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Posts Tagged ‘denver’

Denver is now constructing what is likely the largest sewer heat-recovery project in North America.

I have no idea what leads one to a career in sewers, but judging from this story, it can involve tackling really interesting challenges to help the environment.

As Sam Brasch reported at National Public Radio, “A secret cache of clean energy is lurking in sewers, and there are growing efforts to put it to work in the battle against climate change.

“The U.S. Department of Energy estimates Americans wash enough energy down the drain every year to power about 30 million homes. The sources are often everyday items inside homes. Think hot showers, washing machines and sinks. Evolving technology is making it easier to harness that mostly warm water.

“Denver is now constructing what is likely the largest sewer heat-recovery project in North America, according to Enwave, a Canadian energy company set to operate the system.

“Over the next few years, a $1 billion remodel will turn the 250-acre site, home to the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, into a hub for art, education and agriculture. The revamped National Western Center will include about a million square feet of new indoor space, all of which will be heated and cooled with energy from the sewer pipes below.

“Brad Buchanan, the CEO leading the redevelopment, said the project has already changed how he thinks about the best location for real estate. Big pieces of sewer infrastructure have long repelled development. Now he imagines they might be sought out as a way to save energy costs and avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Western Center estimates the project will help it annually avoid the carbon equivalent of driving an average gas-powered car around the equator 250 times. …

“The technology to harvest sewer heat isn’t complicated. At the National Western Center, construction crews have already completed a pit exposing the main sewer line. The wastewater inside stays a mild 55 to 75 degrees year-round, local officials say, no matter the weather outside. That consistent temperature can be tapped to heat and cool above-ground buildings.

“The key is a massive heat pump, which will be housed in a central plant on the campus. The device works like a reversible air conditioning unit. In the winter, it will transfer energy from the sewage into a clean-water loop connecting the buildings, adding heat to indoor spaces. The process can then be flipped to keep things cool in the summer.

“And to answer an obvious question: No, the raw effluent is never exposed to the air, so people occupying the buildings won’t get hit with waves of sewer stink. …

“If sewer energy catches on, one reason could be the potential benefits for wastewater districts. That’s because warm sewage causes its own environmental problems. In Denver, wastewater is often hotter than the South Platte River, its final destination after running through a treatment plant. This ‘thermal pollution’ can imperil native plants and wildlife. …

“The National Western Center has moved to protect its supply in the event of a kind of sewer-heat gold rush. The City and County of Denver, a partner in the project, exercised a three-year option for exclusive access to the energy inside the pipelines running through the campus. Buchanan, the project CEO, said it amounts to a new sort of environmental resource. Instead of mineral rights or water rights, his development holds sewer thermal energy rights.

” ‘We have it protected because we’re counting on that energy in perpetuity,’ he said.”

More at NPR, here.

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Photo: Kate Marling
“Classical Sculpture Mask,” by Kate Marling (2020). But can she breathe?

I’ve really enjoyed how artists have addressed the pandemic situation, whether designing socially distant ballets and theater or specifically coronavirus-related paintings, constructions, and photos.

Today we learn from Hyperallergic that the lowly face mask has been a particular inspiration. Hakim Bishara reports on a Denver exhibition of artistic face coverings.

“Face masks in all forms and colors have become an essential part of our lives. … A new exhibition at the Vicki Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver comes to remind the nonbelievers and the COVID-fatigued among us that face masks are not only crucial to our health but that they can also be delightful means of self-expression.

MASK … celebrates the centuries-long use of masks as ritual and ornamental objects throughout human history with new works by a group of 41 artists. The dozens of masks are positioned on mannequin heads throughout the gallery space. While some of the face coverings on display are not functional, they are a creative reminder of the times, and the creativity that can emerge from isolation. …

“As the COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen in Denver, the gallery says that it hopes that the exhibition will ‘call attention to the [significance] of masking as an issue of public health and a demonstration of civic responsibility.’ …

“As part of the exhibition, the gallery has joined forces with RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver to fabricate free, functional masks that will be distributed to members of the community.

“Ranging in style from the classical to the otherworldly, the masks on view offer inventive notions of what face-coverings can look like. Serge Attukwei Clottey’s science fiction-esque mask appears to be constructed from plastic pipes and found industrial materials. Elizabeth Morisette’s avian mask is a beak made out of zippers. Kate Marling designed a mask that invokes a classical sculpture as if freezing half of her face in stone. Trey Duvall’s ‘COVID19 (Mask for the Art World)’ covers the mouth area with a brick fastened over surgical hand gloves, perhaps hinting at the silencing of certain voices. By contrast, Tobias Fike attached a sizeable megaphone to a mask titled ‘Mouthpiece.’

“A virtual panel discussion with some of the featured artists will be held on November 5.”

A selection of the works, including images of some of the artists modeling their masks, may be viewed at Hyperallergic, here.

Looking for an unusual mask for yourself? Check out the variety at Etsy, here, where you can also get beautiful masks by a family member of mine, good for preventing foggy glasses.

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Julie Turkewitz writes at the NY Times about a mountain library planned by two not-exactly-wealthy book lovers with big ideas.

“The project is striking in its ambition: a sprawling research institution situated on a ranch at 10,000 feet above sea level, outfitted with 32,000 volumes, many of them about the Rocky Mountain region, plus artists’ studios, dormitories and a dining hall — a place for academics, birders, hikers and others to study and savor the West.

“It is the sort of endeavor undertaken by a deep-pocketed politician or chief executive, perhaps a Bloomberg or a Buffett. But the project, called the Rocky Mountain Land Library, has instead two booksellers as its founders.

“For more than 20 years, Jeff Lee, 60, and Ann Martin, 53, have worked at a Denver bookshop, the Tattered Cover, squirreling away their paychecks in the pursuit of a single dream: a rural, live-in library where visitors will be able to connect with two increasingly endangered elements — the printed word and untamed nature. …

“They have poured an estimated $250,000 into their collection of 32,000 books, centering the collection on Western land, history, industry, writers and peoples. There are tales by Norman Maclean; wildlife sketches by William D. Berry; and books on beekeeping, dragonflies, cowboys and the Navajo. …

“Mr. Lee and Ms. Martin have a grant from the South Park National Heritage Area and this summer will finally begin renovations, repairing two leaky roofs. Construction will be limited, however, as they have gathered less than $120,000 in outside funds. An estimated $5 million is needed to build out their dream.” More here.

Photo: Michael Ciaglo for The New York Times

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Jeremiah Gallardo, a Colorado native, clicked on yesterday’s post, and I thought I’d have a look at his blog, too.

I don’t know much about Colorado. The closest I got to knowing anything at all was having a college roommate from Boulder.

Jeremiah has a nice entry today about a German Christmas market, the Denver Christkindle Market, which he took photos of. He says it runs until December 25.

“The vendors are in little wooden houses,” he writes, “that were built days before the market event.

“My first stop at the market was the hand-blown glass vendor.  I watched him make a glass icicle decoration in a few minutes, right before my eyes. I bought a green glass pickle decoration.

“Why on earth did I buy a green glass pickle? Because it’s linked to a German tradition where you hide a pickle deep inside the tree and the first child to find it gets to open an extra gift.”

You know, if I had a glass pickle, I might just try it myself.

More about the German market’s crafts and food at Jeremiah’s blog, WhiteLiger.net. You will like his pictures. And his enthusiasm.

Photo:

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