To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly Enginners

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krogoth's picture
krogoth
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To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly Enginners

I need some info about what it takes to power a common single family home, in KW with standard living conditions. I don't want cave living conditions, I want conditions such as running air-conditioning and primarily electric appliances. I figure some of you know these stats already. I would like them in relation to a standard $10k to $30k wind turbine and if it's possible to do this. Also, if you have any info about the conversion process of a standard home, that would be good as well.

 

TIA

 

 

 

 

lundsta's picture
lundsta
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Re: To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly Engi

I believe this website could help. Enter in a year's worth of cost and eletrical use (in kWh). It will show you exactly how much energy you need to generate with wind and the estimated cost. This website will also calculate the predicted enviornmental impact over 30 years.

FYI~ These are the numbers using this company's basic wind system. Depending on the system you install the results may vary. If you don't have all your electric bills handy to enter in the data. Most homes use at least 35 kWh/day.

http://www.bergey.com/Channels/1F.NJ.htm

Hope this helps!

I will research the conversion process and get back to you. :)

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radiance
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Re: To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly

Some criteria are needed to make the calculations.

Square feet of home. Climate, elevation, latitude and longitude, Insulative factors can eliminate most heating and  air conditioning compared to little planning for such, Seasonal average ground temperatures, Is the home designed for harmony with environment conditions. Window glazing for daylighting and temp control.  Wow one can go on and on in design features.

Hot water and clothes drying are big energy hogs. Wind  gen sets are about 30% of system. Batteries and inverters are the big costs. Inverters are high tech items that can be sensitive requiring removal and shipping to get repaired. I know from experience and I designed and installed our system allowing 48 hours of total household demand without charging but now I have to move 1000lb of batteries and get the inverters 400LB off the wall and ship for fixing. Big $. I have geothermal system saving me Big $.

Electric needs are built around peak use. Like 220 volts at say 40 surge amps for electric motor starting while running 50 amp dryer plus small loads. Government Codes demand a lot, but actual use when planned out can lower peak demands and system design

Sorry for the sloppy writing but I am hurried and not up to at this moment for good editing.

I can be of use on specific questions. Let me know.

Ron

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James Wandler
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To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings and Eco Friendly Enginners

Krogoth,

I'll start this off by suggesting you pick up a copy of "The Renewable Energy Handbook" by William H. Kemp which is subtitled "A Guide to Rural Energy Independence, Off-Grid and Sustainable Living".  He has 560 solid pages of details, diagrams, pictures, etc.  The writer obviously knows what he is talking about and although Canadian he does consider warm vs. cool climates.  He does consider building a home from scratch or retrofitting an existing home.  (Remember everyone to use the Essential Books section on Chris' website so he gets paid when you order from Amazon).

One of the steps that you will need to take is to promote the efficiency of your appliances and heating/cooling so that the amount of renewable energy that you require is minimized (not just so that you have a smaller system the constraint are the batteries to store the electricity).  The book covers energy efficiency as well.  The author's website is (well it doesn't seem to be working so I've removed the link).

As a warning....changes in behavior lead to changes in attitude.  You'll become one of us...resistance is futile.

But don't worry - I'm sure you'll find something else to scowl about!  And if you weren't scowling we wouldn't be growing so fond of you...

(As an aside looking at the book I've just noticed that the author is from Tamworth ON which I recently noted to have launched their own Complementary Currency (albeit on a small scale).  Lightning striking the same place twice or is the author behind this initiative as well?  Hmmm....).

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly ROCK

Thanks Ron,

To be more specific, what I am designing is what I call a Comfort Room, including a small kitchen and rest room, isolating the rest of the house. I am used to doing this because I am originally from the Hurricane state, and a lot of the homes are designed to have a generator for storms, and 1 room that has all the necessities, including air conditioning because of the high heat. I have been through a few good hurricanes, sometimes with 2-3 weeks of no electricity. I just wondered how practical wind turbines would be in relation to this. Of course, city use would be impossible, but country houses would be able to use this effectively. Thanks for the info.

 

 

 

 

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radiance
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Re: To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly
A diesel generator with an inverter/battery bank system with 1000 gallons of fuel with the rooms you envision would last at least two years maybe 5. But maintenance and high tech of inverters is a big threat to the system. Wind may keep the batteries charged but depending on the site and size. All this is calculable. Peak oil says wind but the problem is maintaining the system amid chaos in the world. Diesel will run air even if inverters are down wind will not. I ran diesel last night grid down 6 hours. Inverters are down now for months.
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Damnthematrix
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Re: To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly Engi

krogoth, it's not a green engineer that you need, it's a change of attitude.  We're heading into energy descent.  Aircon? LOL!

Mike. 

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Re: To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly Engi

Mike,

 

Go talk to someone else for awhile. Or better yet, create your own thread like I said before. You and your fellow Australians are not getting tired of following America? Now your even doing it on a website!

Live and learn I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Actually...

Actually I work in Taiwan, and they have a company here that is getting big into Wind Generators, so they may legalize them here for some wind farms soon.

 

 

 

G's picture
G
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be realistic ;)

Here is what I think,

There is little chance that one could sustain their own power generation for any length of time. The reasons are simple.

 1). Batteries have a shelf life and a life span. The life span and charge cycles of lead acid batteries and current capacity are the best, but they only last so long. Forget Lithium Ion/Hydride they have to be maintained very precisely and are damaged by temperature extremes.

2). Inverters are a great piece of technology, however they are very inefficient. If you base your system using inverters then if the inverter fails you are really screwed. The trick would be to find DC applicances and avoid the costly conversion from DC to AC. Most electronics convert back to DC internally. AC is used for transmission because it is MUCH more efficient to transmit of long distances.

3). Wind turbines are high tech and expensive. How long do you really expect a wind turbine to last? Eventually it will need parts that you probably can not acquire if you are ever in a position to have to use one anyway.

4). Solar panels are really your best bet because they have a long life. But they are not perfect they eventually fail as well. The best solar panels are not quite 20% efficient in converting light to electricity.

 If you want actual statistical/specs on any of the above info I can pass it along.

However I think it is possible to make something reasonably doable and long lasting.

Simplicity is the key. Buying good quality equipment is the MOST important part of such a system.

As for computers, get a laptop, laptops have many settings for efficiency, at the max my laptop draw 90W of DC yes DC power, at 19V DC. By setting my laptop to be run in low power mode it uses much less power then 90W. Forget using a Desktop in such a situation, you would need an inverter.

My recommendation.

 use Lead Acid batteries

 avoid DC to AC conversion (dont use an inverter) and get applicances that DC

you will have to pick a voltage (usually a multiple of 12V) for you power storage and then of course build your power generating system to generate at that voltage

voltage is the energy per charge carrier and an amp is the number of charge carriers per unit time, watts are a measurment of power = volts * amps

learn basic electronics, so you can build electic circuits with regulators and charging circuits and even power conversion circuitry

 If you had running water on your land you have another option. You could generate electricity using a generator/dynamo I would not recommend using an alternator because they require power to generate power (more info if requested)

If you lived on land with trees you could even generate power using steam.

I would start learning basic electronics, plumbing, construction etc to be self sufficient especially when it comes to power generation

A hand cranked generator/dynamo is perfect to supply small handheld devices, especially flashlights

Sorry for a short post I have to multitask right now, if there is interest I will touch it up on a subsequent post.

Contact me through http://gsxlive.com there are contact instructions there

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krogoth
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Re: be realistic ;)

So in summary, wind turbines and the associated technology suck for individual home setups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dertyoil
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Energy use in "modern" non-cave homes

 

Dear Krogoth:

Energy is a wonderful thing. "Modern" homes are energy sinks, so with no sense of integrated energy capture/storage and use, not to mention beauty. Burn the place down (*), collect the insurance and start over. The energy liberated from the burn will get you a new sustainable home, which from the beginning will work for you, not against you.

....Or if you are a practical fellow you can perform a few simple intergration tricks with little capital cost, that are bullet proof, bomb proof and EMP proof designs, my place has become so efficient that the propane company wants to interview me on how I reduced my usage while increasing square footage. 

I'll be more than happy to share with you what has worked so well for me. Since I wasn't smart enough to burn my energy sink(house) down when I first bought it.

(*) disclaimer...done at your own bidding, this is not a subliminal message from FEMA, NASA, or anybody else important.

 

 

 

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G
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Re: Energy use in "modern" non-cave homes

Krogoth, I am not trying to slam anybodies idea, and I certainly would apologize if anything I have said was perceived as such. What I can say is that I have thought a lot about this, the same I am sure as many others have. I have experience with electronic circuit design and a solid knowledge of many high tech sectors. I personally do not see a wind turbine as practical. It would be virtually impossible to service, replace parts, and it is totally conspicuous, in a situation in which people are trying to acquire the necessities such as food, water, shelter, etc.

A wind turbine is totally viable if the system does not crash/production of wind turbines does not fail, I guess that is my point. Solar requires no maintenance other than making sure sun gets to the panels and the panels are not occluded.

 I laid out the key points based on what I would do. If someone can make a logical argument to the contrary I would be very much interested because in the end it just needs to work, for as long and as reliably as possible.

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Re: Energy use in "modern" non-cave homes

I know gggdude, and thanks for your help so far. I know you are not slamming it, and your advice is valuable.

Thanks again

 

 

 

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krogoth
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Re: Energy use in "modern" non-cave homes

Thank you for your advice as well. Got to go, my house is burning.

 

Kidding-

I think what I am taking away from this so far is that Wind Turbines are best suited for more of a community than a single home with land for it. The company I am researching here sells the whole kit, and a 60' mast, starting at around 10k and up. I think they are preparing for the worst in Taiwan and China. They have also told me that these are primarially sold to remote regions, which make up about 65% of the sales they do. Much as I hate Chinese products, the price seemed pretty good. And considering this is an island, we always have a pretty good breeze.

 

Thanks again

 

 

 

 

 

G's picture
G
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One last point

It is entirely conceivable that power could fail, become unpredictable, or become expensive in the future. What should concern you just as much is this, dirty power.

This post is for those situations to keep your equipment safe when the power is still ON.

Everyone should have a UPS to keep their high tech equipment safe, no matter what. I have always had one beause you never know when lightning could strike lilterally, or for example when peak demand occurs and the utility company has yet to throw another generator online and all the lights dim, or a car hits a power pole down the block.

 

Dirty power is power that has:

1) Low voltage/under volt/brown out - this is damaging to sensitive electronic equipment

2) High voltage/over volt/surge/spike  - this is also damagin to sensitive electronic equipment

3) Noisy - noise can be introduced into power from many sources

The causes for these scenarios is varied and beyond the discussion here. I know more than one person who has fried a computer due to power surges.

Get a UPS (uniterruptable power supply) and throw your computers and high tech electronics on it. The real purpose of a UPS is the always have clean safe power for these devices, NOT as a battery backup to supply power for any great length of time. Most UPS devices will only power your equipment for 15-30 minutes, long enough to power down your equipment.

Make sure to get a UPS that corrects/kicks in for undervolts and overvolts. Having a UPS that is configurable is a plus. Getting one that is configurable without connecting it to a computer is nice as well.

All my computers and network equipment run off a UPS in my home.

NEVER connect anything but your high tech equipment to your UPS, NEVER connect vacuums, drills, etc, because they are contributors to dirty power and defeat the purpose of isolation your equipment to desire to protect.

G

 

G's picture
G
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Lights

Ok you are all probably saying enough posts already lol

LED's (light emitting diodes) are in my opinion the only electrical light source anyone should consider.

1) They draw less power for the same amount of light, of virtually any other light source.

2) Low voltage operation, depending on the LED 1 or 2 AAA batteries is all you would need, and the light would last for a VERY long time.

3) Very tough, yes they are very very tough, there is no glass to shatter, do not get ruined when they get wet, etc. Show me a light that is MORE shock proof.

4). They do not burn out in the traditional sense. There is no filament in an LED, most high tech devices use LED's, when is the last time you can remember one burning out? Chances are you will never see that happen,

5) They are cheap as hell.

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Damnthematrix
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One last point

Our solar setup has a built in UPS.  When the grid fails, it automatically switches to the 800Ahr battery bank.  We use so little energy here that if we were careful we could probably survive three cloudy days in a row without power, and as long as you like under sunny days with everything on as usual.

Our house is protected from grid spikes with a surge protector.  It's really there to protect the thousands of dollars worth of technology on the roof and in the house.

Our house BTW is passive solar designed, and needs zero heating and cooling all year 'round even though we can experience temperature swings of below zero (deg C) in winter and 40 (deg C) in summer..... our last quarterly power bill was $4.65.....

Mike. 

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Damnthematrix
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Re: To all you Tree Huggers, Green Beings, and Eco Friendly Engi
gggdude, where do you buy LED lights "cheap as hell"?
G's picture
G
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Posts: 37
LED's

LED's are very inexpensive. If you are willing to wire and solder them up yourself you can make very effective and efficient light sources for a reasonable price.

If you were to buy enough light bulbs to last a reasonable length of time (not even the average length of an LED) you would spend far more money buying traditional incadescent or flourescent lights.

LED's are not very expensive. I would NOT recommend buying them at Radio Shack.

Buy them from a vendor such as Mouser Electronics. They sell all sorts of other useful electronics such as voltage regulators, diodes and rectifiers, DC-DC power conversion, basic parts, capacitors, transistors, resistors, etc.

You can purchase all of that very cheaply.

You could build a DC power system very cheaply at a fraction of the cost rather than using inverters and prefab equipment.

krogoth's picture
krogoth
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Posts: 576
Re: One last point
Won't a power conditioner fix this as well on the incoming supply?
G's picture
G
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Posts: 37
Best of luck

If anyone desires to remain in touch outside of the forum you can contact me. I do not usually comment very often on forums, I read much more than I post, being an avid reader, especially these days. I could not resist this topic, hope my posts gave some insight. As always the best of luck. Thanks it is an honor to take part in this community.

G's picture
G
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Posts: 37
UPS

A UPS is the only way to protect against both over volts, under volts, and line noise. A power conditioner that can isolate you from line power using another power source would in effect be a UPS.

G's picture
G
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Posts: 37
Must read

This comes from a blog by Mish (Mish is a smart guy). The article was taken from his blog, he is quoting another article, read the full post at the following link. You have to read this article.

Good night all.

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/10/white-house-banks-need-to-stop-hoarding.html

 

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EndGamePlayer
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cost effective changes

krogoth-

This is our second house to "green up". We have a small wind unit on top of our house ($475+s/h). The battery system costs as much as any system you buy but-search on youtube to see what a hurricane does to a wind turbine. The cable to connect is also a substantial cost. The pole was from recycled materials.

We use it for integrated into other effecient uses but mainly -

-powering up a battery to vent our methane digester before connecting gas line ($150 first battery) - Methane is for cooking.

-some back up lighting and standby power for computer, tv, printer when needed and such. We're not big power users ($325 for 2 more batteries).

-powering up the Electric tractor. (Electrac) . . another battery hog system but I love the power the little tractor has. We also have 3 solar panels on top of the electrac in case it runs out of power in the field - we can still get to the house.

We still have our refrig, washer (no drier - just line drying) and well pump connected to main lines. The well pump will be replaced in a few years with a gravity feed rain collection off the buildings so we'll be down to powering the refrig & washer. Plumbing will cost nearly $498

AC got turned off when we installed solar attic fans ($378).  We may add another solar powered fan to move basement air up to main floor space.

We also collect heat via solar panels out of the inside of our attic roof ($120 for the solar panel & the rest was from recycled parts).

We painted our 1880s house -inside & out with insulating paint additive (Dura Shield Paint Additive) for around $200 and the paint was free from the re-cycling store. And we added window film on all east, west and north windows for less heat transfer and solar shades on the south windows for summer cooling. Solar shades cost about $75 each and I made them myself.

Our energy costs are about $85 a month for gas and electric but I think we can get down even further once we replant the farm lawns with no mowing grass and plant more orchards. We grow about 40% of our own food but we just got here and plan on growing closer to 60% next year - and as our orchards mature, that will be a bonus.

Since preserving food is an energy intensive undertaking, we built a solar food dryer (screen in sun with reflective north wall) and use the southern facing windows for fresh veggies winters (less food to put away).

My advise is to see first how you can conserve comfortably, then what you MUST power, and then how to integrate that into a cost effective system. You don't have to buy huge systems - just take a good look at your own situation and start making the small changes. Best of all - reward yourself with saving your time, money and energy because living on less power means you don't have to feed the bills as much.

 

Woodman's picture
Woodman
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Posts: 1028
Re: cost effective changes
LED light systems are top choice for mountain bikers now. I keep mine charged up in case of power outages as well as for night riding.  I have a 5 watt one that will light up a whole room and last for 12 hours. MTBR.com has lots of info on folks who homebrew their own systems.  The trouble with anything high tech like this though is it's not a viable long term solution in a post peak oil world if you don't have industry support for replacement parts.

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