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View Full Version : which do you prefer: solar power or more processors?


janey
May 21, 2003, 08:01 PM
a shortage of silicon and microprocessor companies willing to pay up to $70 per kilogram of electronics grade silicon is causing the solar energy revolution to suffer as a result. Because cheap solar-cell grade silicon currently is not produced by manufacturers for ~$10 a kilogram, both the microprocessor manufacturers and solar cell producers are buying the same electronics-grade silicon, causing a major silicon shortage. In 1998, supply and demand was almost the same but ever since them demand has risen in comparison to the supply which has remained at a constant 2000-2500 tons per year and in 2005-2010, the amount of demand could nearly triple, even quadruple the availability. Hopefully new ways to extract silicon will be developed before this becomes a big problem.
Now that you've read a little bit about the current problem, what would you want more: solar power or computer processors? Or would you have both and maybe hope for processors that do not use silicon later in life?

applemacdude
May 21, 2003, 08:51 PM
More processors make my mac faster, I want faster macs!

MacBandit
May 21, 2003, 09:22 PM
Well at this moment Solar is so damn inneficient I think the chips should get the silicon so they can be used to develop more efficient forms of solar power.:p

MrMacMan
May 21, 2003, 09:25 PM
True solar power is über-inefficient I mean like we get like very little power compared to the theoretical power output.

I think computers, untill they get better, then I would get Solar Powered computers. :D

Mr. Anderson
May 21, 2003, 09:41 PM
Given the inefficiency of solar cells, this current trend is fine. Once a viable, efficient solar power is available, the demand for more solar cells will increase, causing a shift in this equation. For now, give me a faster computer - it might help crunch the numbers to make better solar power :D

MacBandit
May 21, 2003, 10:15 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
Given the inefficiency of solar cells, this current trend is fine. Once a viable, efficient solar power is available, the demand for more solar cells will increase, causing a shift in this equation. For now, give me a faster computer - it might help crunch the numbers to make better solar power :D

Hmm, that's an original post. Is that how you got though school? Rewriting other peoples essays?:p :D

janey
May 21, 2003, 10:54 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
Well at this moment Solar is so damn inneficient I think the chips should get the silicon so they can be used to develop more efficient forms of solar power.:p
but without more silicon the solar cell producers can't innovate because they have nothing to work with. it's like telling apple to come up with something better looking than the fp iMac...without Jonathan Ive and the industrial design team. it's nearly impossible.

iMook
May 21, 2003, 11:00 PM
Faster processors, do less per clock cycle, so people will be like
Consumer: "Wow, the new G4 processors are rated at 4 GHz"
Macphile: "They're not really that different, Apple just basically changed their values to match Intel's: more clock cycles, less stuff per cycle."

The Intel Tejas will hit 4+ GHz in 2004. Frickin' crazy.
Then again, the storage density explosion is blowing away Moore's Law.

So yeah, faster processors.

janey
May 21, 2003, 11:18 PM
you people think that faster and better processors are better than finding a way to harness energy from a source that's not going to die out for billions of years?
eew. :rolleyes:

MacBandit
May 22, 2003, 12:11 AM
Originally posted by übergeek
you people think that faster and better processors are better than finding a way to harness energy from a source that's not going to die out for billions of years?
eew. :rolleyes:

There's still plenty of silicon and plenty of research dollars for basic research. There just isn't enough silicon to keep the price down so average people can afford solar panels.

Personally I think computers, networking, and the internet will bring world peace through friendship and understanding. Just look around you at all the people you confer with on these boards from all over the world. I think personally that that is more important right now then harnessing the power from the sun through a highly unefficient means.

mactastic
May 22, 2003, 10:00 AM
Forget about PV panels, check this out! I guess you still need sand for the glass, but this could help keep silicon going into chips and solar energy for the masses.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/030103/137/1zoxs.html

Or this.

http://rhlx01.rz.fht-esslingen.de/projects/alt_energy/sol_thermal/powertower.html

MacBandit
May 22, 2003, 11:48 AM
Originally posted by mactastic
Forget about PV panels, check this out! I guess you still need sand for the glass, but this could help keep silicon going into chips and solar energy for the masses.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/030103/137/1zoxs.html

Or this.

http://rhlx01.rz.fht-esslingen.de/projects/alt_energy/sol_thermal/powertower.html

I like both of those ideas also they don't need to fight for sources of material. While silica and silicon are seemingly related because of there name they reall are two different elements. While Silicon can be difficult to process, Silica on the other hand can be found and used from nearly any beach in the world.


I think this idea that they are going to implement in the San Francisco bay is by far the best idea of tidal energy generation I have ever seen and maybe the best form of clean power that man has come up with yet.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/910115.asp

Mr. Anderson
May 22, 2003, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
Hmm, that's an original post. Is that how you got though school? Rewriting other peoples essays?:p :D

Ha! I started to write mine before you post but got side tracked and submitted it after - great minds think alike...:D

D

jelloshotsrule
May 22, 2003, 01:03 PM
why don't we put windmills on the tops of buildings in cities? and if nothing else, that particular building can use the power created as a portion of its energy... probably not going to be a huge %, but up high on the building tops here in nyc (and other cities with skyscrapers), there's tons of wind.

and i agree that there's plenty of silicon for research and such, just not enough for affordable, everyday panels for joe consumer.

maradong
May 22, 2003, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by übergeek
a shortage of silicon and microprocessor companies willing to pay up to $70 per kilogram of electronics grade silicon is causing the solar energy revolution to suffer as a result. Because cheap solar-cell grade silicon currently is not produced by manufacturers for ~$10 a kilogram, both the microprocessor manufacturers and solar cell producers are buying the same electronics-grade silicon, causing a major silicon shortage. In 1998, supply and demand was almost the same but ever since them demand has risen in comparison to the supply which has remained at a constant 2000-2500 tons per year and in 2005-2010, the amount of demand could nearly triple, even quadruple the availability. Hopefully new ways to extract silicon will be developed before this becomes a big problem.
Now that you've read a little bit about the current problem, what would you want more: solar power or computer processors? Or would you have both and maybe hope for processors that do not use silicon later in life?

there is already the alternative, namely the organice solar panels. the only problem is that they are ageing. but in some 5 years or so the devel of those panels should be perfectionnized i think ( speculation, now based on knowing it ;-) )

wdlove
May 22, 2003, 02:31 PM
I have long been interested in solar power. Actually since the '80's when I saw my first solar powered house and earth shelters!

GeneR
May 22, 2003, 03:55 PM
What about hemp? I thought that was the real wonder-fuel. People can get high while driving along...

Isn't that the "Great Conspiracy" theory around Hemp? The oil barons don't want you to know that it's such a good source of energy?

And what about those big ol' windmills? Why not use those things? Sure, it'll knock your windows out, drown out all sound at certain decibels, cause permanent hearing loss, even knock over your cow if you're close enough, but at least it's not oil...

And whatever happened to the idea of using the same wind-up radio technology with a Mac Powerbook? Why not get carpal tunnel syndrome to add a few hours of battery life to your Powerbook?

:D

wdlove
May 22, 2003, 05:35 PM
Originally posted by GeneR
What about hemp? I thought that was the real wonder-fuel. People can get high while driving along...

Isn't that the "Great Conspiracy" theory around Hemp? The oil barons don't want you to know that it's such a good source of energy?

And what about those big ol' windmills? Why not use those things? Sure, it'll knock your windows out, drown out all sound at certain decibels, cause permanent hearing loss, even knock over your cow if you're close enough, but at least it's not oil...

And whatever happened to the idea of using the same wind-up radio technology with a Mac Powerbook? Why not get carpal tunnel syndrome to add a few hours of battery life to your Powerbook?

:D

I would like to use wind power also GeneR. Living within the city of Boston, I don't think it would be feasible though. The back of my house faces South, so solar is a real possibility. If the Conservationists allow it they want to put in a wind farm off of Cape Cod. So hoping that it will become a reality. They estimate that it could power all of Cape Cod! :)

MacBandit
May 23, 2003, 12:47 AM
My mom and step-dad live way out in the Oregon outback 30 miles from the closest one horse town. The closest power is about 20miles away at a huge radar array that is part of the national security net.

They survive on solar, wind, and generators. It's pretty cool out there on the farm. I helped build quite a bit of the building they live in. You might check out some photos I posted from the Ranch on my homepage from when I was out there just a few weeks ago.

GeneR
May 23, 2003, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by wdlove
I would like to use wind power also GeneR. Living within the city of Boston, I don't think it would be feasible though. The back of my house faces South, so solar is a real possibility. If the Conservationists allow it they want to put in a wind farm off of Cape Cod. So hoping that it will become a reality. Thjey estimate that it could power all of Cape Cod! :)

Seriously, it's a real quandry to me how these alternative energy sources are being under-utilized. I would love to see more people using wind power too.

Additionally, I always wondered if the waves of the ocean coundn't be harnessed in some fashion, like through some sort of dam system that used the tide's momentum coming in to and going out from shore to turn the generators.

Does that make sense? Maybe someone here's an engineer who who has McGyver skills and can build a mock up of what I'm talking about out of tinker-toys and Lincoln logs. I dunno.

synergy
May 23, 2003, 08:16 AM
Let the market decide. Currently people place more value on the use towards electronics and not solar. Since solar is innefficient as people say not many are willing to plunk down the big bucks for the benefit. Research is being done to improve yield on solar arrays especially for space based applications. But for the consumer it is not there yet. More likely fuel cells will be the next stage of power generation. Once solar becomes cheaper and more money gets thrown to it then companies can justify larger R&D budgets for solar. As of now there is very little money to be had in solar. Its mostly large applications. The home user has to invest mucho bucks into batteries, cells and more in addition to the knowledge required to maintain the setup.

jimjiminyjim
May 23, 2003, 08:51 AM
While popular opinion here says "faster processors, solar power is inefficient" truth is, if you're calling solar power inefficient, it's because it hasn't reached it's potential yet.

By that logic, we can just as well say "solar power, processors are inefficient"

Of course, I'm all wrapped up in the need for speed and the need for new computers, and someting to consume, so, I cast my dollar with the computer.

Taft
May 23, 2003, 09:31 AM
Before anyone panics, you should check on the current developments in the industry. There is a lot of research going into building better solar cells and methods of silicon extraction, meaning more and better supplies of silicon, faster. Check it out...


http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/05/19/1057246&mode=thread&tid=134&tid=137

...and this one. Canadian scientists found a way to make a solar material (able to be draped oer buildings) from silicon beads that could be harvested from waste silicon chips...

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/02/14/1314222&mode=thread&tid=126

and why haven't we reached 70% efficiency in solar cells yet? (you'll have to read through the comments for some of the answers to the question posted)...

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/01/08/0323237&mode=thread


I'm pretty sure we'll be alright going into the future. Mankind has a way of innovating when situations get tight. Good show, humankind.

Taft

crazytom
May 23, 2003, 09:39 AM
Hmmm. Let me think.

My computer makes money for me, but I have to be there telling it what to do all the time. Yes, faster processors.

But, Solar could also make money (essentially) for me and I wouldn't have to do anything! The American Dream: something for nothing! Yes, Solar power!

Wait...would I have to upgrade my solar cells every 2-4 years? Would I need to get a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Sun)?

mactastic
May 23, 2003, 09:47 AM
The new thought in solar power systems actually doesn't use batteries unless the user is far from the existing power grid. Otherwise it is much simpler and cheaper to sell the excess power you generate during the day back into the power grid, thus making money. Currently in California the utility companies have to pay you the same retail price you pay for electricity so it is an even exchange. Of course they don't like this setup, they'd rather sell you power at retail and buy it wholesale like they do with their traditional suppliers. They are currently trying to rewrite legislation to their benefit (surprise). Batteries were the fatal flaw in previous systems, they took up lots of space, required maintenance, and replacement every few years. I agree that fuel cells are the next big thing, but we likely won't see those in widespread use for at least 10 - 20 years.

phrancpharmD
May 23, 2003, 09:51 AM
Two comments:
I think that to say solar power is "inefficient" needs additional clarification. Solar power, like hydrogen fuel cells, require energy INPUT before they can provide energy (electrical in both cases) output. That being said, the reason both technologies are "inefficient" is because too much energy has to go into making the parts responsible for generating power - silicon derived solar panels and elemental hydrogen gas - thus resulting in a net energy LOSS! That is the major debate with hydrogen powered fuel cells right now; too much electricity is needed for electrolysis (splitting hydrogen from oxygen in water) and the net output is therefore less; the debate is that right now the most "efficient" way of obtaining elemental hydrogen is from YOU GUESSED IT - petroleum! A relative shortage of solar power grade silicon will most likely not have major effects on continued research into making it a more efficient commodity energy source.

Regarding THIS comment:

Originally posted by GeneR

Isn't that the "Great Conspiracy" theory around Hemp? The oil barons don't want you to know that it's such a good source of energy?
:D

Hemp of course DOES have an extremely high energy quotient per amount of biomass, but this is not the basis (to my knowledge) of the Cannabis / PETROLEUM conspiracy theory.

Conspiracy theory legend has it like this: Many varieties of hemp / cannabis exist, some of which contain delta-9 THC (the intoxicant is found in C. sativa, C. indica etc.) and some do not. The cannabis that does not contain D9THC is that cannabis that was used since antiquity in fabricating rope, sails, (it is said that the western hemisphere might not have been "discovered" were it not for the extensive use of hemp in the shipping industry in the 1400's) painting CANVAS, and countless other items. Cannabis in any form was not illegal in the USA until the 1920's. I will spare you the pharmaceutical law minutiae at this time, but trust me when I say that between 1905 and 1930 (and continuing until the present of course) the federal government's role in regulating pharmaceuticals and demonizing and outlawing substances of abuse grew exponentially. In the 1920's recreational cannabis use was linked to a certian demographic "group" (think Louie Armstrong) commonly persecuted by the People in Charge. Here's where the conspiracy theory comes in: apparently, scientists at DuPont around this time discovered a way to inexpensively and reliably produce synthetic fibers from PETROLEUM distillates. Up until this time, (including during WW I) the US military (specifically the Navy) had relied upon and been the largest customer of hemp derived fibers. DuPont supposedly jumped upon the national prohibitionist slant of the time and supported outlawing recreational hemp use - while at the same time ensuring that the bill contained language ensuring that growing, distributing, processing, and selling ALL species of cannabis were outlawed. Once the bill passed the US Navy and other industries dependant upon fibers with extremely high strength needed a new source - DuPont, through the miracle of modern 1920's science, was able to provide all the synthetic fibers anyone needed, and fostered our continued reliance upon PETROLEUM. Don't even get me started on GM and the consortium of automobile-related industries that were systematically buying and dismantling public transportation systems throughout the country as our government was installing leaders in the new nations of the former Ottoman Empire in the Middle East that would be "friendly" and supply us all the OIL we needed at this same time. . .

pseudobrit
May 23, 2003, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by übergeek
Because cheap solar-cell grade silicon currently is not produced by manufacturers for ~$10 a kilogram, both the microprocessor manufacturers and solar cell producers are buying the same electronics-grade silicon

Anyone else catch that? All they need to do is ramp up production of the cheap stuff.

Cheaper silicon = more cheap panels. More cheap panels = more buyers. More buyers = bigger market for solar panels. Bigger market for solar panels = bigger market for cheap silicon. Methinks the industry needs a gov't jumpstart.

MacBandit
May 23, 2003, 12:05 PM
Originally posted by GeneR
Seriously, it's a real quandry to me how these alternative energy sources are being under-utilized. I would love to see more people using wind power too.

Additionally, I always wondered if the waves of the ocean coundn't be harnessed in some fashion, like through some sort of dam system that used the tide's momentum coming in to and going out from shore to turn the generators.

Does that make sense? Maybe someone here's an engineer who who has McGyver skills and can build a mock up of what I'm talking about out of tinker-toys and Lincoln logs. I dunno.

Tidal/wave generators are used in a number of places through out the world. Just do a google search for tide generator. Also I listed a link just a few posts up from yours for a tide generator that San Francisco is installing. It will generate enough power to power all of San Francisco and then some. Also it is non invasive t the animal life because there are no moving parts under the water. Check it out. Here's the link again.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/910115.asp

GeneR
May 23, 2003, 02:44 PM
Don't know how I missed that. Thanks, Bandit. I've been very pro this sort of idea for quite some time and would think that it would make sense for generators like this to be implemented throughout the world.

(Wouldn't that be a hoot?) However, I strongly doubt it'd happen.

RE: Dupont.
That's interesting. I think someone explained that to me a long time ago because it sounded familiar. However, i don't think I ever heard it explained so well. Thanks, phrancpharmD.

MacBandit
May 23, 2003, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by GeneR
Don't know how I missed that. Thanks, Bandit. I've been very pro this sort of idea for quite some time and would think that it would make sense for generators like this to be implemented throughout the world.

(Wouldn't that be a hoot?) However, I strongly doubt it'd happen.

RE: Dupont.
That's interesting. I think someone explained that to me a long time ago because it sounded familiar. However, i don't think I ever heard it explained so well. Thanks, phrancpharmD.

The community college I go to about a year or two ago had a class project in one of the chemistry classes to educate them on researching. The focus of the project was the myths and truths of Marijuana. More then one of the projects turned up the undeniable connection between the illegalization and Dupont. I wish I had a copy of some of the research done now. I read through as much of it as I could but some of it took up 100 pages or more of research just on the Dupont thing. It was unbelivable.

I don't know how many tidal generators there are around the world but the first one was in the 60's. For some reason I think there are around a dozen of them and from what I have read recently they are picking up popularity. The new found popularity is because of new technology and I think especially because of this new type of tidal wave generator that San Francisco is employing. The problems as I see it with a conventional tidal generator is that they hurt animal life as water is pulled through the turbines. Also the problem is the corrosive properties of salt water makes them a high maintenance item. Now with these new generators that work by creating a vacuum from the water flowing past the wings on the bay floor they pull air through tubes that lead up to the land and have air turbines. This totally eliminates an of the down falls of the previous forms of tidal generators. Expect to see many many more of these within the next decade. I fully expect to see Washinton taking a strong approach on them as they have dozens and dozens of prime locations for this type of generator within the Puget Sound area. I think they could easily power all of Washington and then some with the power they could generate.

wdlove
May 23, 2003, 03:54 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
My mom and step-dad live way out in the Oregon outback 30 miles from the closest one horse town. The closest power is about 20miles away at a huge radar array that is part of the national security net.

They survive on solar, wind, and generators. It's pretty cool out there on the farm. I helped build quite a bit of the building they live in. You might check out some photos I posted from the Ranch on my homepage from when I was out there just a few weeks ago.

Energy from the ocean is possible, but it's expensive!

http://www.energy.ca.gov/development/oceanenergy/

MacBandit
May 23, 2003, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by wdlove
Energy from the ocean is possible, but it's expensive!

http://www.energy.ca.gov/development/oceanenergy/

I agree but the downfalls are going away and the expense as I pointed out in my previous post about San Franciscos new energy source.

GeneR
May 23, 2003, 04:14 PM
I really have to start reading more about those things. With all that has happened in the last two years, I think people around the world by and large will be seeking ways to gain autonomy from the government services and utilities. "Who wants to be in the dark if ths $#!+ hits the fan?" is my thinking. Not me! :D

If the energy system that we now have is replaced with alternative sources like th tidal generator that relies on air turbines, I think it would be better for the U.S. and the world community to start investing in such decentralized energy sources. That way they become less likely targets for terrorist attacks.

Okay, I'm just rambling. It's not good to get me thinking. :D

phrancpharmD
May 24, 2003, 04:13 PM
Originally posted by GeneR

I think it would be better for the U.S. and the world community to start investing in such decentralized energy sources. That way they become less likely targets for terrorist attacks.


I agree; but it's not just energy infrastructure (production and distribution) that needs major overhaul, but also utilization. I don't know it's a national thing but in the Atlanta area there are builders that are "EarthCraft" Certified. What that means is they can build you a house with energy demands 10 - 20% of those than a similar home. One builder told me he builds an ~3000 square foot home that he will GUARANTEE to have energy bills ~$50 / month. That and more local / personal utilization of solar etc (like Bandit's Oregon farm) is the way to go - you know, there are about one million new homes built every year here in the USA. . .

And by the way, glad to share about the DuPont / Hemp conspiracy! I bet NORML (www.norml.org) would probably be able to provide more information should you want it. . .

Danger! Will
May 24, 2003, 08:01 PM
How bout solar powered processors?

MacBandit
May 27, 2003, 01:23 AM
Originally posted by phrancpharmD
I agree; but it's not just energy infrastructure (production and distribution) that needs major overhaul, but also utilization. I don't know it's a national thing but in the Atlanta area there are builders that are "EarthCraft" Certified. What that means is they can build you a house with energy demands 10 - 20% of those than a similar home. One builder told me he builds an ~3000 square foot home that he will GUARANTEE to have energy bills ~$50 / month. That and more local / personal utilization of solar etc (like Bandit's Oregon farm) is the way to go - you know, there are about one million new homes built every year here in the USA. . .

And by the way, glad to share about the DuPont / Hemp conspiracy! I bet NORML (www.norml.org) would probably be able to provide more information should you want it. . .

I agree 100% that there needs to be a complete energy conservation awareness revolution in the US/World. Here in the US nearly every state and the government offers all sorts of incentives and tax refunds for solar and the such. This is especially so and much cheaper to do when building a new house. The big problem is most people don't know about the programs. Me and my fiancé plan on having a house built in the next few years out on my dads property just out side of Springfield. We're going to ecorporate Solar Electric, Solar Water, Wind, and Gas appliances. Hopefully we can be nearly completely free of the electric grid.

phrancpharmD
May 27, 2003, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by MacBandit
The big problem is most people don't know about the programs. Me and my fiancé plan on having a house built in the next few years out on my dads property just out side of Springfield. We're going to ecorporate Solar Electric, Solar Water, Wind, and Gas appliances. Hopefully we can be nearly completely free of the electric grid.

Yes, there doesn't seem to be any advertising for more environmentally responsible and energy efficient housing even from certified builders. And congratulations for having the forsight to incorporate so much cool stuff and free yourself from the electrical grid; that's a medium-term goal for my wife and I. And don't forget relative freedom from public water supply with a rainwater collection / recycling system! It might be interesting for you to share your experience lining these things up as you proceed with your house so those of us interested can see how it's done!

jimjiminyjim
May 27, 2003, 08:45 AM
There is one incredible source yet untapped. Entire gyms should be turned into electricity generating plants. With all the effort we put into stationary bicycles, bench presses and the like, there must be a way to harness all of that energy.... Imagine how many processor hours could be run by this sort of thing.

Mr. Anderson
May 27, 2003, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by jimjiminyjim
There is one incredible source yet untapped. Entire gyms should be turned into electricity generating plants. With all the effort we put into stationary bicycles, bench presses and the like, there must be a way to harness all of that energy.... Imagine how many processor hours could be run by this sort of thing.

The problem is equiping all the machines with energy generating devices. They're already expensive enough, you'd be adding a lot more to the expense. But who's not to say it won't happen?

D

mactastic
May 27, 2003, 09:19 AM
Originally posted by MacBandit
Hopefully we can be nearly completely free of the electric grid.

If you aren't in too remote of a spot and are still connected to the grid, look into getting an electric meter that runs forward as well as backward. I'm not sure about oregon, but california will supply them at a low cost, and instead of spending money on batteries to store the energy you generate, you can sell it back to the power companies for the same price you pay for it. Saves money on battery install and replacement, as well as freeing up space you otherwise would have dedicated to them. And if you get to build this from the ground up yourself, there are some great opportunities to recycle greywater, preheat your water in the sun (assuming there is enough sun there to make it worth doing), and take advantage of the site in terms of drainage, wind, sun access etc. I have a ton of resources for sustainable building designs and materials. Good stuff. Oh yeah, and there are solar panels that install and look like shingles, you can't even tell from a little ways away.

Here's some stuff: http://www.realgoods.com/

MacBandit
May 27, 2003, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by mactastic
If you aren't in too remote of a spot and are still connected to the grid, look into getting an electric meter that runs forward as well as backward. I'm not sure about oregon, but california will supply them at a low cost, and instead of spending money on batteries to store the energy you generate, you can sell it back to the power companies for the same price you pay for it. Saves money on battery install and replacement, as well as freeing up space you otherwise would have dedicated to them. And if you get to build this from the ground up yourself, there are some great opportunities to recycle greywater, preheat your water in the sun (assuming there is enough sun there to make it worth doing), and take advantage of the site in terms of drainage, wind, sun access etc. I have a ton of resources for sustainable building designs and materials. Good stuff. Oh yeah, and there are solar panels that install and look like shingles, you can't even tell from a little ways away.

Here's some stuff: http://www.realgoods.com/

There is no lack of help and retail alternative energy stores in the Eugene area. We are the hippey capital of the world you know. Yes we are going to do Solar Water heating. I believe I mentioned that in my last post. I'm not worried about the appearance of any of the solar stuff. The only people seeing it will be those that visit us. We will be way off the road and hidden by trees. My dad has 16acres and we're going to build on the most remote part of it to be away from people as much as possible.

MacBandit
May 27, 2003, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Anderson
The problem is equiping all the machines with energy generating devices. They're already expensive enough, you'd be adding a lot more to the expense. But who's not to say it won't happen?

D

What's really funny about this is most modern exercise bikes and the like use electric motors for resistance to start with. A lot of them even use the power you develop to power the on board computers so you don't even have to plug them in. So in reality all the stuff you need to feed power back into the system is already there.

MacBandit
May 27, 2003, 12:59 PM
Originally posted by phrancpharmD
Yes, there doesn't seem to be any advertising for more environmentally responsible and energy efficient housing even from certified builders. And congratulations for having the forsight to incorporate so much cool stuff and free yourself from the electrical grid; that's a medium-term goal for my wife and I. And don't forget relative freedom from public water supply with a rainwater collection / recycling system! It might be interesting for you to share your experience lining these things up as you proceed with your house so those of us interested can see how it's done!

Thanks on the input. We will have no ties to city water or sewer though. Everyone out there has there own well or two and septic tank. The closest of either of the city services is about 8 miles away in a very small town that is not expanding. If that sort of thing ever makes it out there it will probably be 50 years plus. As for rainwater I do plan on collecting it to water gardens and the like. Also works well for fire protection. You just have to pump it up to an overhead cistern of some sort.

It will be a few years yet before we break ground on the house. If I'm still hanging around here definitely expect updates from me on it. Getting the solar stuff isn't all that big of a deal around here as the local electric utlity companies will actually sell you the stuff less the governement rebates. They really push it around here and actually put flyers in with your electric and water bills.

GeneR
May 27, 2003, 01:52 PM
This is really, really fascinating. I really want to hear about Bandit's experiences with the ecorporation of these alternative energy sources.

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT OUR SOCIETY...
It seems like our society is going through a real change due to technology: we are re-examining the way work is done as telecommuting becomes a more popular and viable way of doing business, we are now able to communicate with other people through cellphones, conventional land-lined telephones, and computers (email, instant messenging, bulletin boards, webpages, video-cams). As a result, these different technologies are allowing us to each develop as independent self-reliant entities that are less tied to traditional media programming which may be biased at the very least.

And additionally, we can potentially become more autonomous and less tied to traditional organizational, governmental, and service structures due to the availability of these alternative energy sources.

WHAT IF...? (A few thoughts on the future)
In the future, we all have houses that are tied into local networks feeding off such alternative fuel sources like the tidal generators?

And what if, because we all have wireless computers that we can use them to bypass traditional utilities such as cable modems, telephone services, etc. that we can really save our money to be spent more on things we want rather want than what we may need?

Would we all be better off if we were not so tied into the rat race? Would this new autonomy save us from the affects of terrorism? Would it make us less interested or more interested in politics or even our fellow man?

Sorry for the rambling. It just seems we're all moving towards a culture that could possibly be more free if certain steps are taken.

wdlove
May 27, 2003, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
Thanks on the input. We will have no ties to city water or sewer though. Everyone out there has there own well or two and septic tank. The closest of either of the city services is about 8 miles away in a very small town that is not expanding. If that sort of thing ever makes it out there it will probably be 50 years plus. As for rainwater I do plan on collecting it to water gardens and the like. Also works well for fire protection. You just have to pump it up to an overhead cistern of some sort.

It will be a few years yet before we break ground on the house. If I'm still hanging around here definitely expect updates from me on it. Getting the solar stuff isn't all that big of a deal around here as the local electric utlity companies will actually sell you the stuff less the governement rebates. They really push it around here and actually put flyers in with your electric and water bills.

I can remember my grandmother rain water to use for washing her clothes. My father had a cistern along with a well. With more people moving into the area the water table decreased. By the time city came around it was at a point that he needed extra water. What was bad was the install charge! :(

I'm hoping with some remodeling that I want to do, that I could ad solar!

MacBandit
May 27, 2003, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by wdlove
I can remember my grandmother rain water to use for washing her clothes. My father had a cistern along with a well. With more people moving into the area the water table decreased. By the time city came around it was at a point that he needed extra water. What was bad was the install charge! :(

I'm hoping with some remodeling that I want to do, that I could ad solar!

In some places they will practically pay you to put solar in. Though in any case it is always cheaper to do it when you are remodeling or when building.

My dad had a small water wheel generating last year for a short while. The creek on our property is seasonal and dries up for about 3-4months during the summer.

wdlove
May 29, 2003, 07:39 PM
Originally posted by MacBandit
In some places they will practically pay you to put solar in. Though in any case it is always cheaper to do it when you are remodeling or when building.

My dad had a small water wheel generating last year for a short while. The creek on our property is seasonal and dries up for about 3-4months during the summer.

MacBandit are you aware of how to locate solar installation assistance. The back of my house faces South. I need to replace my roof soon!

MacBandit
May 29, 2003, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by wdlove
MacBandit are you aware of how to locate solar installation assistance. The back of my house faces South. I need to replace my roof soon!

Around here I would contact my local utility company. You might just look in the phone book in the Government pages.

NavyIntel007
May 29, 2003, 11:10 PM
I say let the silicon go to Solar!!!

Let the diamonds go to chips....