Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Green Home Improvement

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 09-07-2009, 02:31 PM   #1
Wire Chewer
 
Red Squirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,211
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


I've been looking at "off grid" or "partially off grid" solutions just for kicks, not that I can afford it. The two main ones seem to be solar power and wind. Solar would not work where I live as we hardly get any sun, but wind could work.

The issue with wind turbines is the space they take, the possible noise they might make, and the "standing out" factor. Also in a small yard I could see an installation being a bylaw violation. I'm guessing a small one the size of a roof vent turbine would hardly produce enough power for a single computer, let alone the whole house, so that's probably not even worth setting up, as small roof turbines came to mind.

What are other solutions that I may be overlooking? Perhaps something that can even be inside the house?

I had this crazy idea of setting up a tesla turbine at the water main, but that sounds too scary if it breaks and it would not really run long enough to produce a significant amount of power.

As for solar, it's almost an option as we do get a day here and there of extended sun and we do get more sun in winter then summer, but how well do they work in winter? I'd be concerned that they may crack from the cold, or even just get covered with snow. While expensive, it could be cool to setup an array on the roof and just keep adding a bit at a time. I have a crawlspace under my garage that is too dirty/rough to use for anything so I could put the battery bank and inverter there.

Red Squirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2009, 08:16 AM   #2
Too Short? Cut it Again!
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9,635
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Recently read about these two emerging options. One is for solar tiles that blend with clay tiles and the other is for a roof ridge turbine.

http://www.srsenergy.com

http://www.thepowercollective.com

There seem to be some rumblings about whole house storage batteries that do not have the heat issues but I cannot remember where I read about them and at what stage of development they were.

user1007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2009, 05:12 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 34
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Both wind and solar have their disadvantages and their advantages. Quite often it is a combination of the two that can have the best benefit.

Small wind turbines can be quite inefficient however, and getting the best out of them depends on your site.
Incidentally, I've just looked up the solar irradiance figures for Toronto and actually, they aren't as bad as you may think. They're certainly good enough to make a solar/wind combination a possible solution - assuming your site is suitable for both solar and for wind power.

Solar actually works better at colder temperatures than warmer - in fact the hotter the panels get the more inefficient they get, so during the winter your system could work quite nicely. Looking at the insolation figures, an 800w system would generate around 1kW of electricity per day during January (on average) whilst in the height of summer you could be generating around 5kW of electricity from the same system. Connected into a grid fallback system, that could be a very useful amount of power.

Last edited by mboxwell; 10-07-2009 at 05:15 PM.
mboxwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2009, 07:13 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Brooklyn, New York (NYC)
Posts: 1,124
Rewards Points: 500
Thumbs up

Solutions for being "off grid"


Red Squirrel (Poster#1) As long as we're dreaming, I have my own set of wishful thinking. Maybe One day??? Namely. To harness the power of lightning! Imagine having a series of Lightning Rods capture the lightning bolts and put into huge Storage Batteries. We probably could power entire cities for months with one (renewable) charge! Eliminate confusion Through Education!!! don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
spark plug is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2009, 07:15 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


I'd build a waste oil heater
Plus convert my house to burn veggie or bio-diesel
I'm already building a solar heater, plan on more
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2009, 09:45 PM   #6
Wire Chewer
 
Red Squirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,211
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Quote:
Originally Posted by spark plug View Post
Red Squirrel (Poster#1) As long as we're dreaming, I have my own set of wishful thinking. Maybe One day??? Namely. To harness the power of lightning! Imagine having a series of Lightning Rods capture the lightning bolts and put into huge Storage Batteries. We probably could power entire cities for months with one (renewable) charge! Eliminate confusion Through Education!!! don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
I've thought of this too, but really not sure what kind of system would be able to handle that much power, and convert/store it in a matter for actual use. Guessing tons of large capacitors and some kind of regulating device that slowly drains them to charge the batteries. That would definably be awesome. I'm sure there's lot of energy in the air even without lightning. Perhaps very small lightning discharges that we don't see.
Red Squirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2009, 02:36 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,628
Rewards Points: 1,076
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


A simple description of lightning is that it occurs when the charge differential between two areas of atmosphere (air to air lightning) or between the atmosphere and ground (air to ground lightning or vice versa) becomes large enough to overcome the resistance of the air to the electron flow. Boom, the electrons stream over all at once.

But there is no need to wait for the lightning strike to actually occur and then hope to catch it. Instead one could draw power by setting up electrodes throughout the atmosphere and ground surface to pick up charge differences that are occuring and allow the electrons to flow in a controled manner before lightning can even occur. This would also protect anything in the area from lightning strikes because the energy is pulled off before a strike can occur.

The only real problem is the cost and that some people might not like towers and wires strung out throughout the sky.
jogr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2009, 04:15 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


A nearby stream can power a turbine.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2009, 03:25 AM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 34
Rewards Points: 25
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


I have to say I like the idea of using a stream to generate electricity - its a constant form of power generation, which sounds great to me.

The problem is you need an awful big stream with a decent drop to get any real power. I've got a tiny little stream and I've been messing about with it - creating a dam, all that sort of stuff, but so far I've not been able to generate anything worthwhile.

I've got some silly ideas about doing something with a bicycle hub dynamo to charge up a 6v battery and using the power to run some shed lighting or something basic like that, but right now I can't see what else I can do with it...
mboxwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2009, 07:11 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 951
Rewards Points: 500
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


My "off grid" heating solution is burning wood. The hearth is finally done, and the stove installation is set for Friday!

I saw a feature on TV a month or so ago about a new process for making PV panels. They use what's basically a big inkjet printer to print the panels. Cool stuff. If it works out it should bring the prices way down, and then you can just use more panels in areas where there isn't as much sun.

Most households use most of their energy to heat water for showers and laundry.

If by "off grid" you just mean literally not connected to the electric grid, then you can heat water and space with propane. It ends up costing about the same as electricity, but it's nice to have heat and hot water when the power is out.
pyper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2009, 07:06 PM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


I'm with Scuba_Dave on the soalr air heater and pyper, except I'd go with a pellet stove. As for PV or wind, first you need to get your load as low as you can. For every $3 you invest in conservation you can expect to save $5 in a PV system.
justgreenhomes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2009, 07:17 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Quote:
Originally Posted by mboxwell View Post
I have to say I like the idea of using a stream to generate electricity - its a constant form of power generation, which sounds great to me.

The problem is you need an awful big stream with a decent drop to get any real power. I've got a tiny little stream and I've been messing about with it - creating a dam, all that sort of stuff, but so far I've not been able to generate anything worthwhile.

I've got some silly ideas about doing something with a bicycle hub dynamo to charge up a 6v battery and using the power to run some shed lighting or something basic like that, but right now I can't see what else I can do with it...
Assuming 100% efficiency, 1 Therm of energy can be had from 14,000 gal/min of water falling 10' for one hour.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2009, 07:55 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 15
Rewards Points: 10
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Yoyizit: you have a wealth of technical knowledge. Thanks for sharing!
justgreenhomes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2009, 08:33 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Quote:
Originally Posted by justgreenhomes View Post
Yoyizit: you have a wealth of technical knowledge. Thanks for sharing!
So how come I ain't rich?
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2009, 09:32 PM   #15
Wire Chewer
 
Red Squirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,211
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

Solutions for being "off grid"


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
Assuming 100% efficiency, 1 Therm of energy can be had from 14,000 gal/min of water falling 10' for one hour.
That's good to know, I've always wondered if I can find a way to turn rain into electricity. In summer it rains non stop here, but certainly not 15k gal /minute! LOL

I was doing research for kicks to see how much power can be generated by a human pedling a bike attached to a generator, and it's way less then I figured. Never really realized how much it takes to get a usable amount of electricity.

Red Squirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.