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Musings of an Energy Nerd

Energy and Construction Photos from Greece

A gallery of photos from my recent Mediterranean vacation

Safety third. At the highest-profile construction site in Greece — the Parthenon, which is undergoing a multiyear, multimillion-dollar restoration effort — the eyes of thousands of curious tourists aren't enough to motivate Greek workers to wear hardhats or steel-toed boots.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
View Gallery 11 images
Safety third. At the highest-profile construction site in Greece — the Parthenon, which is undergoing a multiyear, multimillion-dollar restoration effort — the eyes of thousands of curious tourists aren't enough to motivate Greek workers to wear hardhats or steel-toed boots.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Harnessing the energy of the wind. In Greece I saw three kinds of machines to harvest the wind: windmills, wind pumps, and wind turbines. This old grain mill near the Lasithi Plateau on Crete has fallen into disrepair.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Pumping irrigation water. A few of the old wind pumps on the Lasithi Plateau are still in daily use.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Off-grid power. This small wind turbine provides electricity for an off-grid house in the mountains of Crete. Set in a picturesque olive grove, the house is also equipped with a PV array and a solar water heater.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Utility-scale wind. This large wind turbine was one of many on a ridge-top windfarm in eastern Crete. Unfortunately, I was unable to get close enough for a clearer photo.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Saving on fossil fuel. “I’m going to town to do some shopping. No, I don’t need any gas money.”
Image Credit: Moses Manning
Narrow roads. If you travel farther than a donkey can carry you, it's probably time to get a car. This Smart car is easy to maneuver through the narrow lanes of Greece — and can be parked in a tight spot.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Conserving water. Crete gets very little rain during the summer, and water is precious. This dual-flush toilet has a “urine-only” option to save water.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Plenty of sunshine. Almost every house in Crete has a solar hot water system. Because temperatures rarely drop below freezing, the hot water tanks are usually located outdoors. The water thermosyphons between the collectors and the tank, so no pump is needed.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Pushing solar. The sidewalk display of this plumbing supply store includes a shiny new solar hot water system.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay
Solar lighting. I spotted this photovoltaic-powered streetlamp in Hersonisos, Crete.
Image Credit: Martin Holladay

You can put away your building science notebooks; this blog is simply a collection of photos from my recent vacation in Greece.

While the purpose of my trip was relaxation, I still managed to point my camera at a few construction sites and examples of renewable-energy equipment.

Scroll to the bottom of the page if you want to see the thumbnails.

Last week’s blog: “When Sunshine Drives Moisture Into Walls.”

4 Comments

  1. User avater
    James Morgan | | #1

    We could learn something from
    We could learn something from Greek energy attitudes. The simple solar hot water setups Martin illustrates are not effective 24/7 and the water is generally cold by morning. Greek solution: take your shower in the afternoon or evening - no problem! I also noticed on my last visit - the first for nearly twenty years - that CFL's have become ubiquitous, even for store display lighting, and small store owners will turn them on only when a customer enters.

  2. Edward Palma | | #2

    Greece is a beautiful
    Greece is a beautiful country and the islands are magical. I have not been to Greece in 20 years but the memories are still vivid. I spent time on Santorini and was very impressed by the fact that the population which was mostly farmers, small family restaurants and workers all had solar hot water systems on their modest homes. Many of the small businesses had solar systems also. There were some PV arrays but not many. Water resources have always been an issue on the islands, and the basic population are not wealthy, so most native people that you meet are used to conserving their water and electricity. People naturally lay low during the hot parts of the day so most work activity is done in the early hours of the morning, or in the cooler parts of the late day. People become active later in the evening so it is not surprising to be eating dinner at 10-11:00 pm. I look forward to my next visit to Greece. The photo images bring back many memories. The European nations continue to forge ahead of us in their deployment and usage of alternative energy solutions.

  3. Cliff Kornegay | | #3

    Couldn't believe my eyes
    What good is energy conservation if your no longer alive to take advantage of the benefits? I am still shocked by the picture of the guys lowering the stone without hard hats or steel toed boots.

  4. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Response to Cliff
    Cliff,
    Hey, it's just the Parthenon. Who's watching?

    I'm with you, Cliff. (A particularly interesting detail: the guy with his hand on the stone -- the guy wearing sneakers -- is standing on the skid where the stone is supposed to be lowered.) If I were to make glib generalizations about Europe, I'd say this: Europeans are ahead of Americans on almost all fronts -- including environmentalism, energy conservation, and universal health care -- with two prominent exceptions: job-site safety and smoking in restaurants.

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