“What do you get when you give an industrious engineer and solar energy enthusiast with an eye on the bottom line the chance to design his own abode? An extreme home—extremely energy efficient, that is. Larry Schlussler shows how far he can go in his quest for whole-house efficiency.”
Link to an article describing a ‘Net Zero Energy’ house. It produces more energy than it consumes — a great example of the art of the possible. What makes it possible is careful attention to efficiency. Paying attention to ‘negawatts’ first — before adding ‘megawatts’, pays off hugely. First, you need to design a ‘sailboat’ to put your solar panels (sails) on. Trying to power a tugboat with sails would be a huge waste of money. (See article linked below.) Two items of particular interest are:
Sunfrost Refrigerators … (The Sun Frost RF16) typically consumes 15 KWH per month. By contrast, the average refrigerator in a home typically consumes about 90 KWH per month. Producing the 90 KWH needed to run this refrigerator in an off-grid solar power system would require an investment of at least $10,000 in hardware.
“Light pipe” natural daylighting. Solatube, Sunpipe, Sun Dome, MaxiSolar, Ecosmart Tube Solar, etc. Light pipes are also known as ‘sun tubes, ‘tubular skylights’, etc. They consist of a highly reflective pipe topped with a clear dome, and a diffuser at the ceiling.
The Value of Energy Efficiency in Stand Alone PV Systems:
A Simple Approach
How Good an Investment is a Compact Fluorescent?
If you replace a 100-watt light bulb with a 20-watt compact fluorescent and the bulb is used 4 hours per day your energy savings will be .32 KWH/day. If you have to expand your system to produce this energy, choosing instead to reduce your load by .32 KWH/day will result in a savings of $1794.00; $1090.00 initially and $704.00 in operating costs for the life of your system. If a compact fluorescent has a life of 10,000 hrs and an incandescent bulb a life of 750 hrs., over 24 years 3.5 compact fluorescents or 46 incandescent lamps will be required. The 3.5 compact fluorescents will cost roughly as much as the 46 incandescent lamps; so for essentially no additional investment you can reduce the total cost of your power system by $1794 – that’s a good deal.