The Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference (ABLC) 2017 in Washington, D.C. was amazing, as it often is every year, but this year in particular was special because of all the uncertainty in our future regarding the government’s support of biofuels and biomaterials, the constantly changing global economy, and just the sheer amount of new and innovative technologies being developed on what seems like a daily basis.
There were many new announcements at the ABLC and some shocking things too, so check out my summaries below.
Day 1 ABLC Highlights
Day 2 ABLC Highlights
And don’t forget to visit Biofuels Digest for other upcoming biofuel and biomaterial conferences and their new NUU online publication for the latest news on the bioeconomy, with many articles written by yours truly. Thanks for your support!!!
I guess I didn’t do too bad of a job back on February 1st as a guest speaker on Jim Lane’s TerraTech radio show, as I was asked to speak again – this time for the full hour so we could go in a bit more in-depth on some of these fascinating biomaterials and genetics news articles I’ve been writing about lately.
Hear me speak for a full hour – if you can handle that – on
today’s TerraTech radio show about “Fountains of Youth and Fortresses of Steel.”
All these new innovations are important to show that we can make practically anything with biomaterials. It isn’t just biofuels anymore or bioplastics or biochemicals. It’s about a complete overhaul and new way of thinking at our world and seeing that anything can be made with biomaterials.
The key as we move forward in this direction is ensuring that we aren’t coming up with inventions or new ways of doing things that are less sustainable in the long run or more polluting or toxic or damaging than what we are replacing it with. I mean, when physicists came up with nuclear energy, it was supposed to be a great thing, but there are definite downsides to it as well. So whether we replace our new car with a 3D printed biomaterial one, we have to really look at where did they get those biomaterials from? Was it helping an impoverished country and their farmers perhaps? Or was child labor used which wouldn’t be helping our people and planet at all?
Those are all things to keep in mind and consider as we talk about the future and implications of biomaterials.
We have 23 windows. That seems like a lot doesn’t it? You never really realize how many windows you have until you start counting them. Which I did today because we need to replace some of them. Our home is only 12 years old so you’d think we wouldn’t need to replace windows already but if any of you bought a standard builder home like we did, you know they skimp on things sometimes. Windows are one of those things.
So what do windows have to do with green living? A lot actually. It’s all about energy efficiency. I don’t want to pay to heat up the neighborhood in the winter nor do I want to feel the guilt of wasting all that electricity (which in my region probably comes from coal or nuclear). In the summer, you don’t really notice the heat coming in through the windows, but boy oh boy do you feel those drafts in the winter. Just stick your hand by any of our windows and you’ll feel the cold air by the cracks. Not to mention you can tell they are the thinnest, cheapest, standard windows a builder can put in and get away with it.
So it’s time to get new windows! We had 4 major windows done a few years ago by Thompson Creek (local Maryland company) and were very happy with them, so we are getting the windows upstairs done by them too. We had REALLY drafty windows in our family room and since the new Thompson Creek windows were installed we have noticed quite a big difference. They are pretty expensive though so even though we wanted to do all our windows, we couldn’t afford to do so. So we did those 4 “biggies” first since we knew money was literally going out the windows due to the big cracks and other issues with them. But now it’s time for 5 more windows upstairs.
Can I just say I’m so excited about this?
I’m not one to be excited about buying new things, esp. when I try to buy anything I can secondhand or recycle old things into new things, etc. but you just can’t do that with windows. And as far as being “green” sure I can go and try to find some bamboo made windows or something like that, but I’m going to stick with a local company who actually makes them here locally, not somewhere in China, so GHG on transportation is minimal since they are being transported locally. But I also found out from Tony Testa, our sales guy today, that Thompson Creek actually takes your old window and recycles every bit of it! The glass, the vinyl, any metal pieces, etc. That makes this green gal very happy. That and the fact that they are having a 30% sale this month. I may be trying to live as green as possible, but I’m also trying to live as frugally as possible.
So I’m curious, what do you do to try and minimize your home energy costs? Any ideas or tips to share?