Here in New England many home owners have their own source of wood they can use to heat their home. Or, they may decide that local wood or pellets can replace fossil fuels helping them achieve a level independence from foreign oil.
Working with a few of these customers, I have had the opportunity to put together combination wood and solar heating systems for both home heating and domestic hot water.
IT is energy efficient and can save you money. It is a good investment and can help the environment. It leads to less dependence on foreign oil and provides self-sustainability.
IT is renewable energy — solar, wind, water, or the earth’s warmth.
I have had a number of interesting conversations with RV owners who would like to add solar power to their roving homes. In many ways a solar powered RV is like an off-grid cabin or home. The owner would like to be able to recharge batteries when the sun is shining and probably has a secondary or alternative power source for multiple cloudy days in a row or when they want to use a more significant source of power.
For an RV owner, the alternative can be a small mobile generator, or they can find a camp ground with power hook-up. If they want to cook or microwave the dinner while watching the game on TV or power wash the van, they will find an additional source of power to supplement their batteries. Most of the time they can live with the power that the sun can provide in a day.
Green Living Journal published the story I wrote entitled “One Woman’s Journey to a Zero Energy Building”. I like how they advertised it on the cover (My Zero Net Energy Home) and put it out in Left Field
Click here if you would like to read it. I added some pictures in the blog post version. They didn’t have room for many pictures in the journal.
If you have been trying to keep up with what is happening in the world of solar photovoltaics (Solar PV or solar electric systems), you may have heard about microinverters, or small inverters.
In a traditional solar electric system the solar panel produces a DC (direct current) signal when the sun shines on it. Our homes are generally wired for AC (alternating current). The Inverter is the device that converts the DC signal to AC.
The simplest solar electric system consists of an array of solar panels all wired together and then wired to a central (fairly large) inverter which converts the DC to AC and “ties” that signal into your utility company’s grid connection.
Microinverters are small inverters that are attached to each solar panel, so that there is no need for a large inverter. Also, each solar panel acts independently so if one is shaded, the others are not affected. In a traditional system, the solar panels are wired together in series (typically 8-12) and if one module of that series gets shaded, the output from the whole series is reduced.
I’m very excited to report that the Business New Hampshire Magazine has chosen Energy Emporium as the winner of the 2012 Lean and Green award in the Green Building category!
They award businesses in 3 major categories related to sustainability and energy efficiency: Green Buildings (what the business has done with its building to reduce energy use), Green Products/Services (business products or services that provide energy efficiencies), or Sustainability Champions (internal business processes geared towards energy efficiencies and sustainability in the workplace).
Sometimes I get very frustrated with battery technology. Batteries are too heavy, take up too much room, don’t last long enough, and are too expensive. There just hasn’t been much progress in this technology in the last several decades. Why does this matter today?
When we want to replace fossil fuels with solar, wind, or water we are faced with the problem that these energy sources are not always available, we can’t rely on them. We have to have good storage capabilities to hold onto power generated at one time to use at another time. Batteries provide one solution.
Imagine an alternate reality where coal and oil were never “discovered” as fuel sources and most of our research and technology was developed around extracting energy from renewable sources. What might the world look like today?
UVL Home Improvement
For most businesses the best publicity you can get is not what you pay for, but what someone else writes for you or about you that gets the most attention. With Energy Emporium (as with other businesses I’ve been involved with), we have paid for print ads, radio ads, newspaper and magazine ads but I rarely get any response that someone saw or heard those ads.
Contrast that to the case where someone else writes about you or your business — good or bad — you will probably hear about it from friends, colleagues and potential clients.
I was very excited when Upper Valley Life decided to do an article on my house renovation from an 1858 shell to a zero net energy building. I have been living in my “new” house for almost a year and had just completed a workshop at the Building Energy 12 conference in Boston, so I had lots of material and could answer questions, provide pictures, whatever they might need.
Living with a solar energy system will raise your awareness of the sun’s presence to a new level. Now that I am living in a solar powered home (78 Main St renovation), I can provide way too much information on how many days the sun peaked out in December, how much of the energy of the sun still comes through on a cloudy day, and how powerful the sun is on a cold, but bright sunny day in February.
I have a good selection of monitoring and measuring devices for my solar systems, so I am able to determine exactly what are the “perfect” days for peak energy production. It might not be what you expect…