Posted by Bill on April 15, 2005, 6:56 pm
What the government needs to do is design a 1500 square foot
rectangular house, with rainwater collection system, graywater electric
system, and the entire sout roof with photovoltaic panels, offer a
$million prize to some one that can offer the best design. Then put
the design to bid, a build a million of them, at say $0,000 each. Own
your home that supplies 150 percent of your enegy for 50K.
Posted by Derek Broughton on April 7, 2005, 1:13 pm
Ah. Well, then, there's not much point in commenting since your entire post
was clearly beyond my comprehension.
Posted by m Ransley on April 7, 2005, 2:42 pm
Sure some things should not be replaced for a minimal savings or forced
to replace before old products expire. But I have different thoughts on
a few areas.
Fluorescent; CFL are an area that we failed on. Bills were introduced
to make CFLs the bulb of use-choice, they were shot down. There is a 75%
electric saving using CFLs, since incandescents don`t last that long
mainstream use and savings would have been quick.
Education, I know many people not aware of flourescents lumen output vs
incandescent, life in hrs. and don`t use them, but complain about
utilities. Incandescent output 17-19 Lpw, vs 48-110 Lpw for fluorescent.
A simple matter of no gov education programs or incentives.
Home refrigerators, Here they got it right, new units are 75% more
efficient than 15 yr old units.
But no public education, few are aware of it. Here a rebate could help.
Autos; we buy what we want because of cheap gas. What has been the big
topic of recent years, SUVs and horsepower, not mpg. Look at importing
nations prices and see what they drive.
Home insulation minimums required; Outdated standards for a country
with cheap energy. A 1.5- 2x increase in new construction would benefit
everyone. Again no education or incentives.
Heating; allowing 82% efficient furnaces and boilers to be instaled in
northern high heat areas is a long term looser for all. 94.5% is a
common efficiency achieved today by at least 4 companies, and 93% by
all. 82% vs 94.5% is 15% at 94.3% efficient. A 15% efficiency
increase on new construction and replacements could be seen. Again no
public education or rebates. Carrier has a line advertised as up to
96.7% efficient. Well in fact their 96.7% unit is the smallest they make
38000 Btu and they sell the least of, apx. 1 out of 1000. They could
make them all 96.7 % , Fact is the 96.7% has 25lb ? more aluminum in the
exchanger than the next highest btu model, it is that simple. Again no
education or rebates.
Windows; R 3.5 is the max for a dual pane apx R 5 for tripane. Why do
we even sell single pane. Tripane is a norm in some northern european
countries. Cellular shades can be R 5 today with tracks and R 3 without.
Again no mandates or rebates or education.
Gas Tankless water heaters: Higher efficiency, now up to 95% propane
92% Ng on a Takagi TH-1 are not news , it should be, as europe and
energy importing nations have used these for decades. Your standby
losses alone make them a smart move.
When you see how new construction can be 25% more efficient and
replacements 75% more efficient we have failed by keeping old standards
and not adopting the highest efficiency products as mandatory
replacements or rebate incentives, when old products fail. What does a
customer usualy opt for, a 93-94.5% furnace or a Hot Tub, the Hot Tub
because energy is cheap to waste. Why no flourescents as the bulb,
power provider and bulb manufacturer lobyists . We would not need new
power plants or have shortages if there was an Energy Policy to move us
in the right direction, through education, rebate- incentives and fasing
in of higher efficiency products. Most people will always buy the
cheapest inneficient products if allowed.
Posted by R.H. Allen on April 7, 2005, 3:49 pm
This is a key phrase: Is your beef with conservation, or the way
conservation is practiced? Also, while a lot of companies and
bureaucrats often make poor decisions, successful companies are
generally that way because they are wise with money. To that end, they
will generally not put conservation measures into place until/unless it
makes economic sense. That's not to say that nobody ever makes stupid
decisions in the name of conservation, just that I doubt it happens as
often as you think.
Sometimes, relocating energy use *is* conservation. Many would claim
that electric power plants are more efficient than internal combustion
engines, and that electric cars are therefore an example of conservation
by relocation. Similarly, I use less primary energy if I charge my cell
phone from the wall socket than if I charge it from my car battery.
Considering that product prices are often not tied to the cost of
production, I doubt the accuracy of this method. Changes in PV module
prices haven't fully reflected changes in manufacturing cost in years.
Got a particular product in mind? I can't think of one like that. I'm
sure there are *some* people who will spend more than the value of the
energy they will save on a product in the name of conservation, but
there aren't many of those. Pro-conservationists are well aware of that,
and you can bet that the companies spending money to produce low-energy
appliances are aware of that.
Consider a clothes washer that requires $25/year for energy to operate
versus a high-efficiency one that requires $0/year for energy. Suppose
the "regular" washer costs $00 and the high-efficiency one costs $00.
Which one is cheaper? Most people would say the $00 washer is cheaper,
but over a 12-year lifetime (many washers last much longer) you'll save
$60 if you buy the $00 washer.
Now, many people don't think long term and focus only on what they have
to spend today. Others simply aren't going to drop an extra $00 on a
washing machine when that money is needed to, say, feed the kids for the
next couple of months. Still others simply don't have the extra $00.
That is the true problem with conservation -- the up-front costs are too
high for too many people.
Another example would be the compact fluorescent lamp. I don't know how
much energy it takes to produce a light bulb (sounds like the beginning
of a joke, doesn't it?), but I do know that CFs are several times more
expensive than an ordinary bulb. I also know they have several times the
lifespan, and use several times less energy. Finally, I also know that
over its lifespan a CF will save both energy *and* money. That might not
be a good reason to immediately throw away all of your conventional
bulbs, but it is good reason to replace them with CFs as they burn out.
Anybody else remember the days when you could take your light bulbs back
to the store to have them recycled?
I agree that forcing companies to immediately institute conservation
measures, whether they make sense or not, is stupid. Is anybody
Considering that the amount of energy consumed per unit GDP has been
decreasing in the U.S. since about 1920, I would guess that's probably
not the issue. I think the real issue is that power plants are very
expensive and nobody wants to build one unless they have to. Combine
that with the fact that the public utilities in California -- where
electricity shortages have been most acute -- are bankrupt, and where do
you think the money for new power plants is supposed to come from?
A few years ago, many power companies would send somebody to your house
-- free of charge -- to give you advice on how reducing your power bill
through conservation. Why? Because they hoped it would delay the need to
build a new power plant, thus saving the utility money. Some utilities
may still be doing this.
I think you've gone a little overboard here. By your definition, no
power source can sustain its own use. And while, strictly speaking, that
might be true, "solar breeder" is meant in a similar sense that "nuclear
breeder" is; that is, that the plant produces its own primary fuel. No,
it's not a perfect parallel. Still, a nuclear breeder first requires
uranium to be mined and purified; the miners, refinery workers, and
reactor employees all go home at night; etc. Not all of that is powered
by nuclear power, nor can it be unless the mining equipment all runs on
electricity. And running the entire world on 100% nuclear power would be
uneconomical, particularly in desert areas where base loads and peak
loads differ considerably.
Do you think the folks who drilled the first oil well had a full tank of
gas? This isn't news. New energy technology *always* requires old energy
technology in order to get off the ground.
Solar thermal for large-scale electricity production is only practical
in areas with lots of clear, sunny skies. Clouds tend to prevent the
mirrors from focusing the sun's beams. It's a solution in some areas,
but certainly not everywhere.
Posted by N9WOS on April 7, 2005, 6:25 pm
That is what I use to think.
After I started looking at the entire loop, then I now realize that it is
happening so much that it is almost shameful.
Part of that cost for the electricity is from burning the fuel in the power
plant. For large industrial users, that is the primary fraction of the power
cost. But for residential users, that is not the primary fraction. The
primary fraction for residential users is the infrastructure cost. The
equipment maintenance schedule to replace and repair the equipment supplying
your home. That money runs line trucks, builds transformers, and harvests
trees for poles. All of it is less efficient than the primary power circuit
that charges your phone.
> Considering that product prices are often not tied to the cost of
The energy prices that went into making the panels that are on the market
"today" is included in the price.
When the other panels make it to the market, then you can bet energy price
is part of it., And even if they don't charge any more, to reflect the price
of gas and oil used in production, then that means that the producer just
made less profit, so he can't spend as much on "fun" stuff, so in the end,
the energy released into the environment to produce that panel, will be
relatively locked to the price.
You are using your brain, that is all one can ask for.
Most people I see, are not using their brain.
T8 lights, anyone?
Forced usage comes to mind.
If there is a power shortage, then the power utilities should be the last
one that's bankrupt.
Smells of price controls, and head people taking money out of the cookie
That is being nice.
Or they could have just increase the electricity price to force you to use
That is how supply and demand is suppose to work.
When there is a gas shortage, price goes up, so people drive less. Thus,
demand will drop to meet supply.
All money runs in a loop. There is no place at the sun to deposit $ to get
The sun is the source of the power (energy) for the system, but it is not in
the system loop. The people getting power off the sun, sell power to the
manufacturers in the city, and to the home of the people in the city. The
manufacturers use that energy to make products. The generating people take
that money and spend it on products to keep the place running. Those
products cost money. The same money that the companies pay for energy is
paid back to the companies in labor, and parts. It is a continuous cycle
where all money flows through the people that are at the energy source. That
is currently the oil and coal companies.
Based on that, you could say that if the oil company increase price of their
product based on a shortage , then they will just end up paying more for the
products they by, and an endless spiraling loop to infinity will be created.
That would be true if you didn't take into account the way market
economics, and supply and demand is suppose to work. As the price goes up,
then demand will drop off to the point that it meets supply. The energy
going into producing the products to keep the source running will drop a
If the energy source get to expensive, then they will consume off an energy
source that doesn't put as much demand on the market that it's supporting.
The price that the energy source is getting for what it can produce is a bit
higher, but so is what it's paying out. It will naturally equal out, that is
how the market is suppose to work. That's why it irritates me for people to
complain about gas prices. That is the way it's suppose to work. Higher
fossil fuel prices, makes other energy sources more viable.
A free market will naturally consume off the cheapest source of energy. When
renewable energy gets cheaper, then it will be the primary source.
But if you don't maximize conventional sources now, then you won't have any
old energy to work with.
That is why I think a centralized production system will be the primary
setup for solar powered generation.
Power will be generated in the desert regions, and transported via hydrogen
and high voltage trassmission systems to the rest of the US.