Monday, August 17, 2009

Enlightened Spaces: Solar Thermal Presenation

While there is no doubt that wind, solar and geothermal have ample energy to power the planet--the sunlight that hits Earth in a single hour contains enough energy to fuel the human population for a year--they will need years to mature before they reach anything approaching their potential. Oil has had more than a century to mature, and its shortcomings remain painfully obvious even now.

The U.S. spends roughly $1 trillion each year--approximately 10% of gross domestic product--on the fuel needed to power 114 million households, 82 billion square feet of commercial building space, 130 million cars, 95 million trucks and the countless computers, ovens and alarm clocks that drive the metabolism of the modern economy. If there is a cheap and clean energy source out there, odds are someone--looking in the right place--will find it.

The "cubic mile of oil"--a metric roughly equivalent to the amount of oil consumed worldwide each year--is frequently used to explain the challenge facing solar, wind, geothermal and biomass power.

So what would it take to replace the amount of energy in a cubic mile of oil? Roughly 4.2 billion solar rooftops, 3 million wind turbines, 2,500 nuclear power plants or 200 Three Gorges Dams, according to Menlo Park, Calif., nonprofit research institute SRI International.

Till that time we can use the renewable energy as effectively and responsibly as possible. One of the most effective and Highly Efficient is Solar Thermal.

Committee on the Environment Forum: Enlightened Spaces: Solar Thermal Presentation
Location: AIA East Bay Chapter Office, 1405 Clay Street, Oakland.
Contact: 510/464-3600 or Shinya Yamada, AIA
Cost: None; this program open to all. Please RSVP.

For more information: 510/464-3600

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