Which Renewable Energy Source Should I Choose?

In a society that is growing ever more aware of its impact upon the environment, this is one of the many ever present questions people have.

Flagstaff is currently in an odd spot for renewable energy. Although it does receive sunlight, it is not consistent like in Phoenix. Also, no major rivers run close to Flagstaff. The terrain is also rough and uneven. However, this should not dissuade you from investing in renewable energy here in Flagstaff.

Solar power is the one of the three, and quite possibly the most well known, older faces of renewable energy. While Flagstaff, as previously mentioned, receives less sunlight than most of Arizona, it is still viable to invest in solar power. The upfront costs to installing a typical 5 kW system is made up in saved energy within 12 years. 18 years after that, a profit in $23,000 is made in saved energy. Even if the upfront costs to a solar system is too prohibitive, it is still entirely possible to buy small solar generators or solar lights.

Hydroelectric power is, unfortunately, not a very viable venture within Flagstaff. However, it is still possible to build microhydropower system and use that to generate electricity off of small streams.

One of the oldest sources of energy, wind power should be considered in Flagstaff. The city currently sits within a wind density zone that makes building large turbines a decent expenditure. If a Sky Stream 3.7 kWh wind turbine were to be build in Flagstaff, it would take only 7 to 11 years to recuperate the costs as opposed to the 12 years of solar energy. While smaller, home-based wind turbines are not quite as efficient in terms of energy production, they still should be considered. After all, the costs of building and installing one is not as prohibitive with systems costing as low as $3000. Even Northern Arizona University has a small wind turbine set up to power its renewable energy instruction laboratory.

So while Flagstaff may not seem to be an ideal location for renewable energy, it has the potential to be able to produce vast amounts of energy from renewable resources. So please, for the welfare of not just the Earth but for the welfare of the human race in general, take into consideration the possibility of power generation from renewable resources.

A Day in the Garden

Oct. 21st, 2016

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We spent the first hour or so working on various projects in the garden.

One task was pulling weeds out of a plot where a garden expansion will happen. The other was changing the compost. In the compost bin, there are three areas; one for new compost to decompose, and two for old compost to be rotated between.

There were presentations on composting, as well as on the three sisters garden, which is a method of inter-cropping that involves corn, beans, and squash.

We also saw the worlds largest cauliflower and pumpkin!

The Cauliflower was delicious.

Blog by Jacey and Leslie

Colton Community Garden

During our garden hours this week we were able to harvest a lot of vegetables.  We were shocked that so many veggies were still growing this late in the season!  We harvested carrots, beets, tomatoes, fava beans, swiss chard, arugula and kale.  We also were able to water the plants that were still producing.

We even got to eat some of the food too!  It was surprising that all the food was so flavorful, even with it being so late in the season and having had frosts already.

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Austin indulging in a juicy tomato in the greenhouse

In addition to eating the veggies, we also watered the kale, carrots, beets and arugula in the Monsoon Garden.

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Joanie is watering the arugula
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Austin is collecting rainwater that was stored to water the plants
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A fava bean that we harvested and eventually consumed

 

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A beet that we harvested from the ground

Overall, it was a successful day at the Colton Community Garden.  We are happy to see the vegetables still producing and we have so much arugula that we don’t know what to do with it all!

By: Joanie Strattman and Madi Skansi

Working Together in the Colton Community Garden

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When we first got to the Colton Community Garden, a double rainbow formed over the garden due to the rain we had experienced earlier in the day. Thankfully, the rain cleared up and we were able to spend time working in the garden.

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Bridgette and Yessenia took turns mixing the compost, this must be done about every week or every other week to make sure that the compost does not overheat.

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We had to check the temperature of the compost to make sure it was between 120℉ and 160℉. The reason this temperature is so important is because after 160℉ the organisms in the compost stop serving their purpose.

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While turning the compost one of the students, Bridgette, found a worm and decided to pick it up. We were then explained the importance of worms to the composting process.

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Austin and Joanie spent the day weeding the garden, a task that must be done in order for our plants to thrive. Any plant can be a weed if it is growing in an area that it is unwanted, so they had to be careful to only pull what they were supposed to.

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For one of our garden projects, our group is building a new self wicking garden bed. This is a raised bed that supply water from the bottom up. Today, we figured out the dimensions of our bed, as well as how much lumber, rock, and soil we need to complete our project.

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After we were done with the gardening work for the day, we took time to study our different garden topic presentations that will take place later in the semester. Our Graduate Assistant Nicole also taught us some of the important do’s of  gardening. Some gardening tips we learned about include: consider your space, assess abiotic and biotic factors, pay attention to growing seasons, avoid GMOs, consider companion planting, and asses your soil. These tips will come in handy when starting a garden  of our own.

By: Hailey Bryant and Zach Prusinski

 

Chicken Coop Artisan Meeting with Fritz

By Allison Altsisi

The Chicken Coop group met with a contracting wiz, Fritz, who generously allowed our group to visit her home to show us her chicken coop. She clued us in on how to take care of chickens and how to get the most out of them.

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Her coop was built from an existing playground that was built for her daughter. The base of the front of the coop was the sandbox, but now it is used to keep predators from digging up into the coop. The back part of the coop is raised off the ground because the bottom can be pulled down to easily collect the chicken poop, which can be used as fertilizer.

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Next to the coop is this innovative feeding garden bed that Fritz invented for the chickens.

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Fritz accented the coop herself.

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Inside, on the right (above) is a designated spot for the chickens to lay their eggs, because it is a drawer that slides out (below) so the eggs can be accessed more easily. On the left side (above) is the roosting bar which is where the chickens spend most of their time.

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We later met up with Fritz to discuss our plans for the chicken coop. She calculated the cost of the supplies that would be needed for our coop (see earlier blog, “Chicken Coop How-To”)

Chicken Coop How-To

By Allison Altsisi

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The Chicken Group (Inka Knittle, Benjamin Burch, Angelo Camacho, Allison Altsisi) worked on designing the plans for a future chicken coop in the Colton Community Garden.

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The coop has been designated a 20ft by 20ft spot in the southwest corner of the garden (above). The coop itself (below) is about 8ft by 6ft and the rest of the space will be used for a run and space for the chickens to run around.

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Our design can be found on http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/nw-garden-coop

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Reasons Chickens are the Best

  • They do not require a lot of space
  • They offer nutritious eggs and meat
  • They make nitrogen-rich waste that makes great fertilizer
  • They are very entertaining
  • They are helpful in turning over the soil and getting it ready for planting
  • They do not require much attention

These chickens will be very beneficial to the garden because we hope they will be able to bring more people to the garden, and by doing so, also bringing the Flagstaff community closer together. The chickens will be taken care of Lissa Buyske in the summer and volunteers will take care of them in the winter.

For this coop to be built we need funding for supplies like concrete, chicken wire, roofing panels, and cinder blocks. We are getting lumber donations from a soon-to-be torn down Art Barn. We estimate our total needs will be $350. To donate please go to

https://www.gofundme.com/mvejmn4s