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Environmental Issues
Going Green

By Alan J Hartley

A Dream "Green House."



This is not so much about a perfect “Totally Green House,” but more about the suitable and economical use of “Green Energy Ideas,” in particular the use of home-generated electricity that would be best applied during the conversion of an existing house.

Obviously any “Green Home” would have Solar Power Cells, (Photo Voltaic Cells) fitted on to a suitable section of strengthened roof, to generate electricity. However, normally the electrical current that these power cells generate goes through an inverter and is fed into the mains and the National Grid. Socially this is a good thing, but for the householder to use it themselves’, the electricity needs to be fed as DC current directly into the household wiring. With a big enough generation capacity and battery storage, this will provide them with their own independent source of power in the event of a power cut. It is unlikely that the installation would be capable of generating the whole of the household’s electricity requirements, but it could go a long way to some of the more essential needs. In a conventional house a power cut means no lighting and it also means that the central heating system goes off whatever fuel is used, whether it is gas, coal, oil, etc.

Home-generated DC electricity might be used to run a “Ground Heat Pump” that has been fitted to operate with DC current, as this would be permanently wired in to the system. If there was enough current produced and this were possible, it would mean that the household heating would be maintained even during power cuts, but as “Heat Pumps” are large consumers of power, this may not be possible.

The most efficient use of the hot air created by a “Heat Pump” is to pipe it through ducting that could be installed under the flooring during the house rebuild.

Rather than using additional mains electricity to back up heat generation in cold areas of the house, a wood burning stove/cooker could be installed to boost heat generation, especially during power loss, or in extra cold, bad weather spells, etc. A specially designed stove that burns “wood chips” or “pellets” is far more efficient than common log burners, but obviously the household would need a good source of fuel.

Unfortunately, DC electricity is not very suitable for general household use, not only because of the limited range of electrical goods available, but also on safety grounds as it can’t be used with normal sockets and plugs. Electrical DC household components are best permanently wired up such as with lighting. To maximise the use of the stored current, any DC lighting fitted, could use bigger versions of the new super efficient type of LED bulbs as used in some torches.

Apart from running the household lighting and heating, rainwater collection in a large underground tank could also efficiently use DC electricity to recycle it. Ideally this would be done using a low power “Archimedes Screw” type of pump to periodically move water up in to a loft storage tank. The height from the ground of such a tank would provide some pressure for certain ground level uses like watering the garden, car washing, patio cleaning etc, but there would be too many problems and too much expense involved though to make any further use of the recycled water internally in the house.



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Books By
Alan J Hartley