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A Sustainable Economy? Ideas on how to get there.

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Frozen Canuck, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I was reading up on LED farming. Apparently chlorophyll(s) need very little of the spectrum produced in natural light and much of it is in fact harmful to the plants. Its going to be a big deal for local farming when the cost comes down.

    I don't know about the fish. Animals are not very efficient protein producing machines.

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  2. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    As for most bang for your buck in the calorie and nutrient department- you may be right, but there's a lot of these symbiotic farms- fish poop hydroponically fertilizes the plants, some plant byproduct, plus algae and incidental local insects feed the fish, etc.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    And I thought I was brilliant with my combination bird feeder/cat feeder.
    im-in-ur-bird-house-waitin-4-snaks.jpg
  4. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    "Humanure" is practiced small scale in the US, along with Milorganite- fertilizer made from sewage and available at Home Despot. I heard an NPR story about some Asian country that seriously boosted orchard production by use of human waste compost.


    Lee Hays- Compost Yourself

    If I should die before I wake,
    All my bones and sinew take;
    Put me in the compost pile,
    And decompose me for a while.

    Wind, water, rain will have their way,
    Returning me to common clay!
    All that I am will feed the trees,
    and little fishes in the seas.

    On radishes and corn you munch--
    You might be having me for lunch!
    And then excrete me with a grin--
    Chortling, "There goes Lee again!!"
    Frozen Canuck likes this.
  5. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Good one AP.

    Sad that most are so far removed from the food chain & just don't get it. Heck even I have nephew's & nieces that think milk comes from a jug in a store.
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  6. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    On an older episode of the Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern he was in Thailand (could have been in South America as well) i thinks eating "poo-poo pig" is a pig who's diet is human poop...it lived under the "outhouse"....he said it is veeeery tasty, a delicacy even. If we just round up some of those ferel hogs, put in sewer systems of New York.....you get the idea.
  7. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    A new sausage for all those street vendors to sell perhaps? ;sick <> Count me out thanks just the same.
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I used to look at my 6, 250 Gal oil tanks. (a years supply) and think WOW thats a lot of FF For 1 family, for 1 home, for 1 winter. Once the winter is over the oil is gone ,the heat is gone and the money is gone. Now i look at a smaller pile of solid local fuel,one renewable and one non -renewable (coal and wood) and i still think its too big to be sustainable long term. I feel better about solid local fuels than with the oil but i still think im using too much. Solar and insulation are on my mind now.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You're kidding, right?
  10. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    1500 US Gallons!

    Yes, that's pretty steep, even for up here with a design temp of -40. Insulation & draft sealing for sure. Solar can wait until it can actually hold heat.
  11. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    The LED lighting for photosynthesis is not a perpetual motion machine, but it is intriguing.
    The photosynthetic system actually turns over at an absolute maximum of about 1000 electrons per second (about 1000 us turnover time).
    For each cycle, a flash a few microseconds is long enough to start the process; most of the biochemistry can proceed in the dark.

    LED can cycle on/off nearly instantaneously.
    So for 1 second, an LED can pulse 1000 times, on each time for perhaps 50 us, with 950 us of dark in between.
    This means the LED can actually be off most of the time.
    Plus, with the correct wavelength, the LED output can be converted efficiently to photosynthetic product.
    The Dutch did work on this.
    If the switching circuits etc. can be sufficiently efficient, the energetics can get interesting, at least theoretically.
    I have a similar system in my lab, for ml quantities of phytoplankton.
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Not a large amount for a lot of homes. The oil companies rarely tell you how much you use unless you ask. Ditto for any other fuel company. The result is a lot of people don't even know how much they use. I know we on this site are often obsessed with BTUs(guilty!) but we are not the norm.

    My friend replaced his boiler with a new 3 pass flue,+ or, yet his claimed his fuel usage didn't go down. I got out the Bacharach kit and low-n-behold after a 10 minute burn he was holding steady at 65% EFF. Apparently if you leave the air wide open you get a nice clean burn. Speeds up your seasonal tuneups and you burn more oil. Its a win/win baby!
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Read up on my last post in the Requiem for nuclear energy thread. Nuclear may not be dead, just evolving. It will be interesting to see if the Chinese or Indians pick up on this technology soon.
  14. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    Korea does a lot of organic fertilization of the human waste variety, used to hate runing the perimeter road on monday mornings at Cp Humphreys ROK the base is nearly completely surrounded by rice paddies and when they flood them to start the season the odor is quite dramatic
  15. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Agreed. Out of sight out of mind (esp when it was cheap). My average sized 1960 house down the road from Randy burned 1300 gals the first year we had it. I was surprised since the similar house I grew up in in MA only used ~600 in the 70s. I guess folks were pretty careless with airsealing and insulation here in the 'South' unlike the Yankees up North.

    Only had 1 250 gal tank though....just needed it filled every 2-3 weeks in January. :eek:
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    And since most oil consumers have their maintenance done by the company who sells them the oil, 'tis not suprising.

    Reminds me of our last apartment before we bought the house. Typical Boston suburbs 2 family. 1920s construction, still heated by oil fired steam, with a 1950 vintage American Radiator coal to oil conversion boiler in the basement. the kicker, was that our landlord owned an oil company and sold us the oil. Between that and it being a rental they never had any incentive to change out that old beast in the basement.

    We would fill that 250 gallon tank every 6 weeks. For a one level second floor apartment! And I turned the heat down to 60 during the work day!

    never again.
  17. Where2

    Where2 New Member

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    Driving back from working out of town last night, I spent some time discussing with a co-worker the fact that I've managed to get my total electric use down around 1,100kWh/mo for my all electric house in South Florida in the hottest month of the year (despite the A/C compressor running 130 hours total). One of the things I was marveling at is how lousy the insulation and air sealing in most homes in Florida must be. (we both own homes >25 years old, although mine is 51 years old) Simply keeping a home air conditioned with a 10°-25° temperature differential below the outside temperatures should be easy in comparison to keeping a house warm in winter up north when you have >40°F temperature differential between outside and inside spaces. How much more efficient would a house in FL be, if you treated it like it was a northern house where >40° temperature differentials were common? My co-worker commented that he really needs to "add some insulation in the attic".

    As Seasoned Oak points out, once the heating season (or cooling season in my case) is gone, the $$$ is gone. That $$$ doesn't grow back, I have to go out and work for the $$$ to replace it. If I'm going to work for it, why not work smarter and use that $$$ toward air sealing and insulation to break the cycle?

    Are air sealing, attic and wall insulation really the main keys to how to keep that >40°F temperature differential from consuming your bank account or your wood stock pile?
  18. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Thats what i used initially before making some changes. Adding the solar room knocked those 6 tanks down to about 4+/-.
    I added some insulation. Then changed to all solid fuel either coal or wood. Now if all coal i use about 5 ton. I never went the whole winter on wood where i live,but use it exclusively in project homes and workshops. Im a great believer in solar and will do more with that in the future. I marvel at the fact that my central heat does not run all day and into the night,every sunny winter day.
  19. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Bingo. Structures need to retain the energy placed in them via whatever means. Otherwise they are little more than well decorated tents. You should be looking at the same R values in a Florida house as we would here. Only difference is we are looking to keep the warm in & the cold out, you are looking to do the reverse. Either way a well insulated, properly sealed structure will perform far better than a drafty old whatever. The higher energy prices go the more economic sense this makes. Basically up here even with cheap nat gas your fastest ROI is in insulation & sealing. You should have a faster ROI as in most locations electricity that drives AC units is more expensive per btu than nat gas.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Exactly right. Essentially we are all heating sieves.
    Where2 likes this.
  21. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Where2, remember latent heat loads (related to dehumidifacation). 25°F diff for cooling and high humidity might be a similar load to 40°F diff in heating. Of course, that makes airsealing EVEN MORE sensible, since it contributes to sensible and latent heat.
  22. Where2

    Where2 New Member

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    Electric runs ~$0.115/kWh. Looks like a Therm of NG = ~29.3kWh = or roughly $3.37 at my electric rates. BLS reports that in July 2013, the average cost of utility piped NG in my area was $1.52/therm. With that in mind, gaining BTU's that need to be removed using electricity looks twice as expensive as losing BTU's that need to be put back with an NG consuming heating device. (Yes, I recognize I have entirely over simplified the difference in mechanical efficiency between an A/C unit and a NG fired boiler/furnace).

    Woodgeek, I certainly live in a region of high humidity. I keep forgetting about the energy cost to remove all that moisture.
  23. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Its not just the efficiency, AC has a multiplier effect. The Coefficient of Performance is the SEER/3.414. If you have SEER 14, that is a COP = 4. IOW, 1 kW of electricity can pump 4 kW of heat. So, while your elec is 2X per kW what gas costs, your AC bill should be only **half** what your gas bill would be at the same temp diff in heating. Except for latent heat.
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    THat works as well for heat not just AC Right? IF you heat pump is a SEER 14 your heat is approx. 1/4 the KW use of electric resistance heating. If i understand this right. I am looking at mini split units with a 25-27 SEER ratings.
  25. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Almost. The COP in heating and cooling are never the same, different seasonal temp differences, defrosting/latent conditions, etc. For heating COP you divide the HSPF by 3.414. For a mini in your area, you will prob get a **seasonal** average of COP = 3 in heating, maybe closer to 4 during mild weather. I'd run with a conservative 3 for costing and ROI estimation (HSPF = 10-11). My conventional Goodman ASHP gets me seasonal COP = 2.3 or so including defrost losses, after years of tweaking. It started out at 1.6 as installed. :confused:

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