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New carbon-free city about to break ground

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  • Will
    From CNN s Business 2.0 ; It may seem strange that the emirate
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 6, 2007
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      From CNN's Business 2.0
      <http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/08/01/1\
      00138819/index.htm> ;

      It may seem strange that the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the planet's
      largest suppliers of oil, is planning to build the world's first
      carbon-neutral city.

      But in fact, it makes a lot of financial sense.The 3.7-square-mile city,
      called Masdar, will cut its electricity billby harnessing wind, solar,
      and geothermal energy, while a total ban on cars within city walls
      should reduce the long-term health costs associated with smog.

      Masdar is still on the drawing board -- construction begins in
      January,with a very tentative completion date of 2009 -- but the result
      will be watched closely around the world.

      "If they can construct a zero-carbon city in this climate, you can do it
      anywhere," says Richard Young, a research manager with SustainLane,
      which evaluates sustainable cities and products. "It will have
      tremendous economic impact."
      Cheers,

      Will Stewart



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jym Dyer
      ... =v= Whose measurements back up the terms neutral and zero that CNN bandies about so casually here? =v= Existing carbon-trading schemes seem to neglect
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 6, 2007
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        > ... the world's first carbon-neutral city.
        > ... a zero-carbon city ...

        =v= Whose measurements back up the terms "neutral" and "zero"
        that CNN bandies about so casually here?

        =v= Existing carbon-trading schemes seem to neglect calculations
        that encompass full-lifecycle considerations in favor of those
        that provide a handy price-point (TerraPass' USD$29.95 a year
        comes to mind). Until some more relevant accounting underlies
        these words, the media shouldn't be reprinting marketing copy.
        <_Jym_>
      • Warren Weisman
        Agreed that the city is unlikely to be carbon neutral, however, it is a positive step in the right direction that I for one enjoy seeing take place. Our
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 6, 2007
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          Agreed that the city is unlikely to be carbon neutral,
          however, it is a positive step in the right direction
          that I for one enjoy seeing take place.

          Our Sporeprint mycoplex at http://www.sporeprint.org,
          which we just unveiled our first model this
          weekend---the pictures are up on our forum at
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mycoplex_forum will go
          beyond carbon neutral and benefit the environment,
          since we will be relying on biogas (the ONLY energy
          source that contributes zero greenhouse gas
          emissions---since the CO2 released during burning is
          the same amount that would be released naturally
          during decomposition). Biogas will be used in the
          summer, and rainwater dropping off the living roof
          will generate electricity in the winter. Might not
          sound like much, but 1" of rainfall over a 5000 sq.ft.
          roof will produce 250 cu.m. of water, dropping 13.5 m.
          will potentially generate 30 MJ or 8 MW of power.
          Enough to light 4,000 homes.

          We should not promote carfree cities and then complain
          when they begin to arrive.

          --- Jym Dyer <jym@...> wrote:

          > > ... the world's first carbon-neutral city.
          > > ... a zero-carbon city ...
          >
          > =v= Whose measurements back up the terms "neutral"
          > and "zero"
          > that CNN bandies about so casually here?
          >
          > =v= Existing carbon-trading schemes seem to neglect
          > calculations
          > that encompass full-lifecycle considerations in
          > favor of those
          > that provide a handy price-point (TerraPass'
          > USD$29.95 a year
          > comes to mind). Until some more relevant accounting
          > underlies
          > these words, the media shouldn't be reprinting
          > marketing copy.
          > <_Jym_>
          >
          >



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        • Todd Edelman, Green Idea Factory
          Wow, that TerraPass is really a slap in the face of reality... For 80 bucks for one year - seems like the price of one tank of gas - the owner of a huge SUV
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 6, 2007
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            Wow, that TerraPass is really a slap in the face of reality... For 80
            bucks for one year - seems like the price of one tank of gas - the owner
            of a huge SUV can become innocent..

            ***

            Beyond the full-lifestyle calculations, I wonder about the non-transport
            carbon emissions of a car-free person living in close proximity to their
            needs and wants vs. the SUV driver.... the big house, the infrastructure
            needed to support that... the big fridge or fridges, all the stuff they
            buy in plastic... ANY personal cars facilitate and create so much
            non-transport carbon....

            - T



            Jym Dyer wrote:
            >
            > > ... the world's first carbon-neutral city.
            > > ... a zero-carbon city ...
            >
            > =v= Whose measurements back up the terms "neutral" and "zero"
            > that CNN bandies about so casually here?
            >
            > =v= Existing carbon-trading schemes seem to neglect calculations
            > that encompass full-lifecycle considerations in favor of those
            > that provide a handy price-point (TerraPass' USD$29.95 a year
            > comes to mind). Until some more relevant accounting underlies
            > these words, the media shouldn't be reprinting marketing copy.
            > <_Jym_>
            >
            >


            --
            --------------------------------------------

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            Director
            Green Idea Factory

            Korunní 72
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            Czech Republic

            Skype: toddedelman
            ++420 605 915 970
            ++420 222 517 832

            edelman@...
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            www.flickr.com/photos/edelman

            Green Idea Factory is a member of World Carfree Network
            www.worldcarfree.net
          • Jym Dyer
            ... =v= They deserve credit for being carfree, straight up. That doesn t mean they should be immune from criticism when something else they do is questionable.
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 6, 2007
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              > We should not promote carfree cities and then complain
              > when they begin to arrive.

              =v= They deserve credit for being carfree, straight up.
              That doesn't mean they should be immune from criticism when
              something else they do is questionable. By trumpeting the
              use of very dubious carbon offset schemes with marketing
              doublespeak like "carbon-neutral" and "zero-carbon," they
              undercut their own project.

              =v= Bear in mind that these schemes are currently a leading
              form of greenwash whose biggest market is specifically to
              co��nable wasteful individual car use.

              > ... biogas (the ONLY energy source that contributes zero
              > greenhouse gas emissions ...

              =v= Sorry, but this is also bogus wording. Biomass still adds
              carbon to an atmosphere already overburdened with it, and it
              stays there and has an impact for a lag time. It definitely
              has a distinct advantage over fossil fuels in that its lag time
              is much shorter, but tallying it up as "zero" is inaccurate.
              <_Jym_>
            • Warren Weisman
              ... I did not say biomass---which does release greenhouse gases, since it is not covered and captured---but instead work with biogas, or natural fuel gas,
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 7, 2007
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                >
                > > ... biogas (the ONLY energy source that
                > contributes zero
                > > greenhouse gas emissions ...
                >
                > =v= Sorry, but this is also bogus wording. Biomass
                > still adds
                > carbon to an atmosphere already overburdened with
                > it, and it
                > stays there and has an impact for a lag time. It
                > definitely
                > has a distinct advantage over fossil fuels in that
                > its lag time
                > is much shorter, but tallying it up as "zero" is
                > inaccurate.
                > <_Jym_>

                I did not say biomass---which does release greenhouse
                gases, since it is not covered and captured---but
                instead work with biogas, or natural fuel gas, which
                does not contribute any net greenhouse gas emissions,
                since it relies on an anaerobic environment that
                prevents gases from escaping---and creates better
                fertilizer by trapping the nitrogen, too. Since the
                methane is burned during combustion and the CO2
                released is the same amount released during natural
                decomposition, it is more than offset by the plant
                matter growing in the first place. Meaning I am
                perfectly accurate in using the word "zero". Your
                skepticism is defying science.



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              • J.H. Crawford
                Hi All, ... First of all, 8 MW is power, not energy. Energy is power * time, so 8 MW for one hour is 8 MWh. 5000 s.f. x 1 inch = 417 ft3, which is about 26,000
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 7, 2007
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                  Hi All,

                  A recent post claimed that:

                  >... rainwater dropping off the living roof
                  >will generate electricity in the winter. Might not
                  >sound like much, but 1" of rainfall over a 5000 sq.ft.
                  >roof will produce 250 cu.m. of water, dropping 13.5 m.
                  >will potentially generate 30 MJ or 8 MW of power.
                  >Enough to light 4,000 homes.

                  First of all, 8 MW is power, not energy. Energy is
                  power * time, so 8 MW for one hour is 8 MWh.

                  5000 s.f. x 1 inch = 417 ft3, which is about 26,000 lbs.
                  13.5 m is about 45 feet. 26,000 lbs falling 45 feet
                  does 1,170,000 ft-lbs of work. At 33,000 ft-lbs/min
                  for one horsepower, this is 35.5 HP-minutes. One
                  HP is 746 watts, so this is 26,500 watt-minutes or
                  440 watt-hours or .44 kWh. If it rains 40 inches a
                  year, you get 18 kWh per year, or about enough to
                  power .002 of a house for a year at the once-commonly-used
                  value of 1 kW continuous will power one house. (I think
                  maybe 2 kW is the new number, but I'm not sure.)

                  So, this calculation is off by a factor of 4000/.002
                  or 1,986,704, give or take a few gnats' whiskers.

                  We really have to be numerate in these discussions.
                  What this really highlights, though, is that people
                  have NO conception of the amount of energy we are
                  using. The notion that a little rainwater falling off
                  a roof could power 4000 homes is truly discouraging.

                  And doesn't anyone study physics any more?

                  Regards,

                  Joel








                  ----- ### -----
                  J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                  mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                • dawie_coetzee
                  I was about to ask for more information about that system: thanks for saving me the trouble! I was slightly sceptical, because one of the great advantages of a
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 8, 2007
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                    I was about to ask for more information about that system: thanks for
                    saving me the trouble!

                    I was slightly sceptical, because one of the great advantages of a
                    living roof is the cooling effect of plant transpiration,
                    particularly useful in hot, moist climates. This tends to reduce the
                    volume of water that comes off the roof as stormwater considerably.
                    Because I live in a warm, dryish climate my own plans limit living
                    roofs to those that are readily accessible, and include a
                    considerable area of steeply-pitched conventional roof for the
                    purpose of gathering rainwater. Even so, at the annual rainfall of
                    750mm the site area is not great enough to supply the entire water
                    needs of the occupants at the projected density, but such things as
                    using grey water to flush the toilets can reduce mains water
                    consumption considerably.

                    Indeed the calculations required to project the power consumed by an
                    electric pump to pump grey water to a roof-mounted cistern, which
                    delivered a surprisingly low figure, only reinforced my suspicions.

                    I've been considering supplemental wind power for the same project,
                    notwithstanding the losses in efficiency due to a turbulent, truly
                    urban roofscape. Here's a useful resource for this sort of thing:
                    http://www.otherpower.com I enjoy their combination of common sense
                    and dogged low-tech independence.

                    The figure of 9000kWh per year is mentioned somewhere on that site as
                    being slightly profligate. It corresponds to about 1.22kW continuous.
                    My own calculations produce a slightly lower figure if one excludes
                    electric cooking, so I suspect that 1kW continuous is not unrealistic
                    if one steers clear of silly things like water taps that need
                    electrical connections that allow them to change colour (they're
                    actually made!), or the facility of running a bath over the internet
                    from another country.

                    Best regards

                    Dawie Coetzee

                    --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Hi All,
                    >
                    > A recent post claimed that:
                    >
                    > >... rainwater dropping off the living roof
                    > >will generate electricity in the winter. Might not
                    > >sound like much, but 1" of rainfall over a 5000 sq.ft.
                    > >roof will produce 250 cu.m. of water, dropping 13.5 m.
                    > >will potentially generate 30 MJ or 8 MW of power.
                    > >Enough to light 4,000 homes.
                    >
                    > First of all, 8 MW is power, not energy. Energy is
                    > power * time, so 8 MW for one hour is 8 MWh.
                    >
                    > 5000 s.f. x 1 inch = 417 ft3, which is about 26,000 lbs.
                    > 13.5 m is about 45 feet. 26,000 lbs falling 45 feet
                    > does 1,170,000 ft-lbs of work. At 33,000 ft-lbs/min
                    > for one horsepower, this is 35.5 HP-minutes. One
                    > HP is 746 watts, so this is 26,500 watt-minutes or
                    > 440 watt-hours or .44 kWh. If it rains 40 inches a
                    > year, you get 18 kWh per year, or about enough to
                    > power .002 of a house for a year at the once-commonly-used
                    > value of 1 kW continuous will power one house. (I think
                    > maybe 2 kW is the new number, but I'm not sure.)
                    >
                    > So, this calculation is off by a factor of 4000/.002
                    > or 1,986,704, give or take a few gnats' whiskers.
                    >
                    > We really have to be numerate in these discussions.
                    > What this really highlights, though, is that people
                    > have NO conception of the amount of energy we are
                    > using. The notion that a little rainwater falling off
                    > a roof could power 4000 homes is truly discouraging.
                    >
                    > And doesn't anyone study physics any more?
                    >
                    > Regards,
                    >
                    > Joel
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ----- ### -----
                    > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                    > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                    >
                  • J.H. Crawford
                    OK. Lance Armstrong pedalling a bike-driven generator can produce about 350 watts and he can probably keep this up for about 3 hours. That is, roughly, 1
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 8, 2007
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                      OK.

                      Lance Armstrong pedalling a bike-driven generator can
                      produce about 350 watts and he can probably keep this
                      up for about 3 hours. That is, roughly, 1 kilowatt-hour.

                      If Lance drives to the gym in a Prius and he travels
                      10 miles round trip, he uses an average of about 10 HP
                      for a period of 10 minutes (assuming an unlikely average
                      speed of 60 MPH). At 746 watts/HP, this is 74,600 watt-min:

                      10 min * 10 HP * 746 watts

                      74,600 watt-min is 1243 watt-hours or 1.243 kWh

                      So, in ten minutes of driving, Lance uses more energy than
                      he can produce in 3 hours of pedalling.

                      Now, if it's YOU on the treadmill, how many watts continuous
                      can you produced for three hours?

                      If you power your car by pedalling a generator to charge
                      its batteries, you're going to have to pedal for, say,
                      one working shift in order to drive 10 miles back and
                      forth to work. Or, you could ride your bike for, say,
                      40 minutes each way.

                      We MUST get our heads around the notion of just how much
                      energy we are consuming. It's truly incredible. Think in
                      terms of reducing your energy consumption 10-fold in
                      your lifetime. Even THAT is probably not sustainable.

                      The fix we're in is so much worse than people think it is,
                      simply because they think it's quite normal to put 10 gallons
                      of gasoline in the car once or twice a week. The energy
                      content of that gasoline is just incredible; only since
                      the start of the industrial era have people been able to
                      consume energy at this rate. This has only been possible
                      because we have been burning fossil fuels created over a
                      span of millions of years during the course of a century.

                      Rainwater falling off the roof is not going to power your
                      next flight to Disneyworld. It's not going to get you to
                      the airport. In fact, it's barely going to get you out
                      of the driveway.

                      Life is going to change. Get used to it. Then figure out
                      how to enjoy it. That's not hard. Just imagine carfree cities.

                      Joel




                      ----- ### -----
                      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
                    • Doug Salzmann
                      Joel s post is an extraordinarily elegant explanation of the brutally simple math that underlies our inescapable energy crisis - and gives the lie to so many
                      Message 10 of 10 , Aug 8, 2007
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                        Joel's post is an extraordinarily elegant explanation of the brutally
                        simple math that underlies our inescapable energy crisis - and gives
                        the lie to so many facile and fantastic claims about "solutions" thereto.

                        If anyone here is unfamiliar with such calculations, PLEASE correct
                        that deficiency. Truly understanding the magnitude of the fix we are
                        in is essential, if there is to be any chance of survival for our
                        civilization.

                        -Doug



                        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > OK.
                        >
                        > Lance Armstrong pedalling a bike-driven generator can
                        > produce about 350 watts and he can probably keep this
                        > up for about 3 hours. That is, roughly, 1 kilowatt-hour.
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