Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What is Passive House?

Although many people cannot afford to build their own home, there are energy lessons to be learned by this new technology regarding in-home efficiency. Keeping your home properly insulated is the key to this concept. Keep your doors and windows properly sealed so it can ultimately reduce heating and cooling leakages from your home. That's money leaking from those cracks! Planting trees on the south side of your home or using blinds during the hottest part of the day are small things that can also help reduce your energy consumption! Taking lessons from revolutionary ideas can help everyone on the grid. Stay concious of your energy expenditure and stay informed!

Here is an article we found that demonstrates just that:

“Maximize your gains, minimize your losses”. These are the basic tenants of the Passive House approach. A Passive House project maximizes the energy efficiency of the basic building components inherent in all buildings; roof, walls, windows, floors and the utility systems: electrical, plumbing & mechanical. By minimizing a building's energy losses, the mechanical system is not called to replenish the losses nearly as frequently, saving resources, operational costs and pollution. Unlike any other structures, Passive House buildings maintain occupant comfort for more hours of the year without the need for mechanical temperature conditioning of the indoor air. The opposite has been the norm in this country with a history of inexpensive fuel and construction techniques with little consideration for energy losses through thermal bridging, air-infiltration, let alone being conscious of using some or even any insulation.

Thus, to minimize losses, Passive House theory is focused on insulation. The research shows that energy conservation is the most cost effective and immediate solution to global energy production and resulting global pollution concerns.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Energy efficiency – there’s an app for that!

Efficiency Nova Scotia is kicking-off its one-year partnership with the Discovery Centre with the release of Canada’s first energy efficiency game app: Spot it!

The game app was developed in collaboration with Emmy-winning app developer and Nova Scotian Jason Nickel and Impact. The game features 13 levels where players have to spot the difference between efficient and inefficient rooms in a typical household. At the end of each level, the game explains the differences.

“Our ultimate goal is to help make energy efficiency normal behavior,” says Leanne Hachey, director of communications and stakeholder relations. “One way to do that is to teach our children how to use energy better so they can share that knowledge with their families, present and future.

“Spot it! is a way to speak to kids about energy and efficiency in a way that’s relevant to them — and it’s fun.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Let's Get Crafty!

Looking for a fun and creative way to teach your children about renewable energy? Pinwheels are a fun craft to demonstrate wind power and are easy to make! Follow these steps to get started.


• Construction paper • Scissors • Thumbtacks • Crayons • Pencils with erasers



STEP 1: Cut construction paper into a square. Fold it diagonally in half (corner to corner). Open it back up and fold the paper diagonally across the other two corners. Open the paper to a flat square again. You should now have an X folded into the square.

STEP 2: Decorate all four sections of the paper on both sides. Use any colors and patterns you like.

STEP 3: Cut the paper-starting at each corner-along the four fold lines. Stop cutting about a thumb's width away from the center on each line. Gently bend the long point from each cut triangle across the center.

STEP 4: In the center where the points cross, poke a thumbtack (ask an adult for help) through all the paper and then into the dowel stick or pencil. OR poke a brass paper fastener through the layers. Wrap the end of the paper fastener around a dowel stick or pen.

STEP 5: To start your pinwheels, turn the paper wheel around a few times to loosen it so it can spin. Then watch the colors dance as the breeze or your breath catches your creation. Adult assistance may be needed!  

Enjoy your new creation!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Europe joins race to store energy at the bottom of the ocean

By exploiting pressure at the seabed, researchers hope to create stores of energy at the o...

"Imagine opening a hatch in a submarine under water. The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utilize." This is how German engineer Rainer Schramm describes his idea for storing energy under the sea. By using surplus energy to pump water out of a tank at the seabed, the water is simply let back in again when there's an energy shortfall, driving turbines as it rushes in. The deeper the tank, the more power is generated.

The technology is being developed by Schramm's company, Subhydro AS. Based in Olso, Norway for access to deeper water, the company claims to be the "first in the world to apply a specific patent-pending technology to make this possible." In fact the energy storage principle is identical to MIT's underwater hollow concrete spheres which could store surplus energy from offshore wind turbines. Subhydro also positions its tanks as a logical counterpart to offshore wind, but like MIT's technology, it could also be used to store energy from the grid.