Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

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Posted by daestrom on October 21, 2003, 10:50 pm


Yep.  You got it!!!  BTW, boilers here in the US used to sometimes be rated
in horsepower (when they're used to power a old style piston/cylinder steam
engine).  But a 'boiler hp' was different in that it was how much hp you
could get from the engine so it had an *assumed* cycle efficiency.  Very


Posted by Chris.B on October 22, 2003, 11:46 am
"Nick Pine" mumbled in his usual attention seeking mode:

 "News" entertained with:



 Thanks News. But I wouldn't pander to Nick's off-topic knit-picking!
 You'll only encourage him. ;-)
 Going back to the original thread topic.(whatever that was) I find it
interesting how little consumer energy pricing effects the desire to
go 'alternative' (like solar) in some places, but not others.
Historically the US must have some of the lowest consumer energy
prices. But there is no shortage of interest in renewables. One can
forgive the UK energy consumers staring up at their grey skies and
wondering whether it is wise to invest in solar.
 I prefer "added value" alternatives like lean-to greenhouses etc.
They have the dual function of providing an all-season covered
(growing) space. Something that is difficult to value in pounds or
dollars until you have it. Regardless of whether 'it' is heating the
house (or attempting to do so). A solar panel on the roof heats (or
does not heat) water. It is hard to apply added value beyond that.
Other than as a conversation piece with the neighbours and a smug
feeling when the bills arrive. The greenhouse goes on adding it's heat
contribution and somewhere to sit and watch the tomatoes for years to


Posted by News on October 22, 2003, 1:32 pm

Nick is all right! I like having him about. It would be dull without him.
:-)  He talks in number first then attempts to explain what the numbers mean
confusing many people. Or sometimes just talks in numbers. Most give the
theory and back up with numbers. Must be Nick's Welsh ancestry :-) Zacky

Greenhouse (Conservatories; sunspaces) are super popular in the UK.  They do
add value in adding an extra layer of insulation against the side walls and
the welcome extra living space.

By 2020 the UK hopes to have 25% of power driven by wind.  There are mass
projects for off-shore wind farms.  East Anglia is having many wind farms on
land.  The windmills take little space and cows can graze under the blades,
unlike conventional power stations.

The UK is launching the first two Stirling co-gen units. One in a few weeks
and the other in Spring.  So all is not doom and gloom in the Uk on a
government level.  The people are apathetic to low energy usage.  Take two
identical house in the same street.  One consumes 75% less water and energy
than the other.  See what price the estate agent price them up to.  Probably
both the same price.  People value a more up to date kitchen rather than low
energy bills.  Sad but true.

The US has had low energy prices over the years, but offset by inefficient
appliances.  If fuel is cheap why make the washing machine more efficient?
Until grid saturation.

The general public, anywhere in the world, is only interested in renewables
if it adds value to their home or drops the utility bills substantially with
a short payback for the equipment that does so.  Hence gas condensing
boilers are picking up with a 40% reduction in gas consumption over an old
cast-iron 20 year old boiler. The government is raising the minimum %age
efficiency of boilers from the current low of 78% to around 90%, so only
condensing boilers will be available soon.


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Posted by Chris.B on October 23, 2003, 8:59 am
 Sorry. Typo of my own. I meant Centre for Alternative Technnology (C.A.T.)


Posted by Chris.B on October 25, 2003, 8:37 am
 I remember hearing that the school was often too cool or too warm for
comfort. That the lighting was either poor or glaring. And that it was
unpopular with both students and staff. This might explain the
conventional building that replaced it.
 I think we all recognise that heating by "alternative" means requires
some degree of effort and flexibility on the part of the occupants. A
wood stove and greenhouse collector are very "hands on" compared with
throwing a switch to the central heating and forgetting it. The price
we pay for (almost) free heat (once the building materials are paid
for) is having to make adjustments. To both the equipment and
ourselves. It certainly keeps us aware of the weather and the climate.
 Since the early 70's I have had a pipe-dream of building a round
(cylindrical) home that rotates on a hollow central axle (for services
in and out) It would be able to turn away fom the sun when not
required and take full advantage when it was. One third of the facade
and interior pie segment (over two floors) would be glass/greenhouse.
My idea was to float the entire house in a close-fitting, round,
insulated pool to reduce the effort required to rotate it. Rubber
tired wheels on a circular track would stabilise it against rocking
when the occupants moved. Originally I designed the pool slightly
larger for perfect home security. (With an automatic drawbridge?) But
I suppose it might then need an anchor when it got too windy. ;)

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