I’ve never built a roof before, but now I want to build a reciprocal roof. Go ahead and take a shot building your own roof!
What is a reciprocal roof?
A reciprocal roof is a beautiful and simple self-supporting structure that can be composed of as few as three rafters, and up to any imaginable quantity (within reason, of course). Reciprocal roofs require no center support, they are quick to construct, and they can be built using round poles or dimensional lumber (perhaps with some creative notching). They are extremely strong, perfect for round buildings, and very appropriate for living roofs, as well. The reciprocal roof design was developed by Graham Brown in 1987.
Growing your own food is good for the planet and for your pocketbook – so why don’t people grow their own food? It’s a really good question (particularly for those who choose to live in the suburbs to have a backyard), and we really should be growing locally. There are more and more people saying that governments of all sizes ought to encourage people to grow their own grub.
Well, opinion formers such as Monty Don showing the way forward is always going to help. That’s why I really like the idea of the WHO Farm Project in the US. It’s an attempt to convince Barack Obama to also reach for the spade when he takes the keys to the White House in January and symbolically dig up the famous front lawn in order to toss in some vegetable seeds. It’s exactly what the Roosevelts did during the second world war and it helped to inspire over 20m so-called “Victory Gardens” across the US.
The garden at 10 Downing St isn’t blessed with quite as many rods of prime growing land, but Buckingham Palace, and other world-famous sites across the UK, certainly are. It’s not as if a decent veg patch needs to take up that much room. And just think of all those other wasted spaces where veg could easily be grown â€“ parks, verges, roundabouts (OK, that might be a little dangerous) and all those monoculture corporate HQ landscaped gardens.
And if Gordon Brown, or any other leader, is thinking about their legacy, what would be better than knowing a vegetable variety has been named after you in recognition of your services to vegetable gardening. The problem for the grateful public would be deciding which vegetable should represent which leader …
When negative feelings arise, we have two choices,
To follow the habitual pattern weâ€™ve learned since we were young, to react and allow the negativity to consume us.
Or, to interrupt the pattern we have been conditioned to follow, and in doing so build new neural pathways that allows for alternative possibilities.
There are essentially three ways to interrupt a behavioral pattern:
Visual – Change your thoughts.
Verbal – Change your language.
Kinesthetic – Change your physical position.
Converting construction waste to hydrogen: Bill Davis of Ze-Gen described his company’s approach to the problem of municipal waste. Each year, the US produces about four billion metric tons of waste that, thanks to the various hydrocarbons in it, actually has about half the energy content as the same weight of coal. Most of that material gets put in landfills, where some of it winds up metabolized into methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Ze-Gen has found a way to liberate hydrogen gas from that waste.
Forget green, solar goes Bloo: Right now, there are many competing approaches to photovoltaic technology, but only one of them made an appearance at the meeting: Bloo Solar, which is working on what it calls a third-generation solar brush. Larry Bowden, the company’s CEO, described it as a solution to two of the biggest inefficiencies in solar power: photons that don’t get absorbed and electrons that don’t get transferred to the conducting portions of the device, where they’re put to use.
Creative Finance Options Abound
There are numerous ways to gather the resources to make onsite projects happen. Thanks to the grid, energy service companies can provide some or all of the financing needed. The grid also enables creative partnerships. For example, in partnership with Xcel Energy, Colorado’s Aspen Skiing Company recently financed $1.1 million for a 147-kilowatt solar energy array. Of the energy produced, a third goes to a local school, and two-thirds is sold back to the grid, with profits given to Aspen Skiing Company.
There is a good chance you will find financing for onsite renewable energy projects by exploring partnerships with foundations or exploring funding available in carbon markets for carbon-offsets projects.