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      Blog :: 07-2009

      google.org's Dan Reicher Speaks @ Yestermorrow in Warren

      Dan Reicher Portrait e

      Dan Reicher of google.org spoke this evening at Yestermorrow's Design Build School amidst a huge turnout.

      The future is not what it used to be. There's a huge opportunity around this marked grid.  The rise of plug in vehicles. Lord Kelvin: "If you can't measure it you can't improve it."  1972 refrigerators ran 2000 kilowatts per year, now not more than 450 kilowatt hours. China! The Chinese recently announced they're going to install 250 million smart meters. Emerging world of plug in vehicles, Toyota Priuses and Ford Escapes, replaced standard batteries with larger batteries and tested these modified vehicles with Google employees. So many exciting things going on. Larry Page & Sergey Brin two founders of  Google. Not only can cars charge from the grid, but they can send electricity back to the grid. Lots of very sophisticated things you can do with vehicles that plug into the grid. Even after market vehicles could have very significant efficiency improvements. Google has 8 buildings with solar roofs. Lots and lots of data collection.  L5 Lithium Power.  Google employees juiced over 73 mpg from modified Prius. Average drivers juiced 93.5 mpg from plug in hybrid. Imagine what we could do if we built the plug ins from the ground up? One fundamental challenge of renewable challenge: how to compete with coal?Now they can't. 4-6 cents a kilowatt hour for coal. Photo voltaics well over 18 cents a kilowatt hour.

      coal

      Renewable Energy < Coal.  Aim: renewable energy cheaper than coal. Now doing R&D at universities and some labs. Series of investments in break through tech companies. Enhanced Geo Thermal Systems (EGS). If you drill deep enough, anywhere, you get to hot rock. If bring the water up to the surface, you can generate steam generated electricity. Less than 4 cents per kilowatt hour, but still a relatively immature technology. Lots of interest and government dollars being spent.  But, does this technology cause earthquakes & seismicity? Google thinks it was unfairly critiqued in the NY Times.

      geo thermal image

      Are a few projects in France & Germany up and running, 5 or 6 kilometers deep, not any more than the oil and gas industry is drilling in a lot of their projects.

      What is Google up to? Using a jet engine in reverse to try to melt rock, to dramatically reduce drilling cost. If you go to 10k deep you can do this coast to coast, if we can crack the code on how to get this deep. Nevada is a huge resource. Texas is the Saudia Arabia of geo-thermal. In last few months, oil and gas industry has just caught on that they know how to drill. When drill for natural gas they get lots of hot water.  Even in Maine some serious opportunity.

      Plug in vehicles, renewable energy and the Smart Grid.

      Issue number one, big electricity draw on a hot summer day, overload.

      Whether these plug in vehicles could in fact be part of the answer to this. What if you could turn off the charging  of 100,000 vehicles, cycle the charging? It has some real advantages in places like CA where the wind blows at night rather than in the day when we need it. Google calls this smart charging. Have engineers writing computer code on how to do this with millions of vehicles. Seems to be working.

      plug in vehicles

      What if there is serious government investment in these alternative forms of energy?

      Dan had honor of serving on the Obama transition team, helped figure out how to spend billions of dollars in stimulus money.  Fifty  billion dollars, huge money. R&D, tax credits, focus grants, many agencies spending this money in a tight time frame, how to spend it wisely. Some of the audience in the hunt for this money. If you're in the hunt: Got to have near term economic impact. States are in control of a lot of this money. Will be transparency, will owe a lot of info on how it's spent. Delays are inevitable.

      Focus on empowering and engaging consumers. Advance White House goal for 40 million smart meters.

      Low income home weatherization program, insulation improvements, huge jump. 5 billion in stimulus money, 1 million homes over next 2 years.versus the 100,000 to 200,000 being weatherized annually now.

      American Clean Energy & Security Act adopted by House, now being considered by the Senate. Would set energy efficiency standards & support for advanced technologies. The Valley of Death, pilot technologies, initial stages most precarious. Great talk about green jobs.

      Most of exciting technologies, top companies outside of US except for wind turbines. Japan, Germany, China, Korea reign. Piece of legislation could give a real boost to US Technologies.

      "This is not a static process." Senator John Kerry.

      The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

      The nuclear question is always the interesting one. Nuclear energy is carbon free.  Now  nuclear accounts for 20% of US energy. There's some big money going towards it. It's a hot debate. We sort of neglect one aspect of it: with one accident you can set back the entire industry. What about another accident, what would that mean? A redoubled effort around safety. The next few reactors to get built will be make or break for the industry.

      nuclear energyConnect to maplesweet.com call 800-525-7965 or e-mail info@maplesweet.com for the latest real estate information and Vermont property offerings, or to list your own Vermont house, condo, land or commercial property.

      Shelburne mid 19th Century Slate Capped Farmhouse & Barn

      A good friend of mine used to be very into Feng Shui an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, according to Wikipedia, using the laws of both heaven & earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi, an active principle forming part of any living thing.

      630 x 40' Clapboard Barn including west extension for storage or parking.

      30 x 40' Clapboard Barn including west extension for storage or parking.

      Once in a while you walk into a Vermont house and it just feels so good. One of the previous owners reportedly called it a "happy house".  From the wooden framed and expanded red barn to the charming and rare still attached but no longer utilized tandem outhouse (my vote is to put this beauty back in gear!), this slate roofed abode is a charmer all the way around.

      This red clapboard wooden framed barn offers space and  a 2nd floor. Park a car or two,  renovate into a fantastic studio or office, or start raising chickens or pigs.  So much potential.

      The house has been substantially improved.  Christopher Boffa, two owners back and a builder himself, made renovations including a revamped granite counter kitchen. There's a southern kitchen section hardwood floor and added sun room porch with adjoining shutter style windows between the two rooms, a Rinnai energy efficient sun room porch vented propane fired heater for year round enjoyment. A Hearthstone log style propane stove in the north west kitchen corner makes this central room cozy even over the terra cotta tile floor. A large butcher block island with stools makes in kitchen snacks a cinch, though a breakfast corner is here too, as well as a formal dining room off the kitchen. There's a brand new permitted wildflower capped septic system.

      East Face on Mount Philo Road

      30 x 40' Clapboard Barn including west extension for storage or parking.

      The formal, large living room offers more traditional heat with a wood stove over an expansive red brick hearth. Built ins, shuttered windows and sliders past the laundry closet down a pressure treated stairway into the back yard which features movement sensor flood lighting for easy night returns and guest illumination across the slate path off the driveway. School buses stop on this route.

      All less than two miles from the very heart of  Shelburne Village and an easy 20 or so minute commute to Burlington, there is so much here for the modest and recently reduced asking price of just $329,000.

      For more information, questions, or a showing request, kindly e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call 1-800-525-7965.  For more complete data on this property, visit www.maplesweet.com

      Lincoln Sustainable Forestry Charette

      Lincoln, Vermont.

      Altman Dedicated Fowarder e

      Thanks to the amiable and instructional efforts of David Brinn of Vermont Family Forests, a non profit promoting the health of our forests, an amazing ecological forestry charette was offered this morning featuring loggers Bill Torey (a 30 year veteran woodsman) & Larry Altman, another solo logger operating in Addison County. The massive chain surrounded tires above and the Dedicated Northern European Forwarder below are part of Larry's high tech, efficient operation.

      Altman Dedicated Fowarder best e

      Here are some of the comments & questions that came out of this meeting of woods and mind.

      With fossil fuel supplies dwindling and inflating world wide, the forests hold low hanging fruit if sensitively managed. Can we go into the Vermont forests for energy in a way that is sustainable, efficient & fair? Do we have a sustainable wood biomass? Vermont aims to double current production of 1.5 million green tons by 2025.

      Marc Lapin articulated woodshed analysis looking at the five Addison County towns for long term sustainable production suitability for woods including Yellow Birch. Sugar Maple & Red Spruce, some of approximately 25 most common varieties found in our Green Mountains. Carbon, soil depth, nutrients, wetness, how fast trees grow and regenerate, slopes, tree springs and water bars and their construction were all considered.

      Harvestable woodlands exclude conserved lands & elevations above 2,500 feet and provide 75 foot buffer areas all around wetlands, as well as stream buffers. Results of the survey include 60% forested of which 52% is suitable, and 84% privately owned. While the harvest amount in Addison  averaged, in 2007, 1.7 green tons per acre, Washington County came in at 2.9 green tons per acre.

      One green ton is roughly equivalent to four tenths of a cord. In Addison County with an approximate population of 10,500 and 22,000 green tons harvested per year, an average household consumes about one cord per person per year. Cost analysis bears out that a cord delivered within 8 miles of it's harvesting should cost $249.41 and slightly higher for premium heat varieties. Once cut, wood can be dried in a single season if stacked and stored properly, reaching under 20% moisture content. More slender (under 3" maximum diameter) logs & kindling are much more efficient heating fuel sources than larger pieces of wood. Wood chips, with more surface area to volume ratios and conversely higher gas productivity when burned, are taking hold in Europe but creating demand for all forest lumber and as a result having much greater impact on the health of the forest.

      Bill Torey Logging Shack interior eThis is Bill Torey's logging shack, his refuge for breaks and meals which includes a solar panel that powers radio with insulation and skylights. He learned early on that the most accomplished woodsman had their mobile rest stations in order to spend more time on the land and be able to take cover  during inclement weather rather than heading home and cutting the day short. Many logging operations are running narrow profit margins with many going under and fewer and fewer youth learning the trade.  With his  tractor pulled frontloader below,  Bill explained it's not what you can pull (in terms of tonnage),  it's what you can stop on the way down a hill with a huge load behind you and critical reliance on good tractor brakes as the forwarder moves but doesn't brake on it's own.

      Larry Altman outlined the need to be innovative as embodied by his computer powered dedicated frontloader which, while costing twice as much to maintain as less expensive and lower tech machines, allows him to get the same amount of logging done in half the time: " With a conventional operation you're dying on the vine".

      Marc Lapin noted that our forests aren't the same after two hundred years of logging. Rather than diversified forest maturity, we're seeing two age forests with even aged canopies and younger growth below, missing the very old trees, intermediate growth & deadwood.

      Bill Torey Tractor Towed Forwarder e

      Vermont's logging industry is relatively unregulated save a restriction on clear cutting over 40 acres,  requiring a permit.

      Premium heat (highest BTU's) woods include  Shagbark  Hickory, Black Locust,  Hophornbeam, Apple, Bittenut Hickory & White Oak with over 22 milion btu's in available heat, though most of North America burns softwoods as they are far more prevalent.

      For more information on forest management & sustainability, visit Vermont Family Forests or e-mail  David Brinn.

      For Central & Northern Vermont real estate information, visit www.maplesweet.com, call 1-800-525-7965 or e-mail info@maplesweet.com

      Warren 4th of July Parade

      4th of July Prickly Float Collage e

      Prickly Mountain rules the world again at the 4th of July. Artists collaboration, float supreme, ever so slinky. This collage shot from the front steps of 247 Main, for sale at $519,000. Talk about sweet front row seats to the 4th, not to mention Halloween. Thanks to the many, many open house visitors: what an exciting event it turned out to be in spite of the intermittent deluge. Thanks for braving the downpour and making the pilgrimage.

      For more specific information on this immaculately restored 1870 commercial and or residential opportunity in the heart of Warren Village or any other Vermont real estate, visit  maplesweet.com e-mail info@maplesweet.com call 1-800-525-7965, or have us call you.

      4th of July Prickly Float e