Friday Linkage 12/28/2012

Christmas is over, the New Year is almost here, and the world keeps spinning.  It’s likely we are heading over the fiscal cliff, the SEC is on the path to another BCS national title, and yet the world will keep spinning.

I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter how dire things look the world manages to find a way to keep on spinning and we find a way to keep on living.  Don’t think another SEC BCS national title is a dire thing?  Obviously you do not spend a lot of time around fans of colleges from the SEC.  Ugh…

On to the links…

Does Foam Insulation Belong in Green Buildings?–Man, the more I read about foam insulation of all types the more thankful I am that my builder steered me away from spray foam as a go to option.  Instead we used a blown in product that has produced amazing results.  Maybe we should follow a modified version Michael Pollan’s “food rules.”

10 Energy Numbers to Remember from 2012–Just a nice little rundown of energy related statistics from 2012 to keep in the back of your mind.   Bring on 2013!

New World Record Set for Solar Cells: 44% Efficiency–Oh yeah, bring on the higher efficiencies.  Step by step we are getting closer to a time when solar photovoltaics will be cheaper than any fossil fuel.

Nanomaterials that Split Sunlight Into Separate Colors Could Bring Solar Panels to 50% Efficiency–If you thought 44% efficiency was badass, well get ready for 50% efficiency.  As solar panels get cheaper and cheaper on a per watt basis the focus has to turn to the balance of system costs, which usually are the majority of system costs in the U.S.

Top Ten PV Projects Under Construction in the US–If you do not think solar is for real, check out the size of these projects.  Solar is very real.

Local Solar: Minnesota Develops Its First Community Solar Project–This is a great story because this is a way forward for a lot of communities to take advantage of solar energy.  These systems can be hard to locate and finance, but if enough people can get together a site for a larger system can be found, financing can be secured, etc.  All right!

Germany Still Kicking Ass on Clean Energy: 2012 Production Forecast to be 15% Above 2011–And when I think the U.S. has come a long way a country like Germany comes along to make me feel like a fool.  The real kicker here is that this 15% growth on an already large base of installed renewables.

Cause of Death Trends for the U.S. and Australia–This is just a fascinating interactive data set to play with.  Data can be fun when it is presented in an accessible way.

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