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Living Off The Grid

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  • will thurmond
    Here are some good stories of folks living off the grid and supplying their own electricity via solar and wind power. The article identifies a growing trend
    Message 1 of 29 , Apr 13, 2006
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      Here are some good stories of folks living "off the grid" and supplying their own electricity via solar and wind power.  The article identifies a growing trend in off-grid homes, along with trends in solar power sales, and shortages of solar power systems due to growing global demand and tax incentives by Germany, Japan and the U.S.  

      An excerpt from the article "the trend points up a budding grass-roots movement to displace at least some of the nation's power generation from pollution-belching plants to small, clean neighborhood nodes. That eases strains on transmission lines. Some 180,000 families live off-grid, a figure that has jumped 33% a year for a decade, says Richard Perez, publisher of Home Power magazine... The movement got an added jolt in January when utility customers could start taking advantage of a new $2,000 federal tax credit for solar power system purchases as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  After soaring 30% a year the past five years, sales of solar, or photovoltaic, systems could ratchet even higher this year. Bob-O Schultze, owner of Electron Connection in Northern California, says solar sales have risen 50% annually since 2002. About 75% of his business is from on-grid customers, vs. just 1% four years ago. "

      These trends and growth figures bode well for the future of renewable energy as a viable alternative to polluting coal/gas/oil fired power plants. 

      Regards
      Will Thurmond
      Emerging Markets Online
      http://www.emerging-markets.com

      =========================================

      Off the grid or on, solar and wind power gain

      By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY Thu Apr 13, 7:30 AM ET

      The wind whips up in Dale Doucette's expansive backyard, furiously spinning the blades on his 80-foot-tall silver wind turbine and leaving a broad smile on his square-jawed face.

      The gusts nudge the voltage on his battery bank and help power Doucette's wood-carving saw, as well as the PC, printer and recessed lights in his wife Michele's home-based chiropractic office.

      But overcast skies mean the Doucettes' 10 solar panels won't be as productive as usual. So his two teenage sons can use the computer but not the TV or GameCube.

      "I'm the power Nazi," Doucette, 47, says as the turbine blades emit a shrill hum on a late March afternoon.

      The Doucettes live off the power grid, but they're far from granola-crunching hippies eking out a bare-bones existence in the hinterlands. They live in a sleek $500,000 plaster-and-tile house a quarter mile from electric lines and could have hooked in for $10,000. Instead, they opted to pay about $41,000 for their own solar and wind energy systems.

      "We want to be as self-sustaining as possible and get out from under Big Brother," Doucette says. "I enjoy not getting an electric bill."

      Amid soaring electricity prices, the renewable energy industry is increasingly being driven by families such as the Doucettes who choose to be off the grid for environmental or political reasons and by a much faster-rising number of Americans adding solar and wind systems to grid-connected houses. Such equipment used to be bought almost exclusively by off-the-gridders in remote rural reaches who couldn't afford fees of $30,000 or more to tie in to electric lines.

      Now, in 29 states, homeowners on the grid can get state rebates or tax breaks that subsidize up to 50% or more of the cost of clean energy systems. They then sell the electricity they generate, but don't use themselves, to utilities, offsetting the cost of the power they draw from the grid as they spin their meters backward and drive their electric bills toward zero.

      Seventeen states, and some power companies themselves, now offer utility customers rebates on the purchase and installation of solar or wind systems, up from three in 2000. Florida and Pennsylvania are among those considering rebates. Meanwhile, the number of states with "net metering" laws - which permit customers to sell the power they produce to the electric company at retail rates - has doubled to 40 in the past six years.

      Despite a hodgepodge of state laws, the trend points up a budding grass-roots movement to displace at least some of the nation's power generation from pollution-belching plants to small, clean neighborhood nodes. That eases strains on transmission lines. Some 180,000 families live off-grid, a figure that has jumped 33% a year for a decade, says Richard Perez, publisher of Home Power magazine.

      Yet, thanks to the incentives, another 27,000 grid-connected houses supplement the utility's power with their own energy systems, most of which are solar, says the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and the American Wind Energy Association. Perez expects the number of utility customers using clean energy to overtake off-the-grid households in a decade.

      "It's accelerating very quickly," says Michael Eckhart, of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

      The movement got an added jolt in January when utility customers could start taking advantage of a new $2,000 federal tax credit for solar power system purchases as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

      After soaring 30% a year the past five years, sales of solar, or photovoltaic, systems could ratchet even higher this year. Bob-O Schultze, owner of Electron Connection in Northern California, says solar sales have risen 50% annually since 2002. About 75% of his business is from on-grid customers, vs. just 1% four years ago.

      Off the grid

      For decades, dealers in small solar and wind systems depended on the small band of mavericks who moved off the grid to live in the countryside, where land is plentiful and inexpensive. California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont and Maine have long been havens, though people live off the grid in almost every state.

      "These are people who want a big garden, have no close neighbors and the only land they can afford is beyond the reaches of the grid," Perez, an off-gridder himself, says. Property without utility hook-ups, he adds, can cost about a third less than a standard lot. These days, a growing number of off-gridders could link up fairly cheaply but prefer to be untethered for myriad reasons, including rising electricity rates, a desire to cut power plant pollution and concerns about blackouts or terrorism.

      The Wilmington area, in rural southern Vermont, nestled at the foothills of the Green Mountains is speckled with off-grid homes on back roads where the area's criss-crossing power lines don't reach.

      Doucette, a wood carver, and some friends built his 3,200-square-foot house four years ago on a 22-acre, tree-rimmed property, moving from a smaller grid-tied house a few miles away. Considering his old electric bill ran to $1,700 a year and was certain to go higher, Doucette figures his green energy system will pay for itself in 20 years. But money was not at the heart of their decision.

      "We made a conscious choice not to get on the grid," Doucette says, noting he has long been rankled by the electricity price increases of the local resort town during ski season and by periodic winter blackouts.

      Like other off-gridders, Doucette uses his gleaming blue solar panels on the roof of a small shed about 150 feet from his house, as his main energy source. The turbine, another 300 feet away, provides added juice on cloudy days when the wind is swirling.

      The power generated by both solar and wind systems is stored in 24 batteries in a bin in the shed. An inverter converts the DC current produced by the systems to the AC current used in homes. The batteries could last several days in the unlikely event there is neither sun nor wind. A backup propane generator kicks in if the batteries get low.

      Like other clean-energy homes, Doucette's two-story, earth-toned house is built for conservation, with energy-efficient refrigerator and dishwasher, low-voltage light bulbs and straw-bale insulation.

      In nearby Marlboro, Sunny and Nat Tappan live in an older-style off-grid home, about 2 1/2 miles up a hill off a dirt road on an isolated 90-acre tract. The rustic, timber-frame house, which sits next to a pasture with sheep and chickens, has a composting toilet and no running water (they have a well). Sunny and her former husband bought the property 18 years ago and spent a few thousand dollars on a solar power system. Connecting to the power grid would have cost $80,000, but Sunny, 53, had no interest anyway.

      "I love living off the grid and being independent," she says. "I wanted to live on a large piece of property out in the country."

      Four small solar panels angled on brackets in a garden few feet from the back door supply 680 watts of power. But noting she has no TV, dishwasher or washing machine, Sunny says that's more than enough, "We use very little electricity." And if it's persistently cloudy? "So I don't vacuum one week," she says.

      For others, living off the grid is a matter of principle. Maynard Kaufman, 77, who lives in a saltbox house on a farm near Bangor, Mich., could have connected to the grid for $10,000. Instead, he spent $30,000 on a solar power system and $12,700 on two wind turbines. Noting he had demonstrated in front of the local nuclear plant, he said, "It was totally a matter of conscience."

      On the grid

      For many utility customers, installing an alternative energy system largely boils down to the dollars and cents that state incentives help them save.

      California was the first state to offer a generous package of renewable-energy incentives for homes and businesses in the late 1990s as power companies were deregulated. It's blessed with abundant sunshine and plagued by high electric rates and an overtaxed grid that led to rolling blackouts.

      By 2002, California was offering households 60% rebates on solar power systems, as well as tax credits, letting homeowners pay less than 30% of retail cost. Residents send much of their solar energy into the grid during the day when they're not home, easing peak demands, and draw from it at night when the sun isn't shining.

      Demand for solar power has surged, with about 15,000 utility customers installing systems, and last year the state cut the rebate to 35%. The goal is to use rebates to drive so much demand that solar prices plunge, and the rebates can be phased out. But a worldwide shortage of solar panels, spurred by even-more-generous incentives in Japan and Germany, is keeping prices high until more factories are built in 18 months.

      New Jersey is the only other state with a solar incentive program to match California's. Rebates cover more than 50% of a solar power system's cost. Plus, households can sell credits for the energy they produce to utilities to meet state clean energy quotas. The program "helps reduce peak demands, and that helps dramatically," says Jeanne Fox, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. "Our goal is to drive energy generation and a lot of that is to be distributed" in neighborhoods to improve power-plant reliability and security.

      Other states with rebate programs include New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Rhode Island, where electricity prices are high.

      Clark Beebe, 57, of Springfield, N.J., bought a $50,000 solar power system two years ago for $15,000 after rebates, installing it on the roof of his four-bedroom house. Because he offsets what he uses with what he pumps into the grid, his annual power bill has dropped from $1,270 to $170, though he also installed energy-saving appliances. His $1,100 yearly savings is supplemented by $500 in clean energy credits, cutting the payback period for his system to nine years. After that, he'll effectively net at least a $200-a-year profit. "I am now an electricity company," says Beebe 57. "Plus, I'm generating electricity without any pollutants."

      Carrie Buczeke, 42, of Livermore, Calif., rolled the cost of her $54,000 solar panels - $25,000 after rebates and tax credits - into a home-equity loan. She has wiped out her $400 monthly electric bill and pays $300 a month for the loan. After seven years, the loan will be paid off. "It was such a no-brainer," she says.


    • celsor1
      In a future show, www.thirtygreen.com wants to explore living completely off the grid. Discussion topics would be onsite power generation, storage and cost.
      Message 2 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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        In a future show, www.thirtygreen.com wants to explore living completely off the grid. Discussion topics would be onsite power generation, storage and cost.

        Animal Farm in Cat Spring has done this successfully. Do you know of any others in SE Texas or any hot, humid climate for that matter, who have also made this work? Suggestions for discussion are appreciated.
      • Robert Johnston
        Don t forget that 100 years ago everybody did. J From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of celsor1 Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011
        Message 3 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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          Don’t forget that 100 years ago everybody did.  J

           

           

          From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of celsor1
          Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:04 AM
          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [hreg] Living Off The Grid

           

           

          In a future show, www.thirtygreen.com wants to explore living completely off the grid. Discussion topics would be onsite power generation, storage and cost.

          Animal Farm in Cat Spring has done this successfully. Do you know of any others in SE Texas or any hot, humid climate for that matter, who have also made this work? Suggestions for discussion are appreciated.

        • Dottie And Bill Swann
          Industrial Country Market in Columbus is off grid. Thanks, Bill Swann www.promotingevs.com www.watt-tracker.com ... Industrial Country Market in Columbus is
          Message 4 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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            Industrial Country Market in Columbus is off grid.

            Thanks, Bill Swann


            On Jan 24, 2011, at 8:37 AM, "Robert Johnston" <junk1@...> wrote:

             

            Don’t forget that 100 years ago everybody did.  J

             

             

            From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of celsor1
            Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:04 AM
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [hreg] Living Off The Grid

             

             

            In a future show, www.thirtygreen.com wants to explore living completely off the grid. Discussion topics would be onsite power generation, storage and cost.

            Animal Farm in Cat Spring has done this successfully. Do you know of any others in SE Texas or any hot, humid climate for that matter, who have also made this work? Suggestions for discussion are appreciated.

          • Naveen Selvam
            Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog. check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com -- Sincerely, Naveen Selvam (586)
            Message 5 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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              Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog. check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com

              --
              Sincerely,

              Naveen Selvam
              (586) 489-0290

              On Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 8:43 AM, Dottie And Bill Swann <dbswann4@...> wrote:
               

              Industrial Country Market in Columbus is off grid.

              Thanks, Bill Swann


              On Jan 24, 2011, at 8:37 AM, "Robert Johnston" <junk1@...> wrote:

               

              Don’t forget that 100 years ago everybody did.  J

               

               

              From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of celsor1
              Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:04 AM
              To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [hreg] Living Off The Grid

               

               

              In a future show, www.thirtygreen.com wants to explore living completely off the grid. Discussion topics would be onsite power generation, storage and cost.

              Animal Farm in Cat Spring has done this successfully. Do you know of any others in SE Texas or any hot, humid climate for that matter, who have also made this work? Suggestions for discussion are appreciated.




            • Garth & Kim Travis
              Greetings, Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our plans for going off grid are back on line. Does anyone know what size inverter
              Message 6 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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                Greetings,

                Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                plans for going off grid are back on line.

                Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                by this year.

                Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.

                Bright Blessings,
                Garth & Kim Travis
                www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                Bedias, Texas
                936-395-0110

                On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                >
                > --
                > Sincerely,
                >
                > Naveen Selvam
                > (586) 489-0290
                >
              • kevin conlin
                Hi Kim, There should be a manufacturers label on each appliance detailing energy usage. Since appliances can vary quite a bit, this is probably your most
                Message 7 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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                  Hi Kim,

                  There should be a manufacturers label on each appliance detailing energy
                  usage. Since appliances can vary quite a bit, this is probably your most
                  accurate answer.

                  If you go off grid, these will likely be your two energy hogs, and
                  unfortunately the time of year you use them is the worst time of year for
                  solar.

                  Keep those bright blessings coming!

                  Best, Kevin

                  Heliosolar Design, Inc.
                  Kevin Conlin
                  PH: 281-202-9629
                  kevin@...

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Garth
                  & Kim Travis
                  Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                  To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid

                  Greetings,

                  Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                  plans for going off grid are back on line.

                  Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                  stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                  this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                  by this year.

                  Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                  electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                  won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                  difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                  Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.

                  Bright Blessings,
                  Garth & Kim Travis
                  www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                  Bedias, Texas
                  936-395-0110

                  On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                  > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                  > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                  >
                  > --
                  > Sincerely,
                  >
                  > Naveen Selvam
                  > (586) 489-0290
                  >


                  ------------------------------------

                  Yahoo! Groups Links
                • Jay
                  I looked into this. It depends heavily on the size of your dryer and stove-top. I did some quick research. Most of the standard dryers (~7 cubic foot) need
                  Message 8 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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                    I looked into this.

                    It depends heavily on the size of your dryer and stove-top. I did some quick research.

                    Most of the standard dryers (~7 cubic foot) need 30A service @ 240V. This is a 7.2KW.

                    Most of the stove tops are 36" or more, and need 40A @ 240V. This is 9.6KW. However you don't have to use all the burners at once. If you promise to use only 1/2 the burners at a time (one large burner and one small burner) you could reduce the power by 1/2 also. But it will still be in the 5KW area.

                    The 7.2KW dryer is the limiting factor, you will need at least a 7.2KW inverter - probably more since will probably have at least one light on somewhere.

                    This is larger than most inverters can handle. You have two choices, either find lower power appliances or get two inverters and run them in tandem. The second inverter will cost about $3,500.


                    All told, I would probably get the second inverter. That will give you some extra capacity for other high power devices later down the road, or just when you have bad luck and several things come on at once.

                    It's not really that much more expensive. If you try to go above the inverters rating it will shut down and you will be without power until you turn some things off. That's worth the extra money in my opinion.

                    Either way I would get the Xantrex XW6048, which is 6KW. Two of them will be 12KW, enough to power pretty much everything.



                    If you go the second inverter route:

                    The size of your battery bank and PV array will not depend heavily on the peak capacity so much as the average capacity. Your average power (400 KWH / month) is reasonable for off-grid; you will need about a 3 KW array. I would probably get a 3.5, just to be on the safe side.

                    If you decide to go the low power appliance route:

                    For a compact dryer, LG (and others) makes a 3.8 cubic foot dryer ("compact") that can run using 20A @ 240V. This is requires 4.8KW inverter. You can also get several washer-dryer combos, and dryers than are "condensing", which (amongst other things) use less power but run for a long time. They tend to be 120V @ 15A, or about 1.8KW.

                    I used Whirlpool as a starting point for most of these estimates:
                    http://www.whirlpool.com/catalog/category.jsp?cat=119&N=200000121

                    For comparison I also checked LG, they were similar
                    http://www.lg.com/us/appliances/dryers/index.jsp

                    Good luck guys.



                    --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Garth & Kim Travis <gartht@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Greetings,
                    >
                    > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                    > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                    >
                    > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                    > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                    > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                    > by this year.
                    >
                    > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                    > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                    > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                    > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                    > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                    >
                    > Bright Blessings,
                    > Garth & Kim Travis
                    > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                    > Bedias, Texas
                    > 936-395-0110
                    >
                    > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                    > > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                    > > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                    > >
                    > > --
                    > > Sincerely,
                    > >
                    > > Naveen Selvam
                    > > (586) 489-0290
                    > >
                    >
                  • Jay
                    Welcome to the group, Gino :) That s a good point. I assumed Garth and Kim were going totally off-grid, no connection. Looking back, it s not clear they want
                    Message 9 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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                      Welcome to the group, Gino :)

                      That's a good point.

                      I assumed Garth and Kim were going totally off-grid, no connection. Looking back, it's not clear they want to. I don't consider micro-invertes "off-grid", but I guess it gets down to semantics.









                      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Gino Griego" <tony7913@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Have you bought an inverter yet? If not you could use microinverters on
                      > each panel. If your budget has limits, you can add an inverter and panel at
                      > a time versus spending the extra money on one inverter. Microinverters also
                      > take care of shading issues you might have because of trees or a chimney.
                      > Not sure if that helps. I am new to the group.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Gino
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
                      > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 3:47 PM
                      > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > I looked into this.
                      >
                      > It depends heavily on the size of your dryer and stove-top. I did some quick
                      > research.
                      >
                      > Most of the standard dryers (~7 cubic foot) need 30A service @ 240V. This is
                      > a 7.2KW.
                      >
                      > Most of the stove tops are 36" or more, and need 40A @ 240V. This is 9.6KW.
                      > However you don't have to use all the burners at once. If you promise to use
                      > only 1/2 the burners at a time (one large burner and one small burner) you
                      > could reduce the power by 1/2 also. But it will still be in the 5KW area.
                      >
                      > The 7.2KW dryer is the limiting factor, you will need at least a 7.2KW
                      > inverter - probably more since will probably have at least one light on
                      > somewhere.
                      >
                      > This is larger than most inverters can handle. You have two choices, either
                      > find lower power appliances or get two inverters and run them in tandem. The
                      > second inverter will cost about $3,500.
                      >
                      > All told, I would probably get the second inverter. That will give you some
                      > extra capacity for other high power devices later down the road, or just
                      > when you have bad luck and several things come on at once.
                      >
                      > It's not really that much more expensive. If you try to go above the
                      > inverters rating it will shut down and you will be without power until you
                      > turn some things off. That's worth the extra money in my opinion.
                      >
                      > Either way I would get the Xantrex XW6048, which is 6KW. Two of them will be
                      > 12KW, enough to power pretty much everything.
                      >
                      > If you go the second inverter route:
                      >
                      > The size of your battery bank and PV array will not depend heavily on the
                      > peak capacity so much as the average capacity. Your average power (400 KWH /
                      > month) is reasonable for off-grid; you will need about a 3 KW array. I would
                      > probably get a 3.5, just to be on the safe side.
                      >
                      > If you decide to go the low power appliance route:
                      >
                      > For a compact dryer, LG (and others) makes a 3.8 cubic foot dryer
                      > ("compact") that can run using 20A @ 240V. This is requires 4.8KW inverter.
                      > You can also get several washer-dryer combos, and dryers than are
                      > "condensing", which (amongst other things) use less power but run for a long
                      > time. They tend to be 120V @ 15A, or about 1.8KW.
                      >
                      > I used Whirlpool as a starting point for most of these estimates:
                      > http://www.whirlpool.com/catalog/category.jsp?cat=119
                      > <http://www.whirlpool.com/catalog/category.jsp?cat=119&N=200000121>
                      > &N=200000121
                      >
                      > For comparison I also checked LG, they were similar
                      > http://www.lg.com/us/appliances/dryers/index.jsp
                      >
                      > Good luck guys.
                      >
                      > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com> , Garth & Kim
                      > Travis <gartht@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Greetings,
                      > >
                      > > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                      > > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                      > >
                      > > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                      > > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                      > > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                      > > by this year.
                      > >
                      > > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                      > > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                      > > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                      > > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                      > > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                      > >
                      > > Bright Blessings,
                      > > Garth & Kim Travis
                      > > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                      > > Bedias, Texas
                      > > 936-395-0110
                      > >
                      > > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                      > > > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                      > > > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                      > > >
                      > > > --
                      > > > Sincerely,
                      > > >
                      > > > Naveen Selvam
                      > > > (586) 489-0290
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • Russell Warren
                      Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main reasons for going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected? The reason
                      Message 10 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
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                        Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main reasons for
                        going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected?

                        The reason that I ask is because I feel that it would be more
                        environmentally friendly (never mind the economics) to stay on the grid.

                        I can fully understand wanting to meet your energy needs using renewable
                        sources, and wanting your net usage from centerpoint to be 0.

                        That being said, I would think that sending the extra electrons to your
                        neighbor during peak demand hours (assuming a mostly PV system), would be
                        far more beneficial, than wasting all that extra energy during multiple
                        energy conversions or through resistors (when the batteries are already near
                        fully charged). Also the batteries (which can't last more than 10 years)
                        would have a negative environmental impact.

                        If you replace the cost of the batteries with extra PV modules or other
                        energy efficiency projects, you could sell the extra electricity back to
                        your provider when they need it most.
                        My plan is to switch to the Reliant time of use plan now that my smart meter
                        is up and running, then take advantage of their energy buy back program when
                        I have a PV system installed.

                        I try to keep a pretty open mind, so I am curious to learn something that I
                        might be missing.

                        Thanks

                        Russell

                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                        Garth & Kim Travis
                        Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid


                        Greetings,

                        Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                        plans for going off grid are back on line.

                        Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                        stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                        this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                        by this year.

                        Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                        electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                        won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                        difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                        Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.

                        Bright Blessings,
                        Garth & Kim Travis
                        www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                        Bedias, Texas
                        936-395-0110

                        On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                        > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                        > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                        >
                        > --
                        > Sincerely,
                        >
                        > Naveen Selvam
                        > (586) 489-0290
                        >


                        ------------------------------------

                        Yahoo! Groups Links
                      • Garth & Kim Travis
                        Greetings, With everyone s prayers, we hope to. We go for our citizenship interviews on Monday, January 31rst. It will be so nice to be able to vote. Bright
                        Message 11 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Greetings,
                          With everyone's prayers, we hope to. We go for our citizenship
                          interviews on Monday, January 31rst. It will be so nice to be able to vote.

                          Bright Blessings,
                          Garth & Kim Travis
                          www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                          Bedias, Texas
                          936-395-0110

                          On 1/24/2011 2:36 PM, kevin conlin wrote:
                          > Hi Kim,
                          >
                          > There should be a manufacturers label on each appliance detailing energy
                          > usage. Since appliances can vary quite a bit, this is probably your most
                          > accurate answer.
                          >
                          > If you go off grid, these will likely be your two energy hogs, and
                          > unfortunately the time of year you use them is the worst time of year for
                          > solar.
                          >
                          > Keep those bright blessings coming!
                          >
                          > Best, Kevin
                          >
                          > Heliosolar Design, Inc.
                          > Kevin Conlin
                          > PH: 281-202-9629
                          > kevin@... <mailto:kevin%40heliosolardesign.com>
                          >
                          > -----Original Message-----
                          > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>
                          > [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf
                          > Of Garth
                          > & Kim Travis
                          > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                          > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>
                          > Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                          >
                          > Greetings,
                          >
                          > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                          > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                          >
                          > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                          > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                          > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                          > by this year.
                          >
                          > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                          > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                          > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                          > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                          > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                          >
                          > Bright Blessings,
                          > Garth & Kim Travis
                          > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                          > Bedias, Texas
                          > 936-395-0110
                          >
                          > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                          > > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                          > > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                          > >
                          > > --
                          > > Sincerely,
                          > >
                          > > Naveen Selvam
                          > > (586) 489-0290
                          > >
                          >
                          > ------------------------------------
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          >
                          > No virus found in this message.
                          > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
                          > Version: 10.0.1202 / Virus Database: 1435/3400 - Release Date: 01/24/11
                          >
                        • John P. Matznick
                          Microinverters like Enphase are only supposed to work with grid tied customers. Jay is on the right track with the numbers but a more in depth look at ALL
                          Message 12 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Microinverters like Enphase are only supposed to work with grid tied customers. 
                            Jay is on the right track with the numbers but a more in depth look at ALL appliances and everything that will be running at once would need to be calculated. You need to size your battery bank and PV system to get the correct inverter(s).
                            Since we are RVers, we have a washer/dryer combo that works on 120 VAC. There maybe other appliances you could invest in based on RV living. You can also look into DC type appliances for the oven/stove or look into Induction cook top. Induction is more efficient than regular electric cook tops and they do not burn you hands.

                            Regards 
                            John P. Matznick 
                            Renewable Energy & Sustainability Consultant
                            Green Tech Fusion
                            888.642.0226
                            www.GreenTechFusion.com -  Sustainable & Renewable Technologies



                            On Jan 25, 2011, at 4:06 PM, Gino Griego wrote:

                             

                            Have you bought an inverter yet?  If not you could use microinverters on each panel.  If your budget has limits, you can add an inverter and panel at a time versus spending the extra money on one inverter.  Microinverters also take care of shading issues you might have because of trees or a chimney.  Not sure if that helps.  I am new to the group.

                             

                            Gino

                             

                            From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
                            Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 3:47 PM
                            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid

                             

                             

                            I looked into this.

                            It depends heavily on the size of your dryer and stove-top. I did some quick research.

                            Most of the standard dryers (~7 cubic foot) need 30A service @ 240V. This is a 7.2KW.

                            Most of the stove tops are 36" or more, and need 40A @ 240V. This is 9.6KW. However you don't have to use all the burners at once. If you promise to use only 1/2 the burners at a time (one large burner and one small burner) you could reduce the power by 1/2 also. But it will still be in the 5KW area.

                            The 7.2KW dryer is the limiting factor, you will need at least a 7.2KW inverter - probably more since will probably have at least one light on somewhere.

                            This is larger than most inverters can handle. You have two choices, either find lower power appliances or get two inverters and run them in tandem. The second inverter will cost about $3,500.

                            All told, I would probably get the second inverter. That will give you some extra capacity for other high power devices later down the road, or just when you have bad luck and several things come on at once.

                            It's not really that much more expensive. If you try to go above the inverters rating it will shut down and you will be without power until you turn some things off. That's worth the extra money in my opinion.

                            Either way I would get the Xantrex XW6048, which is 6KW. Two of them will be 12KW, enough to power pretty much everything.

                            If you go the second inverter route:

                            The size of your battery bank and PV array will not depend heavily on the peak capacity so much as the average capacity. Your average power (400 KWH / month) is reasonable for off-grid; you will need about a 3 KW array. I would probably get a 3.5, just to be on the safe side.

                            If you decide to go the low power appliance route:

                            For a compact dryer, LG (and others) makes a 3.8 cubic foot dryer ("compact") that can run using 20A @ 240V. This is requires 4.8KW inverter. You can also get several washer-dryer combos, and dryers than are "condensing", which (amongst other things) use less power but run for a long time. They tend to be 120V @ 15A, or about 1.8KW.

                            I used Whirlpool as a starting point for most of these estimates:
                            http://www.whirlpool.com/catalog/category.jsp?cat=119&N=200000121

                            For comparison I also checked LG, they were similar
                            http://www.lg.com/us/appliances/dryers/index.jsp

                            Good luck guys.

                            --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Garth & Kim Travis <gartht@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Greetings,
                            >
                            > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                            > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                            >
                            > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                            > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                            > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                            > by this year.
                            >
                            > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                            > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                            > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                            > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                            > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                            >
                            > Bright Blessings,
                            > Garth & Kim Travis
                            > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                            > Bedias, Texas
                            > 936-395-0110
                            >
                            > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                            > > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                            > > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                            > >
                            > > --
                            > > Sincerely,
                            > >
                            > > Naveen Selvam
                            > > (586) 489-0290
                            > >
                            >



                          • Garth & Kim Travis
                            Greetings, For one thing, I am rural and on a coop. My cost just to stay connected is close to $30 per month. That is a big deciding factor. Also, I would
                            Message 13 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Greetings,

                              For one thing, I am rural and on a coop. My cost just to stay connected
                              is close to $30 per month. That is a big deciding factor. Also, I
                              would love to get rid of the poles and have the right to put what I
                              want, where I want on my land.

                              We have no choice about whom we deal with, you get told who you will buy
                              your power from in the country. No choice to support a green company.
                              I haven't checked lately, but originally, the coops were allowed to opt
                              out of having to buy power back. Net metering was not an option, I am
                              not sure if that has changed. If it has, they are very quiet about it.

                              Bright Blessings,
                              Garth & Kim Travis
                              www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                              Bedias, Texas
                              936-395-0110

                              On 1/24/2011 5:47 PM, Russell Warren wrote:
                              > Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main reasons for
                              > going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected?
                              >
                              > The reason that I ask is because I feel that it would be more
                              > environmentally friendly (never mind the economics) to stay on the grid.
                              >
                              > I can fully understand wanting to meet your energy needs using renewable
                              > sources, and wanting your net usage from centerpoint to be 0.
                              >
                              > That being said, I would think that sending the extra electrons to your
                              > neighbor during peak demand hours (assuming a mostly PV system), would be
                              > far more beneficial, than wasting all that extra energy during multiple
                              > energy conversions or through resistors (when the batteries are already near
                              > fully charged). Also the batteries (which can't last more than 10 years)
                              > would have a negative environmental impact.
                              >
                              > If you replace the cost of the batteries with extra PV modules or other
                              > energy efficiency projects, you could sell the extra electricity back to
                              > your provider when they need it most.
                              > My plan is to switch to the Reliant time of use plan now that my smart meter
                              > is up and running, then take advantage of their energy buy back program when
                              > I have a PV system installed.
                              >
                              > I try to keep a pretty open mind, so I am curious to learn something that I
                              > might be missing.
                              >
                              > Thanks
                              >
                              > Russell
                              >
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                              > Garth& Kim Travis
                              > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                              > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                              >
                              >
                              > Greetings,
                              >
                              > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                              > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                              >
                              > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                              > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                              > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                              > by this year.
                              >
                              > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                              > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                              > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                              > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                              > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                              >
                              > Bright Blessings,
                              > Garth& Kim Travis
                              > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                              > Bedias, Texas
                              > 936-395-0110
                              >
                              > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                              >> Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                              >> check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                              >>
                              >> --
                              >> Sincerely,
                              >>
                              >> Naveen Selvam
                              >> (586) 489-0290
                              >>
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > -----
                              > No virus found in this message.
                              > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
                              > Version: 10.0.1202 / Virus Database: 1435/3400 - Release Date: 01/24/11
                            • Garth & Kim Travis
                              Greetings, Actually, hubby has already set it up so only one fridge or freezer will come on at a time. We figured that out before Ike hit. I have a 2500 watt
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Greetings,

                                Actually, hubby has already set it up so only one fridge or freezer will
                                come on at a time. We figured that out before Ike hit. I have a 2500
                                watt inverter and a small battery bank that is our emergency backup. We
                                will probably peel more stuff off our system, but it is great to hear
                                about options.

                                Bright Blessings,
                                Garth & Kim Travis
                                www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                Bedias, Texas
                                936-395-0110

                                On 1/24/2011 6:17 PM, John P. Matznick wrote:
                                > Microinverters like Enphase are only supposed to work with grid tied
                                > customers.
                                >
                                > Jay is on the right track with the numbers but a more in depth look at
                                > ALL appliances and everything that will be running at once would need to
                                > be calculated. You need to size your battery bank and PV system to get
                                > the correct inverter(s).
                                > Since we are RVers, we have a washer/dryer combo that works on 120 VAC.
                                > There maybe other appliances you could invest in based on RV living. You
                                > can also look into DC type appliances for the oven/stove or look into
                                > Induction cook top. Induction is more efficient than regular electric
                                > cook tops and they do not burn you hands.
                                >
                                > Regards
                                > *John P. Matznick*
                                > Renewable Energy & Sustainability Consultant
                                > Green Tech Fusion
                                > 888.642.0226
                                > www.GreenTechFusion.com <http://www.GreenTechFusion.com/> - Sustainable
                                > & Renewable Technologies
                                >
                              • Russell Warren
                                Thanks for the feedback. Those are indeed good reasons. I had figured I was missing something. Without the net metering that would indeed change the
                                Message 15 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  
                                  Thanks for the feedback.  Those are indeed good reasons.  I had figured I was missing something.  Without the net metering that would indeed change the situation significantly.
                                  I think the most interesting thing about being off-grid would be the reverse philosophy on actually trying to use most of your electricity during the "summer peak" hours, rather than avoiding it.
                                   
                                  Russell
                                   
                                   
                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Garth & Kim Travis
                                  Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:35 PM
                                  To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid

                                   

                                  Greetings,

                                  For one thing, I am rural and on a coop. My cost just to stay connected
                                  is close to $30 per month. That is a big deciding factor. Also, I
                                  would love to get rid of the poles and have the right to put what I
                                  want, where I want on my land.

                                  We have no choice about whom we deal with, you get told who you will buy
                                  your power from in the country. No choice to support a green company.
                                  I haven't checked lately, but originally, the coops were allowed to opt
                                  out of having to buy power back. Net metering was not an option, I am
                                  not sure if that has changed. If it has, they are very quiet about it.

                                  Bright Blessings,
                                  Garth & Kim Travis
                                  www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                  Bedias, Texas
                                  936-395-0110

                                  On 1/24/2011 5:47 PM, Russell Warren wrote:
                                  > Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main reasons for
                                  > going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected?
                                  >
                                  > The reason that I ask is because I feel that it would be more
                                  > environmentally friendly (never mind the economics) to stay on the grid.
                                  >
                                  > I can fully understand wanting to meet your energy needs using renewable
                                  > sources, and wanting your net usage from centerpoint to be 0.
                                  >
                                  > That being said, I would think that sending the extra electrons to your
                                  > neighbor during peak demand hours (assuming a mostly PV system), would be
                                  > far more beneficial, than wasting all that extra energy during multiple
                                  > energy conversions or through resistors (when the batteries are already near
                                  > fully charged). Also the batteries (which can't last more than 10 years)
                                  > would have a negative environmental impact.
                                  >
                                  > If you replace the cost of the batteries with extra PV modules or other
                                  > energy efficiency projects, you could sell the extra electricity back to
                                  > your provider when they need it most.
                                  > My plan is to switch to the Reliant time of use plan now that my smart meter
                                  > is up and running, then take advantage of their energy buy back program when
                                  > I have a PV system installed.
                                  >
                                  > I try to keep a pretty open mind, so I am curious to learn something that I
                                  > might be missing.
                                  >
                                  > Thanks
                                  >
                                  > Russell
                                  >
                                  > -----Original Message-----
                                  > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                                  > Garth& Kim Travis
                                  > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                                  > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Greetings,
                                  >
                                  > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                                  > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                                  >
                                  > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                                  > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                                  > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                                  > by this year.
                                  >
                                  > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                                  > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                                  > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                                  > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                                  > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                                  >
                                  > Bright Blessings,
                                  > Garth& Kim Travis
                                  > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                  > Bedias, Texas
                                  > 936-395-0110
                                  >
                                  > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                                  >> Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                                  >> check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                                  >>
                                  >> --
                                  >> Sincerely,
                                  >>
                                  >> Naveen Selvam
                                  >> (586) 489-0290
                                  >>
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------------------
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------------------
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > -----
                                  > No virus found in this message.
                                  > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
                                  > Version: 10.0.1202 / Virus Database: 1435/3400 - Release Date: 01/24/11

                                • deb lombard
                                  ... From: Russell Warren Subject: RE: [hreg] Living Off The Grid To: hreg@yahoogroups.com Date: Monday, January 24, 2011, 8:43 PM  
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Jan 24, 2011
                                  • 0 Attachment


                                    --- On Mon, 1/24/11, Russell Warren <russellrwarren@...> wrote:

                                    From: Russell Warren <russellrwarren@...>
                                    Subject: RE: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                                    To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Monday, January 24, 2011, 8:43 PM

                                     
                                    
                                    Thanks for the feedback.  Those are indeed good reasons.  I had figured I was missing something.  Without the net metering that would indeed change the situation significantly.
                                    I think the most interesting thing about being off-grid would be the reverse philosophy on actually trying to use most of your electricity during the "summer peak" hours, rather than avoiding it.
                                     
                                    Russell
                                     
                                     
                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Garth & Kim Travis
                                    Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:35 PM
                                    To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid

                                     
                                    Greetings,

                                    For one thing, I am rural and on a coop. My cost just to stay connected
                                    is close to $30 per month. That is a big deciding factor. Also, I
                                    would love to get rid of the poles and have the right to put what I
                                    want, where I want on my land.

                                    We have no choice about whom we deal with, you get told who you will buy
                                    your power from in the country. No choice to support a green company.
                                    I haven't checked lately, but originally, the coops were allowed to opt
                                    out of having to buy power back. Net metering was not an option, I am
                                    not sure if that has changed. If it has, they are very quiet about it.

                                    Bright Blessings,
                                    Garth & Kim Travis
                                    www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                    Bedias, Texas
                                    936-395-0110

                                    On 1/24/2011 5:47 PM, Russell Warren wrote:
                                    > Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main reasons for
                                    > going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected?
                                    >
                                    > The reason that I ask is because I feel that it would be more
                                    > environmentally friendly (never mind the economics) to stay on the grid.
                                    >
                                    > I can fully understand wanting to meet your energy needs using renewable
                                    > sources, and wanting your net usage from centerpoint to be 0.
                                    >
                                    > That being said, I would think that sending the extra electrons to your
                                    > neighbor during peak demand hours (assuming a mostly PV system), would be
                                    > far more beneficial, than wasting all that extra energy during multiple
                                    > energy conversions or through resistors (when the batteries are already near
                                    > fully charged). Also the batteries (which can't last more than 10 years)
                                    > would have a negative environmental impact.
                                    >
                                    > If you replace the cost of the batteries with extra PV modules or other
                                    > energy efficiency projects, you could sell the extra electricity back to
                                    > your provider when they need it most.
                                    > My plan is to switch to the Reliant time of use plan now that my smart meter
                                    > is up and running, then take advantage of their energy buy back program when
                                    > I have a PV system installed.
                                    >
                                    > I try to keep a pretty open mind, so I am curious to learn something that I
                                    > might be missing.
                                    >
                                    > Thanks
                                    >
                                    > Russell
                                    >
                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                    > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                                    > Garth& Kim Travis
                                    > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                                    > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Greetings,
                                    >
                                    > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                                    > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                                    >
                                    > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                                    > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                                    > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                                    > by this year.
                                    >
                                    > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                                    > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                                    > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                                    > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                                    > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                                    >
                                    > Bright Blessings,
                                    > Garth& Kim Travis
                                    > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                    > Bedias, Texas
                                    > 936-395-0110
                                    >
                                    > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                                    >> Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                                    >> check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                                    >>
                                    >> --
                                    >> Sincerely,
                                    >>
                                    >> Naveen Selvam
                                    >> (586) 489-0290
                                    >>
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > -----
                                    > No virus found in this message.
                                    > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
                                    > Version: 10.0.1202 / Virus Database: 1435/3400 - Release Date: 01/24/11

                                  • Garth & Kim Travis
                                    Greetings, I am a farmer, when the sun is down, I am asleep most of the year. But yes, we do use most of our power when the sun is up. However,I have wind
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Jan 25, 2011
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Greetings,
                                      I am a farmer, when the sun is down, I am asleep most of the year. But
                                      yes, we do use most of our power when the sun is up. However,I have
                                      wind here, so I would put in a hybrid system.

                                      Bright Blessings,
                                      Garth & Kim Travis
                                      www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                      Bedias, Texas
                                      936-395-0110

                                      On 1/24/2011 7:43 PM, Russell Warren wrote:
                                      > 
                                      >
                                      > Thanks for the feedback. Those are indeed good reasons. I had figured I
                                      > was missing something. Without the net metering that would indeed change
                                      > the situation significantly.
                                      > I think the most interesting thing about being off-grid would be the
                                      > reverse philosophy on actually trying to use most of your electricity
                                      > during the "summer peak" hours, rather than avoiding it.
                                      > Russell
                                      >
                                      > -----Original Message-----
                                      > *From:* hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]*On Behalf
                                      > Of *Garth & Kim Travis
                                      > *Sent:* Monday, January 24, 2011 6:35 PM
                                      > *To:* hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                      > *Subject:* Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                                      >
                                      > Greetings,
                                      >
                                      > For one thing, I am rural and on a coop. My cost just to stay connected
                                      > is close to $30 per month. That is a big deciding factor. Also, I
                                      > would love to get rid of the poles and have the right to put what I
                                      > want, where I want on my land.
                                      >
                                      > We have no choice about whom we deal with, you get told who you will
                                      > buy
                                      > your power from in the country. No choice to support a green company.
                                      > I haven't checked lately, but originally, the coops were allowed to opt
                                      > out of having to buy power back. Net metering was not an option, I am
                                      > not sure if that has changed. If it has, they are very quiet about it.
                                      >
                                      > Bright Blessings,
                                      > Garth & Kim Travis
                                      > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                      > Bedias, Texas
                                      > 936-395-0110
                                      >
                                      > On 1/24/2011 5:47 PM, Russell Warren wrote:
                                      > > Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main
                                      > reasons for
                                      > > going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected?
                                      > >
                                      > > The reason that I ask is because I feel that it would be more
                                      > > environmentally friendly (never mind the economics) to stay on
                                      > the grid.
                                      > >
                                      > > I can fully understand wanting to meet your energy needs using
                                      > renewable
                                      > > sources, and wanting your net usage from centerpoint to be 0.
                                      > >
                                      > > That being said, I would think that sending the extra electrons
                                      > to your
                                      > > neighbor during peak demand hours (assuming a mostly PV system),
                                      > would be
                                      > > far more beneficial, than wasting all that extra energy during
                                      > multiple
                                      > > energy conversions or through resistors (when the batteries are
                                      > already near
                                      > > fully charged). Also the batteries (which can't last more than 10
                                      > years)
                                      > > would have a negative environmental impact.
                                      > >
                                      > > If you replace the cost of the batteries with extra PV modules or
                                      > other
                                      > > energy efficiency projects, you could sell the extra electricity
                                      > back to
                                      > > your provider when they need it most.
                                      > > My plan is to switch to the Reliant time of use plan now that my
                                      > smart meter
                                      > > is up and running, then take advantage of their energy buy back
                                      > program when
                                      > > I have a PV system installed.
                                      > >
                                      > > I try to keep a pretty open mind, so I am curious to learn
                                      > something that I
                                      > > might be missing.
                                      > >
                                      > > Thanks
                                      > >
                                      > > Russell
                                      > >
                                      > > -----Original Message-----
                                      > > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>
                                      > [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>]On
                                      > Behalf Of
                                      > > Garth& Kim Travis
                                      > > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                                      > > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hreg%40yahoogroups.com>
                                      > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Greetings,
                                      > >
                                      > > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                                      > > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                                      > >
                                      > > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my
                                      > electric
                                      > > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                                      > > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would
                                      > know
                                      > > by this year.
                                      > >
                                      > > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                                      > > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                                      > > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                                      > > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                                      > > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                                      > >
                                      > > Bright Blessings,
                                      > > Garth& Kim Travis
                                      > > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                      > > Bedias, Texas
                                      > > 936-395-0110
                                      > >
                                      > > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                                      > >> Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in
                                      > my blog.
                                      > >> check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                                      > >>
                                      > >> --
                                      > >> Sincerely,
                                      > >>
                                      > >> Naveen Selvam
                                      > >> (586) 489-0290
                                      > >>
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > ------------------------------------
                                      > >
                                      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > ------------------------------------
                                      > >
                                      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > -----
                                      > > No virus found in this message.
                                      > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
                                      > > Version: 10.0.1202 / Virus Database: 1435/3400 - Release Date:
                                      > 01/24/11
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      >
                                      > No virus found in this message.
                                      > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
                                      > Version: 10.0.1202 / Virus Database: 1435/3400 - Release Date: 01/24/11
                                      >
                                    • Garth & Kim Travis
                                      Greetings, There is a tab at the bottom of this page that will let you unsubscribe yourself. If you are having a problem, then please send me your user name
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Jan 25, 2011
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        Greetings,
                                        There is a tab at the bottom of this page that will let you unsubscribe
                                        yourself. If you are having a problem, then please send me your user
                                        name for yahoo, there are far too many members of this list to find
                                        members any other way.

                                        Bright Blessings,
                                        Garth & Kim Travis
                                        www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                        Bedias, Texas
                                        936-395-0110
                                      • Andrea Wisner
                                        Russell mentioned Reliant time of use plan below. I am interested in knowing what other companies provide this option.   We are with Green Mountain Energy
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Jan 25, 2011
                                        • 0 Attachment
                                          Russell mentioned "Reliant time of use plan" below. I am interested in knowing what other companies provide this option.
                                           
                                          We are with Green Mountain Energy and I notice that they charge more per kwh when usage drops below 1000 kwh/month. This bothers me, especially since our usage is usually below, and sometimes on the border so theoretically we would be tempted to increase our power usage in order to get the lower rate and possibly pay less for using more. This system is a bit shameful for a "green" company, and we are looking into changing since our contract period just ended.
                                           
                                          TIA for any information. Thanks Russell for mentioning this.
                                           
                                          Andrea

                                          --- On Mon, 1/24/11, Russell Warren <russellrwarren@...> wrote:

                                          From: Russell Warren <russellrwarren@...>
                                          Subject: RE: [hreg] Living Off The Grid
                                          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                          Date: Monday, January 24, 2011, 6:47 PM

                                          Just for curiosity sake, would you be able to explain your main reasons for
                                          going completely off the grid, when you are currently grid connected?

                                          The reason that I ask is because I feel that it would be more
                                          environmentally friendly (never mind the economics) to stay on the grid.

                                          I can fully understand wanting to meet your energy needs using renewable
                                          sources, and wanting your net usage from centerpoint to be 0.

                                          That being said, I would think that sending the extra electrons to your
                                          neighbor during peak demand hours (assuming a mostly PV system), would be
                                          far more beneficial, than wasting all that extra energy during multiple
                                          energy conversions or through resistors (when the batteries are already near
                                          fully charged).  Also the batteries (which can't last more than 10 years)
                                          would have a negative environmental impact.

                                          If you replace the cost of the batteries with extra PV modules or other
                                          energy efficiency projects, you could sell the extra electricity back to
                                          your provider when they need it most.
                                          My plan is to switch to the Reliant time of use plan now that my smart meter
                                          is up and running, then take advantage of their energy buy back program when
                                          I have a PV system installed.

                                          I try to keep a pretty open mind, so I am curious to learn something that I
                                          might be missing.

                                          Thanks

                                          Russell

                                          -----Original Message-----
                                          From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of
                                          Garth & Kim Travis
                                          Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:10 PM
                                          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: Re: [hreg] Living Off The Grid


                                          Greetings,

                                          Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                                          plans for going off grid are back on line.

                                          Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                                          stove and dryer.  Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                                          this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight.  Not that we would know
                                          by this year.

                                          Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick.  Our
                                          electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                                          won't know until the new water system is in.  I don't notice a
                                          difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                                          Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.

                                          Bright Blessings,
                                          Garth & Kim Travis
                                          www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                          Bedias, Texas
                                          936-395-0110

                                          On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                                          > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                                          > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                                          >
                                          > --
                                          > Sincerely,
                                          >
                                          > Naveen Selvam
                                          > (586) 489-0290
                                          >


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                                        • Gino Griego
                                          Have you bought an inverter yet? If not you could use microinverters on each panel. If your budget has limits, you can add an inverter and panel at a time
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Jan 25, 2011
                                          • 0 Attachment

                                            Have you bought an inverter yet?  If not you could use microinverters on each panel.  If your budget has limits, you can add an inverter and panel at a time versus spending the extra money on one inverter.  Microinverters also take care of shading issues you might have because of trees or a chimney.  Not sure if that helps.  I am new to the group.

                                             

                                            Gino

                                             

                                            From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
                                            Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 3:47 PM
                                            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid

                                             

                                             

                                            I looked into this.

                                            It depends heavily on the size of your dryer and stove-top. I did some quick research.

                                            Most of the standard dryers (~7 cubic foot) need 30A service @ 240V. This is a 7.2KW.

                                            Most of the stove tops are 36" or more, and need 40A @ 240V. This is 9.6KW. However you don't have to use all the burners at once. If you promise to use only 1/2 the burners at a time (one large burner and one small burner) you could reduce the power by 1/2 also. But it will still be in the 5KW area.

                                            The 7.2KW dryer is the limiting factor, you will need at least a 7.2KW inverter - probably more since will probably have at least one light on somewhere.

                                            This is larger than most inverters can handle. You have two choices, either find lower power appliances or get two inverters and run them in tandem. The second inverter will cost about $3,500.

                                            All told, I would probably get the second inverter. That will give you some extra capacity for other high power devices later down the road, or just when you have bad luck and several things come on at once.

                                            It's not really that much more expensive. If you try to go above the inverters rating it will shut down and you will be without power until you turn some things off. That's worth the extra money in my opinion.

                                            Either way I would get the Xantrex XW6048, which is 6KW. Two of them will be 12KW, enough to power pretty much everything.

                                            If you go the second inverter route:

                                            The size of your battery bank and PV array will not depend heavily on the peak capacity so much as the average capacity. Your average power (400 KWH / month) is reasonable for off-grid; you will need about a 3 KW array. I would probably get a 3.5, just to be on the safe side.

                                            If you decide to go the low power appliance route:

                                            For a compact dryer, LG (and others) makes a 3.8 cubic foot dryer ("compact") that can run using 20A @ 240V. This is requires 4.8KW inverter. You can also get several washer-dryer combos, and dryers than are "condensing", which (amongst other things) use less power but run for a long time. They tend to be 120V @ 15A, or about 1.8KW.

                                            I used Whirlpool as a starting point for most of these estimates:
                                            http://www.whirlpool.com/catalog/category.jsp?cat=119&N=200000121

                                            For comparison I also checked LG, they were similar
                                            http://www.lg.com/us/appliances/dryers/index.jsp

                                            Good luck guys.

                                            --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Garth & Kim Travis <gartht@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Greetings,
                                            >
                                            > Now I have figured out how to build affordable water catchments, our
                                            > plans for going off grid are back on line.
                                            >
                                            > Does anyone know what size inverter I need to be able to run my electric
                                            > stove and dryer. Yes, I do use my clothesline most of the time, but
                                            > this is Texas, it can rains for weeks straight. Not that we would know
                                            > by this year.
                                            >
                                            > Propane and gas are not alternatives, they make me very sick. Our
                                            > electric bill without the well is below 400kwh per month, how low I
                                            > won't know until the new water system is in. I don't notice a
                                            > difference when I use the stove and the dryer, on our bill.
                                            > Unfortunately, my watt meter only works for 120, not 240.
                                            >
                                            > Bright Blessings,
                                            > Garth & Kim Travis
                                            > www.TheRoseColoredForest.com
                                            > Bedias, Texas
                                            > 936-395-0110
                                            >
                                            > On 1/24/2011 1:56 PM, Naveen Selvam wrote:
                                            > > Hey guys! I wrote an article on basics of how to go off grid in my blog.
                                            > > check it out http://feelthephoton.blogspot.com
                                            > >
                                            > > --
                                            > > Sincerely,
                                            > >
                                            > > Naveen Selvam
                                            > > (586) 489-0290
                                            > >
                                            >

                                          • Gary Beck
                                            *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200 cents).* Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do so.
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Feb 8, 2011
                                            This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200 cents). 
                                             
                                            Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero energy in annualized energy consumption.
                                             
                                            It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar array.  
                                             
                                            To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg). 
                                             
                                            In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
                                             
                                            Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber’s February 6 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'.  This is big news.  I hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
                                             
                                            This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!  They have let them off the hook by providing the ‘facts’ that the trendiest of trends is towards smaller smarter homes.  Whew! No they can start designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it - http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)

                                             

                                            In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned from Molly and Kathy’s article.   These points are worth repeating.

                                             

                                            Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers consistently, indicate that –

                                            o   Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget- and environmentally conscious

                                            o   Smaller, smarter rooms

                                            o   Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.

                                            o   Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose. It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties!).

                                            o   "People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties – she gets it!)

                                            o   Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square feet is suddenly desirable.

                                            o   Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.

                                            o   Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a media-filled gathering space.

                                            o   People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so home offices are an asset, too.

                                            o   "We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff,"

                                            o   A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists, and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work space by day.

                                            o   The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen

                                            o   Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area.

                                            o   A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home buyers request two dishwashers."

                                            o   Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features.

                                            o   "Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet,"

                                            o   "Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."

                                            o   There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap them up like postage stamps."

                                            o   Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics - woven into the house,

                                            o   Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all the household products she buys in bulk.

                                            o   Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high on priority lists.

                                            o   Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time."

                                            o   Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to fire and weather.

                                            o   Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge.

                                            o   The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV. Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.

                                            o   Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"

                                            o   Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't.

                                            o   People will be able to clean their own houses."

                                            o   The era of the McMansion is over.

                                             

                                            Way to go Molly and Kathy!

                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                          • Jay Ring
                                            Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary. I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts: Bigger isn t better, even if you can afford it.
                                            Message 22 of 29 , Feb 9, 2011
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.

                                              I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:


                                              Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.

                                              Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.

                                              It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better.  There is a "right size" that depends on each person/family.

                                              Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it.  You should love your house.  Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you never use.  Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists for a purpose, not just added on without thought.

                                              Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners

                                              Disagree with some exceptions.

                                              I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms.  You spend too much time setting up and breaking down.  It's much more convenient to set it up and leave it that way.

                                              In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a work space.  That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home, that is a nightmare.  I have several computers, soldering equipment, electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc.  The solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table.  I also like to garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints heading to the outside.  These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized space, with everything set up and ready to go.  While any one persons specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of cases.

                                              In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes, while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special events.  But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong. 

                                              I agree with most of the other stuff.  Good food for thought.




                                              --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck <ecoegr@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
                                              > cents).*
                                              >
                                              > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
                                              > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
                                              > energy in annualized energy consumption.
                                              >
                                              > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
                                              > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
                                              > array.
                                              >
                                              > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years
                                              > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
                                              > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
                                              >
                                              > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and
                                              > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can
                                              > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
                                              > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
                                              >
                                              > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February 6
                                              > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
                                              > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
                                              > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
                                              > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
                                              >
                                              > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!
                                              > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the trendiest
                                              > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
                                              > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
                                              > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
                                              > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
                                              > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
                                              > consistently, indicate that – *
                                              >
                                              > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
                                              > and environmentally conscious*
                                              >
                                              > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
                                              >
                                              > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
                                              > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner
                                              > Properties!). *
                                              >
                                              > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
                                              > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner
                                              > Properties – she gets it!)*
                                              >
                                              > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
                                              > feet is suddenly desirable.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
                                              > media-filled gathering space.*
                                              >
                                              > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
                                              > home offices are an asset, too.*
                                              >
                                              > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
                                              >
                                              > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
                                              > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
                                              > space by day.*
                                              >
                                              > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
                                              >
                                              > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
                                              > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
                                              >
                                              > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
                                              > buyers request two dishwashers."*
                                              >
                                              > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
                                              >
                                              > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
                                              >
                                              > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
                                              >
                                              > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
                                              > them up like postage stamps." *
                                              >
                                              > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
                                              > woven into the house, *
                                              >
                                              > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
                                              > the household products she buys in bulk.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
                                              > on priority lists.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
                                              > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
                                              >
                                              > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
                                              > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
                                              > fire and weather.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
                                              > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
                                              >
                                              > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
                                              > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
                                              >
                                              > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
                                              > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
                                              >
                                              > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
                                              >
                                              > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
                                              >
                                              > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
                                              >
                                            • Gary Beck
                                              Breaking it down also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about daily conversions or a Transformer house. Not rocket science - just designing to
                                              Message 23 of 29 , Feb 9, 2011
                                              • 0 Attachment

                                                'Breaking it down' also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about daily conversions or a 'Transformer' house. Not rocket science - just designing to the task.  

                                                 

                                                I don't think many people plan to solder and re-pot plants in their kitchen.  Maybe some seedling, but not the ferns.  But they could do each in a multitasking garage with a well-designed in work area.  Multitasking happens in every room of every house.  It would work much better if each room or area were designed to do specific multitasks better.

                                                 

                                                Good designers know It is more about understanding flow and also placing things where people need them to be. This might be a nook desk in the kitchen area for all the tasks we need to do associated with and during food preparation. Plus it is a place to set up 'junior' to do homework while parents cook. Maybe it is placing a floor plug to connect into a 'wired' kitchen table so it has an outlet under a nicely decorated flush brass plate to plug in a wok or plug in a laptop without tripping over the cables,… or a reading nook designed into a stairwell landing, or a bathroom that detects high humidity and vents it…the list goes on and on. 

                                                 

                                                The point is that if you choose to design a sleek good looking super insulated smart operating smaller (not tiny!) home, you can create the opportunity to go net-zero energy on an annualized basis.  If you design a large home, the simple kW/sf will quickly get you off that net-zero possibility.    

                                                 

                                                 

                                                From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay Ring
                                                Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:21 AM
                                                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.

                                                 

                                                I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.

                                                 

                                                Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.

                                                 

                                                It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better.  There is a "right size" that depends on each person/family.

                                                 

                                                Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it.  You should love your house.  Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you never use.  Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists for a purpose, not just added on without thought.

                                                 

                                                Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners

                                                 

                                                Disagree with some exceptions.

                                                 

                                                I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms.  You spend too much time setting up and breaking down.  It's much more convenient to set it up and leave it that way.

                                                 

                                                In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a work space.  That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home, that is a nightmare.  I have several computers, soldering equipment, electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc.  The solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table.  I also like to garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints heading to the outside.  These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized space, with everything set up and ready to go.  While any one persons specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of cases.

                                                 

                                                In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes, while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special events.  But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong. 

                                                 

                                                I agree with most of the other stuff.  Good food for thought.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                 

                                                --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck <ecoegr@...> wrote:

                                                >
                                                > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
                                                > cents).*
                                                >
                                                > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
                                                > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
                                                > energy in annualized energy consumption.
                                                >
                                                > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
                                                > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
                                                > array.
                                                >
                                                > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years
                                                > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
                                                > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
                                                >
                                                > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and
                                                > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can
                                                > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
                                                > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
                                                >
                                                > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February 6
                                                > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
                                                > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
                                                > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
                                                > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
                                                >
                                                > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!
                                                > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the trendiest
                                                > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
                                                > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
                                                > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
                                                > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
                                                > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
                                                > consistently, indicate that – *
                                                >
                                                > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
                                                > and environmentally conscious*
                                                >
                                                > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
                                                >
                                                > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
                                                > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner
                                                > Properties!). *
                                                >
                                                > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
                                                > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner
                                                > Properties – she gets it!)*
                                                >
                                                > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
                                                > feet is suddenly desirable.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
                                                > media-filled gathering space.*
                                                >
                                                > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
                                                > home offices are an asset, too.*
                                                >
                                                > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
                                                >
                                                > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
                                                > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
                                                > space by day.*
                                                >
                                                > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
                                                >
                                                > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
                                                > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
                                                >
                                                > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
                                                > buyers request two dishwashers."*
                                                >
                                                > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
                                                >
                                                > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
                                                >
                                                > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
                                                >
                                                > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
                                                > them up like postage stamps." *
                                                >
                                                > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
                                                > woven into the house, *
                                                >
                                                > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
                                                > the household products she buys in bulk.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
                                                > on priority lists.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
                                                > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
                                                >
                                                > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
                                                > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
                                                > fire and weather.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
                                                > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
                                                >
                                                > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
                                                > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
                                                >
                                                > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
                                                > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
                                                >
                                                > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
                                                >
                                                > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
                                                >
                                                > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
                                                >

                                              • Jay Ring
                                                I am not saying that your previous points are wrong for you. Only that they are not necessarily true for everyone. A house is a very personal thing. If it
                                                Message 24 of 29 , Feb 10, 2011
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  I am not saying that your previous points are wrong for you.  Only that they are not necessarily true for everyone.  A house is a very personal thing.  If it works for you, that's great.  It doesn't work for me.

                                                  It is not the case that large houses can't be made net-zero.  A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof.  A 4000 square foot house has 4000 square feet of roof.  It's the ratio of roof space to living space that affects your ability to offset your energy use (assuming PV).

                                                  What kills your ability to get to zero is adding a addition levels.  Extra levels add square feet of living space without adding extra roof space.  Even then you could use pole mount PV outside.



                                                  --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Beck" <ecoegr@...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > 'Breaking it down' also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about
                                                  > daily conversions or a 'Transformer' house. Not rocket science - just
                                                  > designing to the task.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > I don't think many people plan to solder and re-pot plants in their kitchen.
                                                  > Maybe some seedling, but not the ferns. But they could do each in a
                                                  > multitasking garage with a well-designed in work area. Multitasking happens
                                                  > in every room of every house. It would work much better if each room or
                                                  > area were designed to do specific multitasks better.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Good designers know It is more about understanding flow and also placing
                                                  > things where people need them to be. This might be a nook desk in the
                                                  > kitchen area for all the tasks we need to do associated with and during food
                                                  > preparation. Plus it is a place to set up 'junior' to do homework while
                                                  > parents cook. Maybe it is placing a floor plug to connect into a 'wired'
                                                  > kitchen table so it has an outlet under a nicely decorated flush brass plate
                                                  > to plug in a wok or plug in a laptop without tripping over the cables,. or a
                                                  > reading nook designed into a stairwell landing, or a bathroom that detects
                                                  > high humidity and vents it.the list goes on and on.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > The point is that if you choose to design a sleek good looking super
                                                  > insulated smart operating smaller (not tiny!) home, you can create the
                                                  > opportunity to go net-zero energy on an annualized basis. If you design a
                                                  > large home, the simple kW/sf will quickly get you off that net-zero
                                                  > possibility.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
                                                  > Ring
                                                  > Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:21 AM
                                                  > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                  > Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better. There is a
                                                  > "right size" that depends on each person/family.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it. You
                                                  > should love your house. Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you
                                                  > never use. Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists
                                                  > for a purpose, not just added on without thought.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Disagree with some exceptions.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms. You spend too much time
                                                  > setting up and breaking down. It's much more convenient to set it up and
                                                  > leave it that way.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a
                                                  > work space. That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home,
                                                  > that is a nightmare. I have several computers, soldering equipment,
                                                  > electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc. The
                                                  > solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table. I also like to
                                                  > garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints
                                                  > heading to the outside. These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized
                                                  > space, with everything set up and ready to go. While any one persons
                                                  > specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of
                                                  > cases.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes,
                                                  > while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special
                                                  > events. But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down
                                                  > again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > I agree with most of the other stuff. Good food for thought.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck ecoegr@ wrote:
                                                  > >
                                                  > > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
                                                  > > cents).*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
                                                  > > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
                                                  > > energy in annualized energy consumption.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
                                                  > > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
                                                  > > array.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few
                                                  > years
                                                  > > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
                                                  > > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
                                                  > >
                                                  > > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced
                                                  > and
                                                  > > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You
                                                  > can
                                                  > > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
                                                  > > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February
                                                  > 6
                                                  > > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
                                                  > > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
                                                  > > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
                                                  > > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG
                                                  > favor!
                                                  > > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the
                                                  > trendiest
                                                  > > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
                                                  > > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
                                                  > > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
                                                  > > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
                                                  > > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
                                                  > > consistently, indicate that - *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
                                                  > > and environmentally conscious*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
                                                  > > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha
                                                  > Turner
                                                  > > Properties!). *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
                                                  > > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha
                                                  > Turner
                                                  > > Properties - she gets it!)*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
                                                  > > feet is suddenly desirable.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
                                                  > > media-filled gathering space.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
                                                  > > home offices are an asset, too.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
                                                  > > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
                                                  > > space by day.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
                                                  > > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
                                                  > > buyers request two dishwashers."*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
                                                  > > them up like postage stamps." *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
                                                  > > woven into the house, *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
                                                  > > the household products she buys in bulk.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
                                                  > > on priority lists.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
                                                  > > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
                                                  > > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
                                                  > > fire and weather.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
                                                  > > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
                                                  > > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
                                                  > > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
                                                  > >
                                                  > > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
                                                  > >
                                                  >
                                                • Al Source
                                                  I am interested in finding a complete off the grid system design including bill of material.  Please let me know a good and reasonable source. Any help will
                                                  Message 25 of 29 , Feb 10, 2011
                                                  • 0 Attachment
                                                    I am interested in finding a complete off the grid system design including
                                                    bill of material.  Please let me know a good and reasonable source.
                                                    Any help will be highly appreciated.


                                                    From: Gary Beck <ecoegr@...>
                                                    To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                    Sent: Tue, February 8, 2011 9:24:50 PM
                                                    Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid [1 Attachment]

                                                     

                                                    This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200 cents). 
                                                     
                                                    Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero energy in annualized energy consumption.
                                                     
                                                    It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar array.  
                                                     
                                                    To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg). 
                                                     
                                                    In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
                                                     
                                                    Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber’s February 6 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'.  This is big news.  I hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
                                                     
                                                    This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!  They have let them off the hook by providing the ‘facts’ that the trendiest of trends is towards smaller smarter homes.  Whew! No they can start designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it - http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)

                                                     

                                                    In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned from Molly and Kathy’s article.   These points are worth repeating.

                                                     

                                                    Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers consistently, indicate that –

                                                    o   Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget- and environmentally conscious

                                                    o   Smaller, smarter rooms

                                                    o   Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.

                                                    o   Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose. It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties!).

                                                    o   "People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties – she gets it!)

                                                    o   Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square feet is suddenly desirable.

                                                    o   Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.

                                                    o   Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a media-filled gathering space.

                                                    o   People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so home offices are an asset, too.

                                                    o   "We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff,"

                                                    o   A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists, and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work space by day.

                                                    o   The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen

                                                    o   Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area.

                                                    o   A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home buyers request two dishwashers."

                                                    o   Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features.

                                                    o   "Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet,"

                                                    o   "Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."

                                                    o   There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap them up like postage stamps."

                                                    o   Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics - woven into the house,

                                                    o   Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all the household products she buys in bulk.

                                                    o   Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high on priority lists.

                                                    o   Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time."

                                                    o   Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to fire and weather.

                                                    o   Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge.

                                                    o   The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV. Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.

                                                    o   Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"

                                                    o   Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't.

                                                    o   People will be able to clean their own houses."

                                                    o   The era of the McMansion is over.

                                                     

                                                    Way to go Molly and Kathy!

                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     

                                                  • Robert Johnston
                                                    If your only constraint on PV is roof space, your net worth must dwarf mine! ;-) For me, smaller makes a lot of sense. Robert From: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                    Message 26 of 29 , Feb 10, 2011
                                                    • 0 Attachment

                                                      If your only constraint on PV is roof space, your net worth must dwarf mine!  ;-)

                                                      For me, smaller makes a lot of sense.


                                                      Robert

                                                       

                                                      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay Ring
                                                      Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:14 AM
                                                      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      I am not saying that your previous points are wrong for you.  Only that they are not necessarily true for everyone.  A house is a very personal thing.  If it works for you, that's great.  It doesn't work for me.

                                                       

                                                      It is not the case that large houses can't be made net-zero.  A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof.  A 4000 square foot house has 4000 square feet of roof.  It's the ratio of roof space to living space that affects your ability to offset your energy use (assuming PV).

                                                       

                                                      What kills your ability to get to zero is adding a addition levels.  Extra levels add square feet of living space without adding extra roof space.  Even then you could use pole mount PV outside.

                                                       

                                                       


                                                      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Beck" <ecoegr@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > 'Breaking it down' also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about
                                                      > daily conversions or a 'Transformer' house. Not rocket science - just
                                                      > designing to the task.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > I don't think many people plan to solder and re-pot plants in their kitchen.
                                                      > Maybe some seedling, but not the ferns. But they could do each in a
                                                      > multitasking garage with a well-designed in work area. Multitasking happens
                                                      > in every room of every house. It would work much better if each room or
                                                      > area were designed to do specific multitasks better.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Good designers know It is more about understanding flow and also placing
                                                      > things where people need them to be. This might be a nook desk in the
                                                      > kitchen area for all the tasks we need to do associated with and during food
                                                      > preparation. Plus it is a place to set up 'junior' to do homework while
                                                      > parents cook. Maybe it is placing a floor plug to connect into a 'wired'
                                                      > kitchen table so it has an outlet under a nicely decorated flush brass plate
                                                      > to plug in a wok or plug in a laptop without tripping over the cables,. or a
                                                      > reading nook designed into a stairwell landing, or a bathroom that detects
                                                      > high humidity and vents it.the list goes on and on.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > The point is that if you choose to design a sleek good looking super
                                                      > insulated smart operating smaller (not tiny!) home, you can create the
                                                      > opportunity to go net-zero energy on an annualized basis. If you design a
                                                      > large home, the simple kW/sf will quickly get you off that net-zero
                                                      > possibility.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
                                                      > Ring
                                                      > Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:21 AM
                                                      > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                      > Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better. There is a
                                                      > "right size" that depends on each person/family.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it. You
                                                      > should love your house. Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you
                                                      > never use. Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists
                                                      > for a purpose, not just added on without thought.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > Disagree with some exceptions.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms. You spend too much time
                                                      > setting up and breaking down. It's much more convenient to set it up and
                                                      > leave it that way.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a
                                                      > work space. That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home,
                                                      > that is a nightmare. I have several computers, soldering equipment,
                                                      > electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc. The
                                                      > solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table. I also like to
                                                      > garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints
                                                      > heading to the outside. These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized
                                                      > space, with everything set up and ready to go. While any one persons
                                                      > specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of
                                                      > cases.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes,
                                                      > while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special
                                                      > events. But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down
                                                      > again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > I agree with most of the other stuff. Good food for thought.
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck ecoegr@ wrote:
                                                      > >
                                                      > > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
                                                      > > cents).*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
                                                      > > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
                                                      > > energy in annualized energy consumption.
                                                      > >
                                                      > > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
                                                      > > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
                                                      > > array.
                                                      > >
                                                      > > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few
                                                      > years
                                                      > > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
                                                      > > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
                                                      > >
                                                      > > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced
                                                      > and
                                                      > > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You
                                                      > can
                                                      > > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
                                                      > > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
                                                      > >
                                                      > > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February
                                                      > 6
                                                      > > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
                                                      > > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
                                                      > > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
                                                      > > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
                                                      > >
                                                      > > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG
                                                      > favor!
                                                      > > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the
                                                      > trendiest
                                                      > > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
                                                      > > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
                                                      > > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
                                                      > > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
                                                      > > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
                                                      > > consistently, indicate that - *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
                                                      > > and environmentally conscious*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
                                                      > > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha
                                                      > Turner
                                                      > > Properties!). *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
                                                      > > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha
                                                      > Turner
                                                      > > Properties - she gets it!)*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
                                                      > > feet is suddenly desirable.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
                                                      > > media-filled gathering space.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
                                                      > > home offices are an asset, too.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
                                                      > > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
                                                      > > space by day.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
                                                      > > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
                                                      > > buyers request two dishwashers."*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
                                                      > > them up like postage stamps." *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
                                                      > > woven into the house, *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
                                                      > > the household products she buys in bulk.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
                                                      > > on priority lists.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
                                                      > > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
                                                      > > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
                                                      > > fire and weather.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
                                                      > > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
                                                      > > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
                                                      > > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
                                                      > >
                                                      > > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > >
                                                      > > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
                                                      > >
                                                      >

                                                    • Ariel Thomann
                                                      Jay wrote: A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000 Sort of; it s only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all
                                                      Message 27 of 29 , Feb 11, 2011
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                        Jay wrote:
                                                        "A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000"
                                                        Sort of; it's only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all roofs flat - perhaps valid at the equator?
                                                        Around here, for PV purposes, roofs should be slanted about 30 degrees.  A 40 x 40 ft house (1600 sq ft footprint) would have about 1840 sq ft of roof (without overhangs).  If you built such a
                                                        40 x 40 ft house at 90 degrees latitude, your ideal PV roof would be vertical and veeeeery tall.  Yes, it can get ridiculous.
                                                        Peace
                                                        Ariel


                                                        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                                                      • Lynden Foley
                                                        Thank you, that is priceless. No offense, sometimes I feel like I live in a two dimensional world. Congratulations to the people of Egypt. Lynden
                                                        Message 28 of 29 , Feb 11, 2011
                                                        • 0 Attachment
                                                          Thank you, that is priceless. No offense, sometimes I feel like I live in a two dimensional world.
                                                          Congratulations to the people of Egypt.

                                                          Lynden

                                                          Jay wrote:
                                                          "A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000"
                                                          Sort of; it's only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all roofs flat - perhaps valid at the equator?
                                                          Around here, for PV purposes, roofs should be slanted about 30 degrees.  A 40 x 40 ft house (1600 sq ft footprint) would have about 1840 sq ft of roof (without overhangs).  If you built such a
                                                          40 x 40 ft house at 90 degrees latitude, your ideal PV roof would be vertical and veeeeery tall.  Yes, it can get ridiculous.
                                                          Peace
                                                          Ariel


                                                          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                        • Jay Ring
                                                          Well, yeah. I was ignoring that for simplicity, and just talking about it from the top, the way it would appear on the floor plan. But you are, of course,
                                                          Message 29 of 29 , Feb 11, 2011
                                                          • 0 Attachment
                                                            Well, yeah. I was ignoring that for simplicity, and just talking about it from the top, the way it would appear on the floor plan. But you are, of course, absolutely correct.

                                                            At 90deg latitude you are on the north pole. The sun is permanently up during summer and permanently down during winter. The angle will be a problem, but properly sizing your battery will be the real nightmare... well, that and getting groceries... hehehe


                                                            --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Ariel Thomann <ajthomann@...> wrote:
                                                            >
                                                            > Jay wrote:
                                                            >
                                                            > "A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000"
                                                            > Sort of; it's only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all roofs flat - perhaps valid at the equator?
                                                            > Around here, for PV purposes, roofs should be slanted about 30 degrees. A 40 x 40 ft house (1600 sq ft footprint) would have about 1840 sq ft of roof (without overhangs). If you built such a 40 x 40 ft house at 90 degrees latitude, your ideal PV roof would be vertical and veeeeery tall. Yes, it can get ridiculous.
                                                            > Peace
                                                            > Ariel
                                                            >
                                                            > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                                                            >
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