As we celebrate the independence of our country this 4th of July, I have to think that we have missed the boat. True independence for our country will occur when we are Energy Independent, as well. We have a long ways to go! Too many still don’t understand this IS a real necessity that needs to happen in the very near future – NOT 2050 or 2030. That is way too late.
Not only are we on the downside of the bell curve of Peak Oil, but we need to reduce our current CO2 which has gone from 387 ppm on the 4th of July in 2011 to over 400 now, on the 4th of July, 2013 and rising way too fast. The safe level is 350 ppm — we are way over this limit! It must be lowered. Catastrophic results will happen from the melting of the polar and glacial ice. We need to not only reduce our emissions, but also find ways to remove the damages that have already occurred! We could go on and on about how, but will leave that to our quarterly publication and subsequent postings.
For now, you need to understand that Clean Energy can meet our needs. It is affordable to ANYONE who wants to truly stop talking and start walking. Let’s walk that talk people! Let’s all work together to move on up to Renewable Energy in all of our lives!
Of course, this will require that your needs must be reduced. It does not mean you have to give up you comforts. This can all be accomplished. We went from using the average 20+ kW/day, planning to reduce that number down to 10.5 to 11 kWh/day and ended up accomplishing way more… now using, on the average: 3.5 kWh/day!
Did I give up comfort? No! We have a dishwasher, microwave, even a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom; an Amana refrigerator, Crosley Freezer, Premier Cookstove that does not have a glow-bar in it or an electric clock (phantom load) – in fact, all of my clocks are battery operated. We use a front loading washing machine and dryer (but choose to hang my clothes 99% of the time. A soft start Grund-fos well pump which runs on electric, pulls the water from the 170’ deep well, which leads to an oversized pressure tank, and on to a preheat tank for our Solar Hot Water …and on to the Rinnai On-demand Hot Water tank (propane). The on-demand system supplements the SHW in the winter and/or super cloudy days. We use a vacuum cleaner! – imagine that?! I DO try to do the vacuuming on sunny days and am not afraid of a broom or a dustmop (remember them?). I even use a toaster which I might think twice about using on cloudy stretches and then will fry my bread if i have the urge for toast. My microwave is on a wall switch that is turned off after use, reducing the phantom load.
The office includes an iMac that is made with some recycled material and uses low energy. It is on all day long. The fax and printer are turned off when not in use. The ceiling energy star fans and open windows (we live in VT & NH!) keep it nice and cool in here, along with the design of the structure.*
All of this and probably many things I am forgetting to mention – (like the stereo and television, that are connected to a wall switch that addresses the phantom load issue that really add up. Energy efficient lighting that anyone and everyone should have changed by now is a given (shame on you, if you haven’t replace yours!)
All of our electricity is produced from SOLAR! In fact, we do not even come close to using all that it produces or could produce.
Our system was designed, as I stated in the beginning, to meet our needs if we were to use 10.5-11 kWh/day:
• 24 160W panels = 3,840W system or 3.8 kW,
24 2-volt lead acid deep cycle batteries for storage.
So …part of the charge controller’s job is to avoid overload and thus it stops the system from taking in any more electric when the batteries are at full capacity. This is usually accomplished by 9:30 every morning – maybe 10:30 on a cloudy day. We can go 7 to days before the propane generator will come on! (You must have guessed that we are off-grid**) It never came on last year! We use less than 65 gal. of propane a year. (Gotta work on lowering that – it’s a fossil fuel)
The point of telling you all of this is to show you that YOU ALL can do this, too! It will take a LOT of work by us all, but just going solar and using renewable energy CAN lead to a truly Independent country – an Energy Independent Country where we will, hopefully, be able to celebrate as such on the 4th of July in our near future!
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY (Independence Day, 2013) to you all!
*The structure is passive solar with SIP’s (R-38 walls, R-47 roof); triple pane doors and windows, with 4 foot overhangs to keep it cooler in the summer on the south and a porch on the west; breezeway & garage on the north to get some relief from the elements in the winter; basement walls are Insulated blocks that give us an R-25 against the earths insulating value, as well…
** We would love to be on-grid, if we could afford the $30,000 to bury lines to connect. Maybe Washington Electric would like to donate that to us so that we can send our extra energy back to the grid, to help others and not waste what we could produce, if only given the chance.In our next issue of Green Energy Times, we will deal with windows, saving energy, and saving money. Watch for this and other ways that you can move into Energy Independence in your own life, be it at home or at work – in future issues of Green Energy Times. Our next issue comes out on August 15th!