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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-19-07, 10:46 PM   #1
donrhummy
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NJ resident uses Solar + Hydrogen to power 100% house+car

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070118/lf_nm/solar_home_dc

The owner has a hydrogen powered car and a home that runs on solar power in the summer (storing the excess as hydrogen) and off solar+hydrogen in the winter. Pretty cool
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Old 01-20-07, 01:24 AM   #2
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Here's how the other 217,000 self-powered families in the US do it:
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Some 180,000 families live off-grid, a figure that has jumped 33% a year for a decade, says Richard Perez, publisher of Home Power magazine.

Yet, thanks to the incentives, another 27,000 grid-connected houses supplement the utility's power with their own energy systems, most of which are solar, says the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the American Wind Energy Association.
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Old 01-20-07, 10:49 PM   #3
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Even the folks mentioned in this article spent upwards of $50k setting up their infrastructure. Seems like it would be a big step for someone like me who has a $142 monthly electricity/gas bill. I'm still looking at how much I can squeeze out of that just by doing some simple, cheap things. I am convinced I can knock out another $20-30 by doing 1) replacing the hot water heater with a tankless unit 2) figuring some cost effective way of cutting out drafts from loosely fitting windows 3) not using my electric clothes dryer in the spring, summer, fall by going solar (ie, a clothesline....) and using my wet clothes as a humidifier in the winter.
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Old 01-21-07, 07:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerv
Even the folks mentioned in this article spent upwards of $50k setting up their infrastructure. Seems like it would be a big step for someone like me who has a $142 monthly electricity/gas bill. I'm still looking at how much I can squeeze out of that just by doing some simple, cheap things. I am convinced I can knock out another $20-30 by doing 1) replacing the hot water heater with a tankless unit 2) figuring some cost effective way of cutting out drafts from loosely fitting windows 3) not using my electric clothes dryer in the spring, summer, fall by going solar (ie, a clothesline....) and using my wet clothes as a humidifier in the winter.
gerv,
Have you seen the shrink wrap storm windows? You buy a plastic wrap that you can heat shrink with a blow dryer. You can either tape it over the interior frames of you existing windows or you can build frames that fit in windows and make them reusable. Relative inexpensive and great return on the money spent.

Aaron
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Old 01-21-07, 10:52 AM   #5
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Found this article on the front page of the Des Moines Register this morning

http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pb...LIFE/701210345

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Originally Posted by Des Moines Register

A NEW BUZZWORD has emerged for 2007: micro-generation. The word means people who generate their own energy.
....
McCarger raised two daughters in his place on wind and solar power.

"We didn't want to contribute to the nuclear power industry, global warming or acid rain," McCarger said of spending $15,000 on his wind and solar systems. "It was never about the money."
I figure $15k is closer to something that I could afford. Does anyone know what solar panels cost to set up? Could you do something smaller?
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Old 01-21-07, 12:10 PM   #6
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Home-generated sustainable electric power is probably the most promising energy program in the long run. It will be a slow and expensive program, I imagine. What do you predict? Maybe 25 to 50 years before it's widely implemented?

We have to make sure the Big Energy lobbyists don't sneak in taxes or surcharges that will make it more expensive than it has to be. Instead, we need to impose stiff taxes on "big box" energy. then we should use the revenue to give property owners big incentives to put in DIY power systems.
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Old 01-21-07, 04:45 PM   #7
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I figure $15k is closer to something that I could afford. Does anyone know what solar panels cost to set up? Could you do something smaller?
There are a number of vendors selling solar and wind power systems for $15k. As far as I know energy output of those systems tends to be equivalent to the power use of a person with an electric bill around $20-$30 per month. It depends on the wind or sun exposure your system gets, of course.
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Old 01-21-07, 11:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gerv
Even the folks mentioned in this article spent upwards of $50k setting up their infrastructure. Seems like it would be a big step for someone like me who has a $142 monthly electricity/gas bill.
It's a hobby, that's for sure. More of a lifestyle choice than economic. Especially with what they get to put up with! Solar or wind power generally means having to plan electricity use on top of using low energy consumption appliances. It's kind of like giving up driving; having to do everything differently. Can't just toss a load of clothes in the washer while the previous load dries and vacuum with all the lights on while you wait for that to get done. Air conditioning? Oh well, some people really do enjoy it.
Live like that, and you could lop off most of your current energy bill....
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Old 01-22-07, 12:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnhoJ
It's a hobby, that's for sure. More of a lifestyle choice than economic. Especially with what they get to put up with! Solar or wind power generally means having to plan electricity use on top of using low energy consumption appliances. It's kind of like giving up driving; having to do everything differently. Can't just toss a load of clothes in the washer while the previous load dries and vacuum with all the lights on while you wait for that to get done. Air conditioning? Oh well, some people really do enjoy it.
Live like that, and you could lop off most of your current energy bill
....
So let me see if I understand this. You're saying that people who do generate their own power must drastically plan and curtail energy usage. But if people who don't generate their own power curtaileded usage AS IF they did self-generate, they would have similar energy savings. What if you carried this a step further? Say you curtailed usage AND you bought "Green Energy" from the sustainable plans that most utility companies now offer. Would you not be doing the same thing as the home power people are doing--saving money and the environment?
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Old 01-22-07, 07:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
So let me see if I understand this. You're saying that people who do generate their own power must drastically plan and curtail energy usage. But if people who don't generate their own power curtaileded usage AS IF they did self-generate, they would have similar energy savings. What if you carried this a step further? Say you curtailed usage AND you bought "Green Energy" from the sustainable plans that most utility companies now offer. Would you not be doing the same thing as the home power people are doing--saving money and the environment?
Yep and the infrastructure is already paid for. I had looked into setting up a power system at our place in the country because it was going to cost over $20k to bring power lines into where we originally wanted to build the house. It was going to cost me around double that to set up a reasonable power generation system, and it was going to be fairly limited in the amount it would generate. We ended up not building a house but instead are using an old Mobile home that we have made some major changes to for the sake of energy efficiency. We are on grid, but our year round average power bill is under $75 for 1000sf and most of that is cooling, and with a couple more upgrades that should drop a bit more.

Aaron
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Old 01-22-07, 07:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
So let me see if I understand this. You're saying that people who do generate their own power must drastically plan and curtail energy usage. But if people who don't generate their own power curtaileded usage AS IF they did self-generate, they would have similar energy savings. What if you carried this a step further? Say you curtailed usage AND you bought "Green Energy" from the sustainable plans that most utility companies now offer. Would you not be doing the same thing as the home power people are doing--saving money and the environment?
Now, I never said it made sense! People are weird sometimes.
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