Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oops, I really messed this one up

Hi everyone,

just a quick message. You are being linked to this way outdated blog of mine, because I messed up a few settings on my self hosted wordpress blog. I lost all of my recent posts, but I hope to still recover them... I'm frantically working on it, stay put for for my completely new and overhaulsed blog.

Peace out, Hans

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We need to pay attention to earths population and issues with it!

This is a very interesting post of BBC about the earth's population. This is going to be a big issue if we don't pay any attention to it. I've often thought of that. This might become an issue far bigger than global warming (and go hand in hand with it). I actually think we have to embrace new smart technology. Back to the basics of green farming might not actually work anymore, because we might not actually be able to feed the population that lives on the eart.

Anyways, just keep it in mind and reflect on it.

Peace out, Hans

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tour of the Wilson Natural Home

Hi everyone,

I quickly wanted to leave an update. I've been really busy with all the work over at Ukoonto. So if you want to keep in touch about things that I do, please go to Ukoonto's webpage to follow all the work going on there.

I also quickly wanted to post about an awesome house just outside of Toronto. It's called the Wilson Natural Home. For more info and a video click here. The Wilson Home is going to host an open house on October 19th 2008 and you will definitely find me there. It's so interesting and this is exactly what I would like to do. Our little house has just been the beginning.

Alright, maybe I'll see you at the home

Cheers, Hans

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pro's and Con's of Local Sustainable Economy

This morning I stumbled uponthis blogpost, that talks about a book that describes a fictional story about a small town that relies completely on the local economy. Something that I've been thinking about a lot... but wait. You might be asking yourself, why would we even do/want that? What are the advantages? What are the downsides?

Advantages of a more locally sustainable economy:

  • More "High-End" Jobs - Is it not sickening that hear such stories of grocery store owners whose business' have been destroyed by Walmart, only to be hired by Walmart for minimum wage?
  • Lower Emissions - eliminating long hauls will decrease the embedded carbon emissions in products
  • Happier Neighborhoods - I feel better when I know who I am helping when I buy a local product. It feels empowering to know that you helped "Bob", that you know personally to stay in business.
  • Better Quality Products - the US and Canada have strict regulations on product quality which are often undercut by companies that import. One example: paint finishes on toys.
Disadvantages of going local:
  • Product Cost - things will cost more. Production in the US and Canada is more expensive, but do the advantages not offset the disadvantages. (As oil prices rise, we might soon be at a tie though. Our money will go towards paying for the product, rather then the transport.)
  • Somewhat More Inconvenient - we might not always be able to quickly jump into one store and get everything we need.
There is so many more arguments for both sides. It's up to you to decide weather you want one or the other side. Judging from recent trends in or economy though, I would say we need to strive towards a more local economy to be sustainable in the future


A recent article in Oil costs eroding globalization: CIBC

image by bonedad


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Public Transport: Germany vs. US

I just found an excellent blogpost about public transport in Germany, specifically in Berlin. I've lived in Berlin for some time and I love public transport in Berlin. It's not perfect by any means, but I guarantee you that you do not need a car in Berlin.

Anyways, I'm linking to this post (which links to another post, that links to another post :-)), there's nothing to add or to take away, why should I try to rewrite it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Consider the Embedded Carbon Emissions

This message goes out to all radical environmentalists, please don't take this offensively, since I consider myself one of you as well, this also works as a reminder to me:

I understand that Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is one of our highest standards that we should follow and I'm sure that buying a super fancy clothes line does not fall under that moto.

I recently bought a clothes line from cordo clip, I could have bought the old school line with regular clothes pins (which by the way is almost as expensive), build some goal posts to hang the line up and done. My wife has loads of linen to dry and this one will really cut down on the time used to hang clothes and sheets up for drying.

Here's what I really want to point out though: Please support Canadian business'. The financial risk taken by a company in Canada is much higher than a Chinese business (because of much higher labour costs and taxation). Cordo Clip is made in Canada and such a product would usually come from China. This means, the carbon footprint to make this product is most likely smaller than something made in China. Also, we employ people locally and the product saves some serious energy when used (air drying your clothes saves almost as much energy as taking a car of the road).

So please consider the "embedded carbon emissions".

A perfect case study: Zero Emissions Purolator Truck

This weekend at the Green Living Show in Toronto I had the chance to talk to the developers (Unicell) of the zero emissions delivery truck. The truck is fully electric and has some more features that are really impressive.

As I understand correctly, Unicell was approached by Purolator to develop a modern delivery truck for urban zones that is not only economical, but also much healthier for the operators and the environment.

First, the team observed what a delivery truck really does in one day of operations and they found out that the truck only drives for about 60 km's and makes about 200 stops in 10 hours per day.

The team built a fully electric truck, that kneels and has very low ground clearance, eliminating the steps that the operator/deliverer needs to take every time he walks into and out of the old style (box) trucks. This reduces the wear on the driver, speeds up his work day and the reduces the risk of injury (therefor also the down time of sick operators, which is very costly in a large company). The doors also open and close automatically, which enables the operator to use a two wheel dolly of and on the truck. The truck was used for 7 weeks in the fall of 2007 and all the operators really liked it. The batteries for the electric drive train never ran out.

This truck is a very good example of a company that thought an old concept through and created a product that is much more economical, and healthy for employees and the environment.

The following videos show the truck in action.

I would also like to add, that Purolator also uses another company called Azure Dynamics to retrofit their already existing fleet of box trucks to be hybrid diesel trucks, which cuts down on the carbon footprint of the fleet.

Last but not least, here is some food for thought, for some really advanced environmental solutions. The team from Unicell explained to me that these kind of trucks can be used for a very advanced electrical grid. This is a very theoretical scenario, but very possible in the future.

One of the problems of having an electrical grid that relies on wind, hydro-electric and other renewable energy sources is the availability of the power in the grid. If the wind happens to blow a little less and therefor not provide as much power as needed, some energy needs to be stored. This is where a large fleet of these kind of trucks comes in: In an extremely smartly designed electrical grid, the electric batteries in the trucks can provide power back into the grid. It is very well possible to know, that the trucks don't need the energy stored in the batteries at a certain time (ie: on weekends or at night) and feed it back into the grid and still be fully charged by the time the truck is needed.