to FlowerKitty

byBillMay 31, 2004

FlowerKitty---A lady with her head on straight. She cut through a lot of phony-baloney dreaming and scheming with her post. I have seen an awful lot of perfectly good stone counters, kitchen cabinets, ceramic tiles, appliances and bathroom fixtures going to the dump because of changing tastes. We do not build for the future, we build for today and we are fed a lot of nonsence about tomorrow. There is no dip-stick stuck in the deserts of Arabia that can accurately tell how much oil is left. Some say 40 years worth and others say more----who knows, but we sure use up an awful lot of it !!!!!

The people are lead along by the carrot-on-a-string technique of politicians and do-gooders with promises of new technology that will make our homes better and our living easier. But, in the meantime, there are plenty of things that can be done that cost nothing. A formica countertop will last long enough and look great long enough for 2 or three families to get tired of the pattern or color. But today's new homeowner has to have granite, at the cost of building a home that uses very little energy. When one of these new home owners is offered the choice between a geo-thermal HVAC system (the one you describe as prefered in Michigan) or a granite counter the chances are 10 to 1 they will opt for the granite "for resale value". How about the resale value of a house that is comfortable, healthy, safe and inexpensive to run. If, instead of plowing zillions of dollars into wind technology which looks great on paper, but which will never supply enough energy to pay for the initial expense, the government gave a rebate to every new home built with common sense. So many dollars rebate for passive solar, so many dollars for using the 55 degree temperature of the earth with geo-thermal HVAC, so many dollars for room sizes that are in proper proportion to the hours spent in them, and so many more for all the other simple, non-toxic, non-polluting, non-expensive ways we can build. And while we are at it add taxes onto the granite tops and whirlpool tubs and other non-essentials. A few years ago the government mandated the toilet business. I think it is 1.6 gallons of water per flush. But why not regulate showers??? Multi-headed 20 minute showers use more water than the average home needs to operate for a month and that water has to be heated by gas, oil or electricity---and it all goes down the drain. A waste of both water and fossil fuel.

Buildings use 50% of the world's energy. Transportation uses 25%. Just cut the energy used in buildings in half and it would be the same as taking every car, SUV, bus and semi off the road.

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Said better than I could. I believe the best way to regulate is tax incentives. I remember when IRA's first came out and anyone could store $2000 tax free. Almost the entire population of the US put $2000 into an IRA. So much it scared Congress and they restricted it to people who don't have $2000 in the first place, but it showed how systems can encourage people. Americans dont like being forced to do things, but they enjoy the challenge of beating the system. What gets me is I see a huge economy waiting to happen. If we had to recycle, say, kitchen cabinets, we would not only get cabinet recycling businesses, but we would need many new materials, glues, and hardwares. And refurbishing businesses would increase as people try to figure out how to avoid recycling. But if we ever got to that stage I would rather have a tax advantage for recycling or refurbishing than a fine for dumping. A few years ago I wouldnt have cared. Now we have moved into a house that needs a ton of work on land that was used as the homeowner's dump. The vinyl siding that was put on this house is disintegrating. It is brittle and can crack off in my hand. If we take it down where does it go? The wood underneath is plastered in lead based paints. So where does that go? I have a container of scraped off paint in my garage. And meanwhile I see people walk into gorgeous houses on the 'House Hunter' show and they don't want to buy the house because the room is painted green or the carpet is wrecked! I feel I was born into an era where many things were tangled up and now we have to unravel everything.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2004 at 2:05PM
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Kitty----I should have givwen the location of your first post so that anyone who wanted to could read it, but i forgot. Kitty responded to the fuel cell post, way down at the bottom, but she made sense. Few people try to use what we have available today, and it is plentiful, instead there is too much dependency on things that are possible but not yet feasible. If we continue along these lines we will have no oil long before we figure out what to do about it.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 9:33PM
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I have a running argument with my husband who thinks that more mass transit will solve everything. But he will not step foot on a bus. Buses are for everyone else but him. He would be embarassed to walk to the grocery store and be seen carrying a bag home. It is that type of denial I think is holding us back. He doesn't want dirty nuclear power, but no way is he going to put money into a windmill, solar panel, passive solar system for himself or ever ever trade his dream of a Humvee or SUV for a putt-putt electic or complex hybrid car. There are the people who just want to drill for oil to the last drop. There are those who want everyone else but them to use buses, trains, windmills, solar cells and imaginary fuel cells. Then there are the few pioneers who make the sacrifice to actually live with some of the new technologies. What I see is most people won't volunteer to make their life harder. They are happy to make everyone else sacrifice. If we slow down using oil right now the holy trinity of windpower, solar power, and someday feasible fuel cells won't keep our system moving. And I do worry about running out of oil for other reasons. So many modern materials are made only with oil. Critical plastics (as used in in pacemakers, heart stents, shunts, I.V. bags, catheters, lab equipment, disposable needles...) , glues, epoxies, zillions of items used in the space shuttle, or jet planes, or you name it. Oil is the basic starting material of organic chemistry. Where do we derive things like mineral oil, acetone and all the myriad of chemicals we need? There are a lot of items we can survive without, like plastic storage bins or garbage bags. But so many items don't have an alternative. Let's see, DVD's without plastic? There are plastics made from plant material but a full replacement of critical items just isn't there. Maybe we can't afford to grow enough corn to condense down into replacement plastic for our yearly critical needs without ruining the soil. After all it took millions of years of crop cycles to accumulate the oil we use now to make all this stuff. I would rather save the oil for future generations to use for the building blocks of organic chemistry.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 8:27AM
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Flowerkitty, can you tell me how the windmill would be used on a new home, or direct me to a site to understand how a windmill is used and its benefits? We spoke to five builders and several architects when planning our home design, and when I brought up designing a solar home, they all had a somewhat blank look, and no one that I spoke to thought we should go that direction. I understand a home is going to be on TV sometime around July, that has taken huge steps in building something that is truly energy efficient.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 9:05PM
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I am not an expert, just someone who has read a bunch of articles. Windmills rotate when the wind blows. That rotation can be transferred by gears to turn grinding wheels to grind flour as in those old Dutch windmills, or to pump water from a well like that windmill on the cattle ranch in cowboy movies or to generate electricity. If a wire is moved through a magnetic field, electricity will move through that wire. Think of it in a dopey way like the magnetism is 'pulling or pushing' the electrons through the wire, so that one electron bumps into the next and ends up pushing the chain of electrons through the only place they can go: the length of the wire creating a 'current' of electrons. Some smart guys figured out to get electricity wrap a bunch of wire in a big coil (more coil means more electrons get bumped) and rotate that coil around a magnet using maybe a hand crank, a water wheel, or a windmill and electricity will pump out. Now with windmills the wind doesn't always blow or you don't always need electricity at that moment. Some people built their own system and connected a bunch of car batteries to the windmill and saved up the electricity which they can use to light their house at night. In some communities power companies will allow you (or are forced by law) to hook into their system so that if you make more electricity than you use the excess goes into their system and you get a credit (don't ask me the details, I just heard about this ). You get electric company power when the wind doesn't blow and you don't have a garage full of batteries. Since a windmill spins you want it high off the ground to catch the wind and so it doesn't chop up the kids. As many cities get mad about sattelite dishes and flagpoles I can guess they would go ballistic over a windmill so it is the kind of thing to do in rural areas. Here is a good web site with info and links on home made and store bought windmills. The hard part of all this new stuff is finding anyone who knows how to do it. They say windmills were a major source of electricity in rural America before the great rural electrification public works projects.

Here is a link that might be useful: Other Power

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 8:41AM
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bnicebkind-------you can not use a windmill with anykind of house unless you are out in the woods. The problem is with insurance, noise, neighbors, etc. If you build a tower it could fall on your house or your neighbors house, or his garage or his kids who are playing outside. Also kids use it as a play-gym and climb up to a dangerous point-------look into the dollar amount you would save against the amount the "whole" thing would cost (including insurance and batteries etc) and it will help you make up your own mind.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 7:33PM
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Thank you byBill and flowerkitty. We are in the subs, so you answered my question!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 4:35PM
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