Sustainable Works

Green Living Workshop update week 28 2007

Sustainable Works Green Living Workshops,

This week is the last week for both classes-
please bring your Life Style Survey to the last class.

Also the Tuesday class wanted to have a potluck
so if the Wednesday class would like to do the same
I will be bringing some Organic snacks to both workshops.

Tuesdays @ Santa Monica Public Library
Wednesdays @ Sustainable Works

Tuesday and Wednesday Workshops

this week:
Tuesday 7/17
Wednesday 7/18

last week:

Bike Metro
the site that helps you select routes for easy urban biking.

Roll with It
the bike group that will ride to work with you.

Better World Club
the environmental alternative to the Car Domination strategy of AAA.

Plug In America
Non Profit organization of activists that saved the Electric Vehicles and lists all of the automakers phone numbers so you can demand a environmentally superior plug in electric vehicle. Scroll down to the "What Can I Do?" section.

Below is an Alternative Fuels Synopsis - from Global Exchange

[[[Global Exchange Quarterly Newsletter
Issue 66 Spring 2006

Until We Have a Clean, Green Car
In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced that he wanted to end America's oil dependence—and then increased subsidies to oil and gas companies. Clearly, real solutions to the country's energy needs are not forthcoming from those who benefit from the status quo. Many of us are searching for real solutions to America's oil addiction. Global Exchange's solution is to target the US auto industry, which consumes one out of every seven barrels of oil on the planet. But what is the technology available for changing the auto industry, and how does one go about separating the corporate hype about fuel cells and ethanol from the real energy alternatives?
Below we describe the various options for the road ahead. And while we don't know which combination of these technologies will enable us to end our oil addiction, we do know that we can't wait. Our planet is in now-visible crisis, human rights violations are rampant in oil-rich countries, and people are being killed in wars for oil. We must make dramatic steps to end our oil addiction.
More efficient internal combustion engines
Technology exists today that could dramatically improve the fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions of US automobiles. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if Ford Motor Company used today's readily available technology to clean up its act, the company's fleetwide average fuel economy would more than double, to 40 miles per gallon. If Ford used the most efficient hybrid-electric technology in its vehicles, the company could average 55 mpg, a big improvement over its current average of 19.1 mpg.

Hybrids use an electric motor and large battery to capture and store energy that is normally lost in inefficient gasoline engines. In the most efficient hybrids, like the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic, the energy is used to help run the vehicle and can dramatically improve fuel efficiency. However, not all hybrids are designed to maximize efficiency; the Honda Accord and Toyota Highlander use the battery electric motor to boost the power of the engine and are hardly more efficient than their non-hybrid counterparts.

Plug-in Hybrids
Although hybrids are efficient, they still use oil; they are simply more efficient gasoline cars. A better solution would be Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs). The idea is to enlarge the battery pack in a normal hybrid so that it can hold more energy, and add a plug, so that the car can also get energy from the electrical grid or from rooftop solar power. With a PHEV that uses a battery-powered electric motor for the first 30 to 50 miles, most American commuters would rarely need to fill up or even top off with gasoline unless making a long trip.
Of all the technologies currently available, Global Exchange recommends PHEVs as our top choice.

Electric Vehicles
The greatest advantage to the electric vehicle (EV) is that it has no gas tank. The only power for the car is its electric motor and a very large battery pack, which is plugged in to recharge. In the past, EVs could only drive up to 100 miles without having to re-charge, but advances in battery development give the latest EVs a greater range. The drawbacks of EVs today is that they have become extremely rare; Ford and GM both eliminated their EV programs and destroyed all but a few hundred of their zero-emission vehicles.

Fuel Cells
A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device, similar to a battery. It converts the chemicals hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process produces electricity. Fuel cells are much hyped by some auto companies, but the reality is that no cheap, climate-neutral means of mass-producing hydrogen has yet been developed. While in the future, fuel cells may be part of the solution, currently they are merely providing auto companies with a cover to avoid ending their oil addiction using available technologies.

A regular diesel engine is equipped to run on biodiesel, a renewable and biodegradable version of diesel fuel made from biomass such as vegetable oils, animal fats, or algae. Biodiesel produces less air pollution than regular diesel and would reduce our dependence on petroleum. While sales have grown dramatically recently, there are drawbacks to biodiesel. It is twice as expensive as petroleum diesel, and there is a large debate over the feasibility of a massive conversion, as the energy used to grow the crops required may offset the benefits. There is also debate about whether agricultural land should be diverted for transportation production.

Ethanol is a biofuel that can be used in standard (non-diesel) cars that are factory modified. Since 1999 an increasing number of vehicles are designed to be dual-fuel or flex-fuel vehicles, so they can automatically run on ethanol, gasoline, or a blend of both—though few do. In the US, Ethanol is usually produced from corn, but it also could be derived from many other crops and even plant wastes such as cornstalks. Ethanol produces less air pollution than regular gasoline, and could reduce our dependence on petroleum.
However, many critics point to the very high amount of energy required for crops like corn, including gasoline in tractors and transportation of the grain as well as the various chemicals that are sprayed on the crops. The switch to Ethanol could also result in transferring power over our energy needs from petro-chemical companies to multinational agricultural giants.

Walk, Ride Your Bike and Take the Bus
Until the ideal clean, green car is created, the easiest way to break our oil addiction is by walking or riding a bike. And public transportation is much more efficient than single-driver cars. Those of us who can walk, ride our bikes, or take die bus or train are helping America declare independence from oil. What are we waiting for?]]]


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