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Renewable Energy Living

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{Nature_and_Environment.10.1}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Wed, 03 Mar 2004 19:42:16 CST (HTML)

This is a continuation of the original topic, now archived in {Nature.Old_Nature}. The original topic can be viewed by registered users.

But to get on to the subject at hand. This is the place for discussion of renewable energy issues, examples of your own experiences with it, questions about it's use and links to relevant websites. Here's a link to get started, the publication that is considered the bible of the renewable energy business, Home Power magazine.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.2}: Karen Iwamoto {kai28} Sun, 16 Jan 2005 20:12:56 CST (4 lines)

this might not really fit here, but here goes:

does anyone know of a way to find reclaimed stone countertops in New
England? I tried to google it, to no avail. I know its a long shot...


{Nature_and_Environment.10.3}: {bshmr} Sun, 16 Jan 2005 21:33:50 CST (12 lines)

The keyword may not be 'reclaimed'. Try Clusty or Vivisimo which will
oragnize and group (cluster) by content. I suggest 'counters kitchen'
as an example to start with. The 'clustering' filters/post-processes
will organize the 'hits/matches' (links) by content. At the least,
this will suggest 'keywords' to use or avoid; normally, one finds a
'cluster' which is helpful -- suggesting combinations or 'jewels'.

It is likely that special interests sites, which restrict
web-crawlers/search-engines, may have loads of info and leads. These
would be found by searching for 'recycling materials building' or
'stone  work' then searching the site or industry. [ Hard way to find
a tool or product review but it often works. ]


{Nature_and_Environment.10.4}: Karen Iwamoto {kai28} Sun, 16 Jan 2005 21:39:58 CST (1 line)

thanks- i'll try that.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.5}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Mon, 17 Jan 2005 00:43:19 CST (HTML)

You might try googline "architectural salvage yards New England" and see what happens. The kind of stuff you are looking for is often found in architectural salvage yards, the places that old interiors and trim often wind up if someone is careful enough in a demolition to let it get taken out first.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.6}: ... {wren1111} Fri, 28 Jan 2005 19:03:06 CST (HTML)

Flywheel Batteries ---- Kinetic Energy Batteries

Flywheel Batteries; A new spin on energy storage ""

RPM's No-Loss Power Storage/Regeneration System ""

Battery-Free Back-Up: The Flywheel Alternative " id=3466"


{Nature_and_Environment.10.7}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Fri, 28 Jan 2005 19:53:44 CST (HTML)

Flywheels have been around for a long time. One of the biggest drawbacks is what to do with something large and heavy spinning at many thousands of rpm's when it shatters and turns into a mass of high speed shrapnel.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.8}: Richard Witty {gisland} Fri, 28 Jan 2005 19:55:21 CST (18 lines)

Energy storage is the name of the game.

Fuels are energy storage.

Utilities are interested in energy storage for financial purposes
largely. Peak electricity can be MANY times more expensive than non-
peak. So a utility with good energy storage, can buy cheap and sell
dear. Even if a fly-wheel lost 20% of its energy in a day (I don't
know the actual statistics), it would still be cost effective 300
days of the year when daytime energy costs swing more than 20% daily.

For a home, employing renewables, a flywheel sounds like a promising
fixed storage design.

Its not portable, like fuels are though.

And, at the speeds that flywheels must spin to retain energy, if they
spin off their plane, they can be extremely dangerous.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.9}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Fri, 28 Jan 2005 21:18:51 CST (HTML)

Well, flywheels can be used in vehicles, don't know what kind of range they'd provide though. The big danger is what happens to them in an accident, there's no way to control the resulting explosion.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.10}: Richard Witty {gisland} Sat, 29 Jan 2005 06:57:16 CST (7 lines)

It actually happened in 1997. A model Chrysler vehicle with a high-
tech flywheel, came off its plane, shattered and destroyed seats
thirty rows back in an empty grandstand (thankfully).

The type of flywheel was prohibited from racing.

I'm sorry I don't have more details or a citation.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.11}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Sat, 05 Feb 2005 17:47:47 CST (5 lines)

I need help. I want to be able to hook up an exercise bicycle to
something that will generate enough electricity to power a boom box
or small TV. This will be used by Special Education high schoolers.

Does anyone have any info on what I need and how to hook it up?


{Nature_and_Environment.10.12}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Sat, 05 Feb 2005 19:02:16 CST (HTML)

There have been articles on this technique in Home Power magazine if you can't find it on the site you can e-mail them and ask about it. It doesn't generate a lot of power, much less than you'd think, and you'd be advised to get a battery rather than trying to drive a TV directly (you'll need an inverter and other gear).

One thought is to use a bicycle driven generator to run a small DC pump. The speed of the pump will vary with the output of the generator so as the kids pedal faster the water will run faster and as they pedal slower it will run slower. Really gives a graphic demonstration of how much power you can generate.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.13}: {bshmr} Sat, 05 Feb 2005 19:38:43 CST (6 lines)

I scanned search results from google using the following:

exercise +bicycle +electricity +generate

that will get you some university class projects, 'end-timers',
hobbists, teachers, ... .


{Nature_and_Environment.10.14}: Jan Rickey {jrickey} Mon, 07 Feb 2005 09:54:31 CST (1 line)

Thanks! I'll check out your suggestions.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.15}: ... {wren1111} Tue, 15 Feb 2005 15:34:29 CST (HTML)

Tasmanian paper made from 'roo poo'

"It's a great product for tourists, but it's also something that gets our eco-friendly message home to a lot of people," said Joanne Gair, manager of Creative Paper Tasmania.

The first batch of paper has now been produced, but Ms Gair conceded that there was one remaining problem - finding a constant supply of kangaroo and wallaby dung.

"At the moment we are finding it very difficult to get the quantity of poo we need," she said.

"We are hoping the community will help by collecting poo for us and dropping it off in plastic bags. New or old, we'll take it all," she told the Advocate newspaper.

The company estimates that about 400 A4 sheets of paper can be made from 25kg (55 pounds) of kangaroo manure.

Ms Gair said her idea was inspired by the success of the elephant dung paper industry in Africa.

"I also discovered that in Scandinavia, elk poo paper is the stationery of choice in most offices," she added.

"That got me thinking we should create a uniquely Tasmanian paper from roo poo."


{Nature_and_Environment.10.16}: William Lynn {billcorno} Sat, 26 Feb 2005 21:51:02 CST (9 lines)

What a great way to help treat the excrement of 300 million humans
in this country!  I just don't think there would be a lot of takers
for doing the job of collecting and processing it all.  Kind of like
working with nuclear waste.  You've gotta be really hurting for a


(Now it might be worth the paper it's printed on!)


{Nature_and_Environment.10.17}: Ray Reynolds {somemuse} Sat, 26 Feb 2005 22:09:50 CST (2 lines)

What a great way to inspire the environmental community! perhaps they
can stage a bowel movement?


{Nature_and_Environment.10.18}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Sat, 26 Feb 2005 22:33:36 CST (HTML)

Likely the quality of the actual roo dung. I suspect it is much like horse manure only with more plant matter, which would make it a candidate for paper. It would be perfect for printing the Washington Times.

I doubt it would work with human waste. Unlike animal waste it doesn't have as many uses, though if it could be separated out from all the other junk that goes down the sewers it could be useful.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.19}: ... {wren1111} Mon, 28 Feb 2005 13:16:23 CST (1 line)

Yes, only herbavores need apply.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.20}: Lucas Pitts {lpitts} Sun, 13 Mar 2005 07:08:16 CST (13 lines)

Has anyone actually retrofitted their home with solar panels?  we
live in Halifax, Nova Scotia and every home here is heated by
heating oil.  By the end of the summer they are talking about oil
being at $80 a barrel and last year apparently they can within a
hair of running out of heating oil nationally.

We were wondering if it might be worth the investment to install
solar panels and then switch to electric base board heating.  I know
that solar panels won't provide much in terms of heat (because it's
so energy intensive) but we thought with the discount it might
provide and by only turning on the electric heat in rooms we are
using it may be a worthwhile investment.  Has anybody ever looked in
to this?


{Nature_and_Environment.10.21}: Richard Witty {gisland} Sun, 13 Mar 2005 08:19:16 CST (8 lines)

I wouldn't do it.

You live in a very harsh climate, with limited sun (angle and clear
days). Photovoltaics won't due much there. And generating electricity
for the purpose of heat is a waste.

More insulation and wind-breaking earth and landscaping is the way to


{Nature_and_Environment.10.22}: Lucas Pitts {lpitts} Sun, 13 Mar 2005 09:44:36 CST (4 lines)

Thanks for advice.  We are already bundled up quite heavily in terms
of insulation and such.  It's just at $80 a barrel (and it does seem
to get more expensive every winter) there just has to be another way
to go.  I just can't see us affording heating oil at $80 per barrel.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.23}: Richard Witty {gisland} Sun, 13 Mar 2005 10:19:20 CST (8 lines)

What R-value are you insulated to?

What wind-breaking features do you have near your home? (It can be
outbuildings, earth piles itself, trees and other landscaping. Not
that expensive.)

I assume you have exposure from the ocean, and also from the north.
Those are the places to wind-break.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.24}: Tom Elliot {telliot} Sun, 13 Mar 2005 19:05:43 CST (HTML)

I'll second Richard on this one. There's no way to generate heat with electricity from PV panels to heat a house without investing in one heck of a lot of very expensive panels. You'd be better off using solar thermal panels (i.e. hot water panels) and a heat exchanger. If you already have existing baseboard hot water or radiators that would make more sense. Though Nova Scotia is a ways north it will still work if you get enough sun. It's the cloudiness that's the problem more than your latitude.


{Nature_and_Environment.10.25}: Lucas Pitts {lpitts} Mon, 14 Mar 2005 15:06:13 CST (10 lines)

Thanks so much for all the advice.  We do get plenty of sun up here
and it's actually not that cold here.  The climate is quite moderate.

As for windbreaking features, there isn't much opportunity for
natural ones.  The house is more or less right downtown, and it's a
row how so technically only 2 walls (front and back) are exposed.

As for insulation, it's a 100 year old house and it's kind of a mish
mash in terms of insulation.  We just blew R value 4.3 into our


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