I signed up with 10:10 | Cutting 10% of emissions in 2010, last year. We need to start to do something now, even if it is just a small step at the time.
Though this is by all means not a science report more a rambling come musings on what I read and how I see the issue with peak oil, solar power and environment etc. First of all this page is will be a page where I collect my thoughts and links and therefore will be rambling along and I will be adding to this page now and again so bare with me. See I have already started :)
I have been thinking for a few years now about this issue how to save energy or rather cutting the use of it at home and on my trips away. I think we are doing a pretty good job, cycling everywhere, turning light off when leaving a room, not having the heating blasting all the time, putting a jumper on etc etc.
That is a step on the way but I’m wondering if there is more I could do.
Question : Is there a way to generate energy at home in an urban environment where I live.
But problem arises when you live in a inner city environment and can’t put up a wind will on our balcony or back garden either with the right planning permission or space around the wind mill to make it work efficiently.
When I first looked into this there was nothing that was small and portable and you had to be good at DIY. Though over the years have come out some systems but they all tend to be very expensive.
Issues with solar power: you need to be facing south and live somewhere where there is plenty of sun to make it work very well.
Issues with wind power: you need to be living somewhere where you don’t have threes or houses blocking the wind flow.
Though my biggest rant is that people in the UK and else where are happy to have satellites dishes plastered all over the urban environment, quite often see a house/flat with one or more dishes plastered out side. But we can’t not have wind mills all over the country side because they are ruin the harmony etc etc. Erm, they are generating energy which doesn’t pollute which I think is a win. And the never versions of them make less noise than an idling car.
A other issue I have is that we have plenty of space to install solar panels so why aren’t we doing it ? Just look at this typical retail park in Croydon in south west London all that roof space can and should be used for something good. Yes in the UK the sun don’t shine as much at it does where the GooglePlex, see below, but there is enough sun to get some “fuel”.
If they can why can’t other big companies with all that roof space, yes I know other are joining in, but the government need to put a carrot out there for more to join. What about X% tax cut if you provided Y% energy yourself or give a grant or interest free loan for the installation of it.
In Australia every new build house have to have rain water collectors installed, if they can put such a law in there, why not here? I see so many new build cul-de-sac’s, tower blocks etc here in London. Where the developer could easy from day one installed solar panels, windmill and rain water collectors. I wouldn’t mind a windmill standing on top of the house I live in. I see five on one school I go past quite often, it looks good.
Google completed a 1.6MW solar installation at our Mountain View, CA headquarters – the largest U.S. corporate installation at that time. We installed 9,212 solar panels that cover the rooftops of eight buildings and two solar carports at the Googleplex is.
This something that have bugged me for years, it would be easy do, but aren’t developers doing anything.
Yes I know that would not be big and power full enough to generate enough power for the whole building(s). But it is a start, just say for the light in the shared areas, water to the shared gardens. People would probably say it is to costly to do so for a little gain. Honestly if I had the option of moving to a new flat with it in or to a flat that didn’t have it, I would pick the one that have. Simply because it is there and in ten years time when a new and more powerful solar panels or wind mills has been invented it is pretty much just plug and play for when you update. Since all the wires and pipes etc. have all ready been installed, you don’t have to rewire a whole block or estate.
Question: So how does one do it at home and could it save me money in the end or at least help a bit ?
So is there way for me and others to install a solar panel small windmill at home in a city ? I know it would probably hard to generate enough to power a standard household. But what if I could power my laptop + speakers and a few lights, that’s a start right ?
I know the fridge, oven and washing machine would be a big drain on the system. But on a normal day at home, what we have going is two laptops, a wifi router, set of speakers, a small light going and we are charging our mobile phones. Would I be able to power that with the sun and a bit of wind ?
Small systems I have seen cost around £1200 and up but these need to be outside in open space. Compare that to the cost of charging a mobile phone over night which is less than a penny from what I read. So it will take quite a few years go earn that savings back.
Since where I live I got a south facing balcony, could I install a solar panel that could charge a battery that I could use to power the above?
Question: While out cycle touring how do I keep my power hungry toys happy ?
When touring I have with me at least a mobile phone, mp3 and various lights. And in the future I probably would end up with a GPS and even a laptop.
I have found an Australian company called Pedalpower+ which I have talked about here. It is hooked up to a dyno hub like a SON, which I have, which charges a battery and then power your toys. I have blogged about a few other systems over here, paddedshorts.co.uk
I wonder if things like this could be installed at home and it would be worth our while.
I hope you have made it so far, yes there is plenty of rambling here and more to come.