Wednesday, November 4, 2009

WTF (wed-thur-friday)

On some days it seems that all that's left to do is to shrug your shoulders and slap your forehead. I'll leave the reason thereof to your own imagination. I surmise that you've been there of too. Perhaps, you haven't, I dunno. At any rate, I saw this on television. This guy who has been living in a "green house" since the age of 8 and still does. He looks like he's in his 40's. His father is a retired mechanic and he's an electrical engineer, perfect match, profession-wise to maintain a green house. They have everything and anything that there is to save energy built into or attached to their house. Hot water panels. Solar voltaic panels, those are frequently mistaken for hot water panels, instead their function is to produce electricity. Pipes that siphon cold air from deep underground to air-condition their house. Windmills.

Their electric meter runs in reverse on many days. That is, they net enough excess energy to backfeed it into the electric grid and the electric company sends them a payment instead of a bill. That said, the green-house man noted that people won't be motivated to install energy conserving devices "to save the enviroment." However, they'll do it if the green devices saves them money. Plain and simple. Obviously, he does it as an overgrown hobby. But for others, the incentive lies in the dollars and cents angle. Then as an added bonus, they may claim that they're are enviromentally conscious people bent on saving the planet.


kahuku said...

I haven't seen this specific example, but there are many people who have net-metering. There are 3 people in my neighborhood who have windpower to supplement some of their needs. I think a good combination of solar and wind will work well for me. Wind is certainly easier to get started in, and then I think we'll try building one of the $100 solar panels. =)

RONW said...

kahuku- wind power has really developed into an art form. I mean "vertical-axis" windmills. Vertical-axis windmills use to be simply empty barrels fitted with fins on their sides to harness the wind. They've made leaps in the design aerodynamically since then. I don't particularly like the idea of being near the type of windmills with propeller blades. Btw, vertical axis windmills were around way before the Don Quijote kind windmills in Persia 500 AD.

the thing that worries me about solar panels is how do you make them storm-proof?

owner said...

All that crap is still way too expensive to actually save you any money. From what I've seen, the only no-brainer choice for Green Planet People is solar hot water. Most everything else is just about break-even, provided you live another 20 years.

But when you say most people just care about how much cash they're going to save, you're right on the money, which is why so few of us actually buy any of this stuff.

RONW said...

owner- the State even offered residents a tax break to install solar water panels. The larger objective is to invent a replacement for electricity, itself, not finding an inexpensive fuel to generate electricity.

Brad Farless said...

Good point. A lot of people will say they want to save the planet, but most are just worried about the bottom line. If doing all that green stuff would not only save me energy but get me a check from the electric company, I'd sure get on it. But, as was pointed out in other comments, it would cost so much to get everything installed that you'd be lucky to make your money back before you died.