Sunday, November 04, 2007
After being gone for two weeks Roger returned home just stuffed with new ideas. He was supposed to be gone just a week but extenuating circumstances and another class offering (that 'he just couldn't pass up') kept him longer than he intended to stay at school.
He is really excited about what he has learned regarding alternative energy sources. We're both excited about fact that we can use some of the ideas in our own home. Why does the word guinea pig keep popping into my head?
In keeping with saving energy or using 'green' energy we have installed the three 50 gallon drums in the new greenhouse. Each drum is filled with a mixture of water and anti-freeze. The idea is to use the heat collected by the drums during the day to warm the greenhouse at night. The anti-freeze will keep the water in the drums from freezing during the coldest part of the winter.
(Let's see. If the anti-freeze keeps the water from freezing that must mean that the water [by itself] would freeze with the outside temperatures. So, how much heat is generated by ice? Hmmm...I need to think about that.)
We did manage to cut down four of the eight Italian cypress that blocked the east side of the greenhouse (I just hated to do that). With the added sunlight the drums seem to be working. We've had the temperature drop to as low as 18 at night and the plants that remain in the green house are surviving. There's still a lot of winter left yet so we'll see what happens.
Once a company located in the State of Washington begins to manufacture solar panels we will be installing said solar panels in the field on the east side of the barn. By installing equipment manufactured in our home state we will be able to sell the excess energy generated by the panels back to the power company for more than if we were to use equipment purchased elsewhere. It is our understanding that there is a company that will begin manufacturing panels some time early next summer.
We will be doing some preliminary work on the project before that time. And, we will be documenting our progress once the project begins.
Roger would like to make installing energy conservation equipment his business. I think it's a great idea too. But, it's also scary knowing that we will be working on someone else' home. Maybe it's best that we're trying it on our own home first.
There are a lot of people around here that are interested in conservation. And, nearly everyone in Pullman knows that Roger is the guy who built The Electric Car. Though both are great ideas, I think it would be a stretch to equate one to the other. Somehow, watching the workman installing a solar heating system on a roof while reading an instruction book does not inspires much confidence; especially when it's your roof.
Because Roger was gone for so long this last week was spent playing 'catch-up' on our projects. We started out with about 35 items on our list and now have it down to about 10. We hope to have it down to four by next weekend and completely eliminated before Thanksgiving. We just might make it too (if we can stop adding to the list).
We finally finished the south wall of the barn. I insulated the walls and Roger and I put up the metal siding to complete the project and insure that the storage area will not leak again.
Roger fixed the large door that was twisted off of the rail by the wind last winter. Notice it's no longer standing askew. He then cut off the bottom part of each door and fixed them so we could close them all the way. I think the repairs will eliminate the leaking there too.
It was such a nice day today that we decided to complete another project on our list. We put an anemometer up on the side of the hill to monitor the wind. We already have one down near the drive way.
There appears to be much more wind on the hill than near the house. We will monitor the wind speed for a few weeks to see if it will be worth the effort to install a wind power generator.
We plan to set up a small dam so we can measure the amount of water coming down the hill from the seasonal waterfall. The waterfall doesn't run all year but it does run for a few months beginning in December and (except when things are completely frozen) continuing even into May. It will be easier to complete the construction while the stream is dry. I think we're going to try to get it set up this year. If we don't make it there's always next year. We should be able to generate energy from the water if the drop is great enough. If not then maybe we'll have a nice little duck pond.
I'm wondering if energy conservation counts as one project or if there isn't really three our four new projects here.