Category Archives: Energy Conservation

Oil and Gas Versus Nature

SASK OIL AND GAS

Water Under Pressure ~ Navigating competing demands between agriculture and natural resource development, by Chad Eggerman appeared in watercanada’s July/Aug, 2014 issue.

SASK AGRICULTURE LOGOSaskatchewan’s economy has been growing at a feverish pace the past few years on the pillars of agriculture, mining, and oil-and-gas SASK ECONOMYdevelopment. Although growth has recently settled at more
sustainable levels, recent discussion in the province has centered around how to
best use water resources in future development. This is an ongoing discussion in jurisdictions in Canada where both agriculture and natural resource development coexist, most prominently British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. The agriculture sector is traditionally the largest user of water in Saskatchewan, particularly for irrigation in the West Central region of DIEF LAKEthe province around Lake Diefenbaker. By some estimates, there is the potential to expand as much as 500,000 additional acres of land to irrigation around the lake. The Government of Saskatchewan views this expansion as a major opportunity for economic growth and to attract investment. There are a number SASK IRRIGATION LOGOof irrigation districts in Saskatchewan that are administered by the Ministry of Agriculture under The Irrigation Act, 1996. Saskatchewan has been mining natural resources for many years but recent multibillion-dollar expansions and greenfield projects have raised Wollaston Lake uranium minesthe profile of mining in the province. The most established resources are uranium in the north and potash in the south. The potash-producing region in Saskatchewan directly overlaps prime agricultural land as well as considerable oil-and-gas reserves. SASK MININGThere are two methods to mine potash: solution mining and conventional shaft mining.

The solution-mining process involves the construction of a well field composed of at least two drill holes—one to send hot water down to the potash-bearing zones of rock, and another to bring the potash-laden brine up to the surface after percolating in an underground katepwa_lakecavern. Solution mining uses vast quantities of water. Currently, Vale proposes to build a 70-kilometre water pipeline to Katepwa Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley to pump more than 40 million litres per day for their Kronau project (the equivalent of 15 KRONAU PROJECTOlympic-sized swimming pools). K+S Potash Canada is currently building a new solution potash mine and is planning on using up to 60 K S POTASHmillion litres of water per day. Different regulations in Saskatchewan apply depending on whether the water comes from the surface or the ground, the type of mining (for potash, solution or conventional), and the location (uranium in the north is regulated differently than potash in the south). The oil-and-gas industry in Saskatchewan OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhas experienced rapid growth recently due largely to continued expansion of the use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), which involves pumping pressurized
water underground to fracture rock to extract oil or gas. There were 3,200 horizontally fracked wells sunk in Saskatchewan from 1990 to 2013. On average, there are about 3,000 new oil HORIZONTAL VERSUS FRACTUREwells (both vertical and horizontal) drilled in Saskatchewan each year. Any fresh water to be used in Saskatchewan for fracking is subject to appropriate approvals from various provincial water agencies.  Residual fracking fluids are recycled and disposed of at provincially approved waste processing facilities or stored. The discharge or storage of used fluids into the surface environment is prohibited in Saskatchewan. The risk of water availability for farmers, miners, and oil-and-gas companies is becoming evident. Water supply agreements between miners and water suppliers, like SaskWater or a SASK WATERmunicipality, are becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate. The water supply agreement is a critical agreement to provide a certain amount of water at a set price. There are very significant risks for potash solution mines, which use water to operate if water supply is curtailed or discontinued. Oil companies are having to travel further and pay more for water for fracking. Intensive livestock and increased spraying (which uses fresh water) in Saskatchewan are also putting pressure on water supplies. There are a number of innovative projects in the province to mitigate these risks. Oil-and-gas companies are starting to use treated wastewater for their fracking operations. SELLING WASTEWATERMunicipalities in Alberta and Saskatchewan are now selling treated wastewater to oil companies. The treated wastewater can come from lagoons or from grey water discharge. This is a new revenue stream for municipalities and increases WESTERN POTASH LOGOthe certainty of water supply for oil-and-gas companies. Western Potash Corp.’s new potash mine in Milestone, Saskatchewan recently received environmental REGINAassessment approval for the facility, including the use of City of Regina treated effluent as the industrial water source for its solution mining process. The water is purified to prevent foaming or scaling. This is the first potash mine in the world to use treated water. CANADA MAPIt is expected the discussion between farmers and extractors of natural resources will continue in Saskatchewan and across Canada, with innovative technologies and agreements providing a way forward.

CHAD EGGERMANChad Eggerman is a partner in the Saskatoon office of Miller Thomson LLP and assists owners and contractors to develop projects in the natural resource industry

 

Warka Water ~ capture safe drinking water from the air

It remains to be seen whether a full-size unit will draw as much water as the company esti...

Warka Water promises to harness safe drinking water from the air: 

As water shortage is a serious issue in many parts of the world, a means of efficiently harnessing safe drinking water from thin air without the need of expensive infrastructure could be a real lifesaver. Italy’s Architecture and Vision is developing an off-grid bamboo tower called Warka Water that promises just that: the firm says it could collect an annual average of up to 100 liters (26.4 US gallons) of water per day.

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The tower is rated as lasting up to 10 years and will require that locals are trained in order to maintain it successfully       

The current stage of the work-in-progress Warka Water prototype, by Italian firm Architect...
The current stage of the work-in-progress Warka Water prototype, by Italian firm Architecture and Vision

The basic concept behind Warka Water seems fairly sound, however the success of Warka Wate...

Once completed, Warka Water will rise to a height of 10 m (33 ft), weigh 60 kg (132 lb), and be secured to the ground with eight guide ropes. The tower consists of a lightweight woven bamboo structure, while an inner plastic mesh retains water droplets from passing fog, which fall into a collector and a large tank. Any rainwater and overnight dew also collects in the tank.

The video below shows a little more information on the project.

Warka Water will sport a canopy that offers shade to people drawing the collected water, and a series of rotating mirrors which Architecture and Vision says will be sufficient to keep birds away. No electricity is required for any part of the passive water-harnessing process, and the firm says the bamboo structure will take six people four days to construct. On-site assembly should take four people just three hours, without the need for cranes or any other building machinery.

If you'd like to take a punt on the Warka Water vision, as of writing the Kickstarter camp...

It’s going to be a long road until that point, though. The essential idea behind Warka Water appears sound, but its success will hinge on overcoming a long list of other concerns, including the quantity and quality of water drawn, the structure’s durability, and cost. Though rated as lasting up to 10 years, it will require locals to be trained and made responsible for maintenance, and while the estimated cost of under US$1,000 may seem relatively cheap compared to standard water supply infrastructure, it’s still a lot of dough for an impoverished area.

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It also remains to be seen if it could harness as much water as the company estimates – and on this note we’d encourage all-due skepticism. Indeed, though Architecture and Vision has produced a small working prototype, the first full-scale field test won’t take place until the necessary funds have been raised by a recently-launched Kickstarter campaign, and it won’t be suitable for all areas.

“It is first and foremost an architecture project. WW should not be considered as the solution to all water problems in developing countries but rather as a tool that can provide clean water in selected areas,” says the firm. “Particularly in mountainous regions where conventional pipelines will never reach and where water is not available from wells.”

It remains to be seen whether a full-size unit will draw as much water as the company esti...

If you’d like to try and help the team overcome these hurdles, as of writing its Kickstarter campaign still has 18 days to go. Raised funds will go toward developing a working unit, and promised rewards include Warka Water-related apparel, and a scale model. If all goes well, Architecture and Vision will eventually seek further donations for Warka Water units to be installed in select locations in Ethiopia, before potentially rolling out the system worldwide.

 

Reshaping Florida’s Kissimee River

1-KISSIMMEE RIVER

Kissimmee: River of Dreams, Part 1 of 3 – Youtube video published on Jul 13, 2012  . This 27-minute documentary from 1997 was produced for the South Florida Water Management District.

The Kissimmee River Basin extends from Orlando southward to Lake Okeechobee. The largest source of surface water to Lake Okeechobee, this basin is about 105 miles long and has a maximum width of 35 miles. The Kissimmee River was originally a 103-mile-long shallow, meandering river that was reconfigured in the 1960s into a 56-mile-long canal (renamed C-38) for flood control. As a result, about 40,000 to 50,000 acres of floodplain marsh disappeared, resulting in a significant loss of habitat for wading birds and other aquatic animals, and in a loss of the natural nutrient-filtering effects of these wetlands.  The 15-year restoration project, initiated in 1999, is repairing the river and its floodplain by increasing water storage in the upper Kissimmee Basin, backfilling 22 miles of the C-38 Canal, recarving nine miles of river channel, removing two water control structures, and removing floodplain levees. The backfilling of the C-38 Canal and restoration of Kissimmee River are one of Florida’s great watershed restoration success stories.

Part 1 of 3 

Part 2 of 3 

 Part 3 of 3

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/causes/why-is-florida-reshaping-an-entire-river.html

“The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis” by Gary Wockner

The following article, “The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis” by Gary Wockner and Youtube video, “WKA Peoples Climate March Video 8 19 14″ was posted to Ecowatch.com on Sept. 15, 2014

We’ve seen near-record wildfires, rain, drought, flooding and snowpack in the last 5 years in the watersheds along the Front Range of Colorado. In the same 12 months that record rain has occurred in one part of the Southwest U.S.’ Colorado River basin, record heat and drought has occurred in another.

Climate change is real, is happening now, and the climate crisis is a water crisis.

WATER CRISIS

On Sept. 20 as a part of the People’s Climate March in New York City, I and other colleagues from the international Waterkeeper Alliance we be holding a teach-in, The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis. We will come from all over the U.S. to tell a story about the link between climate and water, and we will offer our observations and recommendations on the next steps forward.

Here in the Southwest U.S, we must do everything we can to stop from making climate change worse. Unfortunately in Colorado and across the region, our public policies are going the wrong direction—we are drilling, fracking and mining fossil fuels faster than ever before, and we are burning them at record rates. Colorado’s frack-happy politicians and policies only seem to be rivaled by Utah’s deep dive (“carbon bomb”) into oil shale and tar sands mining. We must stop and head the other direction.

We also need to be better prepared to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We will likely see more extreme weather variability, we may see more extreme droughts in the Southwest U.S., and California’s extreme heat and drought going on right now may become a “new normal.”…

Taken from Gary’s post, “Waterkeepers March!” on Ecowatch, Sept. 21, 2014

WATERKEEPERS MARCH

“It was euphoric!

Never in my life have I been in such a mass of humanity as I was today in New York City in the largest climate march in world history. Joining me were 100 members of Waterkeeper Alliance as we marched along with more than 300,000 people through the streets of Manhattan. The march was three times bigger than anyone expected. The day was simply amazing…”

Gary Wockner, PhD, is Waterkeeper for the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado, and directs the Save The Colorado River Campaign. You can reach Gary at Gary@GaryWockner.com.

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Snow – an untapped commodity in Canada

Recently Updated3
MONTREAL SNOWSTORM

Waste Not, Want Not,
“Are Canadians turning a blind eye to the untapped potential of snow?” by Clark Kingsbury, assistant editor of WaterCanada.
IT IS NO SURPRISE that snow is cumbersome for cities. It must be removed from streets and disposed of as swiftly as possible, creating an organizational headache and a monetary burden. For example, the City of Montreal spent $120 million to remove 13 million cubic metres of snow in 2006.

WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Generally speaking, snow in Canadian cities is collected and dumped in a snow disposal facility (SDF), where it is left to melt over the course of the year. But alternatives where snow is treated as an untapped commodity rather than as an expensive nuisance are slowly being suggested both in Canada and abroad.
MONTREAL UNIVERSITYPatrick Evans is an architect and professor of environmental design at the Université de Québec à Montréal, as well as the author of the children’s book ‘Where the Snow Goes’. He believes that the snow Montreal receives can be used either as a source of energy, or as a “visible, celebratory, urban event.”  Evans traces his interest in snow removal and its possible re-use back to his first winter in Montreal in the 1990s.
“I think it was the sheer unadulterated awe of witnessing the late night winter choreography of snow removal in Montreal’s narrow urban streets,” he wrote in an email. “Even then, I was immediately struck by the question: where does the snow go?”
… Evans suggests that we take a more creative and useful approach to snow removal—an idea that has been gaining traction at different locations around the world.
SWEDISH HOSPITALIn their study, Potential Utilization of City Owned Snow Disposal STRANDARD SNOW DISPOSAL SITEFacilities for Seasonal Cooling in Ottawa, Canada, Paul Cipcigan and Frederick Michel state that more than 100 seasonal storage systems exist in Japan and China, as well as a seasonal cooling project at the county hospital in Sundsvall, Sweden, part of Västernorrland County.
SUNDSVALL HOSPITALPrior to the year 2000, the 190,000 metre-squared hospital used a conventional cooling system to control the indoor climate and to ensure technical equipment didn’t overheat. However, a new cooling facility was eventually constructed at a nearby repository for snow cleared from area streets. Snow is stored in a sever-metre-deep bowl-shaped asphalt basin and is insulated with wood chips during the spring and summer to slow the melting process.
VASTERNORRLANDSAccording to the Vasternorrland County Council’s website, meltwater is “pumped through the heat exchanger where the water cools the technical equipment as well as the ventilation air, which passes through the hospital.” The water warms through this process and is used to melt more snow on its way back through the system.
Efforts have been made to incorporate similar technologies in Canada. Cipcigan and Michel’s paper describes…
“The principle behind the seasonal storage of ice/snow technologies consists of utilizing the energy stored as latent heat in the phase change of water into ice during winter. The natural snow/ice collected during winter is then stored until summer when it is used as a sink for the heat removed during cooling of buildings or other industrial processes.”
“The heat transfer is done through a heat exchanger and the cooling agent can be either re-circulated or discharged after use. The most common cooling agents used are water, ice/snow meltwater, and air, which are more environmentally friendly than the ones used by the conventional chiller systems.”
Cipcigan and Michel’s study, conducted in the winter of 2008/2009, investigates the amount of potential cold energy available from the Conroy SDF in Ottawa. “The cold energy,” the report reads, “is the amount of heat that can be consumed or dissipated during cooling.”
CONROY SDFThe report determined that in the winter of 2008/2009, the Conroy SDF held around 500,000 cubic metres of snow, from which an estimated 30,430 MWh was available. The study goes on to assume a 30-per-cent loss of snow before temperatures would necessitate cooling, based on the experience at the Sundsvall hospital. Even after the snow loss, the facility would possess an estimated 21,300 MWh of available energy.
The report also presented energy use data from a city-owned office building with 39,000 square metres of floor space, which was cooled during the warmer months by a pair of rooftop chillers. The
average annual energy consumption of the two chillers from 2005 to 2009 was 512 MWh, costing $51,200 based on the cost of energy in 2009.
Comparing energy consumption figures at the office building and stored energy at the Conroy SDF, the report states that the volume of snow stored at the Conroy SDF “represents the equivalent cooling energy for over 40 buildings similar to the one analyzed, with a total floor space of approximately 1.6 million square metres and an estimated annual energy value of over $2 million.” The value was again based on energy prices in 2009.
“If all city SDFs were filled to capacity—approximately three million M3 – the energy potential after a 30 percent per season loss allowance represents roughly 130,000 MWh of cooling energy, currently worth an estimated $12.5 million annually,” the report continues.
Although the City of Ottawa, citing issues of cost and space for snow storage, decided not to pursue the exploitation of snow and ice for its cold energy potential, Cipcigan and Michel’s report, along with successful examples in Sweden and elsewhere, highlights the possibilities available to those cities lucky enough to exist in a northern climate.

WATER CONSERVATION TIPS

    WATER CONSERVATION

I am reblogging the following National Geographic article, ‘Water Conservation Tips’, and the link may be found at the end of the article.  Please read the full article as I am certain that you will find many new suggestions for conserving water in and around your home.

TOILETS, TAPS, LAUNDRY, SHOWERS AND DISHES
•1994 was the year that federally mandated low-flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets started to appear on the scene in significant numbers.
•On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets.
SHOWERHEAD•If you use a low-flow shower head, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.
HOT WATER TANK•Every time you shave minutes off your use of hot water, you also save energy and keep dollars in your pocket.
running bath water•It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are generally the more water-efficient way to bathe.
TOILET•All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. If you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save by retrofitting or filling your tank with something that will displace some of that water, such as a brick.
washing machine•Most front-loading machines are energy and water-efficient, using just over 20 gallons a load, while most top-loading machines, unless they are energy-efficient, use 40 gallons per load.
•Nearly 22% of indoor home water use comes from doing laundry. Save water by making sure to adjust the settings on your machine to the proper load size.
DISHWASHER•Dishwashing is a relatively small part of your water footprint—less than 2% of indoor use—but there are always ways to conserve. Using a machine is actually more water efficient than hand washing, especially if you run full loads.
ENERGY STAR SYMBOL•Energy Star dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water per load, and even standard machines use only about 6 gallons.
•Hand washing generally uses about 20 gallons of water each time.

FOOTPRINTYARDS AND POOLS
•Nearly 60% of a person’s household water footprint can go toward lawn and garden maintenance.
LAWN•Climate counts—where you live plays a role in how much water you use, especially when it comes to tending to a yard.
SWIMMING POOL•The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill, and if you don’t cover it, hundreds of gallons of water per month can be lost due to evaporation.

DIET
WATER USED IN FOOD•The water it takes to produce the average American diet alone—approximately 1,000 gallons per person per day—is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods.
QUARTER POUNDER•That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.
POULTRY•A serving of poultry costs about 90 gallons of water to produce. There are also water costs embedded in the transportation of food (gasoline costs water to make). So, consider how far your food has to travel, and buy local to cut your water footprint.
PORK•Pork costs water to produce, and traditional pork production—to make your sausage, bacon, and chops—has also been the cause of some water pollution, as pig waste runs into local water sources.
•On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.
COFFEE•A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that H2O used to grow the coffee beans.

ELECTRICITY, FUEL ECONOMY, AND AIRLINE TRAVEL
ELECTRICITY•The water footprint of your per-day electricity use is based on state averages. If you use alternative energies such as wind and solar, your footprint could be less. (The use of biofuels, however, if they are heavily irrigated, could be another story.) You would also get points, or a footprint reduction, for using energy-star appliances and taking other energy-efficiency measures.
WASH CAR•Washing a car uses about 150 gallons of water, so by washing less frequently you can cut back your water use.
GAS•A gallon of gasoline takes nearly 13 gallons of water to produce. Combine your errands, carpool to work, or take public transportation to reduce both your energy and water use.
FLYING•Flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco, about 700 miles round-trip, could cost you more than 9,000 gallons of water, or enough for almost 2,000 average dishwasher loads.
•A cross-country airplane trip (about 6,000 miles) could be worth more than 1,700 standard toilet flushes.
•Traveling from Chicago to Istanbul is just about 10,000 miles round trip, costing enough water to run electricity in the average American home for one person for more than five years.

INDUSTRY—APPAREL, HOME FURNISHINGS, ELECTRONICS, AND PAPER
•According to recent reports, nearly 5% of all U.S. water withdrawals are used to fuel industry and the production of many of the material goods we stock up on weekly, monthly, and yearly.
COTTON TEE SHIRT•It takes about 100 gallons of water to grow and process a single pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. Do you really need that additional T-shirt?
RECYCLE•One of the best ways to conserve water is to buy recycled goods, and to recycle your stuff when you’re done with it. Or, stick to buying only what you really need.
LAPTOP•The water required to create your laptop could wash nearly 70 loads of laundry in a standard machine.
PAPER•Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of your average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water. Buying recycled paper products saves water too, as it takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar worth of paper.

Link to article ~ http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/water-conservation-tips/

EARTH DAY 2013 ~ OTTAWA, CANADA

EARTH DAY 2013 PHOTOPAD

The first Canadian Earth Day was held on Thursday, September 11, 1980, and was organized by Paul D. Tinari, then a graduate student in Engineering Physics/Solar Engineering at Queen’s University. Flora MacDonald, then MP for Kingston and the Islands and Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, officially opened Earth Day Week on September 6, 1980 with a ceremonial tree planting and encouraged MPs and MPPs across the country to declare a cross-Canada annual Earth Day. The principal activities taking place on the first Earth Day included educational lectures given by experts in various environmental fields, garbage and litter pick-up by students along city roads and highways as well as tree plantings to replace the trees killed by Dutch Elm Disease.

CANADA LOGO PHOTOPAD Earth Day Canada (EDC) is a national environmental charity founded in 1990 that provides Canadians with practical knowledge, tools, and simple easy-to-accomplish actions to support a healthier environment through EDC’s year-round and award-winning programs. 

 
ECOKIDS LOGOGIMPEcoKids supports teachers and students, grades K-8, with free educational resources, curriculum-linked lesson plans including ESL and FSL, and homework help and games for students. EcoMentors offers youth the training and resources they need to facilitate local environmental education workshops with their peers and other young Canadians…

TOYOTA SCHOLARSHIP PHOTOPADToyota Earth Day Scholarship Program recognizes tomorrow’s environmental leaders providing twenty $5 000 scholarships to graduating high school students going on to post-secondary education in the discipline of their choice. The Hometown Heroes Award Program recognizes environmental leaders at the community level with an individual and a group award (each with a cash-prize of $10 000), and business leaders with a small business award. Earth Day Canada’s Community Environment Fund funds sustainable community projects in Ontario providing grants of up to $20 000 to schools and not-for-profit organizations.

DIVERSITY PHOTOPADThe Diversity Engagement and Inclusion Initiative helps the environmental sector to better communicate with, engage and activate Canada’s diverse social and cultural communities. The Employee Engagement program works with employers to achieve business and sustainability goals through inclusion of best practices.

Here’s a wonderful video, ” A Photographic Tribute to The Ocean” from OneEarthOneOcean that I just came across ~ This Earth Day, One World One Ocean is giving the ocean the attention it deserves with a special video collection of ocean photographs from our online community. Here is the ocean through their eyes.

OTTAWA LOGO PHOTOPADLet’s take up the challenge
to do our part as keepers of Mother Earth
– the need is great!

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day#Earth_Day_Canada