Buy An Electric Focus, Get Solar On Your House

Great idea! If you get one of the new Ford Focus Electrics, you can get a rooftop solar array permitted and installed for only $10k!

With the 10k tax credit for buying an electric this whole thing is actually quite attractive: an average driving family will have saved back the $10k in electricity bills in 5 years, and after that you are practically driving for free! Also, if your family drives less than average, like mine, you will be selling your excess electricity back to the grid and powering most of your household needs from the roof.

So you have a nice new Ford Focus which costs about $30k after the credit, a modern solar array on your house (hello resale value!), and very well might be the bees knees in 5 years after your investment is recouped.

The Self-Powered Future

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Self-powering feels good. Sustainability feels good. It’s not always easy or even cheaper, but it does feel good to *not* waste. I get that buzz when I ride my bike. People who farm/garden/build their natural environment feel it. I’ve never seen a lazy person on a bike or someone needing instant gratification growing flowers or vegetables.

Surrounded by electronic gadgets, pervasive internet, and 18-hour on-call workdays makes finding a few minutes to accomplish something with just your hands/body critical. Some of the most amazing programmers I’ve known were very physical at something beyond typing. Your body and mind are far more connected than couch surfers care to admit.

So here ya go iPads and Androids — soon you will be able to charge while you walk! That nice rubbery bounce you get when you pivot your poundage can now generate a small electrical current, and the designers just patented the idea and are working to design the first shoe that gives you an electrical charge just for walking in it!

There’s no such thing as free energy, we know that. But every time you move you are directing energy, so good call on capturing some of that energy used to pop back into our gadgets. This goes up there with wave power in my mind as an excellent future power source.

Progress, Washington, Same Sentence

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Obama just did this: More than doubled the required average fleet MPG by 2025 for US automakers.

Lots of info there —basically each car company has a range of vehicles. Those vehicles all have a miles per gallon score. The entire company’s fleet then has an average MPG. The federal government requires the average to hit a target, and this is how they press for innovation. This is the regulation that republicans dread.

Our past oil loving presidents held the required average in the 20’s, leaving the market stagnant (way more SUV’s sold than Prius’). Obama has now ratcheted up the standard twice since taking office. Automakers will have from 2012-2017 to meet the first set of standards, then 2017-2025 to reach this 56 MPG average. This might actually bring us a cleaner future, with SUV’s getting 40 MPG and the rest of us getting 80+. Nice.

Note that this is for passenger cars and SUV’s – pickup trucks (even light trucks) are not exempt but do have lower standards to meet.

Of course, GM and Chrysler are on board since they are still taking marching orders from Washington, but Ford, Honda, and Hyundai are reported to be supportive as well.

Don’t let the news whores fool you – good work is getting done in Washington by this administration. Progressive, intelligent, actual strategic work is getting done, as opposed to the flashy, ignorant, sound-bite politics of the last administration. Don’t be fooled by marketing and lowest common denominator politics when it comes time to vote.

Crawling Into the 21st Century

The old industrial city where I was born hit it’s industrial peak anywhere from 40 to 100 years ago, depending on who you ask and how you count.

Regardless, it’s been a while since this place has cracked the Top 15 amongst US cities in any categories considered economic growth. But it’s a cheap place to live, the weather is as amazingly varied as anywhere on the planet, and the residents have lots of culture, parks, and choice of neighborhood style (at least for an American city).

Here’s a time-lapse video of the big research university in town putting up it’s 1st wind turbine on campus:

This one is actually the 3rd in town (there’s one at?The Great Lakes Science Center and one owned by a private business) but this turbine is symbolic because this university could be the hub of renewable energy R&D in this part of the country, and is one of the forces behind getting the first wind farm on the US Great Lakes – the Lake Erie Wind Farm being designed off the shores of Cleveland.

Pretty cool stuff! This is all over northern europe but those governments are far more progressive (and government-controlled) than the good ole usa. At least we are trying to move forward. I know that Cleveland knows it can’t go back to manufacturing steel parts for the half of the world, but we do have the infrastructure to build whatever we choose.