Climate Change: The change in weather patterns and temperatures over a certain time (decades to several million years).
Global Warming: An increase in the earth’s average and overall (global) temperature
The Greenhouse Effect: the transfer of heat back to the Earth from the atmosphere.
Greenhouse Gases: Gases that capture and radiate heat to the Earth’s surface: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapour and ozone.
Introduction To Renewable Energy
Alternative sources of energy are becoming increasingly popular as the world scrambles to find sustainable ways to generate electricity without adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy quickly replaces itself and is usually available in a never-ending supply. It is distinct from fossil fuels, which must be consumed to release energy. Renewable energy may be harvested from: Wind, water, the sun, the earth (geothermal energy) and biomass.
Introduction To Solar Technologies
The SPEC building demonstrates three different solar technologies:
Solar Hot Water
Solar Hot Air
Photovoltatic (PV) Panels
When most people think of the term "solar energy" they tend only to think of solar panels, or more appropriately, PV Panels. They are surprised to learn there are multiple ways in which solar energy can be captured. To see all three technologies demonstrated attend our Building and Solar Technology Tour or just drop by.
Passive solar is a term referring to those technologies that can be employed to convert natural sunlight into usable heat, to cause air-movement for ventilation or cooling, or to store the heat for future use, without the use of electrical or mechanical equipment. Technologies that use pumps or fans are classified as active solar technologies.
Solar cookers are a passive form of solar technology. SPEC has a parabolic solar cooker that we occasionally use to heat water or warm our lunch.
Air Tightness Tests
Below is a video of an air tightness test of the SPEC building completed in Spring 2010 by Doug Horn, certified energy advisor at City Green.