April 22nd marks the global celebration of Earth Day as well as the end of our second year of living in and monitoring the performance of the Greeny Flat. Our First Earth Day Party on April 22nd last year was very enjoyable and cozy. It was a cold and rainy evening so our fifty or so guests and well-wishers were tightly packed into our little 57 sqm home. We’re definitely hoping for better weather this year but, come what may, we’ll be opening our doors from 4-7 pm and welcoming anyone who would like to come and see how the Greeny Flat is looking and performing after a couple of years.
We’ll provide pizzas, beer and wine. Feel free to bring appetisers or deserts. We look forward to celebrating another successful year of life in our energy positive house. As you can see from our Results Page, we continue to export more than twice as much power to the electricity grid as we import from it. Even in the last three months, since we brought home our Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and started plugging it in every day to charge the batteries, we continue to be well and truly energy positive. This is very exciting for us. It means we’ve been able to reduce our carbon footprint even further by doing a lot of our local driving using renewable energy instead of petroleum.
As mentioned in our Newsletter from two weeks ago, we also recently benefited from the addition of an electric-boosted bicycle. This is proving to be really handy and fun and I’m using it for a lot of trips within 20km of home and saving even more energy. So, if you haven’t seen the Greeny Flat or you’re interested in electric transportation options or you just want to come and have a beer and bit of pizza with us, please join us on
April 22nd, 4-7pm at the Greeny Flat, 16A Queen St, Mittagong
More Pedal Powered, Electric-assisted Transportation
In that same Newsletter from two weeks ago I wrote about a number of electric transportation options. This week I came across this amazing velomobile called the ‘PodRide’ which is under development in Sweden. There’s no doubt that it’s ridiculously adorable, in fact it looks like something straight out of a cartoon, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find that this is actually a serious and very practical form of transportation. It is pedal powered with electric assist; it has lights, turn signals and a windshield wiper; it’s stable, waterproof, and sheltered from the wind; it can go about 60km at 25km/h; it has suspension, a rear cargo compartment, a defogging fan, and can even pull a trailer. With a projected selling price of around US$3000 I think it has tremendous potential as an alternative means of getting around. You can read more about it in this Gizmag article and I highly recommend watching the video at the end… it makes it look like great fun!
Great Flying Electric Scooters Batman!
If you think the PodRide is a bit far-fetched, wait until you see the ‘Skyrider One’ in action. Once again I recommend that you watch the video at the end of this Gizmag Article before you write this concept off as completely insane. The fact is that the inventor, German physicist Thomas Senkel, completed his maiden flight in the Canary Islands and managed to stay aloft for 46 minutes. Watching the video, I have to say, I thought it looked like a wonderful idea. As Senkel comments in the article,
‘You can drive to your airstrip, fly to somewhere, and drive home after landing,’ he says. ‘With all-electric drive, it’s quiet and doesn’t make any pollution. It can be used in areas where combustion engines are not allowed. And two wheels are enough, no need for more. Take off and landing is easy with some help from your feet.’
Of course, the amount of pollution it creates will depend entirely on where the power comes from to charge the batteries but, suffice to say, there’ll be no nasty stuff coming out of a tailpipe. Who knows if we’ll ever see a commercially available version of the Skyrider but, if we do, I, for one, would love to give it a go.
16 Rotor Electric Flying Machine
And finally, on the subject of electric vehicles that look like a lot of fun, we have the Volocopter. Clearly it’s a scaled-up version of the type of drone aircraft that are starting to proliferate around the world. Its 16 rotors make it incredibly stable and it is predicted to have a top speed of 100km/h. The video in this Gizmag article makes the Volocopter look like the easiest thing imaginable to fly. There’s no word of when it might be commercially available or how much it might cost but, I think it’s clear that inventions like these are going to change the way we get around in the not-too-distant future.
Maybe you’ll be able to fly one to our 10th Earth Day Party!