So, I live in an area where heat is probably the BIGGEST energy consumption. I'm pretty sure if we don't have it we'll die. Therefore, we are very energy dependent. I'm looking for the best renewable energy solutions.
The sun is available about 40% of the time, and usually all at once or not at all. If there were such things as solar curtains, they would work here, again - 40% of the time, during summer, when they are needed the least.
Wind is available about 20% of the time, not usually when the sun is there, and usually it goes from 0 to 30 mph. The good news is it's usually associated with times where extra energy IS needed.
Water energy isn't local to the property, could be done, but usually in the times it's needed the most, it's frozen.
Wood energy has potential, especially with a VERY efficient rocket mass/wood stove design. HOWEVER, I'm highly doubtful it could get everyone through the cold of winter every winter.
Passive solar can help, but a lot of structural changes would be needed over a lot of area to get everyone to benefit from this, not to mention the frost line does end up around 4 ft in the coldest years, which turns basements into walk-in coolers in spring when you first turn the heat off.
I need to work out, and so does my family, but I don't think we would do it enough to produce any electricity worth mentioning.
There are city-bought shares of non-renewable energy. There is not a place for the city to create a power grid. It would therefore, in my opinion, be better for individual houses to produce their own energy in a user-friendly way (as user friendly as a water heater - it's there, it works, when it doesn't work - you call someone). But, I could be wrong.
I'd say it depends on your situation . If you are in wooded country (the northern US seems to be wooded much of the time), there is plenty of wood available for even a modern, efficient wood stove. Just last week I cut half the wood I need for my house from a neighbor who had some dead trees to remove. I've read that a 5 acre woodlot can sustainably provide fuel wood for a house. That was older info so with today's more efficient stoves I would think it is even more likely to work. Around me there are plenty of state, national and private forests where you can get a firewood cutting permit for $20 or so.
If you're in a city then wood access becomes an issue. You didn't mention geothermal which seems to be a high capital system that will give you long term energy savings. Likely ideal more for new construction. Maybe geothermal would make solar electric a possible way to heat your house.
Retrofitting an existing house in town to be more heat energy efficient and energy independent is a challenge. I wonder about if we had local sources of pellet wood fuel? But creating the pellets is probably very energy intensive...
The permie formerly known as "Mike Jay"
"Hundreds of years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the type of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that it becomes a tourist destination"
Thanks! No, not a lot of space, that's why I don't think it would get us that far. Each person may be able to grow about 3 full-sized trees on their lot, but it would take away much of the garden which (in theory) also helps reduce energy consumption. If they grow 6 smaller fruit trees, then that would be dual purpose, but again-not a lot of biomass to burn. As for passive energy such as geothermal, basements kinda do that a little and retrofitting might not be so impossible, but again, the frost line gets down 4 feet, so I'm not sure how good that would be for keeping people comfortable.
Now that I think about it, one thing we MAY have in abundance is methane....but even then, from my understanding of composting toilets, a single-family home doesn't really get more than a barrel full per toilet every year or two, so that isn't even that much. Our compost pile isn't that huge- we keep it tight on wasting food.
We already have a dog warmer. Definitely good, but can't be used always.
It sounds like insulation improvements and an efficient heat plant should be considered first.
Offset with solar technology can be evaluated based on new performance models for the improvements for budget alocation.
Micro Combined heat and Power...
it sounds like you have grid power? Or no?
Either way, CHP can be sized as a heater that inserts power into the grid or your private energy system and the waste electricity will be great for solar shortfalls allowing a battery based pv system to be supported by byproduct of heating your home. It is a great arrangement for locations or designs which do not have suitable resource for full blown renewable operation (includes wood/biomass.).
The benifit to CHP and renewable is that they can fill in for each other and the CHP is available on demand so long as you can procure fuel.
The best conditions for straight CHP would be to grid tie the CHP and use the waste electricity at other times of the year like a storage bin or battery, on a net metering agreement.
insulated blinds work excellent and are woth the money.
This sounds like a planned community type setting. You guys may benefit from having a sit down with a renewable energy systems designer and a person or group that has experience with civil engineering. That scenario would be great for actually building a community owned and operated power plant with solar(includes wind and hydro), biomass and fueled CHP with boiler distributed heating to the community. Scandinavia has adopted this technology
In some form or other with great results.
If its every house for itself, it makes decisions easier to arive at (less politicking) but ease of funding and efficiency of scale and reduction of total components in the system may be enhanced with a community owned and operated central power system.
Im barking up all trees until we hear more.
Hi. Fellow Ohio permie here. We should hang out sometime.
I think that individual solutions are different from mass solutions. An individual solution is something like a woodstove, while a mass solution is something like using all the waste heat from the Perry nuclear plant to heat homes.
Even on an individual level, you has to ask whether you want your solution to be scalable or not. Personally, I am plan to build a net zero energy house (tons of insulation), and utilize nut shells as a primary heat source. This requires a few acres of nut trees. Not so scalable, but I think it will work for me.