On the Road with the Format: Sick, But Still Saving the Planet

It’s week four and we are all sick! But I think I am getting better. Took my first shower in a week (water conservation) and did laundry the first time in three weeks (more water conservation). I even grew a mustache (that was more or less to impress myself and my fellow tour mates). So did you guys all celebrate Earth Day this past Sunday? I did what I love to do and researched more green subjects that I thought would be topics of some interesting discussion, even if it seems like I am talking to myself. So yeah, moving along…

Who would never like to pay an electric, gas, and water bill ever again?

*Raises hand*

Have you ever heard the term “off-the-grid” before?

*Stares blankly*

It’s alright, we are learning this together!

“Off the Grid” is a method of construction that depends on renewable energy sources (wind, hydro, solar, geothermal) rather than public utility sources (electric company) provided by the utility grid. In this type of construction, the home or building does not rely on the municipal water supply, sewer, gas, electrical or similar services.

For a house to be truly off the grid, it should operate completely independent of public utility services.

Granted now, this is a lot easier if your home is situated near a natural source of water, which in turn can be used for hydroelectricity.

“Hydroelectricity?”

Hydroelectricity is electricity produced by hydropower. Most hydroelectric power comes from the potential energy of dammed water driving a water turbine and generator, although less common variations use water’s kinetic energy or dammed sources, such as tidal power. Hydroelectricity is a renewable energy source.

“Solar panels too? They can barely keep my calculator powered! How do you expect them to keep my house off the grid?”

Solar technology has made a lot of progress in the past decade. New photonic crystals are being implemented and with some astounding results. They are more energy efficient than ever and the prices for panels are rapidly declining.

Heck, if you make enough energy yourself, you could turn around and sell it back to the power company. How’s that for turning the tables?

— Marko

On the Web:
theformat.com
Campus Consciousness Tour website

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