Energy Savings and Other Ideas

Wind Power - click here to see details of a custom built wind generator we made.

Air Clothes Dryer - All summer long we use an outdoor clothes line and late in October we start to use six clothes lines in our basement - with good timing we don't often use our electric clothes dryer - this the dryer which draws about 3000 - 4000 watts.

Attic Insulation - heat rises so the more insulation present in an attic, the more heat is held down. Icicles present in the winter, especially if water drips off of them, is an indication that more attic insulation is required. On 02/07/09 I added 9.5 inches of attic insulation, bringing the total to 14 inches. To cover about 700' sq ft cost me $320.00 for R-30, 9.5 inch thick, 15 inch wide insulation. Again in August 2010, I added another 4 inches of insulation to the attic to bring the total to around 18 - 20 inches - this being insulation that I rescued from being thrown in a dumpster at a renovation project.

The chart below shows how the Air Clothes Dryer and additional Attic Insulation energy and cost savings procedures above have helped reduce our energy usage after the implementation of each


Small Scale DC solar power - see the Solar Power page of this site for detail on a solar system we have that runs three 12vDC lights in our basement and one in our living room. Soon I will be adding in a 12vDC light in our kitchen area so that we can draw DC energy from the batteries more often each day.

No bags - when at the grocery store, we ask the cashier to not bag large items and if buying only 2 or 3 items, we carry them on their own - it is no harder to carry them in hand than it is to carry them in a plastic bag

Rainwater Toilet - shown below is a design for a toilet that I will be installing for a toilet that flushes from water captured from the eves of our house. To get an idea as to how well this will work, on the Planet Green channel ( they stated that for every 1000 sq ft of area collecting rain, 500 gallons are collected for every 1 inch of rain that falls.

Tire Pressure - inflated tires must roll better than one with a flat spot at pavement level due to low pressure - see also

Grass Pellets/Briquettes - see the Grass-4-Heat page on this site for plans and information on making one's own heating pellets from hay.

Bike Power - see the Exercise Power page on this site for implementing an exercise bike system that charge DC batteries

Does number 1 really require a flush every time?? An old quote from the Men's room at Mary's Goosebay Inn read "In this land of sun and fun, we don't flush for number 1"

Save Garbage Bags - when recycling or trashing, collapse large containers first so save space in the bag 

Space Solar Power SSP (Space Solar Power) is a simple concept -  collect solar energy in space, convert the solar energy to electricity, and beam the power down to the planet for consumption. Such a system would provide clean, reliable, and unending power to our planet. A system of this nature would consist of three basic components:

1) A solar collector in space
2) RF generator/transmitter attached to the solar collector complex
3) A ground station to receive

The concept of generating solar power in space and transporting it back to earth's surface a concept that was first proposed in the 1970's, and then reexamined by NASA in the mid-1990's. The primary reasons for not seeing this idea through are financial, however costs of the proposed system significantly decreased from 1970 to the mid 1990's.

A system of this nature has obvious financial and technical obstacles to overcome and be worked out, however the consequence of not acting on this theory
(ie: global warming, power shortages, dependency on foreign oil) could far outweigh the action of doing nothing.

1) More solar energy can be collected outside of the atmosphere, where the average intensity of sunshine is 8 times of that on the surface (Scientific American -  September 2006 issue)
2) Space offers an endless amount of real estate to construct solar collection units - here on earth, our available space is limited.
3) The solar energy would always be available, since it would be collected outside of the earth's atmosphere. Even when beaming back to the surface through cloud
cover, the system could operate at 90% efficiency. (Scientific American - September 2006 issue)
4) Our planets demand for electrical power is expected to possibly double in the first decades of the new century.
5) We NEED to take advantage of clean, renewable power sources so that we can start shutting down dirty fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear power plants
6) The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, had plans to launch by 2010, a satellite capable of beaming back and receiving 100Kw back to earth, and by 2020 being capable of beaming back and receiving 250MW system. As with what I stated regarding Hot Dry Rock geothermal projects, it would be wise for the U.S. and NASA to also investigate this idea and make sure that we are a leader and not a follower in the use of this technology.
7) A functional system of this nature would lead to the commercialization of space travel, the development of efficient and feasible means of regularly traveling to space, and the creation of an entire new job market to support these systems.

More detail on what is presented above can be found at the following:

The following is a brief summary of what is presented in the documents listed at the links above - I hope that this encourages you to read through the presentations.
·  The system would consist of a solar collector in space, RF generator/transmitter attached to the solar collector complex, and a ground station to receive and distribute the power into the terrestrial power grid.
·  Power would be beamed from space to the surface. EMI and biological effects of beaming power down to the surface have been addressed.
·  Much of the technology required to develop the ideas detailed in the links above already exists.
·  A concept called 'Sun Tower' would cost a total of 200 Billion dollars over its 40 year life time, and total revenue for that same period would be 1800 Billion dollars.
The average power cost would be 2 cents/kWh-hr and average price would be 28 cents/KWH-hr. The total output capacity of the constellation upon completion would be 3.5-4GW.
·  A concept called 'Solar Disk' would cost a total of 50-60 Billion dollars over its 40 year life time, and total revenue for that same period would be 250-270 Billion dollars. The average power cost would be 4 cents/KWH-hr and average price would be 21 cents/KWH-hr. The total output capacity of a system upon completion would be 30GW.

The following are hurdles that an effort like this would need to overcome. I have also read in more than one place that recent and pending technological advances would drastically help to overcome what is listed below.
·  Cost of research and development of the system
·  Current lack of feasible transportation to space
·  EMI (electro magnetic interference) as well as any potential of falling parts

To address any potential EMI concerns, I would suggest that we simply locate the terrestrial based receiving station at a point on earth that is virtually uninhabited - such as the arctic. From there, we would find the station in such a position that the radius extending out from our base station would allow for anything coming down from the orbiting solar power system to be beamed to or fall in an area were life is limited.

More to come on this topic as further information is gathered.

Composting - Composting organic waste to make garden fertilizer is simple and easy.  As shown below I've built a silo/bin to use to hold grass clippings, leaves, woody waste, and waste - note that it is meant to look like the old time wood silos that were once prominent in upstate NY. Mixing and stirring is accomplished via reaching in one of the doors in the back with a pitch fork.