Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tube for Tuesday: A Better Wind Turbine for Your Home?

I came across the Windspire unit a few weeks back and it has intrigued me ever since. Manufactured by Mariah Power, this nine-meter horizontal blade unit looks a bit more home-friendly than its more traditional looking vertical blade cousin. A visit to their website discovers that they are now manufacturing the 1.2 kW version of the Windspire in Michigan. A larger 3.0 kW as well as a direct-to-batter version appear in the works. While this is eligible for tax credits, I couldn't find anything on the base price at the Mariah site. A third-party site stated a cost of $4,000 for the 1.2 kW unit.

I have no idea if and how Mariah would ship the Windspire to our neck of the woods. A possible alternative is someone like Northeast Windpower of Westport Point who installs your more traditional vertical blade units. I've seen at least one unit in Westport put up by this company. In fact, from certain vantage points these "personal" wind turbines seem to dot the Westport horizon.

I don't have time for it now, but it would be interesting to do a full comparison of similar sized units in terms of footprint, energy generation, noise factors, etc.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Suburban Communes: Coming to a Cul-de-Sac Near You

I had to pass this NPR story along. The premise: Old school, off-the-beaten-path commune living -- while still attractive in its mission -- is impractical for the masses. Why go to the commune when you can build the commune around you? The better alternative for communal, environmentally conscious living is no further than your suburban cul-de-sac.

Why stop there though? You could capture the spirit of this by just getting to know your neighbors better, helping out each other, sharing some tools or know-how, etc. You get the picture. It sounds nostalgic, but hey, it worked for generations. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

What do you think? Would you do it?