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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. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    With the efficiency of these new mini splits (25-27) I think i could get 90% of my yearly space heating and cooling at a very low cost leaving the coldest days to the wood stove for virtual free heat.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Correctly sized and installed mini-split heat pumps do reduce a heating bill incredibly.
  3. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    And probably an AC bill as well. With the general warming trend and october days in the 80s that may be a welcome feature.
  4. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I believe a sustainable economy can only be achieved by conservation efforts plus behavioral change far beyond what most of us now are willing to do or pay for, and therefore a sustainable economy is much more a matter of will than technology. Energy waste with current behavior is immense. Behavior in changed usage (not just insulation or devices that provide the same perceived benefit but use less energy) directed at energy use reduction is truly monumental. For example, the led or lcd TV uses much less power than the CRT screen, and using an led or lcd TV the same amount of time as a previous CRT TV does result in use of less energy, but reducing use of the TV results in energy savings which approach 100%. Similarly, using the current darling mini-split achieves much higher efficiency and reduces energy usage over more traditional forms of heating/cooling while maintaining the same cooling or heating temperature, but raising the cooling temp (and wear fewer clothes or get used to it) or reducing the heating temp (put on a sweater or get used to it) results in even more substantial energy savings. The list is endless.

    For my household, we are adding a 6.5kw solar voltaic grid-tied system. Our house is all electric except for wood heat + electric baseboard backup. I would like to move to reduce annual usage to not exceed solar production. Given our current behaviors, this will be a challenge for my wife and I. It will be an interesting challenge and an opportunity both to see how willing we are to change behaviors and also to identify those behaviors that are the tipping points in our household becoming electricity sustainable.
    Where2 and Ehouse like this.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Conservation and frugality out of respect for this incredibly special home we call earth is a good start. We unnecessarily waste so much. It wouldn't take that much to bring about significant change. 3D printing techniques can reduce waste to a small fraction of current machining techniques. Our homes are mostly leaky sieves, yet sloppy, excessive and wasteful construction continues with only small changes. Without recognizing the resources on our planet are finite and that our activities are all linked to the well being of our home we will continue to crap in our bed and pay the consequences for deferring on wise action.

    I like Sagan's parting thoughts on this pale blue dot.
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Apparently even metal objects can be made with 3D printing now.
    This video featuring Elon Musk shows Iron Man style 3D design and 3D metal printing with sprayed metal particles and a laser.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  8. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    A couple posts above I presented the thought that "a sustainable economy can only be achieved by conservation efforts plus behavioral change far beyond what most of us now are willing to do or pay for, and therefore a sustainable economy is much more a matter of will than technology."

    Regarding behavioral change, in our household the big energy hogs that are difficult to deal with are the electric dryer and the basement dehumidifer; then the electric cook stove/oven, and next the electric heat we need in our basement (contains two sleeping/living areas for visiting family) to make it livable during the winter. My wife tried drying clothes outside and bird poop that stained clothes plus the stiffness of air-dried clothes, moved the drying back to the electric dryer. Any solutions to these that might cause her to give air drying another chance?

    I'm stuck in trying to deal with dehumidification. Not dehumidifying results in dampness and mold. Any ideas here?

    My strategy on reducing energy use with the electric cook stove/oven is to go on a diet. LOL. We use a slow cooker some; what about a thermal cooker? Other ideas?

    As to the basement, we keep it at about 50F; but with family guests we need to boost the heat. Heat is electric baseboard + a 240V electric wall heater. I thought about a heat pump, but we have no practical use for the resulting cool that is generated - refrigeration would be great if we really could use it. Would a heat pump still make sense? Other ideas?
  9. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    I think this came up on another thread but I keep thinking about finding a way to feed the dryer exhaust to a heat pump water heater. that would solve a lot of problems at once.

    Do you have space for indoor air drying? How about under a porch overhang?

    I'm looking for a good sized oval roaster oven. Why heat the whole range oven for a small roast or bird?

    Introduce a little propane into the system. A small DV gas stove would be great for the basement.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Indoor, maybe; porch is a possibility. Propane doesn't do it for us. We get an interrupt rate on the electric for heating which, cost-wise, is less expensive than propane. Similar for dhw heating, bill is only about $4.50/month, and a heat-pump idea is good but cost-wise is really high. This doesn't mean that I don't want to reduce usage. Usage is more than the cost I pay, it also has large social and environmental impacts which I am seeking to avoid or reduce.
  11. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    We dry our cloth outside regularly but never had a problem with bird poop. Maybe you can put up some shiny objects close to it that move in the wind to scare away the birds?
    The stiffness is not something we really care about other than maybe towels. For those, you can take them off after a few hours of outside drying and put them in the dryer for finishing them up.

    There are plenty of guides on the internet how to improve humid basements. Have you checked them out?

    Turn off the burners 5 min before the end for most dishes; the remaining heat will do the rest. An oven can be turned off easily 10 min early.
    Use the microwave where possible.
    When boiling on the stove use lids, that saves up to 30% in energy! Pots and pans with glass lids are helpful.
    If you boil water regularly (tea, coffee, pasta etc) think about getting an express water heater. They use quite a bit less energy and are faster. Plus, you can more easily measure and heat up only the amount of water needed than in a kettle.

    Dunno about the heat pump but if you use your basement so infrequently electric may be your best choice. It is essentially 100% efficient at your end, maybe 40% overall. Thus, maybe think about some solar panels instead as a better investment. How well is your basement insulated?
  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    do you have a HE washer with a high speed spin? They get things so dry air drying in the house is much more practical, or the dryer run time is much shorter. They use less H2O and kWh too. I got an LG one for $600, that I figure saves me at least $200 in energy and water per year.
  13. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    For indoor drying there's lots of contraptions from lines to racks and beach umbrella types. I just took down an antique wall mounted finger fan rack from my parents old house.
  14. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    The beauty of what Jebatty is trying to accomplish is that everything he has described is electric driven. If only there were some way to take something free like sunshine and make electricity from it. Oh wait, I just read Jebatty's 6.5kW PV thread... Add another 2.5kW and forget about the cost of running the electric dryer.
  15. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    1) Dehumidifier - use that from about late June to earlly September.
    2) Clothes dryer is not in and does not vent through the basement.
    3) No a/c in the basement or other moisture producing appliances.
    4) Opening the door and circulating air in the basement has the effect of adding more humidity; basement walls and floor are cool, outside warm air brings in moisture.
    5) No water leaks in foundation or floor.
    6) Gutters all drain well away from the house.
    7) Ground mostly slopes away from the house and one wall where it doesn't, the ground is level.
    8) No cooking in the basement.

    A good suggestion follows from the most obvious - "If only there were some way to take something free like sunshine and make electricity from it. Oh wait, I just read Jebatty's 6.5kW PV thread..." With the solar electric, I also may be able to forget about the cost of running the dehumidifier.
  16. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Doesn't add up Jim. Usually, if not water, you have outside humid air leaking into the basement and cooling it. The only sol'ns are to airseal the rim/sill, utility openings, basement windows, etc. the source, or if you ran central AC to tie it into the basement.

    Ok, I guess you're saying that you don't AC the upstairs, and the RH upstairs is high enough to make a problem downstairs. Hmmm. You might consider running an AC upstairs, rather than a dehum downstairs. Might work out to be less energy and keep you more comfortable.
  17. Where2

    Where2 Member

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    Technically, an A/C is not a moisture producing appliance. Chilling the air tends to condense excess moisture on the A/C coils and if the air handler and drain system are functioning properly, it removes moisture from the conditioned space. At least, that's the theory we use down here in the swamp where it is far too humid to use a swamp cooler to cool us off. (swamp coolers do introduce moisture into their conditioned space. Definitely don't want that in your basement).

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