Rural System's


The Energy Group


1. Energy shortages (from any one or more of many causes) will occur and have dire consequences. Act now to engage in education, reduce energy use, conserve energy, develop energy effective housing, develop energy-conserving materials (e.g., goose down), hoard useful re-useable substances and objects with embodied energy (e.g., aluminum), develop lubricant sources, develop animal power, develop non-energy-dependent water sources, develop biomass energy sources.
2. Learn the principles of the Energy group.

Part 1 - Country Store's Catalog Page of The Energy Group

Let The Energy Group of Rural System save you money.

It's working for you and the region, bringing a new quality of life dimension throughout the rural area of the nation.

Probably like you, we've heard enough about the needs for energy conservation and so we're doing something about it. We have created a dynamic non-profit organization within the business ecosystem that's called Rural System. We work with you following the survival rules learned from biology: get energy, store and conserve energy, and continue that process. With educated, experienced energy experts and computer assistance, we provide you with services of which you may only have dreamed.

The deal:

We have several services, but the key one is helping you and other very busy people be energy smart. We do an analysis of your property and show you whether you can save any money by taking our energy conservation strategy. It is a comprehensive thing involving all aspects of energy. You pay us for the analysis and that is a donation to our group, the cost of us "doing business." You get a form to use in gaining potential tax deductions. If you decide to make the suggested changes, we can arrange for group costs, savings, and efficiencies from using our trained contract staff. Part of the money that you pay for the analysis goes to the increasing the vast services of Rural System which includes improving the productivity of private rural lands.

The bottom line:

Over time (our 7-year planning period), our Group's unique computer-produced energy conservation strategy will not cost you anything but if you implement it, in year 8 it will start being profitable. If fossil energy prices increase (and we're betting on that), the needs for conservation will rapidly increase. If you have implemented our strategy, your net financial gains will rapidly increase.

Why We're in This Activity

We have links that describe the following products, services, and opportunities that may meet unlimited combinations of needs and ideas. Let's work together for the good of people in the rapidly changing rural arena. (Give us a call or email us if you have an idea. We hope that you will use with us the US Department of Energy's advice (1) ) and (2)

  1. A sophisticated comprehensive computer-aided energy analysis of homes and apartments. The typical family pays 44% of its utility bill for heating and cooling.
  2. Computer maps of solar radiation, specific for sites, counties, and regions
  3. Heating degree day analyses and their maps for structures as well as crop and livestock
  4. Solar systems for electrifying fences (livestock and pest damage reduction)
  5. Solar systems for yard lights, walkway lighting, winter birdbaths and pet watering devices
  6. Solar cured, species-specific, and energy-rated firewood
  7. Living plant community building roofs (Elizabeth J. Grant at
  8. Sale and installation of small river and stream turbine systems and potential conventional electric grid connections
  9. Optional structural materials for insulated surfaces (cooperating group prices)
  10. Optional windows
  11. Site-specific prescription for surface albedo (paint color and type) for structures
  12. Access to optional stoves and wood-heat systems
  13. Air pollution reduction services and aids for heating
  14. Landscaping systems that integrate wildlife, wind reductions, improve seasonal shading, reduce erosion, and us native trees,shrubs, and garden units.
  15. Massive heat sink stone sculpture for interior heat systems
  16. Distance-learning educational units (architecture, biology, foods, SOL math)
  17. New maps of solar radiation within the growing season of each alpha unit
  18. GIS site selection with energy-related criteria as part of the multi-factor facility- or structure-location decision
  19. Research opportunities and collaboration
  20. Developing air pressure, sail systems, and and fly-wheel systems
  21. Developing warmed-soil systems for greenhouses and gardens
  22. Developing systems for collecting and storing low-volume methane (mines; compost)
  23. Energy publications
  24. Consulting on unique areas, projects, and problems
  25. Wind potential analyses
  26. Lectures and analyses for manufacturers using valued energy and embodied energy concepts (H.T. Odum).
  27. Earth-heat and warm-spring systems
  28. Presentations on and site analyses for on energy-wood system (e.g.. hybrid poplars) and seterrain
  29. Kim Calorie Club - an educational program with web site for youth and others for learning about energy sources, conservation of energy, and improving efficiency and effectiveness throughout the rural community

Here are some of our working premises, the basics of energy flow based on the works of H. T. Odum
  1. The I and II Laws of Thermodynamics always operate.
  2. Potential for control is dependent on embodied energy.
  3. Real systems form webs, not chains.
  4. Increasing energy quality accompanies planned or anticipated energy declines.
  5. The more the steps in transformation, the higher the quality of energy.
  6. The more critical or important a limiting factor, the more embodied energy it carries.
  7. Information is very concentrated, embodied energy (genes, books, folklore, TV message, computer program, culture, art, religious communication).
  8. Design of self organizing systems: feedback, abundant information; energy embodied for work; maximization of useful power.
  9. The fewer the inputs, the greater the recycling.
  10. All storage costs energy; there are losses in all storage; preventing losses costs energy.
  11. Storage is best in dispersed, low energy states for it reduces depreciation.
  12. Systems may be flow limited. (A water wheel can get no more energy than that inflowing from upstream).
  13. Work means useful energy transformation in a system of interest.
  14. Systems and transformations that do not contribute to maximum power tend be eliminated in competition for energy. (Power is energy flow per time).
  15. Useful works are transformations that feedback materials and services.
  16. Energy concentrations tend to be degraded (times arrow).
  17. All objectives can be seen as special cases of maximize useful power.
  18. Survivors upgrade energy quality while other energy is degraded. They thus pump energy faster; have high quality amplifiers and feedbacks.
  19. The potential of anything is the available energy per unit of matter stored that is capable of doing mechanical work.
  20. Entropy always increases.
  21. Systems that survive tend to develop autocatalytic units. (see 15)
  22. Time may be needed for recycling and may be limiting. Time is energy.
  23. Economic behavior causes money, symbolic information, to flow in, countercurrent to the flow of commodities bearing energy.
  24. The basis for buying power of money is the useful flow of energy.
  25. Money is in a closed loop; energy, however, flows.
  26. Money added and no systems change results in low flow of energy/dollar, i.e., inflation.
  27. Energy rationed or reduced also results in inflation.
  28. Administration is an energy sink; a cost of doing business.
  29. Money flow is not energy flow due to
    • sources
    • sinks
    • life support
  30. Money flow decreases relative to energy flow as it passes through the system.
  31. The role of government is as a high-quality control sector.
  32. Maximizing power may lead to optimum rate of circulation of money and to power-yielding behavioral mechanisms.
  33. Income (market) facilitates energy access.
  34. Money is spent in proportion to its storage.

Thoughts…after reading Odum, Watts, and others
1. Ideas are a highly concentrated form of energy. Information is energy (input). Energy releasing - for waste; for production.
2. Concentrated energy (e.g., gasoline) has a greater capacity to do work than dilute energy (e.g., sunlight) (concentration as a process).
3. Successful systems store energy, but at some cost (storage as a process).
4. Some energy must be spent on new alternatives for the system so that it can evolve as the system changes (feedforward).
5. For a system to be judged effective, it must maximize energy returns on energy investments over the short run, and diversify energy returns over the long run.
6. Any system that does less than possible is likely to lose in competition.
7. Developed systems have an inherent tendency to grow beyond optimum size, and at the expense of national systems (need for feedback).
8. Systems that can tap the most energy sources and that can maximize the flow of energy to do the most useful work will survive and expand over, or out-compete other systems.
9. In managerial energetics, the emphasis must be on net, not gross energy.
10. Maximum energetic efficiency in nature is not usually desirably for man. The nature climax sere of the biome (e.g., the deciduous forest) is a system most closely approaching this concept.

Other energy conservation techniques:

  • Drive energy effectively - slower speeds, slow acceleration, use cruise control, constant speed, idle time - 1 minute max; warmup - 30 sec. max
  • Properly inflated tires, balanced, rotated; aligned
  • Managed car engine, well tuned; clean air filters; no extra drag around car (top etc.)
  • Limit use of air conditioning
  • Use synthetic lubricants (AMSOIL)
  • Reduce weight in trunk ( 200 lbs reduces mileage 1 mile / gallon)
  • Plan and combine trips; carpool; hike; bike

Part 2 of The Energy Group

A leading paradigm of rural resource management is that of energetics or of energy budgeting. Wild animals can be instructive for they can be analyzed as responding to the first laws of biology:

  1. start
  2. collect energy;
  3. store energy;
  4. reproduce.

Food and habitat can be analyzed and energy used as the "currency" for modeling and decision making. Animals in harsh winter conditions need more energy from food sources; those with ample food need less cover or protection from the environment. Entire ecosystems operate on the fundamental energy concepts - only sources of energy are those of the sun; the system is always "running down"; there is always entropy. Animals have means to slow down energy loss. Humans who learn such lessons survive best.

There is ample evidence that fossil energy sources are limited. McGinnes and I wrote about the energy problems related to environmental and faunal resource issues in 1981. Energy costs increase; prices are unstable. U.S. energy use rates continue undiminished. Energy policy is difficult to discern. Complete exhaustion of the resource is anticipated, but the laws of supply and demand suggest prices will be higher; wars may be fought over limited supplies; availability will be severely limited and unstable. Readily available supplies (for many reasons -- from cost to physical movement of oil and gas) are very likely to be very limited within 100 years. Most projections are for 60 years. The needs are to get ready; to advocate conservation; to demonstrate a belief in the projection; to demonstrate the principles that may assist future populations and their wildland; to prepare to stabilize the forests - the natural energy collectors that will be in high demand in the future.

The answers come up every morning.

Jeffrey Dukes calculated that 89 metric tons of ancient plant matter is consumed every time a car uses a gallon (3.8 liters) of gasoline (equivalent of 40 acres of wheat in the tank every 20 miles). Since the industrial revolution 1751, more than 13300 years worth of annual net primary productivity (NPP) has been consumed by burning fossil fuel. Replacing fossil fuel with biomass fuel would increase human demand on NPP by 50%. (from Frontiers in Ecology, 2004)

We can only begin to see the best pathway for enterprise development among the many that are available. We have begun developing concepts for deciding that pathway. See our work

We propose significant energy-based modeling in the manner of H.T. Odum and others. Valued energy that is stored or readily available or is lost most slowly is one of the main objective functions. The composite function grounded in the above laws -- collection, storage, reproduction -- are the fundamental needs. Once defined (e.g., the role of embodied energy), then creative work can begin to select the best choice from among thousands of alternatives for doing productive, highly valued work.

We propose studies of the net energy to remove wood from each acre or alpha unit. One unit may be effective at collecting energy but if the cost of removing or processing it are excessive, the net amount may not be as great as that from another site.

We have already made significant gains in developing GIS map layers for solar radiation on surfaces and have produced large area radiation maps. The new maps needed are of solar radiation within the growing season of each alpha unit. Shadow or shade maps are needed. Deer and other animals clearly respond to temperatures. We need to integrate the temperature in the animal zone, wind (convective heat losses), ground radiation (soil albedo), and other factors in the animal models so that we can see and understand the animals as energy budgeters. This knowledge will benefit domestic animal producers as well and wildlife science can feel proud of its contribution to much more than just to the good of the animals.

We need to explore and implement a set of energy conservation strategies. Substantial work has been done in developing such lists and strategies and a quickly achieved task will be to find this work that has been done, then fit it to the county conditions for the future. Education for the skeptics will be needed but strongly held policy may suffice. We believe that contests, awards, and incentives can hasten these lists being used.

We need to create passive solar radiation structures, those that are easy (low energy cost) to build, easy to maintain, and are functional over the long term. The energy equations are grounded in energy costs to produce objects and concepts that work ... and do so over the long run. The cost in energy per year of objective-specific work is the criterion. A beautiful ancient vase is an example of a very functional object, working, beautiful, carefully maintained because it was of great embodied energy and did needed work.

The managers may adopt the concept of attempting to gain space-heating/cooling energy self-sufficiency and achieving high levels of cost-effective energy conservation. This unit of Rural System stays "up" on energy issues, develops strategic and tactical moves, and seeks to promote energy efficiency throughout the Forests. It provides consulting services. It uses existing energy models, seeks new ecosystem energy models, and develops strategies for obtaining maximum embodied energy within the system. It primarily works with and through System Central.

USDA Forest Serv, Monangahela Forest doc.
Alternative means for doing this are being attempted and others are under study. The sources include wood, water, wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, and others. The area has the potential to provide for some of these energy sources, most conspicuously solar and biomass (wood, etc.). Water heated in coils in compost pits are used in some areas.

using local energy sources
to build the future energetic base
The managers of the area seeks to achieve capabilities for operation with minimum fossil fuel inputs so as to minimize any future disruption in achieving and maintaining the desired high-quality condition. Fossil energy shortages can endanger entire projects on the area. These in any way related to endangered species could be very serious and life-threatening for species.

See Energy Farms work by others.

Some land owners will be recruited based on their willingness to work with people seeking special use permits for areas to produce alternative energy. As always, compatibility with a stable or increasing profits by energy retention and minimizing use will be a major criterion. Costs will typically be borne by the applicant for a "special use" permit.

The key energy concepts fundamental to operation and activities of the environment of the area are:

Other related concepts are:

See solar water purification and collection potentials. Wind and solar powered opportunities are pictured at other sites.

Energy is so readily lost. There is ample evidence within biology that if life forms are persist over the eons, they develop diverse strategies for energy capture and storage and behaviors to conserve energy already gained. Perhaps this is the most important message for people of the region. It is one that is now available from a study of biology. Therefore it may be useful to consider using alternative forms of energy captive/storage and loss-reduction strategies.

Energy Concepts

See The Trevey's Firewood unit.

Precis provides a program to assist in regional climate modeling and energy analyses

See Energy Transitions.



Contact Ride Solutions a non-profit Roanoke Virginia regional organization.

We can anticipate that the costs of all things shipped to us will increase in price. This suggests that the more we can do for ourselves locally, the better off we'll be.

In 1999, a gallon of diesel cost $0.99 and for $500 you could drive from Los Angeles to New York (3,009 miles).

In 2001, a gallon of diesel cost $1.40 and for $500 you could drive from Los Angeles to Chicago (2,143 miles).

In 2004, a gallon of diesel cost $1.63 and for $500 you could drive from Los Angeles to Kansas City (1,840 miles).

In 2007, a gallon of diesel cost $2.63 and for $500 you could drive from Los Angeles to Denver (1,141 miles).

In 2008, a gallon of diesel costs $4.05 and for $500 you could drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City (739 miles).

Special thanks to The Multimodal Services Group for this presentation.

Posted by Thomas Galvin at 10:20 AM

And $4.05/gallon is low for 2008. As can be seen at the US Energy Information Administration website at:

diesel prices were much higher earlier in 2008 and currently are around $4.21/gallon. Earlier in the year they were as high nationally as $4.75/gal. which using the same assumptions would buy only 105.3 gallons and get a big-rig about 631.6 miles.

US Passenger transportation

The US Transportation Energy Data Book states the following figures for Passenger transportation in 2006: [39]
Transport mode
Average passengers per vehicle
Efficiency Efficiency per passenger
Vanpool 6.1 1,322 BTU/mi 2.7 L/100 km (87 MPGeUS)
Motorcycles   1.2 1,855 BTU/mi 3.8 L/100 km (62 MPGeUS)
Rail (Commuter)  31.3 2,996 BTU/mi 6.1 L/100 km (38 MPGeUS)
Rail (Transit Light & Heavy)   22.5 2,784 BTU/mi 5.7 L/100 km (41 MPGeUS)
Rail (Intercity Amtrak)  20.5 2,650 BTU/mi 5.4 L/100 km (43 MPGeUS)
Cars   1.57 3,512 BTU/mi 7.2 L/100 km (33 MPGeUS)
Air   96.2 3,261 BTU/mi 6.7 L/100 km (35 MPGeUS)
Buses (Transit)  8.8 4,235 BTU/mi 8.7 L/100 km (27 MPGeUS)
Personal Trucks  1.72 3,944 BTU/mi 8.1 L/100 km (29 MPGeUS)

For US Freight transportation, the US Transportation Energy book states the following figures for Freight transportation in 2004: [39] [40] [41]
Transportation mode Fuel consumption BTU per short ton mile kJ per tonne kilometre
Class 1 Railroads 341 246
Domestic Waterbourne 510 370
Heavy Trucks 3,357 2,426
Air freight (aprox) 9,600 6,900

Thus it appears that concern for conservation and efficiency in energy use will continue to drive freight from trucks to rail.

See wind energy note by Stan Moore, San Geronimo, CA

See Farm energy Booklet, 2008

See Energy based Farming

See Solar Aid for solar related projects

See The Post Carbon Manifesto, 2009.

See Farming in Transition from Post-Carbon Inst.

See RRx's The Energy Forest Pull notes from the following:All those trees mean serious carbon storage study: Olympic among region’s national forests atop U.S. ranking JOHN DODGE; Staff writer Last updated: March 5th, 2010 12:25 AM (PST) The top 10 national forests for storing greenhouse gases in the United States are in the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Wilderness Society. The storage of carbon helps combat the threat of climate change, officials say. Carbon stored in the trees and soils of the moist national forests in Washington, Oregon and southeast Alaska totals some 9.8 billion metric tons. By comparison, one year of fossil fuel burned in the United States contains 5.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, the study said. The Olympic National Forest tied with Umpqua National Forest in Oregon as the second-best carbon bank of all the 120 national forests in the country, according to the report. Willamette National Forest in Oregon was No. 1, and Gifford Pinchot Forest in southwest Washington ranked fourth. “The mature and old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska are among the Earth’s greatest carbon-storing ecosystems,” said Jerry Franklin, professor of ecosystem analysis at the University of Washington’s College of Forest Resources. These forests act as giant piggy banks, storing up carbon, said Mike Anderson, a Wilderness Society senior resource analyst and a co-author of the report. The region’s mature trees, moisture, productive soils, long growing season and relative lack of forest fire all contribute to the high carbon density in the national forests, Anderson said. He said the ability of the national forests to store so much carbon is another important reason to protect them from overharvest. Some 60 percent of the carbon stored in a tree leaks out when it is harvested, and globally, about 20 percent of all recent, human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions can be traced to deforestation, according to a 2009 Wilderness Society report. “Most people know that our forests provide valuable wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities, but it’s what goes unseen that can help us now and in the future,” Anderson said. The study’s conclusions came as no surprise to Kathy O’Halloran, a natural resources staff officer for the U.S. Forest Service assigned to Olympic National Forest, which encompasses more than 630,000 acres. “We grow big trees,” she said. “Carbon storage is one of the benefits of our forest management.” John Dodge: 360-754-5444 Read more:

See Money Now

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .

Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
February, 2006