Around here, the Wally Worlds all have skylights, and they cut the
electric lights by half during day shift. I'm sure it is a tiny fraction
of their power bill, but every little bit helps.
'Power' does not always equal 'electricity' or 'oil'. The cheap and easy
way to take advantage of solar is to use it in ways that don't involve
converting it to other forms, or trying to store it very long. For
buildings, if you make passive solar part of the design, you can reduce
the power requirements a lot, without a lot of extra upfront costs. For
daytime, you can use it for lights, via traditional or pipe-style
skylights. Make a passive solar heat mass out of a water tank, a sunny
day will preheat the water for you for a day or three, so your water
heater has less work to do. Etc, etc. Along with the koo-koo tree
huggers, there ARE real engineers out there that have published how-to
books for all this. Of course all this works better in sunny areas, but
a lot of the solutions help even here in the frozen north.
If I had the money to build a new house, I'd definitely include the
solutions that worked at whatever latitude I was building, even if it
was just the traditional super-insulation and lots of south-facing
windows for for winter (with a big stone interior wall for the windows
to shine on), and big overhangs for summer. But since I'm not a rich
man, for now it is just a dream, shivering in the dark.
I'm about to spend a sizable chunk of change to install a geothermal
heating and cooling system in my main residence.
One of the most interesting examples of passive solar I've heard of is
the Mall of America in Minnesota. Despite the location, the mall has
NO heating plant. None. Nada, Zilch. The bill for heating that huge
space is ZERO dollars per forever.
On Sun, 14 Dec 2008 06:59:02 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
I will always bet on the side of physics. When the sun goes down,
outside ambient is cruising in the single digits or less and there is
not much heat being generated by activity in the mall, the temperature
is going to drop.
I built up my own from second hand collectors. A hint is to get them
from a roofer (or a tip of where to find them cheap).
Most people do not take the proper steps when installing them to keep
the roof from leaking and when the roofer blames the leak on the
collectors the customer will not usually want them reinstalled.
That is why I specified 'passive' in my previous post. Most people do
not have the knowledge, time, or interest to do the care and feeding of
an active system, any more than they do the care and feeding of a simple
gas-fired furnace. I still see a few abandoned collectors on roofs
around here as well, but there used to be a lot more, prior to re-roofs.
A pool is easy, if you aren't fussy about looks- a coil of black pipe on
the garage or carport roof, and a more powerful pool pump with diverter
valves. Household heat, not so much. Yes, you can suck more heat out of
the sky with an active system, but at a higher up-front cost, and it
requires more involvement by the homeowner. (not to mention finding HVAC
companies, plumbers, and roofers, that have a clue how to deal with
active systems.) For an existing house, having a sunroom added on south
side, or maybe getting a couple of those window box things, is usually
about as complicated as they are able or willing to deal with. Most
people are not like the people who hang out here- they just want to go
home at the end of the day, and have a dry warm place to sleep.
IMHO, architects and residential designers should be pitching
appropriate passive solar during the design phase for new houses, and
the people who write or guarantee construction loans should offer a
money inducement to include passive features in the design. Or maybe
put the inducement on the tax side, since conservation is supposed to be
a national policy priority. I haven't seen much solar in new public or
educational buildings around here, and that is a big shame. (A lot
easier to have a unit in science class about energy conservation, if you
can take the kids down the hall or down the street, and show them a
system in operation. Get it in the back of their brains for when they
grow up and build a house, etc.)
You really only need one valve and 2 "T" fittings in the return line.
You shut off the direct return to the pool and force it up the "T" to
the roof. It just "T"s back into the return past the valve.
Mine is a bit more sophisticated with an electric valve actuator and
some sensors to figure out when I want the solars running but it is
still only a couple relays, switches etc.
I didn't change the size of my pool pump (1 hp) but you do need a lot
more collector area than you will get with a coil of black pipe.
Typically you want pretty close to the same area as your pool surface
if you really expect a significant rise in temperature.
About the minimum effective area ratio is 50% with a covered pool. If
you don't have a pool cover you are never going to get it more than a
couple degrees above ambient air temp in the afternoon with solars. In
the morning it will be cold again.
I'm no expert on pool plumbing, so I'll take your word for it. But I see
plenty of hillbilly collectors of the loosely coiled black pipe on
garage roofs around here. Maybe a few degrees is all they are looking
for, to extend the swimming season past the Memorial day to Labor day
that an unheated pool provides. ( Really don't understand why anyone in
SW MI has a pool anyway- you can't drive 15 minutes in any direction
without passing a lake.)
Chuckle. That is just to make you keep moving, to stay warm. Most
residential pools are too small for anything but splashing. Lakes don't
burn your eyes and dry out your skin and hair, either.
IMHO, for the vast majority of owners, pools are like hot tubs and RVs-
by the third year, they are barely used. Just too much of a PITA. Now if
you have teenagers you want close by so you can keep tabs on them, a
pool may be worth it. But once the kids are gone? I know several
households that ripped out pools after about year 10.
(Pools are expensive wet spots, where it should be dry. Boats are
expensive dry spots, where it should be wet.)
I'd have to disagree about pools and hot tubs. My family had one of
the first vinyl liner pools in the country. In fact, My later father
wrote the installation manual (in exchange for the pool kit) as well
as articles in Readers Digest and several other major magazines to
promote "a backyard pool for about the price of a compact car".
That pool is still in existence, almost 50 years later.
My first hot tub was home made from a giant wine cask in Santa Cruz
California in 1970. I still have a hot tub today, and we use it
several times a week in the winter.
The pool requires a noticeable, but still not overwhelming amount of
maintenance. The hot tub requires VERY little.
On Sun, 14 Dec 2008 06:57:23 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Unless you were at the board meeting and listened to the presentation
it is all a guess. I just know what the cost of panels is per watt and
what the utility rates are. Without something else to tip the scale,
there is no way they make financial sense.
At least the couple I am kinda familiar with, a second company came
in and essentially leased the roof for the collector array. So, Walmart
most likely is making money whether or not the other company is.
Although, the other company may be.
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