Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, on building energy-efficient homes.
You build a home out of a type of wood that keeps the temperature constant without air conditioning or heaters. The miracle wood in this category is Southern Yellow Pine. As for renewable resources, more Southern Yellow Pine trees are planted each year than are used. I’m told this is the only tree with this benefit. The Southern Yellow Pine has a resin inside that melts and freezes at 71 degrees F., a very comfortable temperature for humans. The chemical actions of melting and freezing work to balance the temperature. If it’s a hot day, some small amount of the resin melts (it takes a huge amount of energy to melt a tiny amount) and the melting process pulls heat from the surroundings, from the home. When it gets colder at night, the resin-wood emits heat as it freezes.
Read the whole interview. Woz is taking a technological approach to climate climate and energy. He believes that while technology created these problems, it can also get us out of them. Contrast this approach to Jim Kunstler, who thinks quite the opposite.
This has been the heart of my beef with the rosy future crowd. Energy and technology are not the same thing, not interchangeable or substitutable. If you run out of one (energy), you can’t just plug in the other (technology).
Kunstler says, no matter what we do and no matter how many alt and renewable energy sources we create, that the coming energy shortages (combined with global warming) will mean drastic lifestyle changes for everyone.
His argument is echoed by the recent protests against Heathrow Airport expansion plans and also against the larger issue of carbon emissions by jets. Some of the more militant protestors want jet flights within Britain to be emergency only while others attack Leonardo DiCaprio for doing a documentary about climate change while flying around the planet in a private jet.
Me, I think Wozniak and the technophiles are correct.Â Technology will have to get us out of this because if it doesn’t, we’re all screwed. So, rather than ban jets and curtail flying, we need to create jets with greatly reduced carbon emissions. And to use that approach in all facets of dealing with climate change and peak oil.