Sunday nailing

First, thanks to all who turned up today. We got the deck around the house finished, oiled weatherboards until we used up all the oil, planted some nikau, and spread lots of grass seed around.

Tomorrow, we’ll be up there from 11, nailing bits into the roof and possibly shoveling gravel. All welcome.

How much can we reduce NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions, at what cost, right now?

That’s a big question, with lots of data-heavy answers, so let’s sum that all up in one graph:

This is the cost curve1. Each action or new technology is a block on that curve2. The width is the saving of emissions; the height is the cost. The options are sorted by cost, because we want to take the most cost effective actions first.

First of all, we start with energy efficiency. Basically, our houses are so crap that improving them is cost-negative, it’s actually profitable. The same is true for commercial buildings and several industry processes.

Then there’s the nitrification inhibitor DCD, you put it on pastures, it stops cow piss turning into the third-most important GHG, nitrous oxide. Then after that, things start getting expensive, and undefined. The dark green colour is forestry, and trees start to matter a lot. Pink is transport and electricity generation.

The certainty of this curve is pretty shaky. Even for DCD, it works well under some farm conditions, less well under others. Similarly, the dark green forestry blocks are just “Afforestation and avoided deforestation: $15 price signal”, $25, $50, and so on. Basically, the ETS puts a price on carbon, in response, the forestry, transport, and electricity generation sectors respond to that price by doing whatever it is they do.

And yes, it looks tricky for agriculture (the light green blocks). Nitrification inhibitors are cost effective, but provide reductions that are nowhere near enough. Every other option looks expensive.

But we can reduce emissions, right now, to a given level, with some idea of the cost. So, what level of reductions do we need? Here’s that curve of our reduction options, put in the context of NZ’s emissions:

Yeah, we have options to save getting on for 20 million tonnes per year. NZ’s emissions are 75 million tonnes per year. Oops. The saving grace is that this curve is for our options right now. Better technology means the curve changes for the better.

1 – The data here comes from this MfE briefing
2 – Yes, strictly speaking, each action won’t deliver a set benefit at a set cost, it will have it’s own cost curve of given benefits at given costs, but that just gets complicated. These are reasonable assumptions, and if you don’t like it, go and argue with McKinsey, who started the trend for this kind of curve.

Come and hit our house with hammers

We’ll be working up at the new house tomorrow, 10 am onwards, in Brooklyn. We’d love for people to come and do hard manual labour on our account.

The house is trucking along, most of the walls are in place and we’ve even got things that are starting to look like roofs.

There’s more joist hangers to nail up, the last and final ever weatherboard oiling (before they get put up, anyway), deck nailing, and other unskilled and satisfying jobs to be done, all of which are far more interesting and cheaper than going to the gym.

Weather should be fine, so not too hot. Plenty of the work is in the shade. Text me if you don’t have the address/haven’t already had the experience.

Strange post-Foo dream

I’m at a party. A woman with an annoyingly large rucksack on her back, every time she moves, rucksack hits people. I reach into the sack, it’s full of long fabric. I whip her with the fabric hard enough to knock her over. She gets up and puts the rucksack away, telling me that I’m “mean”.

My response “I’m not mean, I just implement reality”. danjite comments “that’s mean.”

Foo Camp recovery mode

I’m missing about ten hours of sleep. I’ve given out and received more business cards in a weekend than I normally do in a year. Everything that I normally do at work – I want to get it done and finished and out of the way as fast as possible so I can get on with all the awesome ideas from Kiwi Foo Camp.

In brief:

  • The Auckland climate is malarial.
  • Time lapse videos of eco-house builds go down a treat with foocampers.
  • Climate change is depressing.
  • I need a better tool for Twitter than a web browser. Twitter is not a web page. Also, I need better tools for both a PC and a Nokia E90. Suggestions, please?
  • The Royal Society does way too many things for me to know what they all are. But I need to be more aware of them.
  • I need to put together a better video of the Mitochondrion, coz photos are cool, but it’s not a static thing. Actually, I want to put together an awesome video, coz it is an awesome thing.
  • I increasingly find myself wanting to do a masters in public policy. Then again, I also want to remain married, and that’s likely to take preference.
  • There was no Russell Brown/DPF cagefight, dammit.
  • Wellington is slowly stealing all the interesting people. Yay!
  • Having now seen one running, I want a Cupcake 3D printer. I want so much more, coz I want to be able to go from a design on a computer to a finished and functional physical object very rapidly indeed. But I’d be happy to start with a Cupcake.

Pics catch-up

It’s all been a tad busy, with not much slowing down since well before Kiwiburn. Failed to make it to the juggling festival this weekend coz I was nailing down decking and sorting out Kiwiburn gear. I have family over from the UK arriving tomorrow, then Foocamp, then falling over some point next week. Anyone want to catch me?

Anyway. Pic post, coz my blogging is far, far behind my life.

tieke officially christened the house by hanging around decorously in what will be the main living space. This also involved playing with an aerial hammock borrowed from S*:

Making the Eye for Kiwiburn proved that jigsaws suck, and I want a plasma cutter. The design was all circular arcs, so we just clamped the jigsaw on the end of a radial arm bit of wood. This was fine, but 2 mm aluminum sheet is sufficiently flexible that we ended up having to screw the aluminium to some sacrifical ply. It all worked out right in the end though and even withstood addled hippies.

>Kiwiburn packing looked like this, before rivetnz and alphamatrix loaded up their stuff:

Kiwiburn itself mostly looked like this:

And the house is looking more like a forest by the day:

We have guys on site for the expensive job of getting all the spoil off site. Main time constraint here is how fast the conveyors can get all that soil up the hill. People who’ve attended the wood hauling days will appreciate what a bitch this job is:

Still, it’ll be worth it though. This is the view from the bedroom:

Kiwiburn 2010

Erf. Just back from Kiwiburn. More coherency later, and maybe pics, but:

  • The Illuminati Temple went off. Lots of dancing, great tunes, no disasters, and I loved having a personal base in the middle of everything.
  • Illuminati Shade Camp was a great place to sleep. I managed just enough sleep to cope, though not enough to drive home safely. Yay for for getting the van back to Wellington.
  • Scaffolding rocks. Our structure went up in an hour, down in an hour, and stood up to copious thunderstorms.
  • The Mitochondrion (computer-controlled glowstaff) survived four days of mud, rain, spinning, and general battering. Consider me pleased. I rarely get to watch it do it’s thing, but I let Nick from Highly Flammable have a spin, and damn, he makes it look good.
  • The Eye sculpture worked very well indeed, spun in the wind, and made a great hang-out point for people at the Illuminati Temple when they weren’t dancing. It even withstood an addled hippie hanging off it by her knees. It’s only made from 2 mm thick aluminium with a jigsawn edge, so I expect her knees are pretty cut up.
  • Old School Techno – On Fire! needs to be portable so I’m not tied to one location when it’s lit. I shouldn’t leave it outside in the rain, coz the gas manifold filled with water. Oops.
  • There were the usual ups and downs, but people I trust sorted them.
  • Employing security guards was a very good plan.
  • I met some very interesting people, mostly in Texture for the Soul, and finally caught up with someone I’ve been chasing around festivals for a year. Expect collaboration, eventually.
  • There was lounging, with lounge tunes.
  • My only speech was persuasive; my only rantbold and clear statement of my concerns was accurate.
  • I came away from KB with only one more project in my head. It shouldn’t be too tricky (but then again, I don’t know enough about MIDI to assess how hard it might be). Oh, and the footbath on the hill was awesome enough that I want one too.
  • It’s good to be home.
  • The Illuminati were asked to light the Man, so we must be doing something right.