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Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 09:29:07

Gung,
But you made a huge investment up front to make yours a low energy house.

The VAST amount of existing houseing does not meet that description.

You are describing a survivors solution. Which is smart and great. Good for you.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 10:25:10

Newf - I was responding to kublikahn's "long periods without electricity" statement which is a common misconception.

You say; "But you made a huge investment up front to make yours a low energy house."
My home cost the same or less per square foot as conventional homes in the area. Better, more energy-efficient design doesn't mean more expensive. It simply means that form follows function. I see many homes that are designed with aesthetics as the first priority rather than energy efficiency, solar orientation, etc.. That said, I've helped several people convert suitable homes to either off-grid or near off-grid capability, especially during remodeling. Some work their way over time to gradually move towards cutting off the grid power, in the same way we have gradually reduced our reliance upon things like propane and running the generator. On the other hand, we haven't taken annual expensive vacations, bought a boat, driven new cars every few years, etc..
It's more about priorities than being a "survivor". It's also about extracting one's self from society's traps, or avoiding them in the first place. I find things like debt and having to pay utility bills every month to be a bit enslaving, which is exactly what TPTB want.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby pstarr » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 10:45:04

Newfie wrote:Gung,
But you made a huge investment up front to make yours a low energy house.

The VAST amount of existing houseing does not meet that description.

You are describing a survivors solution. Which is smart and great. Good for you.

The folks I used to know and visit (in the mountain around here) who were off-grid lived a very very very different lifestyle. Non of the conveniences one associates with modern life. Mostly vegetarians who lived on nuts, seeds, stored grains and vegetables cooked on propane stoves. Real life hippies. Crap into a poo composter. (properly engineered they are very safe very nice :) )

My buddy held a reservoir party every winter. When the winter rains filled his little pond. He'd run his lights night and day. And blast music. The rest of the time he lived like a monk.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 11:14:37

Kudos to your friends but, except for the solar panels and solar water heater on the roof, our lifestyle appears quite conventional. Washer/dryer, microwave, dishwasher, big screen TV; all of the normal 'necessities'. My wife wouldn't be so happy with the lifestyle you describe.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 12:51:39

GHung, I was not talking about designing and building a new energy efficient house from the ground up. I was talking powering a typical US house. I'm willing to bet your average energy consumption is a small fraction of the average US house. Of course if we rebuilt the entire US housing stock to be more energy efficient we could vastly reduce our energy consumption, on grid or off. But that is a huge undertaking.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby baha » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 15:39:10

Hey Kub,
You missed my earlier thread about renovating my house.

how-to-build-a-cheap-passive-house-t73190.html
I took a typical US house and turned it into an almost passive house. This should be code required for all renovations.

This was all part of the plan. I didn't even think about going off-grid until I was radically efficient. But like Ghung said, I don't suffer for comforts.

My house continues to amaze me. It's June 14, it's 94 outside, and I have the new mini-split set on de-humidify instead of cool. The house is 76 and comfy. The heat pump is pulling 369 watts.
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Re: Wind & Solar Are Wrong Path

Unread postby GHung » Wed 14 Jun 2017, 15:50:56

kublikhan wrote:GHung, I was not talking about designing and building a new energy efficient house from the ground up. I was talking powering a typical US house. I'm willing to bet your average energy consumption is a small fraction of the average US house. Of course if we rebuilt the entire US housing stock to be more energy efficient we could vastly reduce our energy consumption, on grid or off. But that is a huge undertaking.


I've never posited that all American homes could be converted to being entirely off-grid, but many could, and without the occupants having to endure long periods without electricity. A big part of off-grid living is simply behavioral; learning when to use power, especially when there is a surplus, and knowing when to turn things off. Our most frequent visitors are our kids and grandkids who have learned that leaving an unoccupied room with the lights on is breaking hose rules.
Other things like opening windows, being careful with water use, not heating more water for coffee/tea than you need, etc, all become habits. Of course, all of these things are good ideas for everyone. The difference is that when one lives off grid, one may indeed find themselves sitting in the dark at some point if they squander energy.
God forbid we need to turn things off when not in use. BTW: Most of our appliances and electronics have wall switches to make sure they are really OFF. We use about half the kWh off the a similar gridweenie home. Much of that is due to simple habits and behavior.
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