Sunday, October 30, 2011

World Resources Report: Leaders Will Have To Adapt To Climate Change

A new report released this week suggests that world governments need to prepare for the likelihood of climate change in the coming decades, especially in the face of more frequent and extreme weather events.

The 2010-2011 World Resources Report, entitled "Decision Making In A Changing Climate," is a joint effort of the World Resources Institute, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. It noted, "Some countries are already making an impressive start in addressing these elements and accounting for climate risks. Others, however, are just beginning to grasp the enormity of the challenge -- even as they are dealing with the pressing demands for energy, jobs, education, and health care."

Let's hope that the US Government realizes the urgeny for a change and the chances this brings.

Find the Huffington Post article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

About 90% of the energy a household consumes ...

is used for heating and warm water! 3/4 from that is used to heat up the room. Time to take action. Lets talk about the potentials.


Heat is lost:
through the roof
through windows
through gaps around the door
through the walls
through the floor

Heat energy is transferred from homes by conduction (transfer through a material) through the walls, floor, roof and windows. It is also transferred from homes by convection (transfer through a liquid or gas). For example, cold air can enter the house through gaps in doors and windows, and convection currents can transfer heat energy in the loft to the roof tiles. Heat energy also leaves the house by radiation through the walls, roof and windows. If I hold a candle in front of the window, it doesn't need a hurricane to almost blow the candle. Ok, I might be exaggerating. Anyway, time to get some duct tape and silicone for some first aid, our windows for example are waisting energy big time! US households use 25% of the worlds oil. Every single step to improve the energy efficiency of our houses is welcome!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Half a nuclear plant...

...will be replaced by Desertec's latest project. The world's most ambitious solar power project will produce 500 MW in the desert of morocco and cost an estimated 2 billion Euros. In a recent post I mentioned, that the sun provides us with an annual supply of energy within 30 mins. The earths deserts can still this hunger within 6 hrs, says Desertec. A lot of state of the art science will be needed to make this project a success story. The energy will have to be brought to the customer. Technical and political challenges have to be mastered. Personally, I hope this becomes an exampe for future projects, as this idea has many advantages to any other kind of power plant (no pollution, no land-need if you want, no danger etc, in fact it even cools the planet by reflecting the sun light)
read the article here

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Did you like the movie "Inside Job"?

Having an inside look into the important issues of our daily life and future can never be wrong. A friend recommended the movie "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash" I recommend it to you (instant at netflix). It's an easy watch, yet it has a lot of eye-opening informations. If you want to envision the future, you should consider this!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not only the latest energy bill...

 ...will bring a smile to your face after installing a solar system on your roof.

The Berkeley Lab analyzed California home values after the installation of a solar power system. The study found that solar panels add value to a home at an average rate of $5.50 per watt. The fact that solar systems increase your homes value was well known (and obvious), but so far not as detailed as these studies indicate now.

According to the study, a small 5 panel system with 230 watt solar panels will add an average increase of $ 6,325 dollars, while a solar system with 10 panels will add an average value of $12,650 dollars to a home - on top of your investment to save energy for the next 30-40 years.

The 2011 solar energy home value report can be downloaded from the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Labs here.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Astoria, NY, has 10 nuclear power plants in 200 miles zone"

Not too long after the latest Chernobyl in Japan, the government of my home country, Germany, decided to get out of nuclear power asap. Now asap doesn't mean tomorrow in this case, but this decision still means a whole lot for the whole economy, for the country, and also for the people. I feel like their attitude towards their environment and their safety was affected by the process, but also their trust in the political leaders got a boost in my perception. Their voices and concerns were heard, and the bond to the elite was strengthened. The nuclear lobby finally lost a fight!

Thinking about my own family planning in my new home I couldn't pass on researching the local situation. First finding: there are TEN nuclear plants closer than 200 miles from my home, which is the American Thyroid Association's recommended protective zone. (

ok, so much about that. But that was not even the worst news yet:

"The Most Dangerous Nuclear Plant in America Is About 30 Miles From New York City" (Headline,

at least the problem is well known by the government...

let's take care that at least the most dangerous plants are getting closed...I think we can do this by raising our voice (the times for political awareness are there), and by becoming independent from the plants. "I will raise my kids in a nuclear plant free zone" a vision that sounds as appealing as possible to me!
What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And the average price is...

The average price for a photovoltaic installation decreased by 3 percent in the second quarter to $ 5.20 per Watt, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s latest quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight Report. As usual, talking about nation-wide avg. prices shouldn't be seen as one simple price. This number contains a lot of different costs, cumulated as one. First of all, we have to separate residential systems from commercials. Residentials have an avg. price of $ 6.42 in the secound quarter of 2011. The value chain in this business includes distributors, integrators, electrical contractors, etc.. The price drop in module prices is reduced by further additional costs, as permitting, interconnection, incentive applications, financing, and other fees that are included in the whole process. Furthermore, one mustn't forget that different states profit from different incentives, or suffer under different restrictions. While California's market is red hot already due to the states heavy strive to go yellow, the NY market is working on it, but not there yet. In Manhattan for example, system prices can go as high as $ 12, depending on administrative challenges. But anyway, to shorten this up let me finish this with good news for our customers: REW Solar USA is easily lying under the nation-wide average price for a residential installation of $ 6.42, indeed even under the total avg.price of $ 5.20 per Watt! And the challenging paperwork...taken care of...

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

High-Tech Cardboard

German Solar Panel Producer Schott is currently developing a Solar Panel that will not only be about 40% lighter, but also cheaper than conventional panels. This allows an installation on roofs that couldn't be used so far, like old industrial buildings with thin roof tiles that can't carry heavy panels. The solution is: cardboard. The High-Tech version, of course. This type of material is even used in planes! Just thought I'd share this surprising fact real quick. (Source: Photon Solar Magazine)

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Friday, October 14, 2011

First week findings

My first week at REW Solar is about to end in a couple of hours, so it's time for first answers.

First of all, it doesn't seem to be too easy to quantify the amount of energy that the sun is sharing with us down here since I found different numbers on that, but it seems safe to say that any 30 minutes "a one year supply" of the energy needed worldwide rains down on us. This is quite HUGE!
Below you will find an illustration that helps to understand the immense quantity of solar energy that reaches the earth in one year (1), compared to the annual world consumption of energy (7). All reserves of coal (4), natural gas (3), oil (5) and uranium (6) are shown also. Now guess what the tiny cube (2) displays: it is the amount of solar energy that we currently use! One can't overlook the potential, right?!

Again, it's hard to name precise numbers, but this need for energy is going to double in the next 20 years, while the amount of fossil fuels is going down rapidly. No one knows when the prices for a gallon of this endless source won't be affordable anymore, some say there's no need for panic, others think there is.
Personally, I think the answer is obvious. We all remember the disaster that happened some 5000 feet deep down in the Gulf of Mexico, which shows the risks we have to take these days in order to feed our inevitable hunger for energy. Furthermore, looking at your latest receipts will help you visualize the need for a change: stopping at the gas station is just not what it used to be, and the day Con Edison sends its bill hopefully is not a friday... just in case you planned to take out your wife for a fancy dinner on Saturday. :)
We need to find a balance...when it comes to our energy consumption, and also regarding our finances and lifestyle. Do you still believe investing in the stock market is a smart move? Or do you tend to go into the raw-materials market to find out whether that is a safe bet?
May I suggest: Invest in your own property. Make yourself independent. I feel like investing in solar is like duck, cover and smile, while holding out your hand to take the incentives that are offered to you.

Let me double check this whole investment thing, but so far there is no rub in sight. I'll keep you posted. Have a nice weekend!

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

how did that happen?

Hi, my name is Torsten Flaegel, and I am 33 years old.
I worked ten years as a property manager to find out that this was not really what I wanted to do forever. A couple of job interviews later it became clear: to move on to a new challenge I had to go back to school.

While I was curious about any social, economic and ecological aspects when I started to study urban planning, I soon realized I had a strong passion for finding solutions on the environmental pollution that affects our lives incrementally. After finishing studies in Germany I was finally able to move to NYC, where my wife awaited my arrival.

Solar power systems turn out to be the best way to lower emissions in cities, which host more than 50% of the world population already. In combination with the one demand I had on my new job, being that I desire to be on my feet most of the time instead of sitting on my behind, the field I would want to go into became more and more clear. The growing number of organic markets shows that New Yorkers can't get enough of becoming green these days, so I chose to do my thing and go yellow.

Three days ago it was my first day at REW Solar NYC, where I will work as a Residential Sales Consultant to not only help New Yorkers obtain free access to energy, but also to increase the value of their house, creating a true win-win situation for everybody ( I must admit that bringing home money is also one aspect in the back of my head).

Located right next to New Jersey, which is the second biggest market for solar systems in the US, the NY market is expected to evolve in 2012. Differing local restrictions even among the borroughs make this market quite a complicated one, which is why we team up with different companies to gather know-how in all the fields, like installations, planning etc..

It is my pleasure to share with you what the workdays, trainings, conferences, meetings and phone calls that lie ahead of me will teach me, and therefore you if you will.

What do you think? Looking forward to read your comments.