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End of Oil

Post in 'The Green Room' started by begreen, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes that's a hot potato, but one that has to be discussed. This is a finite space with finite resources.

    Note I said growth of human consumption, not of the human race. We can grow population at a modest rate and still dramatically decrease consumption.

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  2. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I started watching those 8 videos at about 12.30 AM and i could not stop. i think it was almost 2AM before i saw the last one. Fascinating to say the least,scares the livin crapola out of you though.
  3. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    The problem with retrofits is they enable the prolonged use of unsustainable old homes that will never be anywhere near efficient or economical. Eliminating fuel assistance, govt. retrofit programs and mortgage subsidies will drop the bottom out of the housing market, bring out the bulldozers, and cause anyone with any brains and money to consider their true housing/heating/energy needs vs cost.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Energy retrofits at this stage of the game is the best investment. There is a simple problem right now - cost. Exactly where is the money coming from to re-house maybe 75% of our population? The number of homes needing improvement is immense. And it's not only old homes. There are a lot of poorly built newer homes out there as well. And recently a ridiculous amount of personal palaces that have too much cu ftg to heat practicallly. Unless you are going to contract Rubbermaid Corp. to create giant styrofoam ice chests for mass relocation of the population, the only practical solution right now is to tighten up what we've got. And perhaps to turn McMansions into multifamily homes.
  5. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I recently insulated 1 side of a 70 year old duplex and in February it never went below 50 Deg inside even if the heat was off for days. Blown in cellulose is the material of choice. 2x4 wall cavities.
    Gas bill is around $100 a month in winter including gas hot water. YES you can retrofit older homes, i do it for a living, If care is taken to details and its done right.
  6. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Thats why the US is the leading the world in obesity and possibly high school drop-outs.
  7. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    85 million barrels per day
    USA uses 22 million.
    Mostly transportation fuels.
    Insulating my house saved some Natural gas (NG) & fire wood. Not a drop of crude oil.

    Need to find a bigger solution. Crisis is the only solution. Then we have to act.
    ***
    Electric cars: Build more power plants (coal, nuke, NG) so we can plug in & go 50 miles then plug in again.
    ***
    Corn for fuel: takes just about as much energy to produce corn alcohol as it does to grow corn. + Fed gov. is subsidizing farmers to grow it.
    Now food cost more. Profit in corn due to Gov subsidies. Growing less wheat, more corn. Bread cost more. Feed cattle corn (feed corn now cost more) hamburger cost more.
    Eggs cost more cause chickens eat corn. & on & on.
    ***
    Wind mills: :lol: LOL
    ***
    Hydro: dam more rivers, make more lakes. Eat stocked & farmed salmon & other fish. (Here they're called "Franken fish") Not enough rivers.
    ***
    Mass transit in all cities over 100,000. No combustion engine vehicles allowed in cities. Rent electric cars when we go to the cities or use mass transit.
    ***
    No more 18 wheelers allowed to drive more than 100 miles per day. Trains only, mostly electric.
    ***
    I could go on but none of the above are going to happen, so why go on.
    We have to have a crisis. Humans react to a crisis cause we have to. :zip:
    We complain about gas prices & future oil shortages, but we are not going
    to do anything. Now ration fuel to 10 gallon per week per person. (no exceptions rich or poor & no transferring your allotment).
    Then we find a way to drive/ride something, busses & trains &
    save the gas for our chain saws , log splitter, lawn mowers, ATVs etc. :cheese:
  8. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    You hit the nail on the head with that last sentence. Doubling up is what the real estate industry calls the elasticity in the market when the population goes up and the number of inhabited homes goes down. One c.2003 Mcmansion can house X number of people for far less energy and cost than X number of retrofitted obsolete c.1928 homes. Typical skin deep energy retrofits are a SHORT term solution to a LONG term problem.


    My prediction, with current and future economic conditions, there will be many homes that were worth significant amounts of money 5-10-20 years ago that will be soon abandoned and bulldozed because they are not sustainable to heat, retrofit, maintain and pay the property taxes on, and a disproportionate percentage of them will be homes that the govt is spending money retrofitting now. I believe Detroit is proposing something like this currently.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My prediction is that it will cost too much to bulldoze them down. They will be taken over by roaming hordes that set up colonies with perimeter defenses. The few stand alone McMansions will be scavenged right down to the boards to build smaller, easier to heat homes.
  10. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Truth! In the early 1990's I visited my grandmother. She was paying like $400 a month on heating oil. Rather to say the state was paying. It's not like the house was ever warm, either. It's a nifty old house, the oldest part of which was built in the 1700's. For one year's worth of heating, they could have put in insulation and weather stripping. Wouldn't have been as efficient as a new house, but it would have been a major improvement. When my grandfather was alive (he died in '78) he heated with a wood furnace. He'd cut the trees and haul them up, then saw them and split them. I don't think he had a chainsaw either.
  11. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    That would almost get me home from work in the evening. OK, maybe I shouldn't live where I do, or maybe I shouldn't work where I do, but if I bought a house near where I work, then it would be far from where my wife works. My house isn't near where anyone works -- what's going to happen to all the rural houses if we outlaw long distance driving?


    You've never been in Atlanta, have you? ;-)

    I was at a conference a couple years ago, and the keynote speaker read a letter someone had written to the President. It was about power and foreign wars and how our energy dependence on foreign sources was going to be the downfall of our nation. But the letter was written over 100 years ago and the subject was whale oil. The speaker was an official from US Dept. Agriculture, and he was talking about a new technology, that if it works, will release the energy from the leavings of logging operations. It's some kind of enzyme that will digest pine trees. Supposedly there's more energy from the stuff left over after you log an acre of pine than there is when you grow an acre of switch grass. And since we're already cultivating the pine trees, there's little additional energy cost to harvest this stuff. It's what they normally push into big piles and burn -- instead they would haul it to a plant.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Hmm. I'd bet my "obsolete" home will still be here standing long after I'm dead and those shoddily built McMansions have crumbled.

    If you include the amount of energy that went into the materials and labor to build that new 2003 house in your calculation I think we will find retrofits are far cheaper.

    If I take my 200 year old house, add storm windows, air seal put down 12in of fiberglass in the attic I can probably get 80% of the benefit of new construction with a fraction of the materials. (much of which I have done).

    And thats not considering all the passive benefits many older homes have such as siting for good southern exposure/solar gain, fewer windows relative to wall area, etc.
  13. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    Third generation algae based bio-fuels......It's a big part of the answer to our ever growing energy needs. Cheap, efficient, and created without food stuffs. And it "eats" CO2 as part of the process of growing the oil. Best of all, it can be shipped and distributed in the already existing gasoline infrastructure. And large scale production is only a few years away.....
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The US is so used to cheap oil that we are way behind the rest of the world in almost everything except consumption. The first step here has to be live with less.

    For bogydave's point about mass transit, look how far we have to go:

    Obamma's proposal for funding high-speed rail between 2012-2017 = $53 Billion
    China's minimum spending plan for the same between 2011 and 2015 = $451 Billion (Max is $602 B)

    Current length of America's ONLY high speed rail network (Acela Express) = 225 miles
    Current length of China's high speed rail network = 4840 miles
    Current length of Europe's high speed rail network = 4124 miles

    http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/stories/high-speed-trains
  15. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    How many miles of high speed rail in Canada? Australia? South America? Africa?

    High speed rail is not an economical solution with low population densities. Buses make much more sense, but they have a bad reputation and nobody will win an election by promising to make people take the bus, and large public works projects are a good way to grease the skids for a democratic politician.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    These programs start out helping elderly and disabled people which is a good thing,and im all for it. But as with every Govt run program it expands to include every one,even any young healthy adult with a phone can call and get free oil. Then when they bankrupt the program they cut aid to everyone even those to who it may mean the difference between buying heat or food but not both.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed they should only be connecting major cities that are relatively close. Can we say San Diego, LA, SF? Boston, NYC, Philly, DC? Vanouver BC, Seattle, Portland? Note that Acela is not high speed in comparison to other countries. It's just faster and more expensive. We skipped out on Acela from Philly to DC because there was only a 10 min gain for a lot more money.
  18. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

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    Necessity, who is the mother of invention.
  19. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Are you saying just coastal or cross country too?
  20. PJF1313

    PJF1313 Member

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    BeGreen -

    I'm not defending the US, but look at how the old rail lines are laid, and when they where. Now, today, try and buy the properties needed for a high-speed line.

    On the Island, for as long as I can remember, they wanted to build a bridge/bridge+tunnel to CT. The water crossing wasn't 1/4 of the battle - it was/is the land sale.

    The Acela line can only go as fast as the rail and rail bed allow. Then there's that rotten apple in the way. There's no "straight" way to get on/off an island that densely populated; either above (Ell) or below (subway)


    EDIT : On the Acela line, I do believe that there's a bunch of grade crossings, that they have to slow down for.

    Any CONDUCTORS on the board?
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I was wondering about NY/Chicago. In a lot of areas the distance gets too great and in between is not well served due to low populations. The idea being to dramatically reduce flights and single car trips, so that should be the first priority.

    Not sure if we can achieve this now, you don't build infrastructure overnight. We'll probably end up with slower trains than a lot of the advance industrialized nations. The point being that this should have been started back in the 80's. Instead we gave Carter a bunch of crap and took the solar panels off the White House.

    PF you are right about right-of-way. The technology is secondary. We'd have to nationalize some property like was done for the freeway system, which would tie some folks shorts in a knot for decades. I believe the Acela line is running on old roadbed. If you look at the rest of the world's high speed rail networks they are independent of other rail systems and don't share tracks.
  22. PJF1313

    PJF1313 Member

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    Not being cynical, but good luck with that!

    The freeway/highway system is great in the mid-west. Loooong straight lines, no water, no mountains, no drastic anything. Now, say, from DC; Philly; NY; Boston, or any eastern hub; to Chi-town, most have water to cross; no major deal; a hump called that Appliances; also not a major deal; but the multi-million dollar "estates" that would have to be bought, or sub-divided, WILL turn political (I'm trying to stay away from that)
  23. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    Agreed. I don't spend much time in those areas so I hadn't considered them. "High Speed" is a joke. They proposed a "high speed" train from Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-La Crosse and or Rochester-Twin Cities. Even with the top speed they were talking about, it would have been slower than it was a century ago with steam, because the Chicago-Twin Cities route didn't go through any of those cities except La Crosse. That proposal amounted to what used to be called a milk train, one that stopped at every stop to pick up the milk cans, or maybe even a stumpjumper that went through the small valleys in this area.

    Don't forget that when the railroads were built it was a huge government giveaway and many of them still went bankrupt shortly thereafter. Before the railroads there were huge stock booms in plank road companies which were much more profitable and not significantly slower for decades.

    We already have the highway infrastructure for a bus system, if gas goes up and American prosperity goes down there will be much more convenient mass transit in short order, republicrats notwithstanding. I'm just a little leery of further mortgaging our children's futures on a century investment in such a specialized mode of transportation that may be obsolete in a few short decades.
  24. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    The cost of demolition is in the landfill, I'd be suprised if you couldn't bulldoze just about any house with under a gallon of diesel. There are hardly any boards left in homes to scavenge, ever tried to unstaple OSB from trusses? or reuse celotex?

    The other alternative (and my personal defense against the roaming hoards) will be a strict scorched earth policy.
  25. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Exactly!
    There is no solution for a future potential problem.
    Not going to happen until a crisis. When a crisis makes it the only option, Then things will begin to be changed.
    Political suicide to do it now.
    We wait for a crisis, then spend 10 years or more catching up until another crisis happens. Typical crisis management. "Don't fix it if it ain't broke".
    When the bridges collapse, a few hundred die then we'll "start" to build new ones.
    ***
    Resistance to change:
    "Take stuff from those people, but don't take anything from me"
    ***
    Like a "bridge to no-where". It can't be to somewhere until the bridge is built.
    If we never built a bridge across the Mississippi, the West would still be "no-where". (or thousands of large ferry
    crossings that get washed out every flood season)
    Again, I'll say " We will not change until a "crisis" gives us the need" with almost every problem we face, as a World, Nation, State, City & Community.
    Humans exist on "Crisis Management" (+ Now with, "who is going to make the most $$ money from the crisis having the biggest say)
    ***
    We haven't changed since WWII, we were totally against going to war against Japan & Germany until a crisis happened, Pearl Harbor. Next day almost
    every US citizen was for going to war. "Crisis management"

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