Wednesday, June 27, 2007

National SOLAR 2007 Conference, Cleveland OH

National SOLAR 2007 Conference
Saturday - Thursday, July 7-12, 2007
Cleveland Convention Center
Hosted by American Solar Energy Society and Green Energy Ohio

SOLAR 2007 is the 36th Annual National Solar Energy Conference - the largest and most inclusive renewable energy conference held in the U.S. each year. Cleveland is the perfect home for SOLAR 2007 with the city's ongoing commitment to sustainable growth and a global vision for the future.

The conference theme is "Sustainable Energy Puts America to Work!" and we're proud to feature Rosie the Riveter on the conference logo. Targeting this theme for the first time, we are exploring Ohio's enormous potential for job creation in manufacturing, distirbuting and installing clean energy technologies.

As the local host, Green Energy Ohio is organizing seven tours, more than 20 hands-on workshops and a social event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. GEO has also set the goal to draw the largest public crowd ever at the conference's "Public Day," scheduled for July 8.

There will be plenty to see and do: tour the Ohio Amish Country, which boasts an estimated 100 kW of installed solar PV systems; visit the laboratories for energy production and space propulsion at the NASA Glenn Research Center; participate in the first-ever small wind and solar thermal installation workshops; take a trip to the PV labs at the University of Toledo and the First Solar manufacturing plant in nearby Perrysburg; or enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Erie.

Find out more information by clicking on the tabs to the right, or contact
Christina Panoska, SOLAR 2007 Local Chair and GEO Program Manager.

Click here to register for the SOLAR 2007 Conference.

Friday, June 22, 2007

June/July 2007 issue of EarthWatch Ohio

Click here to access the June/July 2007 issue of EarthWatch Ohio online.

And please consider making a donation to help defray their publishing costs.

Cleveland Gives Solar Energy a Go

Cleveland gives solar energy a go
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
John Funk
Plain Dealer Reporter
The city of Cleveland is headed into hot water - literally.

The plan is to harness civilization's oldest energy source - the sun - to heat water at fire stations, indoor city swimming pools and recreation centers.

If that proves economical - weighing the equipment costs against lowered gas bills - the city hopes eventually to encourage others to install the same kind of equipment by adjusting its water rates, said Andrew Watterson, Cleveland's sustainability programs manager.

The first step happens today as city pipefitters, plumbers and electricians install a solar thermal system on the roof of the Fire Station 20 on Pearl Road.

The $15,000 system includes six solar panels, each about 25 square feet, and two super-insulated 105-gallon water tanks that will feed hot water into the station's existing gas-fired tanks.

The fire station will be featured in the American Solar Energy Society's 36th annual convention that will be held here July 7 to 12.

GreenEnergy Ohio, a renewable-energy advocacy organization, is paying for the project with a $10,000 state grant and fees from two solar training classes it is sponsoring, said Christina Panoska, a program manager with the group.

The solar heat should provide between 50 percent and 70 percent of the station's hot-water needs, said Mark Thornbloom, an engineer and solar project manager with Schuco-USA, a division of its German parent, Schuco International KG, which manufactured the system.

But will it work in the winter?

"In pure principle, yes," Thornbloom said. "I visited a system in Austria that has 10,000 square feet of solar collectors, to heat the grass to play soccer in winter. Austria has the fourth-highest solar per capita in the world, yet Austria has less [sun] than southern Alaska."

The payback time on such system in Ohio is six to seven years, said Roswell "Roz" Ellis, president of Solar Resource Corp. of Westerville, Ohio, which is providing the Schuco products for the fire station project.

The solar water tanks are so well insulated, they can "hold a temperature for up to two weeks," he said.

"Will it work in Cleveland in the winter? Yes, though not as well as in Cincinnati," he said. "But from May through October, it will take care of all of your hot water needs, in Cleveland."

Watterson explains winter use this way:

"We draw water from Lake Erie. It's 33 degrees to 34 degrees. Heating from that temperature to 120 degrees takes a lot of energy. The solar thermal system can bring that temperature up to 80 or 90 degrees, meaning the solar system acts as a pre-heater."

The fire station is a pilot project, he said. The city will keep careful records on how much hot water the system will provide over the next year and how much it saves on gas.

If the industry's claims pan out, the city wants to install the heaters at fire stations and recreation centers as replacements are needed. Mayor Frank Jackson's administration plans to include solar thermal water heaters in future capital budgets, said Watterson, as a first step to incorporate "green building" in city projects.

The city also wants, eventually, to help with the installation of the systems in schools, libraries and other nonprofit organizations, he said.

Solar thermal installations were extremely popular in the 1970s during the natural gas shortages and after Congress enacted federal tax credits. But those lapsed in the 1980s and installations slowed drastically.

Since 2005, when Congress restored tax credits, solar thermal projects have seen a resurgence, said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade association.

There were 3,000 new thermal systems installed in 2001, 6,000 in 2005 and 9,000 last year, he said. "We see installations growing by another 50 percent this year," he said.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4138

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Immigration and Conservatives

Click for a link to Peggy Noonan's column from the Wall Street Journal OpEd page, June 1, 2007

Too Bad
President Bush has torn the conservative coalition asunder.

What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker--"At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.

For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don't like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don't like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.

But on immigration it has changed from "Too bad" to "You're bad."

The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic--they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back." Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."

Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives? It is odd, but it is of a piece with, or a variation on, the "Too bad" governing style. And it is one that has, day by day for at least the past three years, been tearing apart the conservative movement.
I suspect the White House and its allies have turned to name calling because they're defensive, and they're defensive because they know they have produced a big and indecipherable mess of a bill--one that is literally bigger than the Bible, though as someone noted last week, at least we actually had a few years to read the Bible. The White House and its supporters seem to be marshalling not facts but only sentiments, and self-aggrandizing ones at that. They make a call to emotions--this is, always and on every issue, the administration's default position--but not, I think, to seriously influence the debate.

They are trying to lay down markers for history. Having lost the support of most of the country, they are looking to another horizon. The story they would like written in the future is this: Faced with the gathering forces of ethnocentric darkness, a hardy and heroic crew stood firm and held high a candle in the wind. It will make a good chapter. Would that it were true!

If they'd really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border. Once that was done--actually and believably done--the country could relax in the knowledge that the situation was finally not day by day getting worse. They could feel some confidence. And in that confidence real progress could begin.

The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq.

What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom--a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks.

One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose his party the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.

Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.

Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Farmer's Markets, Cleveland Plain Dealer

For those of you who may have missed it, the Wednesday May 30, 2007 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer carried several pages highlighting the importance of purchasing locally-grown food. Articles by Debbi Snook, Plain Dealer Reporter.

Fresh Farmers already offering up this season's bounty
Why buying at local farm markets matters

Here's a link to the listing compiled by reporter Debbi Snook:
Farmer's Markets by County

Friday, April 6, 2007

Putting our Money where our Mouths Are

So many Crunchy Cons are concerned about making certain we feed our families balanced, healthy meals. Often, we don't stop to think how much buying from out of state (or country) truly costs.

Following is an excellent article from the April-May 2007 issue of EarthWatch Ohio, reprinted and linked with their permission.

How Local Can You Go?
Take the “Eat Local Challenge” this Summer & find out!
by Kari Moore, Countryside Conservancy

In Ohio, demand for local food is growing. Buyers are seeking out fresh, healthy, delicious foods that are grown and prepared near their home. The efforts of the Countryside Conservancy, a local non-profit organization that is working to re-envision and rebuild local-regional farming and food systems in northeast Ohio, is helping provide resources for consumers to learn ways to achieve their “eat local” goal.

From the “100 Mile Diet” to the “Locavores,” it is obvious that the reasons to buy food locally is catching on. The benefits of purchasing food grown in your region are huge. Not only does the food taste better, but it is healthier for you and your community, and can help reverse global warming and many other environmental issues.

Here are a few of the benefits of eating locally:

LOW MILEAGE FROM FARM TO PLATE: Locally grown food typically travels 50 miles or less, reducing pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels.

FRESH TASTE: Local food usually arrives in markets within 24 hours of being plucked from the vine or dug from the earth.

DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD: Because locally grown foods are so fresh, they are also more nutritious, containing higher levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that healthy bodies need.

PROSPEROUS FARMERS: 91¢ of each dollar spent in conventional food markets goes to suppliers, processors, middlemen and marketers; while only 9¢ goes to the farmer. Farmers who sell direct at local farmers’ markets keep 80¢ - 90¢ of each dollar. Selling locally, farmers can reduce distribution, packaging and advertising costs and offer us fresher, more affordable food.

VARIETY: Local farmers cultivate mouth-watering varieties of delicious foods like Green Zebra tomatoes, Northern Spy apples, Purple Dragon carrots, Buckeye Chickens, and many other fruits, vegetables, and livestock bred for flavor, nutrients and suitability to our local climate and soils rather than uniformity and endurance to withstand a cross-country road trip.

THRIVING COMMUNITIES: Buying local, a greater portion of our food dollar stays home supporting farms and businesses that make up our local communities and our regional economy. Northeast Ohioans spend over $7 billion on food annually. But less than 1 percent comes from local farms and producers. Localizing just 10 percent of our food spending would generate over $700 million for our local economy and communities.

So, how do you define local? For some, local means homegrown —fresh from their own garden. For others, local means foods from Ohio or the Great Lakes region. And others define local as food that is grown or produced within a reasonable driving distance from their home or workplace.

For starters, we suggest drawing a circle around where you live or work—a circle with a radius of say 100 miles—and use that as your guide. Bear in mind that “local borders” are flexible and fuzzy. Use your own good judgment when determining what is local to you.

So are you ready to take the local challenge? Remember, the Countryside Conservancy is here to help. VISIT TO READ ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY. The Countryside Harvest Guide will provide you with the information you need: a comprehensive list of all the local farmers markets; farm directory; harvest guide; community supported agriculture programs; restaurants, caf├ęs and caterers that support local farms; grocers and retailers that offer local produce and meats; and specialty food producers whose delicious products add to the local flavor of northeast Ohio. The Countryside Harvest Guide is available on-line at and printed copies are available for $5.

For more information contact the Countryside Conservancy at 2179 Everett Road, Peninsula, Ohio 44264; (330) 657-2542;

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cleveland-area Crunchy Cons Unite!

Are you the only Republican at your La Leche League meeting? Are you a sling-wearing, extended-breastfeeding, cloth diapering, non-vaccinating mama who finds she votes more Right than Left? Do you believe that being a Conservative means conservation doesn’t stop at your own front door? Do you have subscriptions to both the National Review and Mother Earth News? Do you enjoy listening to Dennis Prager and NPR? Do you support the NRA and the Sierra Club?

If you've read the book "Crunchy Cons" by Rod Dreher, and feel like you finally have a label for yourself, you've come to the right place.

I've started this blog to post information on things that are important to those of us that live in the Cleveland area and consider ourselves to have similar "crunchy con" ideals. We have a Yahoo! mailing list that you can join, it's a very low-volume list that won't spam your in-box.

Hopefully this will enable Crunchy Cons in the Cleveland area to exchange ideas and information.