[thechat] Energy Conservation (Was: Your dream house: what tech stuff?)

Judah McAuley judah at wiredotter.com
Thu Oct 26 11:56:25 CDT 2006

The on-demand water heaters that I've seen here (Northwest US for what 
its worth) are small and used almost exclusively for sinks. The idea is 
that it reduces energy consumption by keeping a smaller amount of water 
hot at one time and that it reduces water consumption because people 
don't turn on the tap and then wait for the water to get hot. Since 
sinks don't generally get the sustained high pressure usage that showers 
do, it ends up being quite efficient as well as very convenient.

The Northwest is seeing quite the green building revolution. Two 
Universities in Oregon now have programs to get people certified in 
solar power maintenance, engineering and installation. I've also started 
seeing more and more folks using alternate construction material such as 
cob housing and straw-bale housing. It used to be quite difficult to get 
permits approved for housing projects of that nature, but the regulatory 
agencies have seemed to loosen up quite a bit recently.

I've been talking with friends about trying out a project on a farm 
using lightweight aggregate concrete. Instead of using the traditional 
dense rock, you use alternate aggregate material (locally, we'd probably 
use volcanic rock). The result is a lightweight concrete that is easy to 
  form in curves and arches and very easy to move around. It also has a 
very high R-value, but that's not as big a deal in our climate here.

There's guy in Mexico who has a great site devoted to it called Flying 
Concrete: http://www.geocities.com/flyingconcrete/


Martin Burns wrote:
> Oh true, but it depends on what temperature you want out of them.
> Also, you'll note that output temperature depends to a *high* degree on
> water flow (and hence on pressure and hence on what other water use
> is going  on in the house). Having a shower when the dishwasher kicks
> in is a fun and interesting experience. And if you've a sensitive  
> thermostat,
> it's even *more* fun :-)

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