Electricity From Used Vegetable Oil?

Several years ago I read about the problems restaurants faced with the disposal of used cooking oil. If you have ever parked behind a fast food eatery you may have noticed a dumpster area for trash disposal as well as a container for storing used vegetable oil. The area is often tucked away behind the building to prevent the public from seeing and smelling the waste. Restaurants pay companies to haul away the solid and liquid waste.

I also learned many years ago that the diesel engine was invented by Adolf Diesel to run on peanut oil to help farmers with an affordable fuel source. Most diesel fuel now is petroleum based. Individuals can still run their diesel vehicles on vegetable oil by using a Grease Car type system or by converting the vegetable oil to biodiesel which requires a process and equipment using chemicals. I have always wanted to purchase a used diesel automobile and convert it to veggie oil. Imagine free fuel that is also good for the environment.

Recently I have been thinking about generating electricity with used vegetable oil from restaurants using a diesel generator. I was surprised to see that a company has developed such a product for restaurants to generate electricity and hot water from used oil (picture shown above). The unit even filters the waste oil prior to using it to generate electricity and hot water. The product is called the Vegawatt Power System. For more information visit web site.

May is National EcoDriving Month

Celebrate National EcoDriving Month by Improving Your Driving Habits

During May, EcoDrivingUSA Encourages Americans to Become EcoDrivers

WASHINGTON, May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — EcoDrivingUSA announced today that May is National EcoDriving Month, and the educational program, sponsored by the Auto Alliance, is encouraging all drivers to take simple steps to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. To mark the first EcoDriving month, the program is partnering with Indy Goes Green, sponsored by the racing team of Nelson Philippe. The program raises awareness about how to be an EcoDriver, and aims to be the first-ever carbon neutral Indy team.

“The key to EcoDriving is that anyone can do it, in any vehicle, and best of all, it’s easy,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Now, as the summer driving season gets underway, EcoDriving month is the ideal time for each of us to renew our green driving habits.”

“In partnership with EcoDrivingUSA, we are raising awareness about how to become EcoDrivers,” Philippe said. “Race car drivers need to practice EcoDriving too because a race can be won or lost on the track by saving fuel. I apply that same principle when I’m on the road. To do our own part, we are working to make our team carbon neutral this year. It’s a big challenge, but the goal is to make sure that we can try to offset our carbon footprint.”

Along with the partnership with Indy Goes Green, EcoDrivingUSA continues to grow. This week the Environmental Defense Fund officially joined the EcoDriving Worldwide Community. And just last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg became the first mayor to endorse the movement, adding his name to the growing list of leaders who have announced their support for the program.

The EcoDriving campaign was launched in 2008 at an event with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) and Governor Bill Ritter (D-CO). Since then, Governors Sonny Perdue (R-GA), C.L. “Butch” Otter (R-ID), Jennifer M. Granholm (D-MI), Brad Henry (D-OK), and Jon Huntsman (R-UT) also have joined the movement. And this week, Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) announces his support for EcoDriving.

During National EcoDriving Month, the Auto Alliance and its 11 global automakers are working to educate consumers about the benefits of EcoDriving through www.EcoDrivingUSA.com. Practicing EcoDriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle, regardless of size or age–potentially affecting the United States’ entire fleet of 245 million automobiles. As a result, the possible benefits of the program are significant, and many fuel-saving EcoDriving practices are surprisingly simple, such as:

— The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that using cruise control for 10,000 of the miles driven in a year could save a driver nearly $200 and more than 60 gallons of fuel.
— Observing the speed limit and not exceeding 60 mph, where legally allowed, can improve mileage by up to 23 percent.
— Traffic lights are often synchronized so that a motorist driving at a specific speed will pass through a series of green lights without stopping. Driving at a steady speed can help drivers avoid red lights, therefore keeping their vehicles moving more efficiently.

“It’s time that we all begin taking the steps necessary to reduce our carbon footprint,” McCurdy said. “While May is designated as National EcoDriving month, we should be EcoDrivers all year long.”

For more information on EcoDriving, or to become an EcoDriver, please visit the interactive Web site, www.autoalliance.org, which helps drivers learn practical tips for improving their mileage and reducing their carbon footprint. The site includes a video guide to EcoDriving, an “EcoCalculator” to determine benefits for individuals or states, a Virtual Road Test, and a variety of educational tools.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 11 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen.

Trip Advisor Survey on Green Travel

TripAdvisor┬«, the world’s most popular and largest travel community, today announced the results of its environmentally-friendly travel survey of more than 1,200 U.S. respondents.

Seventy-six percent of travelers sometimes incorporate green choices in their travel plans and 27 percent of respondents intentionally made environmentally-friendly travel choices in the past year.

Fifty-two percent regularly find it challenging to incorporate “green” choices into their travel plans and 44 percent of travelers find that environmentally-friendly options are not readily available when traveling.

Guests visiting the North Georgia mountains and the Dahlonega area have a green choice in lodging at Cedar House Inn and Yurts. We opened in 2003 as a green lodging establishment and have always used green sustainable practices in our daily operations which are outlined on our web site.

To read the complete TripAdvisor Survey visit
Green Survey.

Laundry Day at Cedar House Inn

We had a great weekend with a full house for Saturday night. With check out Sunday morning we normally start the process of stripping the beds and doing the laundry. Yesterday was a cold and blustery day so we waited until today to start the laundry.

Our main reason for wanting to do the laundry on a sunny day like today is so that we can use our solar dryer instead of the electric clothes dryer.

Our washing machine is a Fisher Paykel EcoSmart machine that uses little water and has a high speed spin cycle. The high spin gives us linens that our not totally wet but damp. This is perfect for our solar clothes dryer.

Our solar dryer, aka clothes line, not only saves energy since we are using the sun but also acts like a bleaching mechanism since the sun bleaches out the whites. Things hanging on the line also smell good.

Unfortunately many municipalities and neighborhoods do not allow for backyard clothes lines. They think they are ugly which I disagree. I like the money we are saving and the eco-friendly aspect of using the sun.

Air Conditioned Beds?

There is a new product out that is very interesting, the air conditioned bed. The bed is made in the Netherlands and is being used at eco resorts in sub tropical climates. The bed is a canopy bed design with the air conditioned air coming from the canopy portion. This allows the user to keep the room at regular temperature but have the bed air conditioned with cooler air saving electricity that is normally needed to cool the entire room.

The product is called Evening Breeze. For more information visit their site.Web Site.

We do not plan to offer these beds at the inn but thought they were an interesting eco friendly product.

We Now Use Green Web Site Hosting

We have been considering using a green web site hosting company to host our inn’s web site. Web site hosting servers and other equipment require a great deal of electricity to stay running and keep web sites online. Visit our web site and click the green banner at the bottom of the home page for information on the hosting company.