While too much of the world’s attention turned to the falsehoods from climate deniers (such as Sarah Palin) about ClimateGate (Swifthack), there are people from around the world in Copenhagen seeking to find a path toward a global agreement to mitigate climate change. And, around the world, there are people striving to find and execute real-world actions to achieve that mitigation. These included the thousands in Washington, DC, for the annual EcoBuild conference. With hundreds of presentations and discussions, no single person can more than get a flavor for the substance across all the sessions (especially if only possible to be there for a few hours) … this post isn’t, however, about those sessions.
Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies. Fascinating … exciting … even hope inspiring at times. And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are truly Energy COOL.
At a show like EcoBuild, the exhibition halls usually have a smorgasbord of items to fascinate EcoGeeks. This show was no exception.
As a core believer that there are no (or, at a minimum, we should act as if there are no) Silver Bullets, but lots of Silver BBs and orders of magnitude more Silver Specks of Dust, wandering EcoBuild’s exhibition hall illuminated many interesting (and valuable) Specks of Dust. Let’s take a brief look at a few specks of dust after the fold.
Innerglass : How many offices and homes around the nation are old, with inefficient windows, but not in a circumstance where new windows make sense? Innerglass looks to provide a relatively low cost path for putting storm windows on the interior (of some windows). While this seems particularly intriguing because it could solve a problem in my own home, this could be an easy retrofit into office buildings to reduce heat loss in winters. These windows look incredibly easy to install, with a spring-load system that helps compensate for uneven window frames. No taking out of windows, no trying to install something outdoor 10s (or 100s) of feet off the ground, no painting, no caulking, no … FYI — for my 1990 Anderson casement windows, too good to replace but still with a cold draft off the glass in winter, I have the measuring tape out to get an estimate of what it would cost for my home.
Power-Pipe: ‘Reuse’ is a core element to sustainable practices.Heat recovery is one means of ‘reuse’. Power-Pipe looks to be an improved drain water heat recovery (DWHR) system that can help reduce hot water heating requirements. Power-Pipe is a set of flattened copper pipes that surround the drainage pipe, to capture heat from hot water draining out from showers (baths, washing machines, …) and send warmed water into the hot water tank rather than have a cold water supply. Truly, this is best integrated with new construction, to reduce installation costs and encourage the plumbers to minimize the number of drain lines. Putting aside that my house is old and has weird piping, the solar system providing 75% of my hot water requirements mean that the $1000 or so to install this isn’t in my Energy Smart budget plans. But, DWHRs make sense to integrate into new builds and can make sense in some old homes.
Encenx: Unobstrusive and cost-effective rooftop windpower electricity generation could be a gamechanger (a Silver BB rather than some specks of dust). The engineers behind Encenx seek to combine increasing efficiency in venting heat with a new approach to generating electricity. They are combining more efficient rooftop venting fans with motors to assist ventilation if natural ventilation isn’t strong enough and then turning that motor into a combo motor/generator to be able to generate power when hot air rising out of the structure and/or blowing wind moves the system strong enough to become a power generator. They have future concepts that combine this system with some form of solar power (wouldn’t state exactly what form) to get a more powerful hybrid system. Their initial system should be on the market before the end of 2010. I was told it would be a 1 kilowatt generation power system, which can be suitable for a home, for a cost of $7000. This system would have, in fact, greater payoff than ‘simply’ power generation through reducing heat buildup in, for example, an attic thereby lowering air conditioning demands (and, over the long term, reducing needs to repair and replace the roofing). They are working on larger systems, more suitable for warehouses and office buildings.