Monthly Archives: February 2009

mark it to market

“Don’t make us do it!”

Assets too small to cover liabilities
The banks owe more money then they have. (insolvent) How many? probably citi and boa. (they dispute it. the market does not believe it.) Probably others.
This American Life — Bad Bank

C and BoA —
They have over 1/4 of all money in US… top 20 banks have 90%

Simon Johnson:
If not the US we would would say… “Take over the banking system, clean it up, privatize it as soon as you can…”

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Your Massachusetts neighbors are greening/superinsulating their homes:

  1. Arlington Superinsulation
  2. Newton Retro Super-insulation
  3. Cambridge Weatherization Parties
  4. Energy Smackdown,
    The Brainshift Foundation Inc – Medford, Massachusetts

  5. A desire to keep up with neighbors is spurring conservation. (New York Times, 1/30/09)

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On Solar-Powered Attic Fans…

Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation puts it this way:

“In order for the fan to work the air needs to come from the outside and not be pulled from the house so this means that the attic ceiling needs to be airtight. If the attic ceiling is airtight you don’t need the fan. Your money is better spent on something else.”


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Best Headphones Ever (in case you were wondering)

SONY MDR-V6. Owner since 1988. (yes, 1988). Just replaced the pads for like $11. Like new.
Wow wow wow. 238 Amazon reviewers give them an avg of about 4.5. Easily!

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Future Energy Prices — Electricity vs Propane

“The consumer price estimates for energy in all sectors between 1970 and 2005 has increased by 6.7% compounded per year. Electricity, remarkably, is 4.5%, while natural gas is over 8% per annum. Predicting the future is hard, but the EIA can tell you what has happened in the past.”

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Housing starts down 80% from 3 years ago


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Thermal Efficiencies of Power Plants

Did you know that the thermal efficiency of power plants is basically ~33%? This is for oil, coal, natural-gas. I had no idea it was THIS low. I find this horrifying. Our propane furnace at our last house was AFUE of ~94%. LINK

In other words, it does seem a little silly to heat with electricity (at least quite indirect!), even if you are using an air-source heat pump with a COP of over 3 like the Fujitsu 9RLQ. This is essentially just getting you back to 1.00 (.33 * 3 = 1) And minus the losses due to transmission I suppose.

I should look at those plug-in hybrid calculations again. I suppose the issue there is maybe that internal combustion engines kinda stink too, in comparison to electric motors, so it more than makes up for the hopeless electricity generation.

And of course, there is always PVs and GreenUp type options thru the grid. But still. Something seems a little fishy?

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