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  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanW13 View Post
    To build the equivalent wind farm to match the energy output of a Nuclear plant is something like 10,000 acres of land for wind to about 5 acres for Nuclear
    I saw a show on the Discovery channel a couple of months ago talking about some new wind turbine technology some people in Australia were working on.
    It doesn't require that there actually be wind blowing, it works off hot air rising.
    They built a test facility for it and are ready to go full scale with it.

    Essentially it is a huge circular structure with a transparent roof(think greenhouse) that gently rises towards the center.
    In the center is a very tall hollow structure, essentially a chimney, with wind turbines in it.

    The idea is that air under the greenhouse structure heats up and rises through the chimney, providing the wind for the turbines.

    Now here is the real kicker.
    The project they propose will have a greenhouse structure that is 3 MILES in diameter, and if built as planned, the central chimney will be the tallest man made structure on the planet.

    That is about 7 square MILES!

    The proposed cost of the project is between 3 and 4 billion dollars.

    The estimated peak electrical output is 300 Mwh during the day only, with some residual for a while after sunset as the thing cools down until the stack effect stops, at which point it generates 0 Mwh of electricity, even when it is windy.

    Or for about the same money, they could build a nuclear plant on 10 acres of land that makes >1000 Mwh all day every day...
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  2. #15
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    Jun 2005
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    SW Wisconsin
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    5,031
    At this point in time, I agree with jerryd_2008 & motoguy128, you guys along with Phasewolf who cut his energy use in half, (plus others')are really on the ball. Very interesting post by mark_beiser, ha ha, costly, wow.

    DanW13 has some good points, but seems a little extreme, - only my viewpoint.

    I am primarily for all the ways there are to reduce home energy use just by the choice of the way we do things. I never use a clothes dryer, wash my clothes in tap temp water & hang dry in house during winter & on a line in summer.

    My home is all electric except for oil heat, which is my biggest energy expense. My total electric use bill runs around $45.00 a month the year around.

    HVAC contractors can do tremendous things to help folks save on their energy costs without going Green.

    I watch the Green satellite CH, there is an unbelieveable amount of new technology in many areas that has the potential to eventually solve our energy problems; but for now it's up to you guys doing HVAC.

    I realize the geothermal heat pumps are usually too costly.
    It is critical that we keep the energy reduction costs down, & that is where the media can make the difference.

    I am shouting at Public Radio & TV (on> twitter.com/udarrell) to show & tell people how they can greatly reduce their energy usage. So far all we get on DTV is ancient history & cooking show reruns, a waste of everyone's time.


    Turn the energy conservation mission into a money saver for customers' & tons of work for you. - Darrell
    Last edited by udarrell; 07-09-2009 at 12:47 AM. Reason: Spelling correction

  3. #16
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    Aug 2003
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    Fort Worth, TX
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    11,376
    I'll weigh in on this thread with the following thoughts, since residential energy efficiency and comfort is an ongoing interest of mine:


    • Agree with concerns raised here over cost of energy retrofitting/construction, and over consumer spending power hampered by floundering economy caused by fiscal irresponsibility from multi-partisan sources
    • Have been dismayed with government programs in the past that mandated higher SEER rated equipment, but put no teeth behind assuring same higher SEER equipment was installed in a fashion to perform as designed, return investment, and reduce energy consumption by end user. Joe Homeowner is motivated by $$, but will be disillusioned when he must pay $$$ in hopes of saving $$ only to realize he's only saving $, or even going - $
    • Decades of consumerism has shifted the focus of many a homeowner away from requiring his or her dwelling offer a truly modern sense of shelter, and toward glitz and glamor, which at best is a fickle affair, due to constantly shifting attitudes in tastes and trends
    • Society and government must encourage an attitude that does not discourage profit, but simultaneously encourages profit gained via integrity and honesty vs. deceit and callous disregard for quality. This is a precarious matter in its own right...government intervention is often perceived as invasive and arbitrary, but lack of government intervention often leads to deceit and callous disregard for quality. We Americans are not well skilled at negotiating nuance in situations like this. Polarization most often rules the day, with the end result no REAL forward progress. Admittedly, government action itself can often carry a stigma or intent of deceit and callous disregard for quality. ALL needs to change, known as a "sea change" in how we regard ourselves, our economic ethics, and our leaders
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  4. #17
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    Aug 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by udarrell View Post
    At this point in time, I agree with jerryd_2008 & motoguy128, you guys along with Phasewolf who cut his energy use in half, (plus others')are really on the ball. Very interesting post by mark_beiser, ha ha, costly, wow.

    DanW13 has some good points, but seems a little extreme, - only my viewpoint.

    I am primarily for all the ways there are to reduce home energy use just by the choice of the way we do things. I never use a clothes dryer, wash my clothes in tap temp water & hang dry in house during winter & on a line in summer.

    My home is all electric except for oil heat, which is my biggest energy expense. My total electric use bill runs around $45.00 a month the year around.

    HVAC contractors can do tremendous things to help folks save on their energy costs without going Green.

    I watch the Green satellite CH, there is an unbelieveable amount of new technology in many areas that has the potential to eventually solve our energy problems; but for now it's up to you guys doing HVAC.

    I realize the geothermal heat pumps are usually too costly.
    It is critical that we keep the energy reduction costs down, & that is where the media can make the difference.

    I am shouting at Public Radio & TV (on> twitter.com/udarrell) to show & tell people how they can greatly reduce their energy usage. So far all we get on DTV is ancient history & cooking show reruns, a waste of everyone's time.


    Turn the energy conservation mission into a money saver for customers' & tons of work for you. - Darrell
    I would love to bring my house to a point where I could heat it with a fart in winter and cool it with an ice cream cone in summer. Short of that, I've taken it upon myself to more deeply understand heat transfer in dwellings, to where the building envelope itself shares a much larger role and responsibility for creating a comfortable indoor environment than it traditionally has. The learning curve is fairly steep, for it is easy to go off on a tangent when the focus must never waver from how each individual component of a house lends itself to the overall whole.

    We're talking about this over on Facebook. Link in my profile. I'm hoping the admins here at hvac-talk will consider creating a forum for energy efficiency/auditing/building science as it pertains to interacting with HVAC systems. The house is a system, and hvac-talk is a great place to discuss it.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  5. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    And if you really stop and look at where each energy soure comes from, unless you have a wind turbine or solar panels one your property, a 95% furnace is just that 95% efficient. With electrical power from the grid, you're looking at about 50% efficiency at best (possibly lower) from the coal fired boiler to the transmission losses. It may cost less, but you're actually consuming more natural resources.
    You have to take the efficiency of a ground source heatpumps into consideration.

    Power plant efficiency can be as low as 30%; however, with a COP of 4-5, total efficiency including power generation can be above 100% by a large margin.

    The other thing is that coal and uranium are more abundant than natural gas and oil. We could be facing a gas supply crisis in the next 10 years unless unconventional gas makes up for decline in conventional production; each year more wells have to be drilled than the last just to maintain supply, let alone accommodate growth

    Human caused global warming is a fraud as far as I'm concerned; the real issue is fossil fuel depletion. Governments should be concerned about gas/oil inputs as opposed to CO2 output. The current environmental approach shifts the power plant fuel of choice from coal to gas, to the detriment of long term energy security.

    Do note that there are now air source heatpumps available which work well in cold weather; ground source is simply too costly at this time.
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

  6. #19
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    May 2009
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    196
    FWIW, some power plant efficiency numbers:

    CO2 emitting sources:
    Fossil fuel subcritical steam: 35%-40%
    Fossil fuel critical steam: 40%-44%
    Fossil fuel nex-gen steam: 48%
    Combined cycle gas turbine: 60%

    CO2 free sources:
    Nuclear: 30%-32%
    Photovoltaic solar: 30%
    Solar thermal: 31%
    Hydroelectric: 90%

    The systemic efficiency and GHG implications of electric heat/cool depends very much on where the electricity comes from.

    As far as modern heat pumps go, some of the Mitsubishi citi multi units are rated for a COP of >3 at -4*. Hallowell's low temperature heat pumps do COP 1.98 @ -30*. In this area, the economics work out in favor of ASHPs vs natural gas at a COP of 1.90 or better. With this kind of performance, ditching gas is a no brainer.

  7. #20
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    Even the low temp air source units can be prohibitively expensive. (Above $10k for retrofit)

    When it comes to heatpumps (of all types), those who don't like them, don't understand them.
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

  8. #21
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    Dec 2007
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    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
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    I hope one takes my point of view the wrong way, i'm all for engery conservation but theres alot of poeple and groups out there that are so hipocrical both of themselves and how they wish to be engery efficient by wanting to have it both ways. We have millions of poeple in kalifornia that want everyone else except themselves to use wind and solar when the fact is none of them are able to provide engery 24/7 like fossil fuels are able to. Plus we have hundreds of groups of people that stand in the way of make engergy more efficient than the current systems.

    I'm all for Nucluear, build 200 more power plants starting today, lets drill for our own oil until we find ways other sources of engery that are better and cleaner. We still need all of the above approach IMO.

    I think as long as people/homeowners upgrade there systems from there current equipment and do the home analysis by insulating, air sealing we can save alot of engery, but when we have morons in Congress or the current Administration who know nothing about energy, or how equipment works or the benefits of improving the homes building envelope we will never get anywhere !!!

  9. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerryd_2008 View Post
    Motoguy, you have told us elsewhere about your home and engineering background. Hope that you might use those experiences to reach the point of understanding that all ideas, no matter how ingenious, are judged by cost-effectiveness in the real world. Engineers, not one but worked in several heavy engineering areas, can't make something unless it sells at a price that customers (not government for them) will buy. The numbers guys make sure of that. Also, bad cost ideas in the past can become fantastic products once the necessary breakthroughs in design, materials, process, etc. finally are accomplished. Not before and not until. No idea before its time. Alternative HVAC solutions aren't quite there yet, certainly not solar and wind and geo needs a bit more work IMHO. Have patience but don't give up on them. I won't.

    I'm all for cost effective solutions. I was only pointing out that from a "GREEN" point of view, a heat pump, even geothermal may cost less to operate, but actually uses more energy and may result in more CO2 emmissions when you consider the source.

    Similarly, ethanol is considered a "green" energy source, but after you factor in the energy requred to prodce it and the "pollution" done to farmland along with petroleum products and fossil fuels used in the overall rpocess... it's not really all that green. Further complicated by the fact that it can't be transported in pipeline for long distances. But then again... I'm from Iowa...so I'm all for it.

    Why isn't gasoline "green" anyway. It's organic... comes from the ground and requires minimal energy to refine and transport it.


    Personally, I believe in going after the "low hanging fruit" first. Get het bst bag for you buck... so geothermal from that standpoint is a great concept. Building more nuclear and wind power will help.

    I'm also not convinced about global warming caused by manmande GHG. I'd rather see us target energy efficiency first, continue ot study other forms of energy and phase out fossile fuels not because they produce CO2, but because they are a limited resource. The rely on petrochemicals for plastics common chemicals, fertilizer and pharmaceuticals. It's more important as a raw material than a energy source. It's just cheaper and more functional with current technology.

  10. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Feet View Post
    FWIW, some power plant efficiency numbers:

    CO2 emitting sources:
    Fossil fuel subcritical steam: 35%-40%
    Fossil fuel critical steam: 40%-44%
    Fossil fuel nex-gen steam: 48%
    Combined cycle gas turbine: 60%

    CO2 free sources:
    Nuclear: 30%-32%
    Photovoltaic solar: 30%
    Solar thermal: 31%
    Hydroelectric: 90%

    The systemic efficiency and GHG implications of electric heat/cool depends very much on where the electricity comes from.

    As far as modern heat pumps go, some of the Mitsubishi citi multi units are rated for a COP of >3 at -4*. Hallowell's low temperature heat pumps do COP 1.98 @ -30*. In this area, the economics work out in favor of ASHPs vs natural gas at a COP of 1.90 or better. With this kind of performance, ditching gas is a no brainer.

    Thanks for the info. You forgot wind! I think it's <5% efficient based on the total swept areas of the fan blades.

    I didn't realize Hydro electric was so efficient. Some river installations without resevoirs are much lower depending on how it's measured, because river levels change, vertical drop changes and the power house only uses a fraction of the total river flow.

    Do you have good numbers for the power losses on the grid in transmission form the generator to you home? In most systems I think it goes frm 13.2kV to 69kV or 128kV then has to be stepped back down all the way to 230V. That along with wire resistance.

    That's the advantage of yout HE home furnace... it's blows away the NET effciency of the others... and since we have a national grid where providers are constantly buying and selling power, you really have to average the entire grid efficiency together.

    So coal ~50%, Nuclear 20%, Natual Gas 17%, Hydro 7%, oil 3%, renewables 3%. This is from 2004, so renewables are probably slightly higher now, and there's been some more CFBs built in the last 5 years and many natural gas plants are only used as standby/peaking stations when prices went up sine they can easily be started quicker and can usually swing fairly well. Nuclear is always a base load. Coal is normally a base load but can swing a little as needed. And hydro is so cheap they make all they can so it's also a base load.

  11. #24
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    Jun 2009
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    Spicewood, Tx
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phasewolf View Post
    Now if they are going to pay for the audit and the repairs then sure I have no issues with it. But I don't see that being the case.
    And the money will come from where?? Your pocket thru higher taxes, either income taxes, sales taxes or some small hidden fees on your utility bills, etc. No such thing as a free lunch is still very much true.

  12. #25
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    Northwest Arkansas via Chicago Area via Straight Up from There on Lake Superior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cold Feet View Post
    FWIW, some power plant efficiency numbers:

    ...

    CO2 free sources:
    Nuclear: 30%-32%
    ...
    Lost me on this one, CF. What CO2 does a nuclear plant emit? Why isn't nuclear 90-100% just like hydro? You talking some birth-to-death scenario or ??????

    Whoops! Never mind! Reread and now understand.

  13. #26
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    memphis
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    81

    Thumbs up Lots of little things make a difference!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phasewolf View Post
    I installed CFL's in fact that is all I have in the house did it before I even moved in. There is 28" of insulation and I am hoping to eather replace the windows or caulk them soon. The ducts are all being resealed by me with mastic when I get the time sense they are in the basement and easy to get too. The house has brick outside not sure what else I can do to make things better.
    • prog t-stat
    • cfl bulbs
    • hw heater blanket
    • switch/outlet insulation gaskets
    • low flow sink aerators
    • dryer balls
    • surge protectors with on/off switch on computers and tvs
      • refrigerator coil cleaning


      There are lots of little things to do, I try to use this kind of stuff as add on's to my reg ac work. Some buy the extras and some don't. I've tested them all and they will help your utility bill.

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