Friday, May 15, 2009

sustainable energy - without the hot air


This is interesting. Cambridge University scientist David MacKay is offering his book sustainable energy - without the hot air free to download either in chapters or in synopsis form - which is what I have read. He seems to be getting plaudits from all sides - environmentalists, energy specialists, media and government - so I think his work needs attention. One of the simple but brilliant things he has done is break all energy use down into one format that is easily understood and applicable across all forms of energy use - Kilowatt hours per person. Some of his findings are striking and challenging. For example: He says that roof-mounted micro-wind turbines [which I like the idea of] are 'an utter waste of resources. They never pay for themselves'. In contrast he says that, 'roof-mounted solarwater heaters are a no-brainer. They really work: even in Britain, where the sunniness is only about 30%, a modest 3m2 panel can supply half of a typical family’s hot water'.

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