In spring, the air in Seville is sweet with the scent of azahar, orange blossom, but the 5.7m kilos of bitter fruit the city’s 48,000 trees deposit on the streets in winter are a hazard for pedestrians and a headache for the city’s cleaning department.
Now a scheme has been launched to produce an entirely different kind of juice from the unwanted oranges: electricity. The southern Spanish city has begun a pilot scheme to use the methane produced as the fruit ferments to generate clean electricity.
The initial scheme launched by Emasesa, the municipal water company, will use 35 tonnes of fruit to generate clean energy to run one of the city’s water purification plants. The oranges will go into an existing facility that already generates electricity from organic matter. As the oranges ferment, the methane captured will be used to drive the generator.
“We hope that soon we will be able to recycle all the city’s oranges,” said Benigno López, the head of Emasesa’s environmental department. To achieve this, he estimates the city would need to invest about €250,000.
“The juice is fructose made up of very short carbon chains and the energetic performance of these carbon chains during the fermentation process is very high,” he said. “It’s not just about saving money. The oranges are a problem for the city and we’re producing added value from waste.”
read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/23/how-seville-is-turning-leftover-oranges-into-electricity
Maybe it’s time to invest in some upgrades to our homes.
Home renovation has been a bright spot in the U.S. economy during the pandemic, with homeowners splashing out on home offices, new patios, even family theaters — and sending lumber prices soaring. But with more extreme weather on the way, more homeowners should be thinking about the home improvements you don’t see: insulation and power generation.
If you’re willing to do a wholesale renovation, tons of stuff can be done to improve a home’s energy efficiency. But most of us aren’t eager to start tearing down walls. So I called our old neighbor and asked him how he’d upgrade a house for extreme weather without making too much of a mess in the process.
Robillard says the easiest place to start is at the top: Insulate your attic. Homeowners tend to focus on walls and windows, but most heat is lost through the roof, because heat rises (duh). “This is definitely where you’ll get the most bang for your buck,” he says.
And before insulating the attic, check for air leaks. If there are holes drilled in the wall for power lines, or leaks around the chimney, seal those first, then insulate. Hire a professional or rent an infrared imaging camera from the local big box hardware store for about $50; on a cold day, the air leaks should be immediately obvious.
In addition to saving on heating and cooling costs, these modest insulation improvements can often net tax savings, rebates or other government-subsidized savings.
read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-02-20/protect-your-house-from-a-texas-size-disaster
A cool roof is one that has been designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles. Nearly any type of building can benefit from a cool roof, but consider the climate and other factors before deciding to install one.
A cool roof can benefit a building and its occupants by:
- Reducing energy bills by decreasing air conditioning needs
- Improving indoor comfort for spaces that are not air conditioned, such as garages or covered patios
- Decreasing roof temperature, which may extend roof service life.
Beyond the building itself, cool roofs can also benefit the environment, especially when many buildings in a community have them. Cool roofs can:
- Reduce local air temperatures (sometimes referred to as the urban heat island effect)
- Lower peak electricity demand, which can help prevent power outages
- Reduce power plant emissions, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury, by reducing cooling energy use in buildings.
There are many types of roof systems available, but the surface exposed to the sun is the one that determines if a roof is cool or not. You can usually make a new or existing roof cool by selecting the appropriate surface.
Cool roof coatings are white or special reflective pigments that reflect sunlight. Coatings are like very thick paints that can protect the roof surface from ultra-violet (UV) light and chemical damage, and some offer water protection and restorative features. Products are available for most roof types.
read more at: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/design/energy-efficient-home-design/cool-roofs