Green gripe — supermarket freezer chests

I continue to not understand why supermarkets insist on having open refrigerator and freezer sections without doors or lids (even the goedkoop in this Belgian supermarket is in open refrigerator cases). Supermarkets don’t even have those thick plastic curtain strips. Why not? It’s a huge waste of energy — and for no good reason. If you can get around a supermarket, you can probably open a door or pull up the lid on a freezer chest. Supermarkets could take a cue from that paragon of green, 7-11. The beer and soda is behind the big doors, and even the little popsicles and ice cream bars are in a freezer case with a lid (which is really fun because it always makes me feel like a little kid when I get ice cream). Tell your supermarket to save some energy and put a lid on it — or you can just whine about it on a blog.

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My hometown algae biofuel booming

Solix, a Fort Collins company that turns algae into oil, is getting a piece of a new $44 billion federal grant for expanding biofuels research. Read more on Solix here.

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What I learned in the Economist this week

I try to read most of the articles in The Economist each week, and babble about it — mostly to help me jog my lousy memory.

I plan to usually post it at my personal blog, but the most interesting article was about global climate change (and I think it’s significant that a conservative and respected news magazine is a strong defender of global climate change science). Anyhow, the story notes that scientists are hazy on why the global temperature increases slowed during the Naughty Oughties. The scientists are frustrated (as reflected in the famed email-gate messages) by the mystery, but still stand by the general, and dangerous, trend. My favorite quote closes the article and reflects the fact that global climate change theory is based on sound and irrefutable science: Read the rest of this entry »

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Bar fight

If only I could make a full-time living writing about sustainable beer and music, I would be a happy man. I’m in the right town for it. Last week, I wrote an update about the solar array at the New Belgium brewery here in Fort Collins.

The neighboring brewery, Odell, is also going solar. The brewer of Easy Street Wheat and 90 Shilling activated a smaller array last week. For more on sustainable brewing, keep an eye on my Go Green and Make Gold column at ecohearth.com.

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Good video about electronics show

Watch this Guardian video about the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas this weekend. It really takes gadget geeks and electronics companies to task for their big talk and small action on sustainability. It also promotes some sustainability efforts, such as this electric bike.

There’s a little gadget fiend in almost all of us. Thus, the CES has been a big story this week. I’ve heard a lot of hype about the new 3-D TVs but little about the waste created by throwing away all our old big-screen TVs and replacing them with another power-guzzling big-screen TV.

On a slightly more positive note, Eco-Hearth will publish my article next week about some real sustainability efforts that debuted at the CES. Geek on.

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Sunshine powers Sunshine Wheat beer

I rapped at you last year on this blog and my Eco-Hearth blog about New Belgium beer (brewers of Fat Tire and Sunshine Wheat) and its big solar plans. The company’s new solar array went online yesterday. It is the biggest privately owned solar plant in the state, but it also demonstrates the difficulties of the renewable transition. A 200 KW system only supplies 16 percent of the brewery’s peak electric load and three percent of its total energy use. It also is not able to store the power, so it will only be used in real time. This isn’t going to be easy. I need a beer.

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Yes it’s cold. Yes, there is still global warming

Some people never tire of quips about a cold snap disproving global warming (or as I like to call it, global weirding, with credit to the Rocky Mountain Institute). Just shut up. Yes, it’s cold all over the northern hemisphere right now, but that doesn’t disprove global weirding. Scientists look at long-term trends, not one blizzard, to prove global weirding.

Also, because some people are going to figure out a way to profit from climate change legislation doesn’t mean they have bought out all the scientists and that we shouldn’t do anything. Are you going to shut down the U.S. military because it makes huge profits for private contractors and weapons companies?

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