a fuel, but an energy transport technology. why?
  5. What kind of car was Henry Ford’s car for his wife?
  6. How many mpg did the Model T get, compared to today?
  7. How efficient is the fuel in a car? why?
  8. Vijay says the solution involves what?
  9. FiberForge is in Colorado, not the normal industrial centers, why is this important?
  10. Why is "stamping" familiar for car makers?
  11. What is Amory’s reference to “The Graduate”? how is this relevant to you? (look up "one word-plastics" on youtube)
  12. What are the most expensive parts of a car plant?
  13. What is the role of public policy in this solution?
  14. Why is the Chevy Volt different from the Prius and the Tesla?
  15. Why is the Prius mileage better in the city than the freeway, the opposite of normal cars?
  16. Your fossil fuel car has a mileage rating in miles per gallon (mpg). How would you rate the mileage of an EV (electric vehicle)?
  17. Why is the battery technology Elon Musk is developing such a game changer?
  18. Why is the hydrogen fuel cell better than most battery solutions?
  19. Imagine you are having a conversation with your parents about getting a more efficient car. what would you tell them?
  20. If you were planning on getting an electric vehicle (EV or plug-in hybrid), what changes would you make at your home?
  21. Since this video came out (2007), GM and other car makers were near bankruptcy, and were rescued by the US government. What was the tradeoff for this rescue?
  22. Summarize Vijay’s argument at the end of the video. how would you make this happen?


Free response #2

Download file "consumes 8,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electrical energy each year. The price paid to the electric utility by.png"
Download file "Upon receiving notice from their electric utility that customers with solar power systems are permitted to sell.png"


Energy labs

Download file "APES Energy lab-hot water heater.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy lab-solar thermal panel.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy lab-PV panels.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy Lab-Monitoring and conservation.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy lab: ROI:TCO.pdf"


energy tools

Energy labs-tools

  1. Kill-a-Watt
    1. Volts-should be around 120V, AC or DC?
    2. Amperes-only when loaded, test with hot water heater
    3. Watts-sometimes = volts x amps, but not always
    4. power factor: only 1.00 with heaters (ohmic loads)
    5. Hz: 60 here, 50 other countries
    6. Use to determine vampire loads
  2. VOM meter
    1. Ohms-measure across your body-why does it change?
    2. Volts;DC for batteries, AC for outlets
  3. eGauge
    1. campus energy used
    2. campus energy produced
    3. smaller buildings: faculty cottages only users
    4. dorms: when do they sleep?
    5. cafeteria: why so big?
  4. Thermal camera
    1. use to see vampire loads
    2. use to see heat loss from hot water heaters
    3. see leakage around refrigerators
    4. see thermal changes in solar hot water panels
  5. EMC and Mango
    1. use to search for data
    2. weather, solar radiation data for calculations
    3. long term (12 years for EMC)
    4. useful for efficiency (wind, solar thermal, solar)
    5. EMC:
    6. Mango: also 163, 15, 170
    7. Elab server: (12 year record)
  6. Weather stations
    1. solar radiation
    2. temp
    3. wind
    4. 10.14.62.x


Energy on our HPA campus

APES notes Energy

Renewable energy on our campus:

Solar PV: radiation from the sun (visible) making electrons move in a special semiconductor material (silicon, made from sand), so photo (light) voltaic (Volts) = PV or photovoltaic. These release direct current (+ and -) energy like a battery. To be used in our electrical system, we use an inverter to change the DC to AC (alternating current). Inverters are large boxes that are usually hot when in use. PV panels are usually made of glass, often with a purple color, which is the semiconductor below.

Solar Thermal: radiation from the sun (visible) hits a dark metallic surface (often copper or aluminum, since they conduct heat well). The dark surface transforms visible radiation into thermal (infrared) energy, which is conducted by the copper or aluminum to attached water pipes. To keep the heat energy from radiating away from the panel, the metal is coated with a special paint, and covered with a special glass insulating layer. The glass is the heaviest part!

Wind energy: Solar radiation (mainly visible) heats the surface (water or ground) which makes the air in contact with the surface less dense, so it rises into the atmosphere. Wind is the movement of air to replace this rising air. Since air has mass, when is passes over a surface that can move, the kinetic energy of the wind (1/2mv2) can push a wing. Two or more wings working together will rotate a shaft that can be connected to a generator (Direct current, DC) or an alternator (alternating current, AC). Turbines can be horizontal axis (HAWT) or vertical axis (VAWT), which are less popular. Horizontal axis turbines can be leading or trailing, meaning the blades are in front of or behind the tower. Most large turbines are leading, because of the turbulence from the mast.


Hot water: the cheapest energy storage method is hot water, usually from solar thermal panels, but can also be from PV panels running a traditional electric hot water heater, just like a coffee maker. Insulation is a key aspect to hot water storage, as heat travels from hot to cold through conduction (contact) radiation (radiation) or convection (hot air rising). Most hot water heaters are insulated (conduction), reflective (radiation) and covered (convection).

Batteries: These can be old style lead acid batteries like those in a car or golf cart, or newer lithium batteries like those in electric vehicles or in our IT and student union setups. Batteries only store Direct Current (DC), so they must go through an inverter to supply the grid, which is alternating current (AC). Energy stored in a battery can be as cheap as $100 per kWh stored for lead acid batteries, or up to $500 per kWh for lithium batteries, which charge much faster, last longer, and are much better for the environment than lead acid batteries.

Hydrogen: Passing direct current energy through water splits the water in to its components, Hydrogen and Oxygen. If the Hydrogen is captured and compressed, it can be used to burn for heating, cooking or in vehicles, or if passed through a special Fuel Cell membrane into direct current electricity, just like a battery as well as hot water. This is not as efficient as a battery, but can be used for long term storage.


Every dollar spent on conservation is worth 8 dollars in new renewable energy systems. Some key places to conserve energy:

Hot water insulation and timers

Passive ventilation vs. air conditioning

Lighting LED and passive

Vampire load reduction

Smart use of resources, occupancy based energy use

Energy units:

1 Joule is the basic unit of work or energy

1 Joule used or produced every second is called a Watt, so 1 Watt = 1 joule/sec

1000 Watts is 1 kiloWatt or kW

1 kW used or produced for one hour equals one kiloWatt-hour or kWh. A truly goofy term, but something easy to measure:

1000 Watt coffee pot running for 1 hour: 1 kW x 1 hour = 1 kWh

This is attached to cost, so the electric utility may charge you 2 cents for a kWh in Oregon, or 45 cents per kWh here in Hawaii-why?


e2: growing energy

APES questions e2 growing energy

  1. What is the basic difference between biofuels and fossil fuels?
  2. What is the time frame for collection of solar energy for fossil fuels vs. biofuels?
  3. Brazil has a unique climate, and uses a crop that is native to the area. Compare this with corn ethanol in the Midwest US
  4. Why is corn ethanol so popular in the farm states, and why is there national policy around it?
  5. Steven Chu: look this guy up. Where did he used to work in 2007, on what, and what was his job in Obama’s administration?
  6. Compare cellulosic ethanol with sugar cane or corn ethanol
  7. What is the energy balance of corn ethanol as grown in the US? Does this make sense? Why/why not?
  8. Harbors provide ethanol free gasoline. Why?
  9. What caused the 1973 oil crisis?
  10. PETROBRAS is the national oil company of Brazil. How does this change the rate of progress in their ethanol solution? What kind of government did Brazil have then?
  11. What is the population curve of Brazil?
  12. Why did VW move to biofuels instead of hybrids? What has happened since then?
  13. What is a CAFE standard, and what what was made exempt from these standards in 1995? Why?
  14. Does ethanol provide the same mileage as gasoline? Why?
  15. Imagine a developing country with no fossil fuel resources. How could biofuels impact their development?
  16. Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley describes a repetitive trend in renewable energy. What is the trend?
  17. Where is the first caucus of the US election held? What is their main industry? Why is this important?
  18. When corn ethanol use was legislated, the price of tortillas in Mexico went up tremendously. Why?
  19. How can cows derive energy from grass? How many stomachs do they have?
  20. Look up the FAME biofuel process. What impact could this have?


Energy Primer

Energy primer

Energy and power units:

  • kW means kiloWatt, kilo = 1000 Watt named after a person, so capitalized
  • 1000 Watts = 1 kW (note spelling)
  • kW is a rate, like miles per hour or gallons per minute, so saying "kilowatts per hour" makes no sense, just like "miles per hour per hour"

To get total energy (or miles or gallons) we multiply by time:

  • 1000 Watts for one hour = 1 kWh (“one kiloWatt hour”)
  • Example: a 1000 Watt hot water maker is on for one hour
  • 1000 W = 1 kW times 1 hour = 1 kWh
  • KVA is another unit similar to kW, but it includes what is called the power factor.
  • Note on units: Watts, Volts, Amps (Amperes) are all capitalized. Don’t capitalize meters, hours or gallons.
Your tea maker uses 1250 Watts, and takes 10 minutes to boil 500 grams of water. If electricity costs $0.40/kWh:
  • How many kW is the heater?
  • How many kWh did the tea require to heat?
  • How much did this cost you?
Power Factor
  • For simple things like hot water makers or toasters, PF (power factor) = 1.00, meaning 100% of the electrical energy goes to work.
  • Motors, compressors, refrigerators, computers and pumps can have power factors as low as 50%, meaning if you think the device is using 1000W, you are really paying for 2000W.
  • HELCO charges us a premium if our campus total PF is less than 90%
  • HELCO charges us about $0.40 (40 cents) for every KVA, so if you have an energy number, you can round to about half of this number to convert to dollars (neat tip).
Your refrigerator uses 1250 Watts and is on 10 minutes every hour to keep your food chilled. If the Power factor is 0.50:
  • How many kW is the refrigerator power rating?
  • How many kWh does the fridge use each hour?
  • How much each day (assuming the same rate)?
  • How much does this cost each day, using the power factor?
  • How much would this cost each month?
  • Why is it important not to leave the door open while you look around?
  • If you looked at an energy graph of your house, how could you spot the refrigerator?


We are in the 4th generation of lights in this country.

~1850 incandescent lights (Edison and his gang). These look like hot wires in a glass envelope

Most energy goes to heat, so not efficient, simple to operate, PF 1.00 (just a hot wire, like a coffee heater)

~1950 Fluorescent lights (note spelling: flUOrescent, like FlUOrine)

More efficient, contain mercury (toxic), need a transformer (hot, noisy)

Related: mercury vapor (white) and sodium vapor (yellow) lamps, also known as metal halide lamps, often found in streetlights, gyms, tennis centers. PF is about 80%. Many of these are being replaced with LEDs (see below).

All of these create an electrical arc through a vapor of metal (even fluorescent bulbs, which contain mercury and a phosphorus inner coating to transform the harsh mercury light into visible light)

~2000 Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFL)

Similar to traditional long or circular bulbs, but able to screw into 1850 era light sockets (yes, they are that old).

Contain mercury and phosphorus, 3-5 year lifespan, PF ~80%, often a harsh white/blue light, as opposed to the warmer hot incandescent light bulbs. This color is referred to as a temperature, so 2000°K is a warm looking source, while 3500°K would look harsh and blue-tinted.

~2010 Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Very efficient, can be many colors, little heat, long lifespan, PF close to 95%, uses about 65% less energy than traditional bulbs, relatively expensive, but long lifespan makes for excellent ROI and TCO (return on investment, total cost of ownership). These vary in temperature (see above), with newer LED units in the warmer 2000°K range, where older ones tended to look blue and harsh, often around 3500°K. Newer ones are also dimmable.

~2018 Smart LED bulbs

Same as above, but linked through wireless or power lines to controllers, so you can say "Hey Siri, turn on the lights" and magic will happen. These are key to the smart home, where sensors for lighting and occupancy can control lighting, saving energy, and therefore money.



  • Every dollar spent on conservation is worth about $8 in new energy sources.
  • Monitoring is key, to determine energy flows, leaks, identity (energy profile) and more.
  • This can be electrical metering, infrared cameras, flow meters, propane meters, water meters, temperature sensors and other linked data gathering devices.
  • Key targets are refrigeration (e.g. cafeteria), water pumps (e.g. pool), lighting, water heating and timing-when these resources are used relative to energy harvesting.
  • Especially important at night, when PV and solar thermal systems are dependent on storage (the sun is not shining much at night).

Solar energy sources: Solar thermal and PV

Solar thermal:

Goal: Turn solar radiation into hot water

Active systems: Sun—>solar panel—>pump—>tank—> users

Passive systems: Sun —>solar panel/tank —> users (no pump needed, uses convection)

HPA systems are of two types:

Carter dorm has the active system, while Perry-Fiske and cafeteria have passive Solahart systems

  • Propane is used to "finish" these systems, making sure that users always have hot water at about 120°F. These are propane "flash" heaters, making sure that any water going to the showers/sinks/washers is always at 130°F. You can see these behind each bathroom if you are curious.
  • Hot water is stored in tanks, with about 10-15 kWh energy in each Solahart tank. Each Solahart system costs about $6K installed (panel and tank). To store 10 kWh using batteries would cost $13,000.
  • Solar thermal panels are about 90% efficient at converting solar radiation into hot water. PV panels are about 15% efficient in converting solar radiation into electrical energy.
  • Propane is competitive with electrical energy at about $0.25-$0.35 per kWh equivalent in our hot water heaters.

PV (photovoltaic): sunlight to DC electrical energy

  • If solar thermal captures solar radiation as heat, PV systems convert this radiation into electrical flow in one direction (direct current, or DC, like batteries). This is convenient for battery storage, but to be used in most homes and businesses, AC (alternating current, 60 Hz) is needed. Inverters are electronic devices that turn DC from PV and/or batteries into AC for use.
  • Since HPA is on one meter with HELCO, we are essentially a “micro-grid” meaning any electrical energy harvested from PV (or released from batteries) goes to slow down or reverse the HELCO meter. Since we do not presently get any credit for energy out, we want to make certain we can store any excess energy on campus for our night time use.
  • Since the sun is brightest at noon, PV engineers use an estimation of a PV array output called “solar hours”, meaning the equivalent amount of energy harvested if noon lasted that many hours. This is like making a camel hump curve into a rectangle, adding the edges to the top.

For example, our PPA (purchase power agreement) array behind the elab produces about 100 kW maximum. This is true at noon, but less so either side of noon, so we use “solar hours” to estimate energy harvest each day. For us, this is about 5.5 solar hours, depending on season:

100 kW x 5.5 solar hours = 550 kWh or about $200 saved each day.

Click for full-size image

PPA arrangements usually charge us a fraction (about $0.20 per kWh) of the HELCO cost, but we have to pay for what it produces, not what it uses. If we are pushing energy off campus to HELCO using the PPA array, we are in effect paying to give this energy away, which happens during vacations (summer, winter, spring).

Wind energy:

  • Based on the flow of air over very thin wings ("blades") that rotate around a center, which turns an electric turbine, usually AC.
  • Two types: HAWT-horizontal axis wind turbine and VAWT-Vertical axis wind turbine ("salad spinners")
  • HAWT turbines are either following blade or leading blade. Our large turbine is a following blade, smaller ones have a tail fin and are leading blade. Commercial turbines are leading blade, with gears that force the blades into the wind
  • Wind turbines suffer from water and dirt damage, and need frequent maintenance
  • Wind turbines are noisy, and interfere with the view shed
  • Cats kill far more birds than wind turbines, but there are environmental impacts (see Altamont Pass)

Net zero energy is when we have effectively stopped the HELCO meter, meaning we are producing exactly how much we are using.

We hope to harvest enough to reach net zero around 10AM each day until about 2 PM each afternoon. The extra energy during that time we hope to capture using battery and other storage systems (pumped storage hydro, hot water activation, etc.)

Energy Storage:

Batteries for large scale systems are usually either lead acid batteries dating back to around 1800, or lithium batteries from this century:

~1800 lead acid batteries

  • lead and sulfuric acid
  • environmentally nasty
  • 3 year lifespan
  • shorter if used more
  • only 40% of capacity is usable
  • slow discharge and recharge
  • about $300 for each kWh stored

Example: our overnight campus use is about 100 kW for 20 hours or 2000 kWh (or 2 mWh). At $300/kWh this would cost us $600,000 and would last 3-5 years at max capacity, but in actuality it would be 2.5 times this because these batteries cannot be discharged all the way, so $1.5M.

~2010 lithium batteries (LiPO, Lithium iron phosphate, etc.)

  • Used in Prius, Leaf and other cars
  • lightweight
  • fast discharge and recharge (good for regenerative braking in cars)
  • 20 year lifespan at 80% capacity
  • greener
  • expensive ($500 per kWh)
  • Tesla's Power Wall is one example, so is the blue box in the student union and IT office. Kauai island is using these to move that island to complete energy neutrality in the next few years.

The same example above costs more, last longer, and requires fewer batteries. It also discharges faster to maintain our microgrid, and recharges faster when used as backup power for the IT building, protecting our computers from multiple outages we face with HELCO. You may also see these in the student union (left inside the main doors, blue lights)

Pumped storage hydro:

This is just like a typical hydroelectric plant with a dam above a river below. Water tanks low on campus have a pump and a generator. When we have extra energy, we pump this water uphill to a similar tank where it is stored for use later on. When needed, the system activates the generator, which provides power for the campus. This is green, cheap, renewable, lasts 50 years or more and can be safely integrated into other water systems (e.g. fire suppression) as needed.

Net neutrality:

We have three ways we can claim neutrality:

  1. Net energy neutral: We export the same amount of energy around noon that we use overnight, so as far as the HELCO grid is concerned, we have a net zero energy profile. We still pay for what we use at night, though)
  2. Net money neutral: We capture any excess energy during the noon hours when the HELCO meter would be spinning backwards, and use this at night from our batteries or other storage). If we were allowed to sell power to the grid, this would also work.
  3. Net carbon neutral: We measure all carbon used on campus, including transportation, heating and other carbon impacts and offset with energy produced via solar thermal, PV, wind or other means (not nuclear, don’t worry). This is the most current global metric used, and relates well to our sustainability misssion.

Each has certain PR and moral aspects, depending on the goals of the organization. Since our business is creating change agents to solve sustainability issues in the future, each of these is important.


FR questions


e2: coal and nuclear

e2 Coal and nuclear:

Secure link:

External link:

SALT audio: Jim Woolsey, June 26, 2010 NPR

APES questions

  1. Jim Woolsey in the audio describes a power shift, using salt as an example-explain
  2. What are the three main uses of energy in our country, according to the audio?
  3. How will smart grids and electric/hybrid vehicles impact this?
  4. Why a perfect storm?
  5. When he says “our grandchildren” who does he mean to you?
  6. Why a silver bullet? what is this reference?
  7. What percentage of global energy is sustainable?
  8. Why are coal and nuclear "two 800 lb gorillas"?
  9. Wood to coal-why and when? why is it the 21st century energy source?
  10. How often are new Chinese coal plants opened, how long will each one last?
  11. Mercury, sulfur compounds-why and to whom do these impact?
  12. Who does Mike Mudd represent? Is he telling the truth?
  13. Jeffrey Sachs stresses testing-why? What have we found about carbon capture?
  14. Why is carbon capture dangerous?
  15. Why do you think the Montana folks want to promote carbon capture?
  16. Susan Papalbo says we could capture CO2 for hundreds of years. If the cost of carbon capture makes coal even more expensive in competition with cheaper natural gas, do you think this will still go through?
  17. For how many years could coal provide US energy?
  18. 2100 mW for how many homes? How much for each home?
  19. What does Dan Kammen think about carbon capture?
  20. 1.8 million tons of CO2? for what time period?
  21. Why does the pursuit of carbon capture slow development of greener solutions?
  22. This video is from 2008, what has changed since then that dramatically changes the scene to the use of coal for electricity?
  23. Look up “Future Gen” the IGCC system and see how it worked out.
  24. The coal guy says 2012 is when it should be running-what happened?
  25. How much energy in the us is created by nuclear plants?
  26. Jeffrey Sachs compares coal and nuclear-what does he think?
  27. This video was done before Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. How has public opinion changed since then globally?
  28. Why is a pebble bed reactor safer? How does it differ from a traditional reactor? (look this up)
  29. How is the nuclear waste issue in a PBR differ?
  30. What is NGNP?
  31. What is the LEGO construction model?
  32. Nuclear power plants cost many more times as much to decommission as to build. how does this impact investment?
  33. How many permits for nuclear power have been approved in the last 30 years?
  34. if you develop a solution for these, what will the impact of this be?
  35. What is meant by an “Energy Portfolio”?
  36. Why is Jeffrey Sachs an optimist? Are you part of his vision?


Energy ch. 17 Frog book notes

energy -frog book notes

  • chemical energy: electrons
  • nuclear energy: nuclei (protons, neutrons)
  • combustion-usually oxygen, but any oxidizer (chlorine etc.) as well
  • hydrocarbons usually CnHx + O2 -> CO2 and H2O
  • Incomplete = CO (toxic to hemoglobin)
  • food is CHO (also N), when burned by body, creates CO2 and H2O (breath, urine and perspiration)
  • efficiency: energy out/energy in %

Evolution of fuels:

  • wood: renewable, but hard to find, limited growth rate, but sustainable for small populations
  • coal: non-renewable, stored energy from fossil plants, more concentrated energy, easier to transport, hotter burning (to create steam, melt iron), various grades based on source and degree of decomposition/reduction (peat,lignite, bituminous, anthracite, diamonds)
  • oil/natural gas: non-renewable, stored energy from swamps and marine organisms, both can be distilled into smaller or larger fractions in refineries:
    • oil-> naptha, kerosene, diesel, gasoline, tar (bitumen), plastics, etc. <question: why is gasoline more expensive here in Hawaii?>
    • nat gas -> methane->butane->pentane-> denser HC, fertilizers, plastics, etc.

See also LNG (liquified nat gas)

question: look up the price of crude oil. notice the names and the trends. what is “sweet” crude oil?

electricity generation: coal (steam), diesel (only in Hawaii, direct or steam), nat gas (steam or direct turbine), nuclear (steam)

Think of ships, this is where most of our electrical generation technology was developed

Hubbert Peak: King Saud (see opening credits to “The Kingdom”), Saudi Arabia, geopolitical implications

Fracking: Nat gas game changer: water impact, price of oil, change in electrical grid (smarter, faster, more nimble)

others: oil shale, oil sands (Alberta), methane hydrates deep sea deposits

ERoEI: Energy Return on Energy Invested

summary: there will always be some oil, but how expensive is it to get out of the ground?

Salt Audio clip: James Woolsey

17.3-Fossil fuel hazards

  • Look up how many mine deaths per day in China
  • greenhouse gases-CO2 and methane (CH4)
  • air pollution: SOx, NOx, Pb, heavy metals (worst with coal, lowest with nat gas)
  • water pollution: esp. with fracking
  • oil spills, coal ash accidents e.g. Aberfan in Wales, Kingston TN,
  • Fly ash illegal in Europe (why?)
  • Acid drainage-mines (see also metal mining, Butte, MT)
  • Geopolitical issues-imagine if we did not care about oil countries since 1930…

Energy Conservation

e2 car segment

17.4 Nuclear power

Chemical energy: electrons

Nuclear energy: protons and neutrons

Fission: heavy stuff (Uranium, Plutonium) to smaller stuff (like Kr, Ba)

Fusion: light stuff (Hydrogen, Helium) to heavier stuff (Lithium, etc.)

discovered by enrico Fermi (Chicago) around 1940, first used for heat, then bombs (WWII)

Next, used in nuclear subs (why?)

Electrical power on land copied from subs (why is this crazy?)

Fission: U235 + 1 neutron -> 3 neutrons, Ba 141 and Kr 92

Note: 1 neutron in, 3 neutrons out

  • If we capture 2 out of 3, this is sustaining reaction (factor 1.0)
  • If we capture 3, then it stops
  • If we capture 1, the reaction will increase
  • If we capture none of them, we have a nuclear bomb

Moderators capture extra neutrons and slow them into “thermal neutrons” (control rods also) to heat water for steam powered turbines

Bomb: make it all happen really, really fast

Power plant: make it slow down, capture the neutrons into thermal neutrons, make steam, then electricity

***make sure you can draw ALL of the parts of a nuclear power plant***

Good stuff: few greenhouse gases

Bad stuff: waste, pollution, fallout, limited supply of Uranium (Thorium possible)

Bad ones: 99 so far since 1945:

  • Kyshtym/Chelyabinsk disaster 1957 Plutonium (level 6 disaster)
  • Windscale fire (GB level 5, 1957)
  • Navy reactor accident Idaho SL-1 (1961)
  • Various Russian submarine accidents (secret) K-19, K-11, K-27, K-140, K-429, K-222, K-314, K-431
  • Three Mile Island (1979) see video clip from film China Syndrome
  • Goiania accident 1987 (Cobalt) also Mexico city, Zaragoza, Morocco, Costa Rica
  • Chernobyl 1986 (level 7)
  • Fukushima Daiichi 2010 (level 7)

What common theme, how dangerous, how could we avoid these in the future?

***be prepared to cite at least three of these, and explain what happened and why****

Fusion: LLL Shiva (look this up)

***Make sure you understand and can replicate the Coal energy graphic at the end of ch. 17***


Non-renewable energy: Fossils and nukes

Non-renewable: not renewable in your lifetime
Coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear-------
Fossil fuels:
  • Coal: dirtiest of all of these, includes heavy metals (e.g. mercury), sulfur and others, creates toxic soot when burned, high energy content, but also high CO2 content, 1 kg of coal produces ~3 kg of CO2, produced by decaying plants under pressure without oxygen in stages: peat->lignite->bituminous->anthracite->(diamond). Anthracite is the cleanest (less Sulfur) and holds the most energy (almost pure carbon). Sulfur comes from the amino acid methionine, present in the plants.
  • Oil : from decayed diatoms or other organics, formed under pressure without oxygen, but includes hydrogen, so is called a "hydrocarbon" with formula CnHx and C-H structures. Known as "Petroleum" or "stone oil". Can have less sulfur than coal ("sweet" crude oil), and can be refined into everything from light gasoline to heavy tar for roads. Burns in the air to produce water and CO2.
  • Natural Gas: from decaying organic matter, in gaseous form at room temperature and pressure, often found above oil in reservoirs. Lowest in sulfur and other toxins than the other fossil fuels, burns cleaner, with most energy per molecules of CO2 released. All are forms of the C-H molecule, usually ending in -ane:
    • methane: CH4
    • ethane: C2H6
    • propane: C3H8
    • butane: C4H10
    • pentane: C5H12
    • hexane: C6H14
    • heptane: C7H16
    • octane: C8H18
  • Nuclear power: where chemical energy involves molecular bonds and the movement of electrons, nuclear energy involves the bonds within the nucleus, called "binding energy". Two main forms:
    • Fission or "splitting" of large atoms. Usually involves Uranium 235/92 or some other heavy isotope, splitting into smaller bits like Barium and Krypton (the stuff that kills superman). All nuclear power plants producing energy on our grids are fission reactors of several types:
      • BWR or boiling water reactors: more dangerous but cheaper, has one cooling loop
      • PWR or pressurized water reactors: safer, more common, has a primary and secondary cooling loop
    • Fusion or "joining" of lighter atoms, usually hydrogen or helium. This is the process that produces energy in the sun and other stars. Not practically useful at this stage for energy, but is used for thermonuclear weapons (H-bombs). Much more powerful than Fission.
What is common in each of these? HEAT
Keep in mind: all new technology builds on old technology...
Think of steam engines (choo-choo!), which use expanding steam to push a piston and make the train go. Boiling the water could use wood, coal or oil to produce heat.
All older electrical power plants use coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear power to boil steam and instead of pushing a piston, they shoot the steam over a turbine (looks like the front of a jet engine, which is a jet-turbine or "turbo-jet").
Imagine instead of spinning the blades on your typical 747 jet engine, that spinning stuff turned a humongous generator.
That's how most electrical power is generated in this country.
Natural gas is different: instead of boiling water to make steam to shoot over the spinning turbine, they just shoot the burning natural gas over the turbines, just like in a jet engine, so much faster than boiling water to make steam.
Natural gas is fast becoming the best source for electrical production because the power of the turbine can change in seconds instead of minutes, meaning it can "follow" other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Natural gas is also cleaner, safer and easier to deal with than the others, and because of fracking, it is much cheaper than coal or oil.
Fracking is hydraulic fracturing, where a toxic cocktail of chemicals is injected into an oil well, then hammered down to break up underground formations, releasing trapped natural gas. This toxic cocktail can then pollute the environment, and fracking impacts earthquakes and the release of gases into the water table, impacting humans.
Hubbert Curve:
All fossil fuels are limited in capacity, and if all were burned, our atmosphere would look more like Mars, or mostly CO2.
Hubbert was a geologist who predicted "peak oil" or the peak of economic oil extraction.
This means there is less "easy oil", so oil could be drilled and extracted, but the price would be huge.

Nuclear fuels are less limited, but dealing with the waste they produce is a huge issue, as is the design of nuclear plants, which were just scaled up versions of nuclear power plants in submarines, which are surrounded by water and shielded from the Navy submariners.
Three major nuclear accidents you need to know about:
  • Three Mile Island: 1979, Pennsylvania, radioactive core meltdown of power plant, released some radioactive gases, site is toxic to humans for thousands of years. Not even robots can go in there even today.
  • Chernobyl: Ukraine 1986, radioactive core exploded during an illegal test, killing 30 on the spot, many millions impacted by cancer, hundreds by radiation poisoning, core remnants still radioactive
  • Fukushima-Daiichi: Japan, 2011, earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the plant, causing pump failure and meltdown of the radioactive core, many people poisoned by radiation long term, still in progress, TEPCO (Tokyo electric power company) is still not telling the truth about the impact of this.

All heat driven plants (excluding natural gas turbines) need to be located near a water source for cooling, which creates thermal pollution. Where water is not available, cooling towers are used to cool the steam for re-use.


Fossil and nuclear electrical power plants:

Nuclear reactors:
Boiling water reactor (BWR):

Pressurized nuclear reactor (PWR):


e2: Harvesting the wind

e2 Videos: (20 minutes each)

Harvesting the wind: community wind power in Minnesota

APES questions

  1. This series unites economic opportunity with environmental issues. Why is this unique? What does this mean for you?
  2. The Minnesota radio report starts with weather-why is this usually the case in farming regions?
  3. Why is small town America “dying on the vine”?
  4. How might this change since Covid?
  5. Look up the percentage of people in the US who were farmers in 1900, and now (2021).
  6. What is the average age of farmers today?
  7. How much energy was produced by wind in the US at the time of this video (2008)?
  8. What country started wind power, and who leads now?
  9. What happened in 1994 in Minnesota with nuclear power? Why is this important?
  10. Who is Tim Pawlenty, and when did he run for president?
  11. Why is community wind better than corporate wind?
  12. How much do we pass on to foreign investors per year in wind projects?
  13. What are the power per home numbers according to Dan Juhl?
  14. Minnesota has a high Norwegian/Swedish ethnic population. Why?
  15. Does the wind farm prevent traditional farming?
  16. How reliable is income from wind vs. income from farming. Why?
  17. Look carefully at the blades of the wind turbines. Why are they shaped this way?
  18. Why is the airport an issue? What is the solution?
  19. Dan Juhl refers to “the crop”. What does he mean?
  20. One big issue with wind is that demand is in one place, while resources in another place. What does this mean to the grid?
  21. How will a smart grid change this?
  22. What is the best way to predict the future?
  23. What is the tax credit game all about? How does it work? Do people use this here in Hawaii?
  24. Define ROI and TCO (look these up)
  25. Newer turbines have two or three blades, while older (e.g. 1880) ones in the video had many blades. What were these used for on farms?
  26. There is a Jacobs wind turbine above the Headmaster’s home. How long did this work, and what were they originally designed for? (hint: has to do with airmail)
  27. Tyler Juhl makes an important point relevant to your peers. What is this?
  28. Why is making the blades for the turbines locally so important?
  29. How are aviation and turbines similar as a researcher or future worker?
  30. Why would states support wind power?
  31. What is the trifecta of wind power?


Energy Semester 2.1-intro


Energy: ability to do work. units: Joules or calories

Power: how fast you do that work. units: Watt

Demo: walk/run uphill:

  • mass (convert lbs to kg)
  • work done: mgh = mass x 10 x 3
  • work/time = power in Watts
  • Watts/747 = hp
  • calculate other power: double time, half time, double mass, half mass
  • work done/4.18 = calories (humans are about 33% efficient, so multiply by three)
  • 1000 cal = 1 food Calorie (1000 cal = 1 Cal)

Energy units:

Joule is defined by mechanical work (force of 1 Newton for one meter)

calorie is the heat energy needed to raise one gram of water by 1 °C

1 kcal = 1000 cal = 1 Cal (food calorie, note the capital letter)

kJ = 1000 J

4.18 J = 1 cal

Electricity: energy and power units:

Energy is in Joules

How fast the energy is used is power, in Watts

1 joule/second = 1 Watt (capital again, named after James Watt)

1 kW = 1000 W, or about the power used to run a toaster

energy is like amount of water (gallons, liters)

power is like flow (gal/minute, liters/second)

Try these:

100W bulb runs for 3 hours = 0.3 kWh

Huh? another unit?

Yes, power people are not so complex, so instead of using Joules (like they do in much of the world), we take an energy unit (Joules) divided by time (seconds), then multiply by time again (hours) to get energy. Pretty dumb.

Another calculation:

1.5 kW (1500 Watt) toaster runs for 2 hours. Electricity costs $0.50 per kWh. How much does this cost?

1.5 kW x 2 hours = 3 kWh, 3 kWh x $0.50 = $1.50

This really adds up if you have a 4.5 kW water heater running for 2 hours per day. How much would this cost?

Hot water demo:

  • measure amount of water in hot water heater (tea maker)
  • plug in, turn on, time to boiling
  • measure Volts, Amps, Watts
  • convert Watts to kW (divide by 1000)
  • convert time to hours (divide minutes by 60)
  • multiply kW x hours = kWh or energy used
  • if power were 2x, how long would this take?
-------------homework questions-----------------

Homework: energy 1.0

  1. Your home hot water heater uses energy at the rate of 4500 joules every second. How many kilowatts is this?
  2. If it is on for 3 hours each day, how many kiloWatt-hours (kWh) is this?
  3. If energy costs 40 cents for every kWh where you live, how much does this cost per day?
  4. How much per year?
  5. Why would a 100 kg person running up the stairs use more power than a 50 kg person if they did both in the same time?
  6. Why would twins of the same mass have different power numbers if one walked up the stairs and the second ran up?
  7. If Ella Finoe has mass 60 kg and runs up the stairs (3 meters) in 6 seconds, how much energy did Ella use?
  8. What was her power?

Back to energy:

In the US, energy is used for three things:

1/3 transport (usually using oil-gasoline or diesel, or kerosene for jet airplanes)

1/3 buildings (natural gas, heating oil, or electricity from coal or natural gas)

1/3 industry (same as above, more electricity though, and different time trends: 24x7 or 8 hours)

How can we change this?

Industry: factories, machines, pumps, furnaces

Natural gas: instead of coal for electricity. Why? This is rapidly changing because of fracking-more on this soon

Coal: mining, air pollution, water pollution, heavy metals, coal ash, CO2.

Natural gas: (methane, propane, butane, pentane etc.) has lower CO2 per Joule, lower Hg, no ash, no water pollution.

If it comes from fracking, then we have another issue (water pollution, toxic waste)

Transport: moving stuff around (cars, trucks, trains, airplanes)

Hybrid/electric vehicles, natural gas for trucking and train fleets (see same reasons as above).

Storage is key: must be mobile, and light for airplanes, fast recharge for cars

Question: why are electric trains in Europe, Japan and China so much greener?

Buildings: heating and cooling.

HVAC systems (Heating, Ventilation And Cooling) or heating/ventilation/air conditioning, depending on who you ask.

Very energy intensive, dependent on set points (thermostat), humidity, insulation, and air flow (ACH means something, look this up).

Conservation = 8x production $

HPA campus energy plan:

Three phases:

monitoring and conservation+harvesting+storage

One very rich dude bought up all of the trains in the US a few years ago, at the same time he bought up much of the natural gas resources. Why would he do this?

Another very rich oil dude sold all of his oil holdings and created huge networks of wind farms in Texas. Why would he do this? How old were these dudes? Why does this matter?

Smart Grid:

e2 Videos: (20 minutes each)

Harvesting the wind: community wind power in Minnesota

Energy for a developing world: solar power in Bangladesh

Paving the way: next generation cars

Growing energy: bioethanol in Brazil

State of resolve: California cars

Coal and nuclear: Next generation nuclear, coal


Climate Change Ch. 19 mods 62-64

Climate change

In any crisis, the following steps might help you survive, thrive, or perhaps impact change:

  1. What is the crisis? What words define it? What is the lexicon?
  2. Why should I care? How does this impact me? How will it impact my kids/grandkids?
  3. What are the mechanisms of cause and effect?
  4. What impact timeline can I expect?
  5. What can I do: directly, locally, globally?
  6. How can my understanding of the situation help me impact the situation?

“We are on the precipice of Hell”

-Frontline video HEAT

“Climate change is the biggest business opportunity in the history of Mankind”

-Tito Jankoski, climate change activist, carbon sequestration pioneer, HPA ’05

Linguist on climate change vs. climate crisis:

“Greenhouse”-why? how does a normal greenhouse work? what parts relate to which physical systems?

Demo: car dashboard is dark, absorbs visible radiation passing through the car windshield, re-radiates at lower frequency/longer waves (heat), which is trapped by the glass windshield.

glass=greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, water vapor)

Is this always bad? See diagram:

Click for full-size image

Earth would be 0°C without any greenhouse effect

These gases have different impact and lifespans:

Click for full-size image

Where have I seen these before? You might not, but your parents certainly did, about 30 years ago, when the ozone layer was being destroyed by refrigerants (gases we created called “Freons” we used in refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners)

Without the ozone layer, everyone on the planet would suffer from UV radiation, causing skin cancers, plants would die, so would some life in the oceans. This was serious, causing an “ozone hole” over Antarctica:

Here’s how we know we can act globally to avoid disaster:

In 1997, most of the countries of the world met in Montreal Canada to create the Montreal Protocol, banning these CFC’s (chlorinated fluorocarbons) like Freon.

Here’s how we know it worked:

Note the bottom graph. What do you see? When did things change?

Here’s what the trend is for greenhouse gases:

  • The AGGI in 2019 was 1.45, which means that we’ve turned up the warming influence by 45% since 1990.
  • It took ~240 years for the AGGI to go from 0 to 1, i.e., to reach 100%, and 29 years for it to increase by another 45%.
  • In terms of CO2 equivalents, the atmosphere in 2019 contained 500 ppm, of which 410 is CO2 alone. The rest comes from other gases.
  • CO2 is by far the largest contributor to the AGGI in terms of both amount and rate of increase.
  • Note: The IPCC suggests that a constant concentration of CO2 alone at 550 ppm would lead to an average increase in Earth’s temperature of ~3°C (5.4°F).

NASA simulation:

NASA Eyes simulation:

Where is this stuff coming from?

Ok, what gases are naturally sourced:

Volcanic eruptions (complex, as the ash can actually block sunlight, temporarily cooling the planet-see Mt. Pinatubo)

Decomposition/digestion (methane from termites and cow gas, or the truly horrific possibility of melting permafrost)

Denitrification (wet soils, wetlands where NO3 turns into N2O)

Evaporation/evapotranspiration (water vapor)

Human (anthropogenic) causes:

Fossil fuels use (coal, then oil then natural gas)


Agriculture (nitrogen fertilizers)

Landfills (methane again)

Two graphs are important to you:

Here is the pattern of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa since 1958, the famous “Keeling curve”

Here is the historical record, from ice cores and other data:

Note the date...
Where is this coming from, by nation?

Why? US burns fossil fuels like maniacs, China is opening two coal fired power plants EACH WEEK, India is making concrete by heating CaCO3, releasing CO2 to make CaO (“Portland cement”)

So what?

Global warming will change the global temperature, impacting weather, sea levels, severe storms, glaciers, water and food supplies

High CO2 causes ocean acidification, killing corals, and impacting all life in the ocean, a major absorber of CO2 and source of food

Finally, high CO2 levels make us stupid. Anything over 800 ppm has been demonstrated to impact learning, memory and complex thought. There is no escaping this, much like the ozone crisis of the 1980’s

Here’s how warm it is getting:

Click for full-size image
How do we know CO2 and temp are related?

Check this out:

Click for full-size image

Here’s what this will look like when you are having grandchildren:

The first picture is 2020-2029, the right side is 2100, when you are in your 90’s:

Click for full-size image
These assume a constant rate, which is unlikely if the permafrost begins to melt, releasing more methane, and the polar ice caps melt, changing the albedo (remember Albus Dumbledore).

This is an example of a positive feedback loop.

n.b. most folks believe that ocean levels will rise from the melting ice caps and glaciers. This is only a small impact, the greatest impact is that water expands when it warms, so ALL of the water in the ocean is expanding at once, and the ocean is several miles deep around the world-think of that!

What can we do?

The IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) inspired the 1997 Kyoto Protocols, which the US has not followed.

Here’s what they say:

Click for full-size image

So, back to our questions:

  1. What is the crisis? What words define it? What is the lexicon?
  2. Why should I care? How does this impact me? How will it impact my kids/grandkids?
  3. What are the mechanisms of cause and effect?
  4. What impact timeline can I expect?
  5. What can I do: directly, locally, globally?
  6. How can my understanding of the situation help me impact the situation?
Why is energy such an important part of your solution?


Global Warming

Week 1/2 plan: Global warming

  • definitions
  • cause and effect
  • video
  • problem teams (diads)

First, some terms:

  • Climate change
  • Global warming
  • Climate Crisis

Which is most accurate? Most scary? Most likely to cause change?

Recall: energy->water->food->culture

Global warming will impact and be impacted by each of these

Energy: how we got into this mess-fossil fuels, starting around 1850, burning plants that consumed CO2 eons ago as part of photosynthesis, releasing their trapped carbon (coal, oil, gas)

Water: freshwater will become more resource constrained, sea levels will rise, oceans will become acid

Food: locations to grow will become constrained (e.g. Pearl River Delta, desertification), poor people will not have options for farming or fishing

Culture: coastal flooding will cause huge migrations of mainly poor people, but renewable energy could de-centralize energy structures (e.g. solar energy in Africa)

Mechanics: How this all works

  1. Solar radiation is visible, UV, infrared and others, virtually all pass through our atmosphere to reach the surface
  2. Surface is either reflective (high albedo: ice) or absorbing (low albedo: water, soil)
  3. Water and soil absorb the radiated energy and re-radiate it back as heat (infrared radiation, like the dashboard of your car)
  4. This heat radiation is captured by the CO2 in the atmosphere, bouncing back down (like the windshield of your car) warming the planet
  5. Some CO2 is needed to warm our planet above freezing, too much is warming the planet: global warming
  • melting of polar ice (changes albedo to absorb more)
  • warming of oceans (sea level rise, expels dissolved gases)
  • ocean acidification (CO2 + H2O -> carbonic acid)
  • more evaporation (stronger, more frequent storms)
  • desertification
  • salinization of coastal/delta farmlands (salt water intrusion)
  • melting of permafrost-releases methane, a potent GH gas (greenhouse gas)
  • melting of deep ocean methane hydrates-releases more methane
  • biodiversity and habitat loss
  • severe storms
  • increased wildfires
  • wild feedback loop
  • impact increased by deforestation (e.g. amazon rainforest)

How we survive-Marketplace (12:00)-good listen about emerging green technologies

Frontline: Heat (2008 release date)

Closed captioned version, can change speed (bottom right)

Team, many questions here, which we will break into several assignments:

  1. Part One: What river is China planning to divert that will cause conflict with India, and why are they doing this?
  2. Why did Brashears go back to that specific site to take the photo, and what did he see? What possible explanations are there for this? Take both sides of the climate crisis argument in your answer.
  3. What was so surprising in the dorky 1958 movie? Was this common knowledge back then? How can you tell?
  4. How does the cheapness of energy influence public opinion?
  5. Is the climate crisis an energy issue, a tree issue, an albedo issue, an ocean issue, or a permafrost issue?
  6. What happened at the Kyoto meeting? What was the most embarrassing part? Why did the US behave so?
  7. Why would China's growth outweigh any changes the US might make to change carbon emissions?
  8. What is Geely? Where? What model is their biggest seller? Is this scary? Why? What did their director say?
  9. How many coal plants does China create every week according to the video, and how many years will they be emitting CO2?
  10. Dr. Ling Wen says 30% growth over 5 years. What is the doubling rate for this in years? (divide 70 by the percent growth).
  11. Why is his line "if we can" so scary? What are his responsibilities, in what order?
  12. In what year will India's population exceed that of China? Why?
  13. What is the third largest contributor to greenhouse gases? Where?
  14. What reduction in CO2 did the Indian guy say they could do by 2050? What is the growth rate?
  15. What did Sunita Narain say about this? Why is this not sustainable?
  16. What did Pachauri say? What are his reasons?
  17. What did the US negotiators say? Why is this unfair? What did China say?
  18. Google Senator Inhofe, and find out why he was a global warming skeptic. Where did his money come from?
  19. This video was filmed in 2008. What was the position of each presidential candidate then?
  20. What did Jeffrey Sachs say, and why is it important?
  21. How many tons of coal are mined in the Powder River basin each day, and about how much CO2 does this release?
  22. The director of the West Virginia power plant (Charlie Powell) says: "we produce 1300 kilowatts of power every hour" which is like saying "my car goes 60 miles per hour every hour". What is wrong with his statement?
  23. How many pounds of Coal power your TV for one hour? What percentage of power in the US comes from Coal?
  24. Analyze the term "clean coal" from both sides of the argument. What are the motives of each side and why?
  25. Senators Byrd and McConnell represent which states? What is their bias?
  26. What is IGCC? Where is it located? Has it been tested? Where would they inject the ground? Why is this dangerous?
  27. Are we "carbon capture ready"? Where would this be tested first, and why is it problematic? If pipelines were used, why would these be dangerous?
  28. How many tons of CO2 does the US emit every day in 2020?
  29. The US is called the "Saudi Arabia of Coal". Why?
  30. What is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases? Now list the top three in order.
  31. Part Two: What are CAFE standards, and what does it stand for? What happened in the last few years to the CAFE standards? When were they created, and track the mpg numbers since then.
  32. How did auto manufacturers get around the CAFE standards since the Ford Explorer came out?
  33. What was John Dingell's motive? Why? Where was he from? Why did he block seat belts?
  34. Was his responsibility only to his 800,000 citizens or to the country, or the planet as a whole?
  35. What MPG was the terminator seeking for California? By when? Jerry Brown is next in the video. What was his job later?
  36. In the 1970's all cars in the US came in two flavors: "49 state" or "CA". Why?
  37. What pressure was put on the EPA in December 2007? Who was in office then?
  38. What is the clean air act?
  39. Who was the EPA administrator during the Bush administration? What did he do? What do you think about his actions?
  40. What was the target of the CA emissions standards?
  41. What is Hibernia owned by Exxon? How much oil did it pump since coming into operation?
  42. At 80 million bbl/day, how many days of global oil supply did it provide? (bbl means barrel)
  43. How did the Exxon lady defend their lack of investment in renewable resources?
  44. Dan Kammen says what? Where does he work? (hint: Go Bears)
  45. How much did Exxon make in the year of the movie? How much did they invest in renewable energy? Explain.
  46. It has been said that if you drive a Prius hybrid with fuel from the tar sands of Canada, it's the equivalent of driving a Hummer. Why?
  47. During the 2008 video, they state that oil is at $90/bbl. What is it today?
  48. The car companies were working on a diesel-electric hybrid: what happened and why?
  49. What did Toyota build, and why? How long is their advantage now?
  50. Do you believe the lady from GM? Explain.
  51. What happened to the Chevy Volt in the Photo Shoot?
  52. Is corn ethanol really a green solution? Who is pushing corn ethanol and why do they have so much political clout?
  53. Part Three: Why does Dan Kammen say corn is not a good biofuel?
  54. Explain the three sources of bio-ethanol: corn, cellulosic and sugar cane. Brazil produces which of these?
  55. How does Amy's statement about small interests resonate with Senator Dingell's actions earlier in the film?
  56. Compare renewable energy in Germany to the US, including smart grids.
  57. How do the smart grid and storage fit into the renewable energy solution?
  58. T. Boone Pickens (who died recently) sold his oil investments and moved into wind farms in Texas. Why?
  59. About 150,000 megawatts of power is what Pickens planned on installing, which would be worth how much per year? (assume 1 mW for a day is about $2400)
  60. Why is nuclear energy getting a fresh look, and why was it so politically toxic? Where and why in each country?
  61. Who became president after this film in 2008?
  62. What is the difference between Navy nuclear power plants and commercial industrial power plants? Why is this a problem?
  63. How is nuclear waste storage involved in this problem, and what does NIMBY stand for?
  64. Explain cap and trade, and the plus and minus for this proposal.


APES Fall Exam

Our Fall exam will have two parts: Multiple choice and open ended questions about your Green Building project.

For the multiple choice, here are a few good review chapters for you:
Look particularly at chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6

Here are some notes on the Green Building part of the exam:

  • How does your building connect to the greater environment?
  • What did you make your building out of and why?
  • If you had unlimited resources would you make it out of the same things?
  • How does the purpose affect the design?
  • What in the design and construction of your building reflects air, water, energy?
  • How does your building impact and build around the environment?
  • What cool things are in your house that was not addressed in the other questions?
It is also a good idea to review the weblogs this semester...
OMG! all of them?
Not really, but if you see something there that is totally alien to you, it would be a good idea to ask myself or some other smart person about it. We have many smart folks in your class, ask one of them if you like.
Here's what a real alien looks like:
As always, let me know how I can help.


e2: Druk White Lotus school in Ladakh

Druk White school in Ladakh

alternate link:

  1. We’ve heard Brad Pitt ask “was it a conscious decision or a momentary lapse of reason”. What is the difference to you?
  2. Look up Ladakh here:
  3. Why is it critical to educate youth about their culture?
  4. What is the message from His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa?
  5. Why is Ladakh “a fragile place”?
  6. Ladakh is on several borders. What impact does this have on the cultural diversity there?
  7. The lowest part of Ladakh is about the altitude of the Mauna Kea visitor center (9000 ft.) and the top is twice as high as the summit of Mauna Kea. Consider the biomes there, and what could possibly survive there?
  8. What impact did the airport have in Ladakh?
  9. What Buddhist principles are cited as coincident with sustainable design?
  10. Watching them build the school, did you see any heavy equipment or power tools? Why?
  11. What is the resonant feature of the circular building?
  12. Why is it useful to marry local resources and concepts to a modern design?
  13. What was the learning opportunity for the modern architects there?
  14. Compare the earthquake survival in the monasteries with other schools in asia that have not survived earthquakes. Why are they different?
  15. Why is frugality a key concept in sustainability? Where else do you see this?
  16. How is passive solar used, and why is this critical there?
  17. What is a trombe wall system? Where else do you see this?
  18. How will climate change life there?
  19. How do they take water out of the waste cycle?
  20. Why is it useful for the kids to know how the building works? How does this contrast with a passive occupancy? What social impacts does this have? Where else do you see this?
  21. What is the impact of bringing in rural students? What does it preserve? What does it enable?
  22. What does Glancey think of the project?
  23. Why is the woman architect’s approach so different?
  24. Circle back to the vision of His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa. What is his vision for the future?