AMOC Collapse, Instant HVAC Upgrade and Seaweed Bricks

Weekly news and views about housing-related climate and sustainability issues.

After the AMOC Collapse

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When the AMOC stops, Our Species May Collapse with It. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a crucial ocean current system, is at risk of collapsing due to climate change. The Gulf Stream, which is separate current system, probably won’t stop because it’s created by the rotation of the Earth, but it will likely be pushed much further South. New research suggests that this massive tipping point could happen as soon as 2025. Then what? None of the proposed scenarios are good, and some point to an “extinction event” that could wipe out most life on earth, including human beings. Writer Thom Hartmann explores the science, the causes and the urgency of this crisis in more detail.  


EasyStartThis “Soft Start” Device Opens Older HVAC to Solar Possibilities. Micro-Air's EasyStart is a game-changer for solar power. This soft start gadget allows older HVAC compressors to run on solar power, making renewable energy more accessible. By reducing the initial power surge required to start the compressor, EasyStart enables the use of smaller, more energy-efficient inverters. This overcomes one of the common limitations with solar backup systems: they can’t supply the initial surge of power required to start a large HVAC compressor. 


Water HeaterDOE Proposes New Water Heater Standards. The Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed new energy efficiency standards for water heaters. The biggest change would be in the electric hot water category of products. The detailed and highly technical rules would mandate that manufacturers upgrade all of their electric resistance hot water tanks to heat pump technology by 2029. The rule would not require consumers to replace their existing hot water systems (until they fail), and has separate new rules for gas and on-demand systems. 


sargablockSargassum Blocks Turn Seaweed Crisis Into Housing Solution In response to the sargassum seaweed crisis, a Mexican innovator named Omar Vázquez Sánchez has developed a new building material called Sargassum blocks. These blocks, made from the pervasive and abundant Sargasum seaweed, along with local soil and other organic materials, are extremely cost-effective, but labor intensive. Several interested parties in other countries are looking at sargassum and Sánchez’ process. The blocks have already been used to construct 13 homes for low-income families in Quintana Roo, Mexico, turning a crisis into a solution.