As we celebrate the independence of our country this 4th of July, I am thrilled that we are finally moving towards true independence for our country. This will occur when we are Energy Independent, as well. We still have a long ways to go! It needs to happen in the very near future – NOT 2050, not even 2030. Either is way too late.
We need to reduce our current CO2 levels, which have gone from 387 ppm on the 4th of July in 2011 to 396.78, on the 4th of July, 2012, to now being over 400 ppm and rising way too fast. We are way over the safe level of 350 ppm! It must be lowered. The world is already experiencing a small taste of the catastrophic results. We need to not only reduce our emissions, but also find ways to remove the damages that have already occurred! We could go on and on about how, but will leave that to our bi-monthly publication and future postings.
For now, you need to understand that Clean Renewable Energy can meet our needs. It is affordable to ANY one. We all need to stop talking and start walking that talk. It’s time to g.e.t. renewable energy in our homes, work places and in our communities. Let’s all work together to move on up to Renewable Energy in all of our lives!
While you can certainly go solar to meet your current electrical needs, you can do more if you reduce your energy needs. It does not mean you have to give up you comforts. For example, in 2002, Green Energy Times’ went solar. We had been using an average 20+ kW/day. Solar was expensive then, so our solar system was sized according to what we could afford, which ended up to be a system that would produce 10.5 to 11 kWh/day. Due to the expected need to reduce, we had increased awareness and a desire to not use fossil fuels, so we set out to learn to reduce our energy usage. But without really sacrificing, we accomplished way more than expected… it went down to and average of 3.5 kWh/day!
Did we give up comfort? No! We have a dishwasher, microwave, even a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom; an Amana refrigerator, Crosley Freezer, Premier Cookstove that does not have a glow-bar in it or an electric clock (phantom load), which means less propane usage. All of our clocks are battery operated, front loading washing machine and although we have a dryer, choose to hang clothes up to dry 99% of the time. A soft start Grund-fos well pump which runs on electric, pulls the water from the 170’ deep well, which leads to an over-sized pressure tank, and on to a preheat tank for the Solar Hot Water storage. A Rinnai On-demand Hot Water system supplements the SHW in the winter and/or super cloudy days. We use a vacuum cleaner (but try to do the vacuuming on sunny days and are not afraid of a broom or a dust mop. We even use a toaster, buy think twice about using it on long, cloudy stretches (and might ‘fry’ bread for toast). The microwave is plugged into a wall switch that is switched off after use, reducing that phantom load from the clock, as well.
We use energy efficient Mac computers that are on all day long. The fax and printer are turned off when not in use. The energy star ceiling fans and open windows keep it nice and cool, along with the design of the structure.*
The stereo and television are also connected to a wall switch. Phantom loads really do add up to wasting energy. Energy efficient LED lighting is used exclusively.
All electricity is produced from SOLAR! And yet, we do not even come close to using all of the energy that the PV system produces or could produce. An explanation for this follows:
The Solar PV system was designed to meet energy needs for up to 10.5-11 kWh/day, with:
• 24 160W photovoltaic solar panels (3,840W system or 3.8 kW), with 24 2-volt lead acid deep cycle batteries for storage with a Xantrex inverter and two Outback charge controllers.
Part of the charge controller’s job is to avoid overload of our batteries. Thus it stops the system from taking in any more electric when the batteries are at full capacity. This is usually accomplished by 9:30 every morning – maybe 10:30 on a cloudy day. We can go 7 to 10 days before the propane generator will come on! (We are off-grid) Until last winter, the generator had not come on for over 3 years! (It was a brutally cloudy fall and winter, as you might recall). We use less than 65 gal. of propane a year, with plans to lower that fossil fuel need in the near future.
The point of telling you all of this is to show that YOU ALL can do this, too! Together, it is going to take a LOT of work by each of us, but going solar and using renewable energy CAN meet our needs and can lead to a truly Independent country – an Energy Independent country. I believe we will be able to celebrate our ‘energy’ independence on the 4th of July in our near future!
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY to you all! (Energy) Independence Day, 2015
* The structure is passive solar with SIP’s (R-38 walls, R-47 roof); triple pane doors and windows, with 4 foot overhangs to keep it cooler in the summer on the south and a porch on the west; breezeway & garage on the north to block the cold winter temps; basement walls are Insulated blocks for an R-25 insulating value along with the earth’s insulating value, as well…Transportation is another huge way we can all reduce our carbon emissions! Watch for more on this and other ways that you can move into Energy Independence in your own life, at home and at work and play – in future issues of Green Energy Times. Our next issue comes out on August 15th!