» posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 11:39 am by Woody Wilson viewed 170 times
Have you heard about Nicola Tesla device for capturing electricity from the atmosphere? Long before man made electricity the sun has been sending ionic particles to earth charging our atmosphere. With proper equipment, these static charges can be harnessed to produce electric current.
It’s amazing and the designs are now part of the Do-it-Yourself (DIY) community.
You can build one of these yourself for less than $100. Make electricity for free and store the electricity. Since this happens 24/7, you will get a lot of electricity. Add an inverter and you can drive any household, camper or lodge device with free electricity.
It turns out that that windy is good and dry air is best so if this is your situation you need to check this out.
Nikola Tesla ‘s Secret is a recommended product that will satisfy your DIY ambition and make free electricity.
David Shepler Posted: October 22, 2010 09:12 AM
Interest in greener buildings has skyrocketed in the last decade. From commercial properties taking steps to add green spaces on their rooftops to home builders and do-it-yourselfers making residential buildings more sustainable, the push toward greater energy efficiency in construction continues to gain momentum.
Particularly with regard to home building and renovation, I frequently talk with people who want to turn their houses into net-zero-energy (NZE) living spaces, meaning that over the course of a full year, the residents consume no more energy than the home itself produces. Sounds tough, right? Maybe even downright impossible, especially for residents living in colder climates that demand home heating for six or more months each year?
Take it from me, I’m living proof that an NZE home is possible, even for someone who lives in the unpredictable climate of upstate New York, where temperatures can drop to 10-below zero in January and soar to over 100 in August. And as someone who moved here from the southwest, I wondered what kinds of challenges these seasonal changes would present someone aiming to achieve high energy efficiency in their home.
Because I’ve had a lifelong interest in sustainability, I wanted to build a house that reflected my beliefs. Fortunately for me, I found a builder named Anthony Aebi who had a similar dream: to create a repeatable, cost-effective approach to achieving zero energy in a development called Green Acres in New Paltz, NY. I eagerly signed up to become the first resident. Green Acres now has five occupied homes and we can find no other examples in the world of a NZE development that has proven its claim.
So how do you get started in building an NZE home, with or without a committed builder? First, there are several misconceptions about projects like this. In particular, many believe it’s an enormously expensive endeavor. That’s simply not the case.
In my experience, I’ve found that it cost only 10 percent more to include the many energy efficiency features, while the payback period will be seven to 12 years, depending upon the price of heating oil. Added to this, based on recent sales of homes in my development, I strongly suspect that if I were to sell, I would recover most, if not all, of these additional costs — even in this housing slump!
To help defray the costs, there are a number of federal and state incentives that can help as well. Take a look at the U.S. Department of Energy website to learn more about currently available tax credits and rebates.
Another common misconception is that adequate commercial technologies simply do not exist. As I can testify, this also is a myth. Many large home appliance companies, such as WaterFurnace, are producing wonderful systems that are reasonably priced and perform very well.
My home combines a geothermal heating and cooling system (HVAC) along with solar panels, superior insulation and sealing. I also recover energy that would normally be lost in air exchange through a heat recovery ventilation system. My house is located about 90 miles north of New York City. Because of its latitude and weather conditions, this region isn’t the easiest place to generate solar energy. Frankly, NZE is much easier to achieve in places like California, Arizona or throughout the south; so if we can do it here, it can be done virtually anywhere!
Now this is where taking a greener approach gets interesting. I pay $16 a month to the local utility here in New York in order to stay connected to their electrical grid. And last year, the utility actually paid me for the energy I sold back to them! Check out some of the features from my NZE home, then read on for some tips to put to use in yours:
Here are some more details on the specific features I’ve built into my NZE home. Perhaps you’re interested in incorporating some or all of these into your home building or renovation project.
- Solar panels. I used an upgraded 10 kilowatt system to ensure capacity to accommodate a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle some day. Although installation of the solar panel system cost more than 85,000, state and federal rebates and tax incentives reduced the cost to less than27,000.
- Geothermal heating and cooling by means of a ground source heat pump, which is a highly efficient, electrically powered system that uses the earth’s constant ground temperature to provide heating, cooling and hot water for homes and buildings. A federal tax incentive will reimburse 30 percent of the cost of the total system.
- Superior insulation and sealing, including high-performance windows, insulated concrete forms and spray-foam insulation in the rafters. Most homes average 35 percent of air exchange per hour; my house limits the leakage of air to less than 7 percent. The basement is highly insulated, including double R-20 foam under the slab. Studies show that 40 percent of heat is lost through poorly insulated basements.
- Heat-recovery ventilation, which uses electronic systems to exchange energy from indoor, conditioned air to incoming outdoor air, which recovers up to 88 percent of available (and normally lost) energy.
The only way we as a country are going to get away from our fossil fuel dependence is to tackle the biggest areas of energy waste. Buildings (commercial and residential) are well established as the single largest consumers of energy worldwide. Moving toward the zero-energy model is a great step in the right direction. I live in a true dream house, and it didn’t require a huge trade-off to maintain environmental stability. I hope this inspires others to follow my lead.
» posted on Saturday, August 28th, 2010 at 11:50 am by Woody Wilson viewed 331 times
By Holly Prestidge | TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published: August 28, 2010
Solar panels on the roof of the garage are one feature of the energy-efficient home Randy Thomas and Diane Lewis are building in Chesterfield.
The running joke around Randy Thomas and Diane Lewis’ old Hanover County neighborhood was that the couple must have been from Vermont or Minnesota — anywhere cold.
That rationale would help explain why they installed solar panels, south-facing windows to catch the sunlight and warmth, and extra thick walls with added insulation in their home when it was built in the early 1990s.
If just a few environmentally friendly elements were enough to make people talk, just think what their new neighbors will say.
Thomas and Lewis, along with Mark Waring, vice president of Richmond-based Bain-Waring Builders, are building a home in Chesterfield County that’s so energy-efficient it’s among the first to be certified as such in Virginia.
Thomas and Lewis are building a zero-energy home, one that produces as much energy as its uses, therefore canceling out monthly heating and cooling bills. Through the use of solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems, a tightly sealed shell, energy-saving appliances — not to mention turning off lights when they leave a room — they’re looking forward to living in a home that’s not only cheaper for them, but better for the environment.
The timing, Thomas said, was just right for them to build.
“The technology has finally gotten to the point where you can reasonably do this kind of a home without a whole lot of extra work,” he said this month as he walked through what will soon be his new home. The house is approximately 2,900 square feet. From their front yard they can see the horses of nearby Keswick Farms.
“The materials are there, the technology is out there [and] the prices are coming down,” Thomas said, citing federal rebates and state grant money for solar panels and geothermal systems that cut their costs for those items by one-third.
On top of that, “if I don’t have to pay utility bills for the rest of my life, that really lightens the load,” he said.
Thomas and Lewis knew what they wanted, though finding information on zero-energy homes wasn’t easy. For that reason he started a blog so others could learn from their experiences.
“When I did Internet searches to try to get some guidance, there’s just nothing there,” he said. “I had to go through hundreds of entries before I’d find little nuggets that were actually helpful.”
They also needed a builder. Lewis and Waring knew each other from an eco-brokerage conference a few years earlier.
“We started talking about the kind of house we were looking to build, [and] I could see his eyes start to light up,” Thomas said. “The light bulb went on there. It really was a nice partnership.”
Every decision — from the type of paint to sorting through options for energy-efficient windows and appliances — was done within the larger scope of how it would affect the home’s efficiency, Thomas said.
Their new home is tightly sealed and well-insulated. It sits on a conditioned crawl space, meaning that the underbelly of the home is insulated exactly as the house itself, right down to the ground. There’s no insulation in the floor joists, and the air is blown into the crawl space so that it’s always the same temperature and humidity as inside the house.
Most homes built nowadays refresh air every one to two hours, but this home will do it every seven hours, Waring said. And while most homes leak air from ducts all over the house, at a national average of about 28 percent, this home’s ductwork is so tight that a fraction of that — about 2.5 percent — leaks out, he said.
Combine that with a geothermal heat pump, which uses the ground as its heating and cooling source, energy-efficient windows, ceiling fans and appliances, LED and compact fluorescent lighting, and solar panels on the garage roof, and you’ve got a home that doesn’t rely on carbon-based energy sources.
“Energy is going to be finite, whether it’s going to be in 20 years or 50,” Thomas said.
Before they move in, the house will undergo a series of tests to show how “green” it is and to check the energy efficiency of the home’s design.
EarthCraft Virginia is the organization that pressure-tests air systems, ductwork and more and then certifies homes at three levels, with the highest being the platinum level, which is what Thomas and Lewis are striving for.
High-performance homes, as EarthCraft Executive Director KC McGurren called Thomas and Lewis’ home, are “very rare, particularly with new construction.”
She said there are only two EarthCraft Platinum-certified homes in Virginia. While the average Earthcraft home is about 28 percent more efficient than traditional homes built today, McGurren said Thomas and Lewis’ home could be as high as 75 percent to 80 percent more efficient than a standard home.
Thomas said he’s been asked how long it’ll take for him to recoup the extra money he’s spent to make his home energy efficient. He said his energy-efficient options are no different from someone who turns a two-car garage into a three-car garage, or adds on a game room.
“Does anybody go back and say how many years before that extra garage pays off, or your pool-table room?” he said. “If it’s important to you, how is it any different?”
Waring echoed Thomas’ thoughts, using irrigation as the example.
“People always want to put that $5,000 in sod and irrigation,” he said. But they could put that extra money into their home “and all of a sudden it’s 40 percent more efficient.”
“And the grass dies every year,” Waring added.
Lewis said there’s a misconception that energy-efficient homes are much more expensive than standard homes. Waring said constructing a tight shell and duct system at this home has added about $3 to $5 per square foot. He said as homeowners add elements such as geothermal systems and solar panels, the costs can go up, though rebates and grants help with those expenses.
Thomas and Lewis are scheduled to move into their house next week.
“We’re getting of the age where you think about being creative . . . [and want] to pay something forward,” Thomas said. “This is an opportunity to try and do that.”
What’s going into this house
- Low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint means it has less of the toxic material that leads to poor air quality inside the home.
- Appliances — Energy Star appliances throughout the home.
- Tightly-sealed ductwork — Most homes leak air at a rate of about 28 percent. This home’s ducts will be sealed so that virtually no air leaks.
- Light bulbs — LED or compact fluorescent bulbs.
By Theresa Curry • Contributor • July 25, 2010
Several hours into the second big snowfall in February, Chris Bolgiano went to the basement of her Fulks Run home and saw a digital clock blinking, the way they do when the power goes out.
“That’s the only way we knew that no electricity was coming into our house,” Bolgiano said. The other clocks, the lights, the computers and the kitchen appliances were continuing to provide the Bolgianos with the same level of utility and comfort as they did before the storm piled 18 inches of snow on top of the foot already blanketing their rural community.
It was a landmark of sorts for the couple: Chris, a nature writer and retired JMU librarian, and Ralph, a retired biologist, had installed additional solar panels a few months before. That allowed full power for their daily needs while keeping a system of sealed lead batteries charged. The batteries kicked in as soon as the electricity failed.
“We were without electricity for 36 hours, but we’d only used 25 percent of the battery backup,” Chris said. “And we were living life as usual. If we had been more conservative from the start, I’m sure we could have used much less.”
Meanwhile, Glenn Mingo was keeping an eye on the snow on the solar panels at his home between Spring Hill and Parnassus. Mingo normally fills his power needs from the panels on the roof of his ranch-style home.
“I’m retired, and I think of this as a way of prepaying my energy bills,” he said of his investment. “They’ll go up and my income won’t.”
Mingo and the Bogianos aren’t just in it for the longterm cost savings. They’re committed to lessening the environmental impact of their lives and they like the idea of being independent for security and other reasons.
There are growing numbers of homeowners like them, said Watt Bradshaw, whose 32-year-old Blue Ridge Energy Company specializes in building alternative energy sources such as solar, wood turbine, geothermal and small wind.
“In other countries, (people who install alternate energy sources) get enormous incentives for what they’ve done,” he said. Bradshaw said while total energy independence might not be possible, everyone can take some steps toward reducing energy costs.
If you’re thinking of moving in that direction, some guidelines from Bradshaw, Bolgiano and Mingo
Reduce your consumption
Over the course of about 10 years, Mingo installed compact fluorescent and LED bulbs in his most used lights, increased the insulation in his attic, and made storm windows to reduce heat and cooling loss.
Here’s How To Save Up To 50% Each Month On Your Home Utility Bills Without Installing Solar Panels Or A Wind Generator!:Save on Home Energy
“As I needed to replace appliances, I chose those that were more energy efficient and completely got rid of my garbage disposal,” he said.
To make dishwashing more efficient, he installed a foot-operated turn-on for his sink. He put in a root cellar for winter storage and buys apples and other good keepers in bulk as winter approaches.
The Bolgianos have used similar strategies since the construction of their 1,900-square-foot home 25 years ago. They heat with wood and don’t use a dishwasher or clothes dryer. By paying careful attention to the siting and construction of their basement, greenhouse and decks, they take advantage of natural light and heat in the winter and shade in the summer. Like Mingo, they have appropriate storage that’s naturally cool. The greenhouse allows them to have a salad garden all year, reducing both trips to the grocery and the need for refrigeration.
Contributing to the grid
“Going off the grid” was once a slogan of the energy-independence movement, but most people choose to stay connected, even though the power companies don’t offer much of a reward to their small contributors.
“In some countries, everyone who generates excess electricity and feeds it into the system is well-rewarded,” Bradshaw said. “It’s a tremendous mistake to put it all in the hands of the power companies with their 30 percent administrative markup.”
Mingo said he uses the conventional grid as a kind of storage system. “I contribute my excess power in the spring, fall and summer, and draw it out in the winter, kind of like a bank.” Bolgiano said her power company, Shenandoah Valley Electric Co-op, hasn’t quite figured out the bookkeeping aspects of the transactions.
“I have to really study my bill to see where they’ve credited me and how much over my consumption I’ve given them,” she said. She said the sealed lead batteries that allow her to store energy are expensive and not likely to become widely used for energy storage.
Bolgiano likes the idea of an eventual network of energy-contributing homeowners for security reasons. If the power supply isn’t all centered in one place, she reasons, a natural disaster or hostile attack is less likely to cause widespread devastation.
“I think it’s part of the American character,” she said, “to want to be independent and also to contribute to the common good.”
Start with a solar hot water
The most practical advice anyone can give about producing power is to install a solar hot water heating system, says Bradshaw.
DID YOU KNOW you can build your own Solar Thermal System, saving $10,000′s off retail price. There is a step-by-step guide that will show you exactly how to build your own solar thermal hot water system.
Thermal Solar Hot Water
“People actually use more hot water in the summer because of more laundry and showers, and that’s when you can get 100 percent of it from solar panels,” he said.
In its simplest form, solar panels pre-heat the water in a special tank before it flows into the regular hot water heater, which then adjusts its temperature for laundry and bathing.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 1.5 million homeowners have installed solar hot water heaters, with a nearly 100 percent satisfaction rate. With hot water comprising 13 to 25 percent of household energy use, it’s a step that can be cost-effective, especially with state and federal rebates, and if you’re able to do some of the work yourself, as Mingo did.
“Plan to save the initial cost in three to five years,”
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