Sustainability, Energy, Resources, and Housing

by Kermit Schlansker

To most people, sustainability means the indefinite maintenance of present day living standards. This can not happen.

Within 50 years, the high cost of energy and other raw materials will cause the cost of living to sky rocket so that most people will not be able to afford what we have today. The result may be anarchy and chaos. The only society that can really survive is a society based on planning, ultimate thrift, hard work, and technology.

Running out of energy and other raw materials is inevitable. Malthus predicted that populations would over run food supply and famine would result. His predictions have been delayed by the usage of fossil fuels and mined fertilizers. However as populations increase and these materials are depleted, his predictions will come true.

There can be only temporary definitions of sustainability because as the threat increases, the countermeasures will have to be more desperate. A society that can be maintained for 200 years must cut energy consumption to levels which can be sustained by solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable sources. It must take countermeasures against catastrophic events such as Global warming. It must recycle and use with thrift all raw materials. The bulk of the population must give up single family houses and private transportation.

Resource Depletion —Numbers computed from Encyclopedia Britannica of years available for different mineral resources are: 64 years natural gas, 333 coal, 89 tungsten, 30 silver, 108 molybdenum, 43 zinc, 495 vanadium, 29 tin, 35 lead, 159 manganese, 44 mercury, 224 aluminum ore, 78 bismuth, 48 cadmium, 112 iron ore, 24 gold, 110 Uranium, 117 nickel, 46 petroleum, 212 phosphate fertilizer, 79 antimony, 1019 lithium, 26 gold, 230 platinum group, 62 copper, 62 sulfur, and 634 years potash fertilizer. Obviously the numbers are contentious because of the varying estimates and the popular viewpoint that the Earth’s resources are infinite. Some materials will be depleted by increased demand and the availability of others will be extended by the discovery of new deposits. Many of the resources must be imported by the USA and are subject to politics and other uncertainties. Energy shortages may make it impossible to mine some of the materials. The truth is that this country has achieved its piggish over consumption at the expense of other countries that have not competed well. This situation will change in the future and we will have to worry about the consumption of 8 billion people rather than 250 million. Energy and other raw materials will be in short supply, and the poor will multiply. As it stands now, we are importing more than 50% of our oil. Our world is running down, as does a clock when there is no one to rewind it or replace the battery

Global Warming—There several plausible scenarios whereby Global Warming could kill millions or even billions of people. Therefore we should not hope for finding more fossil energy. One of these mechanisms is by rising of the seas, which would drown Island nations, low nations like Bangladesh, and cover coastal areas in many countries. Another scenario is that violent weather in the form of increased storms and droughts would increase poverty to the breaking point. Widespread drought could kill millions by reducing food supply. Another mechanism is that by killing coral and certain species of fish in the ocean that food supplies might be depleted. Still another scenario is that the Gulf Stream could be diverted. This could turn Europe into an icebox and cause their food supply to collapse. Another scenario is that a plug of ice in the Arctic could be melted and would cause a tremendous surge of cold water into the oceans. This could cause a minor ice age, which could starve a billion people to death. One of the more frightening possibilities is that Methane Hydrate, which is presently locked up in tundra and in the ocean, would decompose and become gaseous. Since Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, the warm up could become regenerative and quickly soar to such heights that much of the Earth’s plant life would burn up. It is ridiculous to state that we have no proof that these things would happen. It is important to think they might happen. All of us carry car medical insurance yet many of us live our lives without accident. A moral society would carry insurance against Global Warming and energy starvation. That insurance is to invest heavily in apartment buildings and other life style conservation measures. The other thing we must do is to get our energy from sources, which do not cause greenhouse gases.

Energy Depletion —Energy is the keystone for our society. Without it, we can not survive. The present energy consumption for the United States is 94 quadrillion (Quads) BTUs/yr. If the population is 260 million, then the per capita consumption is 361 million BTUs/yr. In contrast, Europe uses about 160 million BTUs/capita, and China uses only 30 million btus/capita. My statement is that no combination of presently known energy sources can provide the present level of USA consumption for very long. Fossil fuels will be used up and the only remedy will be to cut back per capita consumption probably by 75% and then put all kinds of conservation devices and alternate energy into production. Since the capital cost of everything we must do will be high it is important that we start immediately so that each generation will bear part of the burden.

Oil —There is a group of retired geologists that are saying that the Earth has only about 1 trillion barrels of recoverable, cheap oil left. Others say there is more like 2 trillion barrels. Presently the world is using about 27 billion barrels oil/yr. However it has been predicted that consumption rates may go as high as 40 million barrels/yr fairly quickly. Most of the cheap oil left is in the hands of the Arab countries. Since their resource is limited they will charge high prices for what is left. Tar sands, heavy oil, oil from coal, and shale oil, which will make up part of the difference. However the cost of development will make fuels refined from them much higher in cost than present fuels. Furthermore, production rates will be low. Also, the energy needed to produce some of these fuels is so great that they are not energy effective. Presently the US is using about 6 billion barrels of oil per year. No one really understands how costly and difficult it will be to produce these enormous quantities. It is easy to predict that oil prices will go up and up until oil is completely unaffordable.

Natural Gas —Natural gas is not a solution to the oil problem because we have limited supplies of that also. According to the estimates that I have seen we would have about 60 years left at present consumption. However any attempt to replace oil or coal with natural gas would greatly increase the depletion rate. Furthermore limitations in distribution and quantity of supply may cause serious gas shortages long before the resource is completely gone. By 2020 shortages of heating oil and natural gas may cause many homes in the US to go unheated. It is also likely that large numbers of trees may be cut to supply these needs.

Coal —Supplies of coal will probably last longer than any other fossil fuel. However it is the worst fuel for causing greenhouse gases. It is costly to convert it to liquid fuel. Mining coal requires large quantities of oil energy. It has been predicted that soon coal may require more energy to mine it than it produces. Nevertheless we should convert some of our locomotives back to coal because it is essential to be able to move grain and other heavy materials.

Nuclear Energy—Presently nuclear energy provides about 8% of our total consumption. In order to supply all of our energy needs, we would need more than 10 times as many plants as we have now. We have not even decided how to store our present levels of waste. Nuclear energy is finite and expendable. Any moral society would save nuclear fuel for the ultimate threat to human survival rather than wasting it on a profligate society. Nuclear energy does have the advantage that it can provide both heat and power in Winter. One good way to use nuclear energy would be to construct a city heated by the waste heat around the nuclear electric plant. The plant would be run only for about four months in the Winter and then would be shut down for the Summer. In Summer, solar mirror boiler plants would generate electric power. In this way, our supplies of fissionable material could be stretched by at least a factor of five.

Wind Energy —Wind energy is much cheaper than solar energy. Wind energy goes up as the fourth power of wind speed. Therefore there is little energy at speeds below 10 mph. The number of sites which can furnish the necessary average velocities is unknown. Furthermore the storage of energy needed to make wind a constant source is very expensive. Although it is essential that we immediately start building large numbers of windmills we can not make the assumption that wind will cure all of our energy problems. It is possible that future development of windmills may go toward mills, which compress air or refrigerants or pump water. Such mills may be much simpler and cheaper than grid synchronized electric mills, the direct action may be more efficient, and copper would be saved.

Solar energy —Solar energy may cost four times as much as wind energy. However it will be essential to use it because there will not be enough energy from wind and because solar is much more ubiquitous than wind. Even in the Northern US there is enough solar energy to provide most of the summer time electricity. In the winter, solar provides much less power but can still provide a substantial portion of space heating. Multiple sources of energy also help to provide continuous energy without storage. Solar cells are probably not as cost effective as solar mirrors focused on a boiler. A simple argument is that the cost of mirrors per sqft will probably be much less than the cost of solar cells. Also a solar system which directly performs a function is inherently cheaper than one which translates to electricity and back. If the boiler is mounted on a large building then both electricity and space heating are available.

Biomass —Energy from biomass may be obtained from, crop residues, manure, biomass energy crops, solid waste, and trees. Wood is the traditional and the eternal energy source. Biomass is the only way we have to fix carbon from the atmosphere, and wood is the only biomass that can store energy from summer to winter, or from year to year. Wood is a solid fuel that could be used to fuel trains or cars. I see wood charcoal as being a major transportation fuel. Trees help prevent Global Warming, are essential to nature, are a prime building material, and are a raw material for chemicals and plastics. We need to plant a surplus of trees at lowest possible cost, ASAP. However the amount of biomass that can be grown is limited by land, fertilizer, and the human will to plant. Biomass plantations can grow more fuel per acre than forests and also may be able to produce large quantities of food. We must exploit biomass to the fullest. However there is not enough land to supply all of our energy needs. It seems unlikely that we can grow much more than 15 quads/yr.

Hydrogen —Hydrogen is only a small part of the solution to our problems because it must be made from other energy sources, it is costly to manufacture, and is difficult to store and transport. The biggest advantage of hydrogen is that in fuel cells it permits a high efficiency in converting to electrical power. However the means of obtaining the hydrogen from solar cells or biomass are inefficient enough that hydrogen can hardly be thought of as a savior. It may be more useful to synthesize Methanol from Solar, wind, and Biomass because it is so much easier to store and transport and can also be used in fuel cells. Hydrogen gained its popularity as an alternate fuel partly because of the belief that it makes no pollution. Pollution from combustion will become less important as consumption is reduced by scarcity and as increased efficiencies further reduce pollutant output.

Cost —Although we must invest heavily and immediately in wind, solar, and biomass we must remember that the cost will be enormous and that we can never reach our present demand. However Energy starvation and Global Warming are much more serious threats than war. The duty cycle for solar is probably not over 15% on average and that of wind in many locations may not be better than 50%. If poor locations are used for wind, then the duty cycle will be even lower. This increases capital costs sharply in comparison to fossil fuel, biomass, or nuclear plants, which can work 80% of the time. Energy storage costs will make it difficult to have energy all of the time. Nuclear, wind, and solar all have the problem that it is difficult to make vehicular fuels. Batteries are useful but are inadequate because of cost and weight penalties. Can you imagine running a bulldozer or an airplane from batteries? Making liquid fuels or hydrogen from these sources poses problems in cost and inefficiency. Methanol is one of the easiest fuels to synthesize from solar or biomass but in terms of corrosion and energy/lb it is a greatly inferior to gasoline or fuel oil. In converting to wind, solar, and biomass the costs in terms of dollars, raw materials, and energy will be enormous. There will be millions of heat exchangers, pressure vessels, solar mirrors, and windmill towers. We can start thinking about a sum equal to the national debt, say four trillion dollars but the costs will keep spiraling upward from there.

Conservation —The most important reason for this paper is to point out that although there are people working on wind, biomass and solar, there is no one who is working seriously on the measures needed for conservation. China achieves its low energy usage by living under extremely crowded life styles. Germany is a country, which is almost as affluent as the US yet it uses less than half the energy per capita that we do. Urban Sprawl is one of the big reasons for the difference. We are destroying our farms, fields, and woods and are covering them up with concrete and lawns. We simply have a totally unworkable situation in the US. If immigration doubles the population and if Urban Sprawl continues to destroy farmland then within 50 years serious food shortages could ensue. If gasoline goes to $5 per gallon millions of people would be jobless. It is important to note that the single largest factor in meeting our energy needs is not Solar or Wind but is to stop building houses and build only four story apartments in planned communities. We are making no plans for these emergencies. In the political campaigns there is no talk of these facts. In coming up with a scenario for Sustainability one could well estimate that USA national energy consumption would have to be cut by 70%. Then we could get about 10% each from biomass, wind, and solar. Any other sources would just increase our security. Therefore it can be said that conservation is more important than production.

Morality —All of us have benefited from the composite work and output of our society. We were cared for by our parents and in turn should care for our progeny. We have a moral duty to reshape society and technology so that our grandchildren and their children can enjoy a happy life without fossil fuels. Providing for the future is the best of all games that we could play.

General Tactics for Sustainability

The general tactics, which are needed to secure sustainability through thrift and productivity, are as follows:

1 Massive changes in the Federal budget. It is essential to remove money from the military, social programs, and the Bureaucracy and put it into Apartment houses, windmills, and the other needs of Sustainability. New weapons such as airplanes that require large amounts of oil should be canceled. Interventions in other countries such as the one in Kosovo should be avoided on the grounds of insufficient oil. One way of doing this is to integrate Sustainability programs into the present organizations. For example the military, the universities, the school system, and all the bureaucracies should have the task of innovative conservation and energy production built into their job descriptions.

2 Changes in the tax system. It is imperative that taxes be shifted to energy and other natural resources so that conservation will become an important part of our lives. We need sales taxes, gasoline taxes, carbon taxes, kilowatt taxes, etc. These taxes should be used to increase the income tax threshold so that people pay less income taxes. We need capital gains taxes to tax the rich. Taxes are essential to finance Government Funded research and development. The resultant heavy tax burden to the poor can be reduced by subsidizing apartment houses and ecomindiums. Certain kinds of food can be subsidized. Jobs must be available for all. If car insurance, license fees, and some running costs were paid for by Gas taxes then the total cost of running a car could be put on a per mile basis. This would greatly improve conservation without raising taxes.

3 Clumping and Decentralization. Massive trade means that materials must be shipped long distances at considerable energy cost. Therefore it is essential that each building, city, locality, or state should produce as much of its food and manufactured materials as possible in order to reduce shipping distances. Apartment buildings can, by shared walls and ceilings reduce heating costs by 50%. They also facilitate car pools and buses. Apartment complexes which contain factories and free land can engage in manufacturing and farming without transportation.

4 Retrogression. We need to look back and use some of the tactics used 100 years ago to get by on reduced energy. We need to look at steam engines, draft animals, and trains as part of the solution. Low velocity transportation eliminates wind drag losses.

5 Universal employment and reduction of parasitism. We need a Civilian Conservation Corps devoted to the mass planting of trees. Work programs should be used to eliminate welfare. We need to reduce employment in bureaucracy, legal work, social work, and paper work. We need to increase employment in agriculture, manufacturing, and Engineering. Presently only 10% of the population are doing useful work. Every convict and every welfare recipient should be manufacturing something useful.

6 Government Funded Enterprise. GFE should work with and fund private companies in an effort to develop the necessary housing and manufactured goods which are essential for sustainability. Government labs should be used to start new industries, which could then be moved to the private sector. Since windmills are symbols both of usefulness and chivalry, they are symbolic of all of the things we need to produce.

7 Subsidization of the poor and elderly. It is imperative that programs other than cash payments or food stamps be developed to help the poor. These should include work programs, housing programs, and food packages. The bureaucracy must be reduced to a minimum and everyone must be useful. Social work and the cost of living can be reduced by the development of Clans (Cooperatives).

8 Reform of Education. Education must be simplified and directed toward Sustainability. Pre med and pre law should be abolished. Horticulture and Silviculture should be taught in grade school. Class projects and themes must be organized around agriculture. Universities must be constrained to study and do research on the problems of sustainability.

9 Sustainable Housing. Special complexes must be designed and built which reduce monetary and resource costs to a minimum. These include Agromindiums, Ecomindiums, Factorymindiums, and Noah’s Ark Universities.

10 Synergism. One product, facility, or organization must accomplish several goals. For example sewage treatment should accomplish water recycling, energy storage, making fertilizer, irrigation for crops, fish culture, and recreation. All heating systems must be either Cogeneration or Comanufacturing. Comanufacturing must be made into a central study in all universities so that building heat requirements can be totally eliminated.

10 Thrift in Government. All subsidies for houses should be canceled. Subsidies for flood, tornadoes, and earthquakes should be canceled in dangerous areas. Laws and taxes should be simplified. Many subsidies should be eliminated. Farm subsidies should be based on tree planting or other sustainability programs.

11 Land protection. Urban sprawl is a destroyer of sustainability because spreading out requires energy for transportation and heating. Nature and agricultural land are lost to houses. Laws must be made to protect land.

12 Research Laboratories. Every state should have a giant research laboratory which develops products and facilities which enhance sustainability. Synergism should be a constant goal of such development.

Products and projects that should be developed

1 Noah’s Ark University. This is a large complex, which offers partial shelter against Nuclear attack, nuclear winter, and asteroid collisions. It should be structured as a university which has goals of sustainability. The protected, underground facility must contain a power plant, greenhouses, living space, storage space, stored food, and stored energy. Seeds, embryos, eggs, animals, and all means to save species including humans should be stored in a compact manner. Space above ground should be largely greenhouses expendable in case of disaster but used ordinarily for plant research, animal research, and food production. The complex should be a live in university with young faculty so that only people capable of reproduction would be protected. The facility would probably contain a nuclear power plant capable of supplying energy to the surrounding region. The facility would be useful to the public in terms of education, research, seed production, power production, food storage, emergency administration, and perhaps even food production.

2 The Ecomindium. This would be a one building Condominium built in a compact format so that the geometric heating reduction would be about 2 to 1. By using water recirculation, fossil fuel heat pump, cogeneration, biomass, solar, and wind energy, it should be possible to make the building use less than 25% of normal consumption and to be nearly independent of utilities. A suitable configuration would be 8 units, 2 stories plus basement, with 4 units/floor in square format. The basement or an attic room could be used for communal activities. The complex should be surrounded by an acre of land set up with large gardens. The social structure should be pre defined as a cooperative with strict rules.

3 The Agromindium. This would be like an ecomindium but on more land. Food production with both full and part time participants would a major business activity. All sewage would be used for fertilizer, irrigation, and to recycle water.

4 The Factorymindium. This would be an ecomindium with a factory attached. Of course the factory and agricultural activities could be combined in one unit. All of these complexes must use cogeneration, comanufacturing, and other energy synergistic combinations.

5 The Ecohouse. Single family houses can never be models of sustainability. However they are easier to finance and could incorporate many of the features needed in larger facilities. Such features will be needed for a long time to improve present houses. An Ecohouse would probably use the basement as living space. The above ground house would have a greenhouse on the south side and might be used only in mild weather. There are many compromises.

6 Windmills. Windmills that pump water, air, or refrigerants are cheaper and more efficient than electric windmills because the constant speed problem is avoided, because they generate the desired power directly, and because in some installations their outputs could be combined with other windmills and with solar power. Electric windmills should be put into mass production for high wind areas.

7 Solar powered boilers. Solar boilers of many sizes and temperature ranges should be designed. Lower temperature boilers require more collector area but have lower cost collectors and process more heat useful for distillation and space heating. These installations should be designed as part of buildings.

8 Cogeneration. Universal Cogeneration could cut overall energy consumption by 25%. Units need to be built in all sizes from houses to large complexes. Cogeneration is a good complement to summer solar power production.

9 Fossil fuel heat pump. Such units are capable of achieving a 200% efficiency for space heating. If used for air conditioning they reduce peak electric power loads in summer.

10 Ground and ground water heat sources. Such sources can greatly improve the efficiency of both air conditioning and heating systems.

11 Massive tree planting. Trees are the best alternative fuel because they are storable and because they are useful in many other ways.

12 Biomass energy systems. Soft biomass in the form of crop residues, leaves, straw, waste paper, etc, plus sewage can be used to make biogas with an efficiency of about 50%. This efficiency could be increased if the by-product heat could be used for greenhouses or space heating. Biomass could also be used in a steam power plant cogeneration system. For best efficiency these units should always be designed as building equipment.

13 Detergents which are fertilizer. If all cleaning fluids are fertilizers and all sewage is used for crop production then a recycling of chemicals is achieved.

14 Improved Engines. Engines with lower friction, higher efficiency, and lower pollution should be developed. Examples; A car engine which can be used both for cars and for cogeneration. A low pollution, efficient, long life lawnmower engine which could also be used for cogeneration. A split engine for cars to improve coasting friction should be built. There are many other examples.

15 Fuel cells. Fuels cells are more promising for cogeneration in buildings than for cars. Their development should be accelerated but should not interfere with improved engine development or engine driven cogeneration development.

16 Free piston engines. Such devices are useful both in building energy systems and in cars. They rival fuel cells and may be cheaper. Accelerated development is crucial.

17 Small steam power systems. Steam power is immediately useful for biomass fueled cogeneration systems. They should be in mass production.

18 Refrigerant development. The perfect system has not been developed. I could come up with several ideas for improved refrigeration.

What We Might Do!—Some Sample Calculations

Biomass —USA area =2.37 billion acres. assuming 1 billion acres useable, producing 4000lbs/acre/yr at 6000 Btu’s/ lb. Per acre energy production would be 24 million btus. Total energy produced from biomass would be 24 quads. These numbers can be massaged up or down. However biomass is limited by fertilizer, water, soil quality, labor, and governmental wisdom. We need a mass tree planting program right now. It seems unlikely that we could produce more than 20 quads of biomass. However biomass is the most useful alternate energy because it is storeable and because the ashes may be crucial for fertilizer, and legumes in bio digesters may be able to produce food, energy, and nitrogen fertilizer.

Solar —If solar cells cost $4000/peak kw, the duty cycle is 20%, and 1 kwhr=10,000 btus then the capital investment to produce 1 quad is 4000*10^15/(.2*365*24*10,000)=$228 billion. For 20 quads the cost would be $4.6 trillion dollars. However this does not cover cost of installation, mounting, inverters, and storage. These factors would probably double costs. The cost for solar heating and for focussed solar mirror boiler systems would be cheaper than solar cells. However it would be difficult to fund much more than 20 quads.

Wind —Recent data from a Wisconsin project are 13.7 MPH average windspeed, 1.1 million cost, production=1.63 million kwhrs/windmill/yr. If we convert to btus using 10,000 btus=1kwhr, then 20 quads are 2 trillion kwhrs. To produce 20 quads would require 1.2 million windmills at a cost of $1.3 trillion. There seems to be enough suitable wind sites for this much capacity. However, storage and transmission cost would probably make total cost much higher.

Data —1 acre=.4047 hectares, 1 kwhr=3.6*10^6 joules=3412 btus, 1 btu=1055 joules, 1 quad=10^15 btus =1 trillion cuft natural gas=171.5 million barrels of oil, 1 barrel=5.25 million btus,, 1 kwhr=approximately 10,000 btus crudely based on power plant efficiency and heat pump COP, It takes very approximately 10,000 acres wood to fuel a 1 megawatt power plant which will produce about 8000 megawatt hrs/yr. USA 272 million pop, 3.7 million sq miles or 2.37 billion acres area, uses 95 quads energy/yr

Take Action against the Oil and Gas Crisis

Production of oil and gas will dwindle with each passing year. If counter actions are not taken, the lack of ability to farm, manufacture essential goods, and transport people to work will collapse the economy and create massive unemployment. This situation will get worse with each passing year until starvation and chaos is the result.

Essential countermeasures

  • Think of the lives that the babies will have without oil. Make sacrifices accordingly. It will be necessary to spend trillions.
  • Stop all immigration other than that by intelligent, academic, strong, young, people. Land available per capita will be a determining force in sustainability. We must not take care of other countries’ birth rates.
  • Forswear dependence on complicated solutions such as fusion because they probably will not work. The lack of strategic metals will probably cripple any exotic solution even if one is found. Instead, concentrate on a simple formula of reducing per capita consumption by 70% and producing 10% each from solar, wind, and biomass. Conserve and recycle in all ways possible. Provide free fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Declare an emergency program where people would double up in houses to save winter heat. This will save fuel and transportation. Mandate full car pools. Get gas hog vehicles off the road Construct emergency work programs in construction, salvage of houses to make apartments, and biomass planting. Immediate oil and gas rationing. Prioritized allocations. Higher taxes on both oil and gas. Remember that energy must be saved for farming, manufacturing, and food transportation. Little will be left for personal use.
  • Develop huge biomass planting programs including crops and forests. Cultivate plants, which bear fruits or nuts and make lumber and fuel. Plant on river and creek banks to control erosion. Save precious energy by stopping forest fires. Cut large firebreaks and use for pasture. Clear out brush with work gangs and use all biomass for fuel. Consider fertilizing with ashes and sewage. Find ways of germinating seeds, which require fire to propagate. Form a Civilian Conservation Corps, use prison, volunteer, and student labor. Outlaw fireplaces and wood stoves. They pollute, are inefficient, and will destroy forests. Well designed gasifier power plants in large buildings use wood better in every way.
  • Build solar heating and power systems. Reduce cost of focussed mirrors because they may make solar cells, solar boilers, solar heating, and solar manufacturing cheaper than otherwise. The cost of mirrors may be a crucial sustainability question.
  • Deploy many wind farms. Use local electricity to manufacture portable essentials. Experiment not only with electric mills but also with mills that pump water, refrigerants, etc. Try to lower capital costs.
  • Stop building houses. Build only apartments of at least 8 units in clusters. Combine various activities such as apartments, manufacturing, general store, postoffice, etc. into general purpose buildings. Larger buildings cost less to heat, save land, and reduce transportation. Such complexes can also be heated with group heating systems. Divide cities into wards of about 1square mile each. Try to establish all needs within that area so that personal transportation can be by walking, cycling, or horses. The horse can be used for plowing.
  • In education stress mathematics, engineering, botany, horticulture, and agriculture. Schools must research and manufacture as well as educate. Schools should be a major factor in mass planting programs.
  • Put a major effort into small manufacturing industries, which can be done in winter in large buildings. Examples are grain to ethanol, wood to methanol, small foundry, food canning, and forge work. Such cottage manufacturing will heat buildings.
  • Flexible jobs will help workers to manufacture in winter using biomass for fuel and work in agriculture in summer. All people must be occupied in agriculture to some extent.
  • Put stress on manufacturing essential products in areas of excess energy. For example build nitrogen fertilizer plants or liquid fuel plants either in the desert using solar energy or in the wind belts using wind energy.
  • Modernize the rail network. Make engines that run on wood, coal, or wood derived methanol. Investigate methanol or hydrogen fuel cell trains. Trains will be needed for moving food, coal, and other essentials. Build highway trains. Stop flying airplanes.
  • Develop and manufacture small scale cogeneration, cottage manufacturing, heat pumps, total energy systems, fuel cells, solar cells, solar heat, free piston engines, dual engines for trucks and buses, focussed solar mirrors applied to manufacturing, electricity generation, space heating, and sewage processing.
  • Experiment and develop building construction techniques using tamped earth, straw bales, underground construction, or anything similar. Incorporate solar power and heating into construction. Build no building smaller than 64′ x 64′, 2 stories, and full basement.
  • Partially return to draft animals for small farming. Meat animals must get their food by grazing. Use animals for mowing. Cities must grow food and fuel on city streets and parks. Every roadside must be planted to the maximum with fruit trees. It will be essential to feed cities as much as possible from the near countryside. This will, save transportation energy.
  • Develop social groups called clans. Clans will eliminate social workers, help people, and ensure that everyone works. Clans will in general be composed of people within a building or living cluster. They would operate businesses, store food, plow gardens, and behave like corporations.
  • Make sure that all convicts work usefully. Develop programs such as tree planting and plant nurseries, which conflict as little as possible with other industries. Make prisons into communities, which experiment with social relationships and conservation.
  • Produce both by government funding and free enterprise. There are many essential endeavors that government will have to jump-start.

By Kermit Schlansker PE,
Web page at
Kermit Schlansker, P.E. (734) 971-5283
References Personal Questions action actionms