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The sun was out yesterday which was nice. The Islanders have been saying that its been raining way too much this year. So thats good 🙂 I was hoping for more then a little bit of sunshine. Not ready to live in a climate like Scotland just yet!
On the subject of sun, I did enhance my solar hot air box further, and have purchased a number of new solar panels to run it and my big panels when I get around to making them. Even my small one (video’d here) creates quite a bit of usable heat. I’m very impressed with it, I might make a longer video detailing it a bit more. We’ll see. Even under cloud the box is still gathering infrared light and saying warmer then room temperature. Its no where near large enough to heat a house BUT it works so well, once I get my big units going, they should really make a dent in our heating bills – at least when its mostly sunny out! Hey, its free energy, so a little bit is fine with me!
My next project I think will be a micro hydro project. What is micro hydro you say? Its the use of a local water source such as a river or stream. It needs a bit of flow, you then put basically a propeller of some sort in it to drive a DC motor thereby producing electricity. See the neat and nice little diagram below. I won’t be doing a water wheel. I’ll be doing a ‘pelton’ wheel which is a little round thing with what looks like spoons all around the edges and that is directly attached to a generator (DC Motor). This is one of the most efficient and steady types of renewable energy since, in a big enough river, the water is always running with a steady flow. The hardware is quite simple too, a pelton wheel attached to a car alternator will do the trick, then you just need some piping to direct the water into the pelton wheel cups. I’ll need my welder for this project though which is still in Ontario.
Along with all this renewable energy stuff, I’ve learned that what is more important than creating all this energy is to make sure you’re wasting as little as possible. The less waste, the less power you need to produce for your house, in the way of heat or electricity. Ensuring that windows and doors are draft free is a big step first of all. Checking insulation values and quality is another thing you can do. And being sure you’re running CFLs is another big way. Oh, and don’t forget to turn things off when you aren’t using them. We have our whole living room console setup with surround sound unit, 32 inch TV, Wii and amplified rabbit ears. All those things constantly draw power, whether on or off. The TV is instant on, the Wii likes to only hibernate and not shut off, the DVD player is always lit up. SO, I had an old Christmas tree light timer box, and I have that shutting off all power at about 1am, and not turning on again until 9am, so that saves 8 hours of electricity from those units. Sure electricity is relatively cheap, but any money I save there can go towards other things and it doesn’t take much to conserve energy like that.
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