Sunday, November 1, 2015

Solar Powered Home Design

The key to having a solar powered home is not generating thousands of kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar power, but rather designing your home to be efficient, function well and only use 1,100 kWh of electricity per month.

First place to start is with the biggest users of electricity which are things that change the temperature like the A/C, clothes driers, heaters, ovens, refrigerators and freezers.  It is critical that we minimize the electrical consumption of these.
  1. Use natural gas (or propane) for heating, cooking and drying clothes.  
  2. Learn to survive with the temperature 2-4 degrees cooler in the winter and 2-4 degrees warmer in the summer and have energy star ceiling fans in each room. 
  3. Use a smaller energy efficient refrigerator (and freezer) set at 45 degrees.
  4. Have on-demand hot water, natural gas or propane; set the temperature at 120F.
  5. Get the absolute most efficient A/C you can buy, especially in the south. Geo Thermal uses the cold ground (well) water to cool your home with lower energy. Often you can use the same well for a water supply.
Second is to address the largest waste of energy from homes.
  1. For this reason, it is important to minimize the number and size of windows and to get the most efficient triple pane PVC frame windows.  Note aluminum frames conduct too much heat.  
  2. After this comes the walls of the home.  This is why we need to use 2 X 6 (spaced 24" apart) walls and ceiling with closed cell spray urethane foam insulation.  It must fill the walls and be sprayed on the roof immediately under the decking/shingles inside the attic.  This keeps the attic at a more constant temperature instead of having the attic 110 degrees (Fahrenheit) immediately above the home ceiling which is 76 degrees.  Instead the attic is 86 and the home is 76.
  3. Other large users of electricity are lighting and vampire loads like the displays on clocks, ovens, microwaves.  Energy efficient devices with low energy LED displays will help.  
  4.  Even more important is the use of LED light bulbs.  A 60 watt incandescent bulb uses 60 watts.  A 60 watt florescent bulb uses about 18 watts and a 60 watt LED bulb uses about 9 watts to produce the same amount of light.  Even better is to use the 40 watt LED bulbs which use 3-5 watts.  This cuts the lighting load by over 90%!
  5. Use motion detectors that turn the lights off when no one is in the room, or timers (LED compatible) that can be set for 5, 10, 15...or 30 minutes before turning the lights off.  The timers work great in closets, bathrooms, wash rooms or places that are visited less frequently while the motion detectors work well in high traffic area's. 
  6. Have faucets with both a hot and cold water valve.  Having one lever type valve that operates both cold and hot is very wasteful on hot water. 
Other important factors to consider:
  1. Build the house smaller than normal with less space to heat and cool; no high ceilings.  
  2. Have a porch over hang on the south side of the house that prevents the high mid-day summer sun from shining directly in your window but that allows the low winter sun in, IF you heat your home a lot in the winter. 
Again, the key is an energy efficient home.  At time of this writing, a 5,100 watt system to deliver up to 500 kwh/month, the cash cost after utility rebates & tax deductions is under $14,000. Only 6,000 watts runs everything in energy efficient homes 24-7 except an electric drier/heating & A/C.
Questions/Comments? E-mail me at the address in the Prepper Handbook Introduction that can be previewed free on Amazon Kindle.

For additional information see the following links:

 Here is a link to a unique sustainable living system:  EcoCapsule

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Could you survive THIS?

A skyscraper-sized asteroid will fly by Earth on Halloween, according to scientists, who say that the object was only discovered 10 days ago.   See Fox News Link

Here is how to do it: Surviving an Asteroid Impact

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Surviving an Asteroid Impact

Earth is hit every day by a small (<16') meteor that disintegrates before reaching the surface. The threat of a potentially hazardous Asteroid hitting the earth is real enough that several governments were concerned enough to take action. 

The International Asteroid Warning Network was formed in 2013 at the request of the United Nations, to monitor "Near Earth Objects."  Also, NASA is developing a craft called the Asteroid Redirect Mission and a robot to be sent to a near-Earth Asteroid. 

Granted the likelihood of this occurring in our life time is low (< 1 in 10,000), but the consequences if it does are catastrophic.  A small asteroid exploded in the in Siberia in 1908 and 20 years later the area was still devastated. At this point, some are saying, yea, but that was long ago, but a strike this size occurs about every 10 to 20 years, usually in the ocean or an unpopulated area.  The power of this is about 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

On February 15, 2013, an undetected asteroid 17 meters in diameter exploded 17 miles above Chelyabinsk, Russia. The energy from the air blast of the explosion measured the equivalent to 470 kilotons of TNT. The falling meteors from the explosion damaged buildings, shattered windows and injured nearly one thousand people.

If you are not convinced that the risk is real, here is some additional reading on the subject:

The 2015 PDC Hypothetical Asteroid Impact Scenario
The Niburu Planet X System and Its Potential Impacts on Our Solar System
History Channel video
History Channel Article
1908 Mystery in Tunguska, Russia. Meteorite  
Asteroid devastation could even be worse than feared
Evidence found of 'impact winter' after asteroid that killed dinosaurs

For those who are convinced and would like to be prepare, here is some food for thought.  Many of the preps for this Event are the same as for other events.

An Asteroid Impact with Earth (or limited nuclear exchange) would destroy everything for potentially hundreds of miles, sending up enough dust into the atmosphere to block the sun for years, causing drastically cooler conditions.  Earth could literally enter a man-made Ice Age.  The EMP from a nuclear exchange could destroy all electronics that are not shielded, but that is another disaster for another post. Also, a Nuclear Winter would likely be less severe than an Asteroid Impact Winter.

Humans have survived an Ice Age before, but not during a time when our survival skills and preparations were so low.

Such Preparations would fall in two categories 
1) Surviving a 3-10 year winter, tidal waves, fire storms and acid rain.  Within 20 days, the global average temperature would drop from 58 degrees (F) Fahrenheit to 35 F, recovering about 10 degrees after a year or two.  By this time, 1/3 or more of the northern hemisphere (all of Canada and Northern US) would be covered year-round by snow.  The entire earth would experience freezing in the winter, and only the darkest red areas would not be frozen year-round.

 2) surviving the "break out" after the sky clears, and the weather warms enough to begin life outside again.  The risk of unusually high ultraviolet exposure exists as the skies clear after being scorched. Disease from the fatalities decaying is a serious risk.

1) Surviving a 3-10 year winter
It could happen without any warning with only a matter of days to react.  So a high level of preparation and readiness is important. What should we prepare for?
  • Living underground where the earths temperature is more constant may be required.  If not, a well-insulated shelter with a large supply of firewood, diesel or propane would be required making an "Event" like this, one of the most difficult to be prepared for.  Note that an underground shelter also protects from radiation as well as severe storms and cold.  See: Concrete Bunkers
  • A ten year supply of long shelf life foods, water & warm clothing.  See the post:
Identifying nearby food warehouses, school cafeterias and other such places that feed large numbers might be a place to salvage food.  Animals that survive will likely be underground, underwater or able to withstand cold and eat grasses under the snow or bark and twigs of trees like goats, rabbits & deer.
  • Green House to maintain your seed supply over such a long time and provide a small amount of food.
  • Security plans with a large supply of Ammo to protect what you have. Here a few links:
                 Passive Layered Security
                 Urban Security

2)  Surviving the beak out
Nothing would be worse than surviving the extended winter and then not being prepared to survive the new world.  Here is what you might need and some of this could be salvaged from hardware and farm supply stores.
  • Extensive Farming and Ranching supplies, including seeds, plants, livestock, feed, tillers, seeders, garden tools like shovels, hoes, and rakes.  Chickens, dogs, goats, pigeons, and rabbits are good animals to have.
  • Green House to grow foods year-round.
  • Hand tools like saws, axes, drills, nails, water pumps & barrels.
  • Farming and Ranching Skills
  • Security is still important as it will be easy to let your guard down at this point and be caught unprepared.
  • Reproductive age adults for human re-population.
  • Substantial loss of land based animals; large bodies of water may be a key source of natural food supply.  
  • Snow melting will cause flooding, even in normally dry places.  
  • Decaying animals may result in high amounts of airborne disease.
At this point, common long-term survival preparations are needed in addition to those to handle cooler and more erratic weather and shorter growing seasons.  There is a tremendous amount of detail regarding a long-term sustainable meal plan that is important. How much do I need to plant and how many animals do I need to raise.  The Prepper Handbook by JR Ray on Amazon covers all of this in great detail so we will not duplicate it here. 

For additional information click on the link below:

Here is what another site says about an Asteroid Impact