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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2021 edited
    An ideal way to balance demand - make Bitcoin miners do it at night-rate!


    "Earlier this year, Iran blamed bitcoin miners for rolling blackouts, with the government saying the low cost of electricity, which can cost just 5% of the UK price, had acted as an incentive to huge numbers of miners to set up in Iran. One mine alone was using 175MW of electricity, the government said."

    What insulation works best down a Bitcoin mine?
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2021
    I think it's not very realistic to condemn an idea simply because of the "if we'd never had the unacceptable intermediate phase we wouldn't be here" argument. We've all got distant ancestors who've murdered each other in their caves while they were sorting out how to make peaceful law-abiding societies, or based our economies on slaves seized from neighbouring tribes in border raids. We've all used lamps fuelled by whale oil obtained by killing all the whales.
    That doesn't invalidate where we are now - we surely get a second chance starting from now?

    I don't think the miller thought he was wasting the water in his mill pond if he didn't need it all to get through the corn he had waiting to be milled? The sun can go on shining even after we've done all the chores and don't need the PV electricity until tomorrow?

    It reminds me of the quote from an old retired mariner from the days of sail - "all that lovely wind going to waste".
    Posted By: fostertomif only renewable energy existed and was fairly easy and plentiful; if fossil fuels, even biofuel had never happened, would that be a terminal disaster for mankind? Would civilisation and technology never have happened? I think they would

    Why didn't they, then? People have lived all round the world in those conditions for tens of thousands of years. They bred copiously, yet populations were kept low, because most children did not survive and most lives were short and squalid. Technologies were invented in some centres of concentrated wealth, yet the economic system could not deploy them widely to the global population. Hydro power was used and stored, as were different forms of biomass. If as you suggest it were possible for "civilization" to happen under those conditions, then why didn't it ever happen?

    Only since resource consumption was industrialised from the 1600s onwards, with deforestation for charcoal and then coal, has modern civilization been possible.

    There is a dangerous argument from some folks that tackling climate change would knock us back into the Dark Ages, or even that somehow that is desirable, or a worthwhile price. The counter argument needs to be made that post-carbon economies can continue to provide increasing levels of resources at whatever time of day or year they are desired - otherwise most of the population will not get onboard!
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2021
    Very many 'resources' are intermittent - daylight, sunshine, wind, fresh water in any places, in fact every 'natural' resource which we depend upon utterly, take for granted, and are 'civilised' nevertheless. Just on-demand energy is different and indispensable to 'civilisation'? True, it seems indispensable to the present form of western scientific materialist life "from the 1600s onwards", but we all agree that's leading us fast to extinction, and can and has to change in many fundamental ways (except not, you say, some holy grail of on-demand energy supply).
    Well, energy on demand isn't the goal in itself, it's what it enables:

    Intermittent daylight => only the richest kids can afford candles to study => gas/electric lighting on demand allowed everyone to be educated (still a goal in many countries)

    Intermittent fresh water => Dysentery and cholera => pumped drinking water on demand prevented millions of deaths (still a goal in many countries)


    Reverting to some lifestyle previous to the "western scientific materialistic life" may seem a pure and romantic ideal to some, but it isn't a sellable proposition for many. So there has to be a vision of how energy (and resources derived with it) can be stored and provided on demand without carbon. Fortunately, there is!

    Edit: that's not to say that people won't be willing to shift demand to different times if there's something in it for them, eg cheaper energy at times of surplus.
    Posted By: renewablejohn
    Would be easy enough to set up a high pressure hydraulic grid system. Oh wait a minute we already had them in London, Manchester and Liverpool. Just a shame they were scrapped as they could be really useful now and they dont suffer from transmission losses like electricity does.

    What sort of magic transmission system is that then? All transmission systems suffer from losses - electrical grids are pretty good actually. The best HVDC can offer an end-to-end loss of around 6% from source of generation to source of use even when the lines are over 1000km long (as is the case in Quebec, for example).

    Paul in Montreal.
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2021
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