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Thread: saving energy - partial solution?

  1. #1 saving energy - partial solution? 
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    Houses have shingles on them, what a waste of perfect space. Why not throw solar pannels on. Each house can take a huge load off the power plants. They would still be connected to the power plants because I don't think the solar panels will be able to fully panel a home but it would be a HGUE help.

    I think they have started doing this in Israel and maybe some other places.

    My question is, is this practical? I don't know how much solar pannels cost, but if a lot of people buy them the price should go down because more volume is being made.


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    It's been tried, and obviously not widely adapted.

    Aside from the considerable cost, maintenance, and efficiency, solar-panel technology isn't powerful enough to power a modern home significantly enough to effect the ROI.

    In order to get a lot of power out of solar panels, you both have to have very good panels, and acceptable conditions for the panels. The fore-mentioned involves cost, the later involves location and season.

    There has been a lot of efforts made in conservation of energy by other means, such as water heating. Placing solar-collectors on the roof with water pipes in them can use the sun to heat the water, reducing the costs of heating the water normally. The same goes for geothermal air conditioning.

    The problems that exist with consumption of energy have less to do with generating it, and more to do with wasting it. Most homes aren't energy efficient, aren't insulated correctly, and don't take advantage of simple methods for reducing costs (such as geothermal air conditioning). A lot of homes simply lose heat as fast as they can generate it, and the same goes for cooling.


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    M
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    Solar panels are being used for certain applications, rarely on houses, and I also see it as kind of a last resort. Especially in countries like the US, where residential housing is on a really low-tech level, there are a lot of obvious things that need to be done before eben thinking of such finesse.

    "[...] the average building in the U.S. uses roughly a third more energy than its German counterpart"

    A third, or roughly 30%, is huge, considering that "buildings consume nearly as much energy as industry and transportation combined"! Some of this could be due to climate differences (air conditioning is much more common in the US, whether necessary or not). But I suspect much of it is simply waste due to "cheap" construction of residential housing, mainly based on wood, often without insulation and with cheap single-pane sliding windows that leak so badly, you may as well leave them open.

    Quotes taken from this recent article in the NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/ma...0europe-t.html
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    Forum Ph.D. Wolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    A third, or roughly 30%, is huge, considering that "buildings consume nearly as much energy as industry and transportation combined"! Some of this could be due to climate differences (air conditioning is much more common in the US, whether necessary or not). But I suspect much of it is simply waste due to "cheap" construction of residential housing, mainly based on wood, often without insulation and with cheap single-pane sliding windows that leak so badly, you may as well leave them open.
    I'd be more interested in that statistic if it concerned energy consumption due to environmental systems in houses, and nothing else. It's probably inflated by the number of other electronics Americans tend to have and abuse in their homes.
    Wolf
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