# Green Homes

1. Jan 29, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I am in the unique position of being able to implement ideas for green homes immediately for production. If you have any ideas that you would like to share, we will consider your ideas and may use them. It is a chance to help change the world a little bit.

Yes I do benefit from this but not from the raw idea, so I can't offer any financial returns. Note also that any information posted that is not already protected becomes public domain.

I will be paid to help implement ideas that we use.

2. Jan 29, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

How about letting the electric company control your thermostat so that you can't use more than your fair share? <runs and hides>

3. Jan 29, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
:rofl: I think instead we will let logic control the thermostat. And since I will be writing the program, it appears that I will be controlling your thermostat! <wild howl and fanatical laughter>

4. Jan 29, 2008

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
5. Jan 29, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Buy an energy efficient air conditioning system and furnace. You'll be better than LEED certified, which inexplicably does not give extra points for efficiency (they require only the federal requirement). Get a zoned system and a good programmable thermostat. The savings can be huge.

Research heat pumps (air and ground source), but don't fall for the hype: find out of they are really appropriate in your area.

Similarly, insulate it well, and don't skimp on the windows. Double-pane, reflective, etc.

Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
6. Jan 29, 2008

### chroot

Staff Emeritus
Russ,

In many climates, the Passivhaus doesn't need any heating or cooling system at all. That's hard to beat. Superinsulation and airtightness are critical for energy efficiency.

- Warren

7. Jan 29, 2008

### binzing

Our new house is very green. Its straw bale on 3 sides and the south side is cinder block, with multiple fake windows going to black painted cinder blocks. So it is effectively a trom (sp?) wall. Also the floor is Santa Fe bricks with radiant heating. Hope this gives you some ideas.

8. Jan 30, 2008

### jim mcnamara

There is a fairly new heat pump technology -geothermal. Its uses electricity solely for the heat pump itself. It uses the ground as a heat sink/source. It also acts a domestic hot water heater.

See:
http://www1.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/heatpumps.html

We almost installed one, but the quotes for the only system approved for installation in our area were way too high to justify them. Now there is competation and the price dropped dramtically....

9. Jan 30, 2008

### RonL

Does this mean things already on the market, or is your group able and willing to do R&D ?

10. Jan 30, 2008

### OmCheeto

We had a similar discussion at my old forum.
Here is one of my ideas:

http://home.europa.com/~garry/atticheat.JPG

As everyone knows, the sun deposits around 1000 watts per square meter onto the earth.
So your roof, even collecting just a fraction of this energy as heat in the attic, can be used as a heat source.
The main cost of the system is of course the solar panel.
Everything else can be purchased at either the junk yard or off the shelf for less than $200. I would imagine if you wanted a new radiator and fan it would probably run you around an extra$300.

My other idea was to dismember both an old refrigerator and clothes dryer.
Replace the heating element in the dryer with the guts from the fridge.
Might take a bit longer to dry your clothes, but I'm sure the energy savings would be significant.
You'd also have to hook your dryer up to the drain system in the house as you'd no longer be pumping the heat and moisture outside but condensing it inside the house.

One thing I've currently got hooked up is whole house navigation lighting.
This consists of LED lighting around the perimeter of each room.
It casts about as much light as the moon and consumes about 1 watt of energy per room.
Of course you can't read, cook, or do much besides walk around with that little light.
But if I forget to turn them off when I go to work, I only waste about 10 watt-hours of energy vs 600 watt-hours if I left on a 60 watt bulb.

11. Jan 30, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Both.

Thanks for the contributions so far everyone.

12. Jan 30, 2008

### turbo

One season-dependent idea is to install a valve in the vent of a clothes-dryer. Around here, houses get very dry in the winter, so capturing the waste heat AND moisture from the dryer would be a great thing in the winter.

13. Jan 30, 2008

### RonL

If everyone will promise to put away the label makers, i have an idea that i have sketched by hand. But first would like to see if there might be a general agreement by staff, of two of my personal motto's.
1. "There is no such thing as a stupid idea, any idea produces, one of two, or both, the opportunity to use or apply what we know, or the impetus to learn more".
2. "A crackpot is someone that presents something that is impractical, or impossible, and refuses to accept clear and documented proof that the presentation is wrong".

I think Danger, and i share about the same reason for being connected to PF. It seems he would like to build a hovercraft, and so would i, and after looking at some of his posts, there are other things we have in common but time will tell.

Let me know if it's ok to post a picture.

14. Jan 30, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
Thanks RonL. You can post it as an attachment. If we find something to be objectionable then we won't approve it for general viewing.

15. Jan 30, 2008

### lisab

Staff Emeritus
The heat dumping out of the refrigerator should be vented outside on a hot day, or stay inside on a cold day.

Capture (and filter, maybe?) the gray water for use in the garden, or other uses where non-potable can substitute for fresh.

BTW, I went to a "green building" expo a while back, and was surprised to see the number of things there that dubiously labeled "green." It's a term that's being thrown around by marketers so much, I'm suspect when I see it.

16. Jan 30, 2008

### binzing

Rainwater can be collected and used, via gravity feed, to flush the toilets in the house.

17. Jan 30, 2008

### OmCheeto

I did the calculations on that one day (I live near you Ivan so listen up). My roof catches exactly the amount of water I use in a year. But I would require 76 blue barrels to be completely independent of the water system. It's those darn dry summer months. I suppose during the rainy seasons you could get by with a couple of barrels and cut your water bill to zero.

One idea that is not a good idea(let me know if you want me to delete this part) is to generate electricity from the water collected from your roof. I determined that I could cook 3 packets of top ramen per year by doing this.

18. Jan 30, 2008

### binzing

Yeah, Im not saying use just that, but to alleviate the need for city water, you could try it. Or use a waterless toilet. I was at our mall today and saw that they have waterless urinals that use a special valve that uses only the weight of the piss to open, so it closes afterwards and doesn't allow smells back out. Seemed to work just fine.

19. Jan 31, 2008

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
My wife and I have considered building a straw bale home. I think it is incredibly cool that you actually live in one and I am very impressed!!! Could you tell us more about it? How do you like it? What sort of problems have you encountered? What are your typical weather extremes and how well does the house do for efficiency?

It's not really appropriate for our project purposes but certainly applies to the discussion generally.
http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/strawbaleQandA.htm

20. Jan 31, 2008

### OmCheeto

Well, my calculations were for full independence. So I'd say yours is a good idea. Even if you were to only cut your water use in half, that's a lot of cubic feet of water that are not being pissed away.