I'm trying to buy a house and need your advice.

Talk about general stuff that interests you (that doesn't fit anywhere else).
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justme
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I'm trying to buy a house and need your advice.

Post by justme » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:29 pm

I'm trying to buy a house down around Waco, Tx and I wanted to see what would be a cost efficient meathod of reducing my carbon footprint. I pretty much know the basics. Triple pane windows, Insulation and all, but I was looking at either wind power or solar power to lessen, if not remove my dependency on my local power company.

I'm fairly sure they burn coal in their plant and I really don't want to add to anything going up into the atmosphere. I'm thinking that If I can remove myself from the grid and show my neighbors my non-existant power bill, I can get them interested in doing the same.

We are out on the plains, pretty much and recieve a fairly brisky wind in that area, but it isn't always the case. We do have a lot of Sun out that way, but every now and then we have three to four days of continuios clouds.

We don't really have to worry about tornadoes out that way. They usually hit up in Dallas.

Koyaanisqatsi
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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:58 pm

I wouldn’t worry about the clouds too much.

Here’s a site on Texas Solar Rebates and Incentives
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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:08 am

Yeah...I'm suspecting that active and passive solar is going to be a good bet for you. Panels are going up around here and we don't have anywhere near the kind of solar access Waco does.

I'm worrying about solar access, myself, and intimidating a neighbor over their inappropriate tree (huge stinking English oak planted at the back of a 45'x100' lot).

I'd say that if you have any potential for wind power and the initial cost is low enough, mayhaps you could use it for excess generation to sell off to neighbors yourself? I'm curious about the more upright, 'arbor-form' wind towers...the ones which look more like trees.
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Peanut
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Post by Peanut » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:52 am

https://www.treehugger.com/wind-technol ... signs.html
Doesn't kill birds or keep neighbours awake.
https://phys.org/news/2016-08-flexible- ... w-smart.ht
Less efficient than the old panels, but you don't have to mount and swivel it, so might be good in some places.
I haven't looked into where these things are made or whether there's an embargo, but may be worth checking out.
In any case, get a meter http://www.p3international.com/products/p4400.html to measure the efficiency of all your appliances. Some are drawing huge amounts of power even when you think they're turned off. We have nearly everything on power bars with switches. You can top up the batteries from hydro during off-peak hours if you need to.

Brick or stone on the floor and/or wall in your porch, living room, hall, or wherever there is a big window, will absorb heat in the daytime and release it at night. Strategically placed water containers will do it better, but they're bulky and may be ugly.
A lean-to greenhouse, shed, workshop or whatever, might help to protect exposed outside walls from extreme temperatures, as well as provide convenient extra space, and you can build them yourself with cheap materials.
We just insulated the north wall of a bedroom room with a quilted mattress bed-cover (thrift store $12) surmounted by loose-weave white ex-hospital blankets ($8 each; one and half for the wall, half of one for a matching curtain). Took most of a day to staple on; looks good and makes a nice background for pictures, but will need regular vacuuming.
If you have light, get lots of green plants: they clean the air and keep it humid.

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Post by Rheanne » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:46 pm


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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:01 pm

This was the wind turbine generator I was thinking of:

Image

I think it rather looks like a lot of dildoes hanging in a dead tree, but, hey...

Image
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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:18 pm

[quote=""Rheanne""]Wind tech, grey water gardening, lots of things you can do. Solar power is set to surge in price due to a critical shortage of the polysilicon needed to manufacture it.

Also... solar is 300 times (that's 30,000%) more polluting in terms of toxic waste than nuclear power.[/quote]
Undoubtedly there will be huge problems in the disposal of of PV panels, but I have no confidence in the capability of the National Review to report on it with any measure of objectivity. It's staff, from the senior editor, Jonah Goldberg, down is too virulently anthropogenic climate change denialist.

ETA: Having read up on that publication a little more, I don't think it contains a great deal worth reading. It endorsed Ted Cruz in last years' primaries, and then there's this front page:

Image

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Post by Rheanne » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:58 pm

Without making any representation on the point you're making, poisoning the well is hardly going to improve on its acceptance.

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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:03 pm

Ewww...I didn't realize they'd slipped in to big L delusions.

That rag used to be the home of arch-conservative William F. Buckley.

Does this mean that Rheanne (aka Val) has taken to citing American economic and social troglodytes as a source?

Forfend! Say it is not so!
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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:04 pm

[quote=""Rheanne""]Without making any representation on the point you're making, poisoning the well is hardly going to improve on its acceptance.[/quote]

You should talk.
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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:14 pm

Since we seem to have some people here familiar with the technologies.

I'd like to ask about the typical wind towers being constructed internationally for electrical power generation.

There are claims that these towers 'kill birds'.

For the life of me, I cannot picture how a bird might be killed. Do the big stupid birds come to play dangerously among the windmill towers, dodging blades and having a wild time tempting death? I don't get it. How are birds killed by these huge windmill blades?
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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:13 am

[quote=""Roo St. Gallus""]Since we seem to have some people here familiar with the technologies.

I'd like to ask about the typical wind towers being constructed internationally for electrical power generation.

There are claims that these towers 'kill birds'.

For the life of me, I cannot picture how a bird might be killed. Do the big stupid birds come to play dangerously among the windmill towers, dodging blades and having a wild time tempting death? I don't get it. How are birds killed by these huge windmill blades?[/quote]
Yes, wind turbines do kill birds, but it's all relative:

Image

I heard the person who made that graph tried to add a column indicating how many birds were killed by deforestation, but had to abandon that idea. He only had a litre of ink.

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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:58 am

Heh...Thanks.

I don't see 'aircraft strikes' on your graph. Bird strikes are quite common in and around airports. I would think more common than electrocution by power lines.

I most of those cases I can still visualize how the incidents could happen. But wind turbines don't spin like fan blades, where they turn so fast that they are a blur. They turn relatively slowly. A bird flying in to a wind turbine might as well be flying in to a stationary object....like a communications tower or high tension line tower.
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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:14 am

[quote=""Roo St. Gallus""]...wind turbines don't spin like fan blades, where they turn so fast that they are a blur. They turn relatively slowly. A bird flying in to a wind turbine might as well be flying in to a stationary object....like a communications tower or high tension line tower.[/quote]
Example of how to calculate blade tip speeds:

A 2.5 MW wind turbine has a diameter of 100 m. Therefore, the blade tip traces a circumference of 100 m times pi = 314.159 m / revolution. Using 16 revolutions per minute from the Summerhaven example, the calculations are:

16 revolutions per minute x 314.159 m = 5026.55 m per minute
5026 m per minute x 60 minutes per hour = 301,593 m per hour
301,593 m per hour / 1,000 m per km = 302 km/h
Link

Aircraft have nothing like the frontal area to hit compared to a wind farm, nor are they active anywhere near the amount of time at an altitude where they are likely to hit birds.

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Post by Peanut » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:28 am

The wind farm numbers are a bit deceptive, since there are not very many of them in place yet - compared to big stupid skyscrapers with their lights on all night. I question the agricultural chemical stats, as well: a lot of those are being used illegally and not reported, and I'm pretty sure they fail to count the indirect result of insecticides killing all the insects that birds need to feed their young.
I don't see habitat loss on there.

Anyway, I think the whole idea of giant wind farms is wrong. The grid idea is wrong. Homes and villages, farms and towns and factories should all be generating their own power, locally, on a small scale, by the most efficient, cheapest and safest means available.
At the same time, reduce your power consumption; stop wasting; do things manually; keep your house and your life simple - use your head.

BTW I like the tree full of dead dildos. I'm sure other amusing configurations and colours would work just as well.

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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:21 am

[quote=""Peanut""]The wind farm numbers are a bit deceptive, since there are not very many of them in place yet - compared to big stupid skyscrapers with their lights on all night.[/quote]Yes, wind farms have contributed only 5.55% of the electricity generated in the USA in 2016. Had it been 100%, an extrapolation of the figures would result in 4.2 million bird deaths, still behind all other causes listed except for agricultural chemicals and still dwarfed by deaths due to automobiles, building windows and cats.

Oh, a blackbird just crashed into my glass sliding door. It flew on, though.

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Post by Peanut » Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:58 am

[quote=""Hermit""]Yes, wind farms have contributed only 5.55% of the electricity generated in the USA in 2016. Had it been 100%, an extrapolation of the figures would result in 4.2 million bird deaths, still behind all other causes listed except for agricultural chemicals and still dwarfed by deaths due to automobiles, building windows and cats.
[/quote]
Right, so 4.2 million is - what? insignificant?. Solar panels don't kill anything directly: we still have to be mindful of their indirect negative effects - wherever those manifest. We still need to make them more safely and cleanly and learn to dispose of them properly. Of course it can be done! People have been more mindful of the possible hazards of tide and wave power. The techies developing those systems are trying (I don't know with what success) to keep them from killing any sea-life. It kind of matters, even if there are bigger and worse dangers. The bigger and worse dangers also matter, but do not come under consideration when you're planning to power your new home.
Except for not getting any cats. But hardly anybody plans to get cats. They just come. Or cars. They're just needed to get someplace.
All the same, if you have solar and/or wind generated electricity, you're far more likely to turn off the lights when you don't need them. So it all evens out.

(I have stapled ribbons over my west-facing windows to warn the birds away. Mostly it works, but I still get the odd stupid one concussing itself. )

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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:37 am

[quote=""Peanut""]
Hermit;680922 wrote:Yes, wind farms have contributed only 5.55% of the electricity generated in the USA in 2016. Had it been 100%, an extrapolation of the figures would result in 4.2 million bird deaths, still behind all other causes listed except for agricultural chemicals and still dwarfed by deaths due to automobiles, building windows and cats.
Right, so 4.2 million is - what? insignificant?.[/QUOTE]
Nobody called it insignificant, but 4.2 million dead birds are a lot of dead birds. Also 0.175% of the number of birds allegedly killed by cats in the USA. Make of it what you will, but beware of constructions made of straw.

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Aupmanyav
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Post by Aupmanyav » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:41 am

Back to the village: Solar Chimney, Yakhchal, Badgirs, Qanat.
Image Image Image Image
Last edited by Aupmanyav on Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hermit
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Post by Hermit » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:01 am

[quote=""Rheanne""]Without making any representation on the point you're making, poisoning the well is hardly going to improve on its acceptance.[/quote]
Of course not, but it is not I who is poisoning the well. The article may as well have been published by Breitbart.

Image

Yeah, I know Rheanne won't be able to reply now, but she can do so next year if she wants to.

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Post by Koyaanisqatsi » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:51 pm

I think the dead bird claim is even more specious as the ones I’ve seen by denialists/corporate shills aren’t that birds will be chopped up by the blades, rather it is that the turbines displace bird “homes” and/or alter their wind stream/flying patterns, which in turn result in birds dying. I think Jerome was the one who first argued these (and the notion that there was a finite amount of wind, believe it or not). So that should tell you all you need in regard to their efficacy.

And for those not familiar with Jerome, just think Trump Precursor.
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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:08 pm

IIRC, the problem with both solar and wind generation is that generation is not smooth, nor usually contemporaneous with the demand for power...storage being the issue.

Has cost-effective storage of electrical energy made any improvements of late?

Safe, compact, cost-effective storage of significant amounts of electrical energy.
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Roo St. Gallus
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Post by Roo St. Gallus » Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:48 pm

And, you will be paying an energy bill. It will be the cost of the capitalization of your property with alternate energy generators, battery storage units, and slack time back-up generators.
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Post by Peanut » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:35 am

It really doesn't matter about the stupid birds - they're going extinct anyway. I only mentioned that as an added advantage of a bladeless wind generator, that's quieter, more efficient and independent; hasn't any of the objectionable attributes of the those monster turbines along the lake-shore.

I think the existing wind-farms are a new problem, rather than a solution to a problem. For a start, they're controversial. I don't know whether they cause migraines in people and loss of milk production in cows or not - I do know that they're splitting neighbours into opposing camps around an enterprise on which communities need to unite if they're going to have any success. They're also adding to the problem of distribution by an aging infrastructure, to an ever-more-demanding consumer base. Investing in them adds more debt to an already burdened public sector, as more and more retired and redundant people have less and less income and need subsidies.

They're also feeding into, and perpetuating, "the grid", which was always a terrible idea.

The major issue is decentralization, that nobody wants to consider, maybe because it's complicated and uncapitalistic. For an individual household, getting off grid is expensive and the various local governing bodies make it as difficult as they can, with zoning bylaws and building codes. It's hard to get a permit for an earth-sheltered house, or for any alternate material, such as straw bale or stackwall or adobe, which would save energy. It's hard to meet code standards with any method that isn't a hangover from the 1950's. And it's really hard, most places, to get approved for alternate energy without at least hydro backup, with 'delivery' and other non-productive charges. Our monthly hydro bill is around $45, only $5-8 of which is for the actual electricity we use.

If you want an improvement, you need to get active in getting the rules changed, getting the newer technologies accepted into mainstream - and especially getting the financial interests out of the rule-making process.

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Post by Peanut » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:43 am

[quote=""Roo St. Gallus""]
Has cost-effective storage of electrical energy made any improvements of late?

[/quote]
I've heard that it has, and is about to take a leap forward, but I've not been keeping up with technological news lately. Pretty sure I won't live long enough ever to drive an electric car powered through its shimmering skin.

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