2/28/2010

Wind Turbines-Rural America

February 16, 2010


The Interview: Dan Juhl
by David Wagman, Chief Editor, REWNA Magazine
Oklahoma, United States [Renewable Energy World North America Magazine]

Wind turbines have been part of North America's rural landscape for well over 150 years, known best to farmers and ranchers as windmills. Rather than generate electricity, these machines pumped water out of the ground for domestic use, livestock and irrigation.

Today, the development of large-scale wind farms–containing dozens or even hundreds of wind turbines spread over many square miles–has brought a new breed of wind-driven machine to rural landscapes. They have not always been welcomed. Billboards along I-70 in Kansas in 2007 protested against the "industrialization" of rural parts of the state as large-scale wind farm development advanced.

Such opposition to wind farm development–and related transmission–threatens to slow growth in parts of the country where populations are small, viewsheds are wide and wind resources are robust.

Dan Juhl understands the depth of feeling that motivates opponents to large-scale wind farms. But he also recognizes the long-term benefits that can come to rural areas by developing such resources.

"Creating jobs in rural America is a big deal," says the 60-year-old Juhl, who is chairman of the board and CEO of the company that bears his name. As a comparatively small-scale wind developer based in Woodstock, Minn., Juhl Wind has championed the idea of community-based wind project ownership since the 1980s when Juhl returned to his home state after spending some time in California. He based his community ownership ideas on approaches used by the Dutch and the Germans, who kept project ownership in the hands of local landowners. During the 1990s Juhl worked to encourage policymakers in Minnesota and Nebraska to adopt rules encouraging similar types of local ownership. And since 1999 his company–whose stock trades over the counter using the symbol "Juhl.OB"–has developed 130 MW of community-owned wind power in both midwestern states.

"The genesis was no big thing," says Juhl. "Just a bunch of folks trying to make things happen." Having spent his childhood on a farm, Juhl grew up with wind technology. Now his focus is on using development tools to "help people who own the wind benefit from it."

The company has fewer than two dozen employees and the corporate office has been off the grid for 10 years. Electricity for the office comes from a hybrid wind/solar system and heat comes from a corncob burner. Juhl drives an electric car to and from work.

The essence of Juhl Wind's approach is to exploit wind resources for electricity generation while keeping the economic benefits as close to home as possible.

Through the community wind approach, the company involves land owners and the local community by establishing a limited liability company. This structure extends ownership to participants along with an initial equity investor. Once the equity investor receives its targeted rate of return, long-term project ownership flips to the community. As project developer, Juhl Wind helps in finding financing, secures utility power purchase agreements, negotiates with turbine suppliers for equipment and operates the wind farm once it's completed.

"We want economic development and to keep jobs in our communities," says Juhl. "The revenue stream stays in the community."

To the extent possible, the company uses local contractors, including electricians, engineers, installers and maintenance workers.

"When we build these projects we are small enough that we can utilize local talent," he says.

To date, the company's work has focused on the Buffalo Ridge area of southwestern Minnesota. At an elevation of around 2,000 feet, this 60-mile-long expanse of rolling hills offers good wind resources. To date, Juhl Wind has developed 14 wind farms with a total of 117 MW installed capacity. The company has another two dozen projects under development with a potential total capacity of 425 MW.

Much of the developed wind capacity connects to the grid via 69kV lines, which means the projects generally remain at the sub-transmission level. As a result, most of the electricity never makes it to the broader grid but is consumed locally. Juhl Wind prefers to develop projects sized between 5 MW to 20 MW and that represent a capital investment of $10 million to $40 million. That leaves them nowhere near mega-project size, but of a dollar and megawatt scale that's "still big to me," Juhl says.

Since the company went public in June 2008 it's attracted more attention and opened new sources of capital. Retired General Wesley Clark joined the board of directors in January 2009, having contacted the company to express an interest in its development approach. And Juhl Wind is investigating setting up an equity fund with the backing of "socially responsible firms" to develop more opportunities.

Community wind is a relatively small part of the larger wind development industry, representing roughly 2 percent of U.S. wind power capacity, according to one study. Projects are concentrated in a handful of states, including Minnesota, Iowa and Texas. (One Massachusetts community-owned wind project is profiled on page 67.)

A 2009 conference paper written by two researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said that while all wind energy projects offer an economic development component, local communities may see only a small benefit from the investment. The researchers said it is not uncommon for less than 15 percent of project-related construction spending to remain in the state where the project is built.

Community wind projects such as those developed by Juhl Wind can boost local economic benefits in three principal ways, according to the authors. First, more local labor and materials may be used during development and operations. Second, profitable projects with local ownership provide dividends to local shareholders. Third, community wind projects often depend on local banks for construction financing and operating loans.

Comparing community wind to a fictional "absentee" project, the authors found that construction employment effects can be 1.1 to 1.3 times higher and operations-period impacts 1.1 to 2.8 times higher for community wind.

The NREL researchers concluded that community wind projects have "greater economic development impacts than absentee-owned projects" and recommended that policies prioritizing higher levels of local ownership are "likely to result in increased economic development impacts."

Community ownership may help ease the sort of opposition to large-scale wind development that led to anti-wind billboards being posted along I-70 in Kansas.

Large-scale wind farms and transmission lines are becoming a major issue in rural America, Juhl says. "You just can't plop huge amounts of power" on rural areas, he says. "At some point the people who own the land become upset."

The NREL-written conference paper said that as wind penetration levels approach 20 percent, the likelihood rises that more people will encounter wind projects and infrastructure. While increased exposure will be a welcome change to some, the risk exists that people living in a wind project's footprint may resist project development. This may be especially true if "outsiders" or "corporate interests" are seen as benefiting more than local residents, the paper suggested.

Community wind can counteract opposition by increasing the amount of economic development benefits that remain local. At the same time, community wind may ease perceptions that "outsiders" are benefiting from wind projects.

Juhl admits his projects generate electricity that may cost more than what larger developers can offer, primarily because of differences in scale and scope. But he argues the difference "vaporizes" when amortized across the rate base and after accounting for other economic development benefits. State regulators, however, often need to be reminded of the benefits community wind can offer.

"Regulators don't care about anything but the cost of energy," he says. "But we're the ratepayer; we create all these jobs and keep revenue in the community."

Juhl Wind receives a steady flow of inquiries from communities intent on developing their own wind resources. The company's small scale limits the extent to which it can join even the most interesting projects. "I have to be honest with them," Juhl says. "It's difficult being a small player."

Difficulties aside, Juhl remains committed to the goals of community-based wind that first inspired him 30 years ago.

"If we can use this to help rural economies prosper that's the thing," he says. "It makes a huge difference in the larger economy."

National Call In Week, Repower America

Dear Blog Reader,

Next week could make or break America's climate and energy future.

Last summer, the House passed a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that could create millions of clean energy jobs and begin to address the climate crisis. Now, a new Senate version, with significant support from key Senators, could be less than a week away* -- but lobbyists from Big Oil and Coal are already lining up to do whatever they can to gut critical provisions.

We can't let lobbyists and special interests win. America needs clean energy and the jobs it will bring to our economy.

That's why we're launching our biggest calling campaign ever. We're joining forces with a coalition of climate groups to create a perfect storm of grassroots pressure from Tuesday through Thursday of next week. We're holding an event near you where local members can call other supporters around the state and connect them to our Senators. Can you join us?

RSVP to a phone bank for clean energy near you.

Your calls were crucial to shutting down Senator Lisa Murkowski's attack on the Clean Air Act last month.

Now, with the Senate negotiating the contents of this critical new bill, its fate is in our hands too. We need to keep our Senators' phones ringing off the hook -- the more they understand that passing this bill is our top priority, the more they will make it theirs.

To get it done, we're setting the ambitious goal of 20,000 calls from the Climate Protection Action Fund alone next week. And to reach that number, we'll need the help of committed supporters like you to make it happen. Can you help us reach our goal?

Help us flood the Senate with calls. RSVP for a local phone bank next week.

Successful legislation isn't just important here in the U.S. As we saw at the Copenhagen climate conference, countless nations are relying on our action to catalyze global efforts to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution.

But for this bill to make a real impact, it's got to include two things:
1) Strong investment in clean energy to create American manufacturing and construction jobs, and
2) A cap on carbon pollution that limits the amount of carbon companies can emit, giving them incentives to reduce emissions while holding violators accountable.

Your calls have made a difference before. And next week, your barrage of phone calls will tell our Senators to stop wasting time, stop caving to big oil and coal, and finally pass a strong clean energy and climate bill -- because we can't afford the consequences of their inaction.

Please RSVP to a phone bank today.

Thanks,

Dave Boundy
Campaign Manager Repower America

* Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, "Reid demands climate bill ASAP," Washington Post - Post Carbon blog, http://views.washingtonpost.com/climate-change/post-carbon/2010/02/reid_demands_climate_bill.html

2/27/2010

Energy Efficiency, Demand Response "DR", Utility Companies

Info Supplied by: Scotty, Scott's Contracting-St Louis Renewable Energy Missouri Information found at:http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2010/02/getting-to-energy-efficiency-with-two-little-magic-words-demand-response?cmpid=WNL-Friday-February26-2010

Getting to Energy Efficiency with Two Little Magic Words (Demand Response)



Here’s how to be super cool in Silicon Valley: Mutter the words “demand response” or, better yet, the acronym “DR.” Wait for somebody to start talking about Energy Efficiency (somebody will) and then say “demand side management” or its acronym, “DSM.”

The more the cost of electricity rises, the more the electricity-devouring Silicon Valley high tech companies become energy conscious. Google recently got permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to become a utility just so it can exercise more control over its energy mix, add more New Energy to its supply and implement better control of its Energy Efficiency (EE).

The Silicon Valley IT giants long ago took the standard EE steps like improving their insulation, windows and doors. Now what they are studying is how they can more effectively reduce their demand during periods like hot summer afternoons when the price of electricity peaks because everybody in California is running their air conditioners. This is called demand response (DR).

The chip wizards are also competing to invent the best demand side management (DSM) technologies for utilities so that they can interact with customers electricity consumption, via a smart grid, to prevent brownouts or blackouts when sudden fluctuations in supply or demand threatens the utilities’ capability to keep the lights on.

Coordination of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response; A Resource of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, from researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is an examination of how EE and DR fit together.



It was written in support of the 10 implementation goals of the 2008 National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Vision for 2025, an agreement between 50 major electric and gas utilities, state utility commissioners, state air and energy agencies, energy service providers, energy consumers, and energy efficiency and consumer advocates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The goals:


(1) Establishing Cost-Effective Energy Efficiency as a High-Priority Resource
(2) Developing Processes to Align Utility and Other Program Administrator Incentives Such That Efficiency and Supply Resources Are on a Level Playing Field
(3) Establishing Cost-Effectiveness Tests
(4) Establishing Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification Mechanisms
(5) Establishing Effective Energy Efficiency Delivery Mechanisms
(6) Developing State Policies to Ensure Robust Energy Efficiency Practices
(7) Aligning Customer Pricing and Incentives to Encourage Investment in Energy Efficiency
(8) Establishing State of the Art Billing Systems
(9) Implementing State of the Art Efficiency Information Sharing and Delivery Systems
(10) Implementing Advanced Technologies

The LBNL paper (1) summarizes the research on the relationship between energy efficiency and demand response, (2) presents new information from program administrators, customers, and service providers, on current practices and opportunities in the coordination of energy efficiency and demand response, and (3) discusses the barriers to coordinating energy efficiency and demand response programs.

The goals of the Silicon Valley circuit and system builders are simple: (1) Make gads of money and (2) save the world. EE is the easiest cheapest way to begin doing both those things. The LBNL paper demonstrates that DR is a valuable means toward achieving EE, which makes DR pretty cool.

This post is based on Coordination of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response; A Resource of the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency by Charles Goldman, Michael Reid, Roger Levy and Alison Silverstein (January 2010, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

2/26/2010

Natural Living Expo Sunday, February 28, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

This Sunday please join StLouisGreen.com at the
 Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo!

Information Provided by:
 Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "Renewable Energy" Missouri

Learn To Live More Naturally
at the 19th Healthy Planet Natural Living Expo
February 28 In Webster Groves

Cure your cabin fever at The Healthy Planet, St. Louis’ Green & Natural Living magazine, hosts its 19th Natural Living Expo Sunday, February 28, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Webster Groves Recreation Center, 33 E. Glendale Road (I-44 at Elm Avenue) in Webster Groves.

This popular event will include more than 70 exhibit booths offering a variety of eco-friendly, healthy and natural products, services and information. There will be numerous food and product samples to enjoy from Whole Foods Market, Sappington Farmers Market, Chipolte Mexican Grill, Schnucks Market & more. Enjoy seasonal beer tasting by Schlafly Beer and Wine Tastings hosted by Crown Valley Winery and Sappington Farmers Market. Eco-Friendly businesses will be on hand to show you how you can live a “greener” and more sustainable life at home, the office and in the community. Enjoy the beautiful sounds of Native American Flute by John MacEnulty and the heavenly melodies of Harpist Terri Langerak.

Expo visitors will have an opportunity to help the Haitians by making a donation to the Sisters of Loretto who will administer the funds directly to the Haitian people. The first 300 visitors will take home a complimentary eco-friendly, reusable tote bag courtesy of Whole Foods Market, Sappington Farmers Market, and Schnucks Markets.

Receive a free health screening or chair massage. Enter a free drawing for a family weekend at Trout Lodge YMCA of the Ozarks ($600 value), or Amtrak train Tickets. If you are interested in living a healthier and more eco-friendly life, then don’t miss this event! The first 100 paid visitors receive FREE passes to Missouri Botanical Garden, too! Plenty of door prizes and something for everyone in the family! Even your pets!

Adult admission is $8.00, children under 16 are free! Two for one tickets are inside the February issue of The Healthy Planet magazine. For more information please call The Healthy Planet magazine at 314-962-7748, or email expoinfo@thehealthyplanet.com.

For more info, please call 314-962-7748

2/24/2010

Combat "Greenwashing"

Provided by: Scotty, Scott's Contracting, St Louis "Renewable Energy" Missouri

Article by:Shades of Green-By:Rich Binsacca

The term “greenwash-ing” has been aroundabout as long as its root word, relied upon to ­unearth exaggerated or untrue claims (made on purpose or unwittingly) about the environmental impact or value of a given product, including homes.


But given the rapid proliferation of both green products and buildings across the country, efforts to better define the term—and ferret out offenders—are relying more on science than trial-and-error or taking a label of ingredients at face value. “The trend now is to scientifically certify green claims against a battery of standards and test methods,” says Ed ­Wyatt, program manager for material content certification at Scientific Certification Systems in Emeryville, Calif., one of an increasing number of independent entities and public agencies providing that service.

Even then, however, Wyatt and others see manufacturers and builders misusing the certifications they earn once the marketing staff takes over. “There’s no such thing as an ‘eco-friendly’ certification,” he says, recalling a recent manufacturer’s packaging claim. Far more prevalent than misleading PR, he says, are truly unsubstantiated claims for which no scientific basis exists.

To combat greenwashing, builders and specifiers are ­asking for more information and third-party verifications, and applying comprehensive, software-enabled life-cycle analysis metrics to gain a more solid footing for their projects.

They also are relying on green building program standards to guide them to the greenest ­products and building practices. “They give you a framework with which to judge if something meets the qualifications of a truly green product,” says Fort Worth, Texas–based builder Don Ferrier, such as specific water flow rates for plumbing fixtures, as verified by a third party, as opposed to something simply marketed as a low-flow faucet.

Failing to go the extra mile can put builders at risk of ­becoming greenwashers themselves. “Currently, it’s easier to greenwash a building than a product or material,” says Carl Seville, owner of Seville Consulting in Decatur, Ga. Even if a builder is diligent in his specifications, he says, the value of the greenest materials can be wasted on a poorly built and ill-­performing house. “You can’t put lipstick on a pig.”

Just as builders, architects, and specifiers are starting to hold manufacturers accountable for their environmental impact claims, home buyers are becoming more eco-savvy, says Wyatt, perhaps to the point of questioning the value of using environmentally sustainable products and materials on a 4,000-square-foot house that required more material to build and uses more energy—even if ­efficiently so—than a smaller home. “It’s a slow process, but eventually they’ll put the products in a larger context.”

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder- St Louis "Renewable Energy" Missouri

2/22/2010

Ground Source Heat Pumps, University of Missouri

U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy


Geothermal Technologies ProgramLarge Scale GSHP as Alternative Energy for American Farmers

This is a summary of a project funded on a cost-shared basis by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Geothermal Technologies Program (GTP). This work is one of several projects funded by GTP under its mission to conduct research, development, and demonstration to advance geothermal energy technologies. This summary was prepared as part of the application process by the subsequent recipient of a funding opportunity grant and is offered only as a general overview of the project's scope and direction at the time of the award.

view complete article here:http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/geothermal/projects/projects.cfm/ProjectID=109?print

2/20/2010

Congressman Jay Inslee on energy policy, 'global weirding'

Posted on February 18, 2010 Podcast: Congressman Jay Inslee on energy policy, 'global weirding'


Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., is "somewhat optimistic" that Congress will pass energy legislation this year, but added that he is realistic about the challenges to attaining that goal.

He would like to see an energy bill passed very soon. U.S. policies and incentives are not happening at nearly the speed needed to compete in the renewable space with China, Inslee said. In order for any legislation to be effective, he said U.S. policy must include pricing on carbon pollution, saying that as long as it is free, carbon emissions will continue.

Inslee spoke with SNL Energy on Feb. 11 to discuss the release of the paperback version of the book he co-wrote with Bracken Hendricks, "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy." Hendricks is a senior fellow at think tank Center for American Progress. The title comes from their comparison of U.S. renewable development to the space race between the United States and Russia in the 1960s.

When asked about the recent snowstorms that have slammed the East Coast, Inslee said they are an example of the increase in number and intensity of storms as a result of climate change and agrees with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that it should be referred to as "global weirding."

To hear the full interview, visit SNL Energy's podcast library.

provided by: Scotty, St Louis "Renewable Energy" Missouri article found on:
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2010/02/podcast-congressman-jay-inslee-on-energy-policy-global-weirding

2/19/2010

Renewable Energy Funding Sources

Funding Enterprise offers a comprehensive array of funding options for interested developers. Explore the funding options below.


Grants
Enterprise offers Planning and Construction, Charrette and Sustainability (http://www.greencommunitiesonline.org/tools/funding/grants) grants to help cover the costs of planning and implementing green components of affordable housing developments, as well as tracking their costs and benefits.
Loans

We offer Predevelopment, and Acquisition Loans (http://www.greencommunitiesonline.org/tools/funding/loans) to support the development of affordable rental and homeownership housing that adheres to Green Communities Criteria.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Equity

Competitively priced Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity (http://www.greencommunitiesonline.org/tools/funding/housing.asp)to nonprofit and for-profit developers for new construction and/or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing that generally adheres to the Green Communities Criteria.

info provided by: Scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com, Scott's Contracting, St Louis, MO info found at:http://www.greencommunitiesonline.org/tools/funding/

2/18/2010

Green Build- "Wood Framing versus Advanced Framing"

Traditional Wood Framing versus Advanced Framing- Info provided by: Scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com, http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com,


Article by: Eric Corey Freed

Using Advanced Framing Techniques in Your Home

Traditional Wood Framing Advanced Framing Techniques
2-x-4 wall studs are spaced on center at 16 inches. 2-x-6 wall studs are spaced on center at 24 inches.The larger studs are stronger, so they can be spaced farther apart. The additional thickness of the wall also allows room for additional insulation.

2-x-8 floor joists are spaced on center at 16 inches. Use engineered wood I-joists at 24 inches on center for the framing of your floors and roof.The studs and joists now have the same spacing and align to one another.

When two walls meet at a corner, extra studs are placed at each end. These studs are only used as a place to attach the drywall, and these hollow corners create uninsulated voids. Corners are built using two-stud corner framing (where no extra studs are added). Instead of using an entire stud, place a backing strip,called a drywall clip, to use as the spot to connect the drywall.

Additional studs are used to hold the drywall together. Inexpensive drywall clips or scrap lumber hold the joints of two drywall boards together without using an entire wood stud.

Extra wood, called a header, is placed over openings, such as doors and windows. On non-load-bearing walls, a single stud is often enough support over a door or opening.

The wall framing does not align to the floor and roof, even when both are spaced at 16 inches on center. In-line framing (where the floor, wall, and roof framing members are all in line with one another) is used. Because the floor and roof framing now line up with the studs in the walls, the weight is transferred directly from the floor to the wall. By aligning the structure vertically throughout the entire house, it makes the building stronger and more efficient.

The top stud of a wood-framed wall, called the top plate, is doubled up to distribute the structural loads from the roof and floor above.Two studs are used. A single stud is used for the top plate of each wall. (Check with your local building codes to see if this is allowed; it usually doesn’t present any problems.) Connect the joints of the top plates with a galvanized steel plate. These steel plates should be used on the top plate at all the joints, corners, and intersections

The home is designed to some arbitrary dimension, often requiring additional cutting and materials. The home is designed on a 2-foot module to reduce waste and take advantage of the standard size of plywood and sheathing materials

If you’ve never heard of these advanced framing techniques,you probably have some concerns.Here are some common myths surrounding the use of advanced framing techniques.

Myths about Advanced Framing Techniques
Myth Fact

The more wood that goes into the frame, the stronger the frame is.

The extra wood only adds to the weight of the frame and tries to make up for the roof and floors not aligning to the walls. Advanced framing techniques will strengthen your home, not weaken it.

The building codes don’t allow for the use of advanced framing techniques.

The building codes support advanced framing techniques because they make buildings stronger and remove redundant wood.

If you use advanced framing techniques, the drywall will bow or buckle, because the boards are only supported every 24 inches instead of every 16 inches.

A good contractor uses quality materials and craftsmanship to prevent the walls from bowing.

Attaching the sheathing and drywall every 16 inches makes the building stronger.

Attaching the sheathing and drywall at only 24 inches actually reduces the stress placed on the panels.

How to Take Advantage of Advanced Framing

Advanced framing techniques already take advantage of traditional wood framing. These improvements to the usual practice of wood framing should be done on every home built out of wood. In fact, there is no downside or reason not to employ these measures.

Tip: Using advanced framing techniques, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) discovered a cost savings of over 12% when compared to traditional wood framing. These methods can potentially reduce the amount of wood by 55%.

In addition to reducing the amount of wood used, follow these other suggestions when designing your green home with advanced framing techniques:

Substitute oriented strand board (OSB) for your exterior sheathing. Select boards made from formaldehyde-free glues. If the sheathing is not required for the structure, use nonstructural insulated boards for extra insulation.

Select finger-jointed studs made from small pieces of wood stitched together to make a full-length stud.


Take advantage of the thicker 2-x-6-inch walls and fill them with insulation above the minimum required amount. (Refer to Chapter 11 for more insulation information.)


Purchase sustainably harvested wood stamped by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).



Info provided by: Scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com, http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com, http://www.ecomii.com/building/advanced-framing

Article supplied by: Eric Corey Freed

Using Advanced Framing Techniques in Your Home

2/17/2010

Hot Water from Your Woodstove


Get Hot Water from Your Woodstove: The Blazing Showers Stovepipe Water Heater


This hot water heating system uses extra produces hot water that will stay warm up to 48 hours!

Three years ago, we were sitting in our cabins wondering how we could satisfy our addictions for hot baths and showers, without paying ridiculous prices for disappearing reserves of fossil fuels. Putting our talents together (one of us is a mechanical wizard and the other a Ph.D. chemist), we devised a homestead alternate energy system — based on the use of otherwise-wasted stovepipe heat — that's allowed us to take those hot baths. We call our system the Blazing Showers Stovepipe Hot Water Heater.

Hot Water Basics

As you can see in Fig. 1 (see Image Gallery), an ordinary water heater is nothing more than a storage tank (located between a house's water source and its various hot water faucets) sitting over a gas or electric burner. Since water tends to rise as it's heated, cold water is piped in at the bottom of the tank, while hot water is drawn off from the top.

Fig. 2 compares such a conventional water heater with a Blazing Showers system. As you can see, our setup employs a coil of copper tubing — located inside a woodburning stove's stovepipe — to heat the water that's held in our storage tank. Hot smoke rising through the stovepipe warms the water in the copper coil, which causes it to rise (and thereby draw more cold water into the coil). Meanwhile, the stovepipe-heated water flows into the top of the storage tank, where it remains until someone decides to take a "blazing shower" and turns on a faucet.

Notice that there are no pumps in our system: Instead, plain ole thermal convection does all the work.

Hot Water ... Overnight!

How long does it take to fill a tank with hot water this way? The answer depends on how cold the incoming cold water is, how many gallons your water heater holds, and how hot the flame is in your stove. We estimate that a blazing fire in an average-sized wood-burner can produce 20 gallons of hot water per hour. And—if you store that heated water in an insulated tank as we prescribe—it'll remain hot for up to 48 hours after the fire goes out. What this means in practical terms is that if you have a fire in your stove one evening, you'll still have all the hot water you want (for bathing, dishwashing, etc.) the following morning when you wake up. In fact, that water will actually remain warm for two full days ... even if you don't light the stove again at any time during that period.

First Things First: Hot Water Storage Tank

The first thing you need before you can install a system of your own, of course, is a storage tank. If you already have a hot water heater, you can use it ... otherwise, look around for a "previously owned" unit.

Many water heaters—you'll soon discover—are discarded solely because of a broken thermostat or heating element. Such retired fuel-eaters—as long as they don't leak and aren't badly rusted—are perfectly suited to our purpose. To find one of these storage containers, search around at the local dump, the power company, or in abandoned houses (make sure, though, that a house is truly abandoned before you go rummaging through it). Or—if you don't have the time to scrounge up a water tank—see your local plumber. Chances are, he handles quite a few broken water heaters and can get you a good one for $5.00 or a basket of snow peas.

Naturally, as we've already pointed out, you want a tank that's watertight and at least relatively rust-free. We've found that the ease with which the various fittings (attached pipes and connectors) can be removed from an old water heater is—quite often—a good indication of the unit's all-around health. Or, to put it the other way 'round, if its fittings are rusted so badly that you can't get them off, the heater is probably not worth fooling with.

The Tank: Location
Once you've obtained a serviceable water tank, it's important that you install it correctly in relation to the stovepipe coil. Notice—in Fig. 2—that opening X is above opening Z . . . and that Y is above W. Obviously, Y must be higher than W because it's the rising column of hot water that forces the circulation of fluid through the system.

Note, too, that the vertical distance separating Y and W determines how far—horizontally—you can put the water tank from the stove: You can move the tank up to two feet away from the wood-burner for every foot that Y is above W.

The Tank: Insulation

Conventional water heaters lack adequate insulation, due (we believe) to the politics of consumerism and to the fact that each unit's storage drum is so close to its heating element. Because our goal is efficient heat storage (and since—in our system—the reservoir is somewhat farther from its source of heat), we can—and should—do a better insulation job.

One way to accomplish this is to [A] bundle the entire water heater—top, bottom, and sides—in four to six inches of fiberglass, [B] wrap a blanket (or sheet) around the fiberglass-clad tank, and [C] stitch the blanket's (or sheet's) edges together. Or you could build a box around your storage tank and fill the enclosure with natural materials—wood shavings, pieces of bark, sawdust, chicken feathers, rags, egg cartons, wool, etc.—that create insulating air traps.

In addition to protecting the tank from heat loss, we recommend that you also insulate all exposed pipes.

The Storage Tank Adapter

If you were to pipe the hot water coming from your Blazing Showers stovepipe coil directly into the top of your storage tank as shown in Fig. 4, any air bubbles in the pipes would soon become trapped at the system's highest point. This would impair the convection-driven circulation of liquid through the heating coil and, to prevent such an occurrence, we've designed a special adapter.

As shown in Fig. 5, our adapter assembly screws onto the hot water outflow pipe at the top of the storage tank and thereby makes it possible for newly heated water to get into the container via the same pathway by which it is drawn off to the faucets. Thus, any air in the system quickly exits to the hot water spigots and is eliminated. (Note, too, in Fig. 5, that the adapter assembly contains an anti-siphoning device to prevent cold water from being drawn from the bottom of the storage vessel when the hot water faucets are turned on.)

The Woodstove Firebox Hot Water Heater

Solar Water Heating

With just a couple of modifications, our basic Blazing Showers system will work as both a stovepipe AND a solar water heating system. That is, a wood stove and a solar collector could be used either simultaneously or independently to produce hot water and feed it to the storage tank (see Fig. 7). Such a setup, of course, is ideal for folks who—as we do—live in the sunnier parts of the country where wood stoves aren't used all year round. And—since the sun-powered part of the system need work only during the hottest weather—the collector itself can be a rather simple, low-technology device. We intend to market our own super-simple "sunny day'' solar collector next summer.

It's a Natural

Piping-hot water—warmed by a wood stove's waste heat—is a natural. And it's economical! (Just think: With no more hot water bills to pay, you can pocket an extra $10 to $25 a month!) Of course we're prejudiced, but any way we look at it, the Blazing Showers system is a piece of cake . . . and added self-sufficiency is the frosting.

Info Supplied by: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself

2/14/2010

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "RENEWABLE ENERGY" MO,: Resturant Equipment ENERGY STAR Commercial Kitchen Package

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "RENEWABLE ENERGY" MO,: Resturant Equipment ENERGY STAR Commercial Kitchen Package

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "RENEWABLE ENERGY" MO,: 10 Million Solar Home Initiative

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "RENEWABLE ENERGY" MO,: 10 Million Solar Home Initiative

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "RENEWABLE ENERGY" MO,: $20.5M for Community Renewable Energy Projects

Scott's Contracting, Green Builder St Louis "RENEWABLE ENERGY" MO,: $20.5M for Community Renewable Energy Projects

10 Million Solar Home Initiative

February 9, 2010


Sen. Sanders Introduces 10 Million Solar Home Initiative

Washington, D.C., United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate's green jobs subcommittee introduced legislation with nine cosponsors to encourage the installation of 10 million solar systems on the rooftops of homes and businesses over the next decade.

Sanders said a recent report shows that solar power could help make every state more energy independent if solar units were installed on available rooftop space, because every state can meet 10 percent or more of its electricity needs just through rooftop solar.

Sanders' bill, the 10 Million Solar Roofs and 10 Million Gallons of Solar Water Heating Act of 2010, would authorize rebates which, along with other incentives, would cover up to half the cost of the 10 million solar power systems and 200,000 water heating systems. Non-profit groups and state and local governments also would be eligible.

"At a time when we spend $350 billion importing oil from Saudi Arabia and other countries every year, the United States must move away from foreign oil to energy independence," Sanders said. "A dramatic expansion of solar power is a clean and economical way to help break our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, improve our geopolitical position, and create good-paying green jobs."

At a Senate committee hearing, Sanders questioned Energy Secretary Steven Chu about President Obama's budget for next year. The White House requested US $2.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The requested 5 percent boost overall included a 22 percent increase for solar power.

The potential for solar power also was the subject of testimony last week before Sanders' green jobs subcommittee by Jeff Wolfe, chief executive officer of groSolar. Wolfe said Sanders' bill "would help homeowners and small businesses stabilize their energy costs."

Sanders said a recent report shows that solar power could help make every state more energy independent if solar units were installed on available rooftop space, because every state can meet 10 percent or more of its electricity needs just through rooftop solar. Moreover, because solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt than other energy sources. Sanders' bill could create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next ten years in the solar industry.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) applauded Sanders and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) for introducing the bill.

“Senator Sanders and Congressman Cohen have shown true leadership by setting a bold vision for solar installations that will help the U.S. reclaim global leadership in this fast growing industry,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Passing this bill would create the world’s largest market for solar energy here in the U.S. and bring with it tens of thousands of manufacturing and installation jobs in all 50 states.”

Reaction from other players in the solar industry was also positive. Sharp Solar said that it would help boost both the manufacturing and integration sectors.

“Sharp commends Senator Saunders and Representative Cohen for sponsoring this new legislation which will foster the growth of the U.S. residential solar market,” said Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar. “We are pleased to see Congressman Cohen and the State of Tennessee, where we manufacture our solar modules, lead this effort. Legislation such as this will help make our nation’s energy portfolio more sustainable, create green jobs and help combat climate change, while helping secure energy independence.”

The legislation's cosponsors include Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA).

“This bill will help make America energy independent while creating many thousands of good paying jobs in the U.S. It will also help bring long term relief to American homeowners, who otherwise face mounting energy bills. This bill represents a rare legislative opportunity for a win-win-win, and we salute Senator Sanders and Representative Cohen for introducing it,” Wolfe said

$20.5M for Community Renewable Energy Projects

February 5, 2010


DOE Releases US $20.5M for Community Renewable Energy Projects

Washington, D.C., United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com]

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu this week announced the selection of five projects to receive a combined US $20.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support deployment of community-based renewable energy projects including biomass, wind and solar installations.

DOE estimates that these projects will provide enough clean, renewable energy to displace the emissions of approximately 10,700 homes.

“Smaller, more localized renewable energy systems need to play a role in our comprehensive energy portfolio," Secretary Chu said. “These projects will help create jobs, expand our clean energy economy, and help us cut carbon pollution at the local level.”

The projects selected by DOE will be leveraged with approximately $167 million in local government and private industry funding. DOE estimates that these projects will provide enough clean, renewable energy to displace the emissions of approximately 10,700 homes.

Projects selected for awards are listed below.

The City of Montpelier, Vermont plans to use $8 million from DOE to install a 41 MMBtu combined heat and power district energy system fueled with locally-sourced renewable and sustainably-harvested wood chips. The CHP system will be sized to provide heating to the Vermont Capitol Complex, city owned schools, the City Hall Complex, and up to 156 buildings in the community’s designated downtown district for a total of 176 buildings and 1.8 million square feet served.

The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe in Wisconsin will install a 1.25-MW biomass combined heat and power facility that will provide heating, cooling and electricity, a 150-kW biogas digester and generation facility, as well as three 100-kW wind turbines and three dual-axis 2.88 kW solar PV panels located at the Tribe’s Governmental Center using $2.5 million from DOE.

SMUD recieve $5 million to install the state’s first-ever ‘Solar Highway’, which will feature 300kW of concentrating PV, and 400 and 800 kW of flat plate PV distributed on 2 miles of highway right-of-ways. SMUD will also install a full scale co-digestion process of fats, oil and grease (FOG) and liquid food processing waste with sewage to produce biogas with estimated power recovery of 1-3 MW, and install two low-NOx anaerobic digesters fed by two dairy facilities that will produce 500 kW of combined heat and power, and generate 600 kW of electricity through a molten carbonate fuel cell.

UC Davis’ proposed Waste-to-Renewable Energy (WTRE) system will get $2.5 million. The system would generate power from a renewable biogas fed fuel cell. The organic waste will enter a receiving station in which it can be collected and prepared for digestion. Once the appropriate mix has been created in buffer tanks, the waste will flow to the reactor where methanogenic bacteria will generate methane and carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, etc.

Finally, Phillips County, Colorado will get $2.5 million to help develop a 650-MW wind farm within Sedgwick, Phillips, and Logan counties in Northeastern Colorado.

2/08/2010

Resturant Equipment ENERGY STAR Commercial Kitchen Package

                     
Choose an ENERGY STAR Commercial Kitchen Package

According to Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Food Service Technology Center, as much as 80 percent of the $10 billion annual energy bill for the commercial food service (CFS) sector does no useful work. These lost energy dollars are often wasted in the form of excess heat and noise generated by inefficient appliances, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting and refrigeration.

                           Manage Costs
To help counter these costs, ENERGY STAR helps restaurant owners and operators improve the performance of their facilities and equipment while reducing energy costs. Restaurants that invest strategically can cut utility costs 10 to 30 percent without sacrificing service, quality, style or comfort - while making significant contributions to a cleaner environment.

Restaurants, or facilities with commercial kitchens, feature the majority of this equipment and consume significantly more energy than other types of buildings - using approximately 250,000 Btu/sq.ft.

ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can be an answer to mounting energy bills. Purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified CFS equipment as a package for new kitchen construction or as a replacement for aging equipment, can save significant amounts of money and energy on foodservice operators' electric, gas, water and sewer bills.
Save Energy, Save Money
Outfitting an entire kitchen with a suite of ENERGY STAR qualified CFS equipment could save operators about 350 Mbtu/year annually, or the equivalent of approximately $3,600.

Besides saving energy, ENERGY STAR qualified steam cookers and commercial dishwashers save water. Steam cookers that have earned the ENERGY STAR are 90 percent more water efficient than non-qualified steam cookers; an ENERGY STAR qualified commercial dishwasher is 25 percent more water efficient than standard models.

Related Information

Guidebooks
ENERGY STAR Guide for Restaurants (820KB)

Equipment Savings Fact Sheet (1.06M)
CFS Program Administrator Guide for Utilities (418KB)
Importing Regulated CFS Products into Canada (48KB)

Case Studies
Austin Public Schools Case Study (884KB)
Saratoga Restaurant Equipment Sales Case Study (203KB)
Kessenich’s Ltd. Case Study (192KB)
Newsletters
ENERGY STAR CFS January 2010 Newsletter
ENERGY STAR CFS October 2009 Newsletter
Helpful Web Sites
Food Service Technology Center
Consortium for Energy Efficiency's (CEE) Commercial Kitchens Initiative
National Restaurant Association's Conserve Initiative

Contact Scott's Contracting, St Louis Renewable Energy for additional information < WEB or email>scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.comscotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com

2/07/2010

Electric cars Proper Set Up

Info by: Scotty, Scott's Contracting, St Louis Renewable Energy

Park and Plug


Electric cars are around the corner. Will your green buyers have a place to plug in?

By:Katy Tomasulo

The Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle with a 230 miles-per-gallon rating, is shown in front of the GreenHouse, a custom-built 4,000 sq-ft "carbon neutral" house in MacLean, Virginia Tuesday, September 22, 2009. The Volt will travel 40 miles on a single charge, meaning it could drive to Washington, DC and back twice from this location, without using a drop of gas. GreenHouse was designed and constructed using the latest environmental technologies, including solar hot water and electricity, a green roof system, rain water capture, geothermal heating/cooling and much more. The house will be open to the public for tours October 10-30. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for General Motors)

Credit: GM
GM’s recent announcement that its all-electric Chevy Volt will hit the showroom floor by the end of 2010 signaled a major shift in the evolution of plug-in vehicles. With other major manufacturers working on similar initiatives, it looks like electric cars may be hitting the mainstream.

Fully charged, the Volt will run for 40 miles on battery power, which means a typical commuter can travel all week to and from work without using any gas. A gas-powered extended-range mode provides an additional 300 miles. GM places the Volt’s miles per gallon at 230 and estimates it will consume 25 kWh—about $2.75—for every 100 miles.

Ford is not far behind, with plans to have its all-electric Focus available in 2011. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda also have announced upcoming rollouts.

In preparation, builders should be planning ahead to ensure the houses they sell are ready if and when occupants go the plug-in route. “If we’re not ready to get buildings outfitted today, there’s going to be a lot of incurred costs later on,” says Britta Gross, GM’s director of global energy systems and infrastructure commercialization.

Luckily, builders and drivers won’t face unfamiliar technology: The Volt simply plugs into a three-pronged outlet via an extension cord; Gross says the Volt charges in eight hours on a 120-volt/15-amp outlet or in about three hours on a 240-volt/30-amp outlet. Though most detached houses already contain a 120-volt outlet in the garage, forward-thinking builders should consider installing a 240-volt outlet no more than 25 feet from parking spots and providing a dedicated circuit.

Ford also recommends a dedicated 240-volt line to the garage, with 80 to 100 amps to accommodate two cars at 40 amps each. Ford will require a “charge point,” a hard-wired box that contains the cord and ensures it isn’t charged unless it’s plugged into the car.
For multifamily buildings with underground garages, Gross suggests installing a 240-volt outlet at each stall, along with appropriate upgraded transformers, or at least having a percentage of dedicated spaces.

Determining how many parking spaces is still up in the air. In Vancouver, a new building standard will require new multifamily projects to include wiring for vehicle charging in a minimum of 20% of parking stalls. Each building’s electrical capacity must be able to accommodate a load created if each of those stalls were in use simultaneously.

“Consumers … expect a plug for the dryer and stove, and in very short order, they’re going to expect an outlet in their garage,” says John Stonier, spokesperson for the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association. “It’s not a big stretch to do this, and it doesn’t cost very much.”
—Katy Tomasulohttp ://www.ecohomemagazine.com/home-technology/park-and-plug.aspx

Scott's Contracting will custom build or renovate your garage for the needed Electric Hook-Ups for your Electric Car

HVAC Best Fit- Renewable Energy Blog Page Reopened

Alternative Energy Blog Page Reopened!!!



EFFICIENCY LEVELS: HVAC... air conditioning equipment must meet both the SEER and EER to qualify. “If it meets 13 EER, it will automatically meet 16 SEER. But not the other way around,” he says.

FURNACE CHOICE: ...the 95% efficiency level for a gas furnace is easiest to reach, but it’s not always the best choice, based on climate. “In the northern states, [clients] get their money back sooner, but for southern states, A/C or heat pumps are better.”
SYSTEM COMBINATIONS: Contractors need to install the right combination of HVAC equipment to meet the efficiency levels. For example, matching the A/C condenser outside with the right furnace or air handler inside.

SPACE CONSIDERATIONS: John Hurst, vice president of product management with Richardson, Texas–based Lennox, says that many product installations have space constraints, particularly for the furnace and air handler. Local codes governing chimney size for venting and make-up air will also affect installation parameters. Frederick Air sales manager John Poyle offers an example: “If my house has a 3-ton air conditioner, and I want a 20 SEER unit, a manufacturer will say, this unit comes up to 20 SEER. But I may need a 5-ton coil to get that 20 SEER efficiency from the unit. But that coil is massive and won’t fit in my basement because of the low ceiling.”
To choose the best solution for the customer, make sure that the HVAC contractor reviews existing conditions, including the orientation of the house, shading, and existing insulation, as well as lifestyle considerations such as how the customer uses the system and what changes they plan for the future.

Info Provided by: Scotty, Scott's Contracting, http://www.stlouisrenewableenergy.com/ Leave comments below or email: scotty@stlouisrenewableenergy.com for additional info or pricing

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