What’s All This Solar Energy Hooplah About? – Emma Foster, Fo’sheimer and Filles Fabrications

Welcome, one and all, to the latest installment of Project Ventura! Currently, while we build this airstream/teacher’s lounge/whale thing, the class is writing an ebook about the entire process of Project Ventura, with each team getting 2 chapters. Since this is our Cornerstone project here at Ann Richards, each team gets graded on a presentation guided by to a panel of professional engineers and designers who will be reading our ebook. Basically, it has to be professional, amazing, perfect, and totally capture the essence of Project Ventura. Eeek!

To ease my anxiety about this whole thing, I looked up some tips from successful ebook authors to see how they approach writing style and content. InboundPro compiles several tips from bloggers around the internet that I found useful. The advice that stood out to me the most were to keep the purpose of the ebook in mind while you’re writing, to make sure that what you write will benefit the reader, make an outline of your content and flesh it out, and to not get obsessed with details. Although this article is more marketed towards people aiming to make big bucks from an ebook and online business, it has several good general techniques for writing that will come in handy.

Gus and I (of the Fo’sheimer Filles and Fabrications) have the chapter on the tiny house movement and the chapter on electrical systems in the airstream. I volunteered to do the chapter on electrical systems, despite my unenthusiasm about the topic. Most of the topics we learned in physics last year were interesting and came easily to me, except for the unit on electricity. I am a very visual learner, and I find it hard to intuit things as abstract and technical as electricity. However, I thought that by writing about and drawing pictures of circuits might help me understand it better.

Right now, I’m still halfheartedly writing my chapter, so I looked up interesting uses for electricity, namely solar energy (because that’s how the airstream will be powered) to increase my zeal for such things.

Of course, there’s always weirdly-shaped buildings that have all sorts of solar panels all over them, but did you know that technology is being created to spray photovoltaic (PV) cells unto a surface? I sure didn’t. UT Austin is researching nanoscale PV component mixtures that might make such solar paint.

Solar energy can also be used to decrease our waste. These Solar-Powered Trash Compactors can reduce the contents of the trash put into them using energy from the sun. This way, it doesn’t have to be emptied as often AND it reduces greenhouse gas emissions. This is a big win for environmentalists such as myself.

Recycling goes to a whole new level (source: http://streetsforall.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/green-trash-for-all/)

Recycling goes to a whole new level (source: http://streetsforall.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/green-trash-for-all/)

Soccer is a huge world sport, and now the visually impaired can play it too with these solar-powered soccer balls, thanks to Greendix! They work by using these leaf-shaped solar panels that can power motion sensors and an audio device, which emit tracking sounds when a player is near.

I’m not completely convinced that energy is the best thing ever, but in my research I have developed an appreciation for how unique solar panels are that you can do so much with them. I’ll let you know on May 23rd (the presentation day) if I feel any differently about electricity. I hope you stop by before then!


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