Headlines: Houston’s Green Hopes and Dreams; Costco in Clear Lake?

Photo of Discovery Green: Bill Barfield via Swamplot Flickr Pool

10 Comment

  • The only thing I’m willing to do to make Houston “greener” is buy the Tesla S as my next car, everything else doesn’t sound like much fun.

  • I wonder how feasible it would be to install power-generating rollers on roadways? If rivers can turn turbines, why can’t rivers of cars turn them too? Let the cars on the freeways power the electric transit.

  • Dana-X:

    A dynamometer (“dyno”) is essentially what you are describing. They are commonly used to measure the engine power in vehicles. In this situation, the car (ideally) is not moving – all of the power driving the wheels is used to drive the drum.

    Even if what you’re describing relied on only partial energy capture (so a car would still travel forward) it would decrease the efficiency of the car, thereby consuming more fuel and producing more emissions. Essentially, this idea proposes using a car like a generator (converting chemical energy to mechanical and subsequently to electrical energy). With any system like this, energy loss is an issue.

    Perhaps something like this could be installed on downhill portions of roadways to mitigate the increased load placed on the engine (and could thereby capture potential energy being converted to kinetic energy), but I would guess that it would be cost prohibitive.

    I seem to recall seeing turbines that were placed in a tunnel once – I was told these were used to power the tunnel lighting. I’m not sure why that’s not used more often.

  • @Dana-X, it takes energy to rotate anything it’s not free, so the energy generated from those cars would ultimately come from burning fossil fuels. Check out rules of thermodynamics.

  • Yes, there would be some loss of effiency with the cars. Just wondering what small enough turbines that wouldn’t cause drivers to complain might be able to produce. Sort of like a micro-mileage tax. Just an idea that goes along with what people want(to drive cars here) rather than coax them out of them somehow.

  • Thinking about sustainability…it’s going to be interesting to see how Texas deals with drought as we go forward. Will we learn any lessons as we come out of this drought, or will it be business as usual? Will we finally come to our senses and realize that we can’t use half of all our water just to keep the landscaping looking nice? Will Texans respond to any initiative that expects them to use less? There is no way to solve this problem without looking at the consumption end of it. We don’t have it nearly as bad as Central and West Texas, of course, but we have to think about it, too.

  • I love how areas that need A/C always assumed to be such bad energy hogs. When actually today it takes less energy to cool a home in a hot climate than to heat a home in a cold one.

  • Although I think I am okay with the idea of a sustainability director, I seriously doubt it is being executed in a way that is practical and that will actually make a difference. Rather probably just an ‘inefficient’ bureaucratic greenwashing.

  • With respect to the sustainability director. I am happy to see this city moving in a more livable/ improved quality of life direction. All of the recent transplants, myself included, need more of a reason to live in Houston other than a job. Once the overall US economy improves a lot of transplants will leave for jobs elsewhere if Houston doesn’t continue to beautify itself, improve infrastructure, improve transit options, and clean up the air.

  • Commonsense.

    That was funny about the Tesla.