On this page I list all the things that we do to live
sustainably from using solar energy and owning a hybrid and an electric vehicle to simple no-cost
things like composting and recycling rechargeable batteries.
By modeling the world we want to see maybe others
will join us in living lightly on the planet without
compromising a comfortable lifestyle.
CHEVY VOLT ELECTRIC VEHICLE
In In May 2012 we purchased a Chevy Volt electric vehicle.
This section of my site explores the energy usage and
characteristics of this amazing vehicle.
See real time charging and weekly energy usage here.
My blog documents the process of financing, designing,
purchasing and installing a
5.2kW solar power system. My friends and neighbors helped
install it in the summer of 2009. The system currently consists of
31 solar panels
with Enphase micro-inverters behind each panel that convert solar
power directly to 240 Volts AC right on the roof. By installing it myself, I
saved about $9000. See the
real time energy stats
SOLAR HEATING FOR MY WORKSHOP
In 2001 I designed and built a solar augmented heating system for the
radiant floor in my workshop. The backup is propane, and I
later added a wood stove to reduce the propane consumption.
This blog documents the initial construction and the continuing
improvements and lessons learned.
system stats here.
SOLAR DOMESTIC WATER
In July 2006 I installed a solar domestic water heating system
with the help of my friends. This blog documents the
installation of a packaged system that was purchased as a complete
off-the-shelf kit, although I made a few modifications. See
real time monitoring of this system.
I have installed real-time energy monitoring equipment with
live web interfaces to make my energy use and savings transparent:
● Solar electric power generated and historical records of energy usage
● Solar domestic water heater
● Solar building heating system for my workshop (shut down in summer/fall)
● Heat recovery Ventilator temperatures in my workshop (shut down in summer/fall)
HEAT RECOVERY VENTILATION SYSTEM IN
In October 2008 I installed a heat recovery ventilator in my
workshop because the building is so well sealed in the winter
that I was concerned about indoor air quality. This
inexpensive system brings in fresh and removes stale air while
recovering 86% of the heat
as it exits the building.
TANKLESS WATER HEATER
In June 2010 we replaced our failed 50 gallon water heater with
a propane fired tankless, on-demand unit that conserves energy by not losing
heat all day from a tank. Water is pre-heated by the solar
collectors to reduce the need for propane.
SOLAR LAWN MOWER
In July 2005 I converted a gas lawn mower by replacing the
old polluting gas engine with a 12 Volt electric motor run from a battery that
charges from solar electric panels on my shed roof.
In my blog I have detailed every step of the process so that
others can build their own quiet, powerful, zero emission conversion that
runs on free solar power.
friend Topher came up with a design for an interior thermal storm
window that can be made easily and inexpensively. If
placed in all the windows of a home these simple frames of
double pane shrink film can save hundreds of dollars in heating
bills annually in colder climates.
My complete instructions with detailed pictures show you how to
build these simple energy savers. Thousands of these
windows have been built by individuals and community groups
since the fall of 2008.
Insulating exposed concrete walls from the outside with rigid
polystyrene foam and sheathing. This keeps the concrete
inside as warm thermal mass.
Insulating exposed frost walls of my solar heated workshop
door and window framing
A thermal study of our buildings
and WEATHER STATION
In April 2010 I decided to evaluate my site for a potential
vertical axis wind turbine on the roof of my workshop for a
year. So I purchased a weather station that can log wind data.
While my site is not good for a wind turbine, the result of the study was an abiding interest in meteorology.
At right is the real-time local weather from my station as
Weather Underground's site and
Citizens Weather Observer Program page, click the image for more detail.