Opportunities for thinking green and eco-friendly exist in everything we do, every decision we make, and every material we need. Being eco-friendly isn’t just about better cars, more efficient homes, and smarter recycling. I have been reminded of this time after time over the years. Getting a new couch. Go green. Buying good produce. Go local – and green.
So here’s an anecdote for my point, compliments of a master electrician and engineer at the Portsmouth Naval Yard. His job, among other responsibilities, is to make the yard as efficient as possible. In the near future, the yard will be purchasing new elevators. So let’s put in “re-generative elevators”. In fact, re-generative elevators should be everywhere appropriate. To put it simply, a regenerative elevator uses a pulley and counterweight system to power the elevator and brake it, ignoring the free engine called gravity. Here’s an explanation from one of the manufacturers.
1) Loss: Anytime the elevator slows down, energy is created. In a typical elevator system, that energy is dissipated as heat through a device called a heat resister.
Gain: With a regen drive, the energy is captured and sent back to the power grid.
(2) Loss: Whenever an empty or lightly loaded elevator goes up, the motor spins but the elevator’s counterweight does most of the work.
Gain: A regen drive can allow the motor to essentially act as a generator, creating power that also goes back to the grid.
(3) Loss: When a heavy elevator goes down, the motor spins but gravity is doing most of the work.
Gain: A regen drive can again generate power to the grid. (source: Habitat Magazine)
Have you ever thought about it. The physics of this is simple. It’s all a matter of finding the opportunities and those opportunities abound. Many green enthusiasts are using their wood stoves to heat hot water by installing a system that runs through piping along the back of the stoves to heat the water tank. Smart gardeners use the free and abundant gift of that fills rain barrels – rain. Manufacturers like Richlite capture heat from their ovens and re-use it to heat their facilities during the winter. Solatube daylighting systems use the light of the sun to bring natural light into a home that would otherwise require using electricity.
The point is that everything we do can be done in an earth friendly and convenient way. It’s simply a matter of shifting how we think.