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 Post subject: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:19 pm 
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Green/Renewable energy is becoming more widespread and I don't want to debate whether that is good or bad and the reasons behind it. What I'd like to hear thoughts on is what I call REAL green energy, which to me is alternative energy sources that are actually useful but also cost effective.
For instance, you can cover your house in solar panels if you want, but the actual payback period on that is so long that you are unlikely to actually see any real term benefits (unless there are subsidies involved etc).
We are still a good few years away from solar panels and associated equipment that is cheap enough to show real savings in the short term. Until then, what things can we do that will save money, make our lives more comfortable but also not require a lot of hard work, like installing a wood burner for instance?

At the moment the one I am thinking of actually making for myself is a solar water heater. It would be homemade from recycled/free parts. The plan is to link it to a radiator and basically use it as a way of transferring heat from outside to inside during the winter. Aside from time, it would be a very cheap project and so should produce savings almost right away, certainly faster than any commercial solution.

Would love to hear others thoughts and ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:29 pm 
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Solar water heating is an idea I just punted to someoneelse as a suggestion and one I'd like a shot at too. If you can get an old sunbed you can harvest the ribbed reflectors (it's like mirrored corrugated steel) that black-coloured copper pipework set into the focal point.

Another useful and workable one is micro hydro if you have any flowing water around you (we have loads!)

Other than those two I don't think there's any genuinely money-saving methods out there - certainly none that offer a quick return on investment without resorting to subsidies (under which circumstance you're bound by rules/regs and 3rd parties taking their cut etc).

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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:37 pm 
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It was your post that prompted me to start this thread as it's something I have been thinking about for a while now and really should pull my finger out lol.


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:53 pm 
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Most guys I work with have at least one log burner in the house,we get as much timber offcuts as we like and free heat,I know it's not green per say as you are burning timber but it saves a fortune on gas.
Guy next door has two burners,he forages all his timber and only uses his boiler to heat his water.
So I'd say this is a method is real green energy as the offcuts are skipped on site anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:56 pm 
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steviejoiner74 wrote:
Most guys I work with have at least one log burner in the house,we get as much timber offcuts as we like and free heat,I know it's not green per say as you are burning timber but it saves a fortune on gas.
Guy next door has two burners,he forages all his timber and only uses his boiler to heat his water.
So I'd say this is a method is real green energy as the offcuts are skipped on site anyway.



Burning wood is very green, it's almost completely carbon neutral, especially if you are burning offcuts of timber from managed woodland, which construction lumber obviously is.
Problem for me is the work involved in taking care of the burner, sorting out the wood and cost. I don't have access to enough free wood for it to pay for itself very quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:12 pm 
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Rorschach wrote:
steviejoiner74 wrote:
Most guys I work with have at least one log burner in the house,we get as much timber offcuts as we like and free heat,I know it's not green per say as you are burning timber but it saves a fortune on gas.
Guy next door has two burners,he forages all his timber and only uses his boiler to heat his water.
So I'd say this is a method is real green energy as the offcuts are skipped on site anyway.



Burning wood is very green, it's almost completely carbon neutral, especially if you are burning offcuts of timber from managed woodland, which construction lumber obviously is.
Problem for me is the work involved in taking care of the burner, sorting out the wood and cost. I don't have access to enough free wood for it to pay for itself very quickly.


That's the thing about them,unless you've access to free,dry timber then I imagine they are pretty expensive to run!


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:09 pm 
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I really can't understand the 'towney' attitude towards wanting a woodstove. As said, they are costly to install let alone run unless you're as fortunate as me to live in a forest - our annual heating bill is £50 :shock: for the scavenging licence (or we can buy a lorry load of trees for a couple of hundred quid) but if we had to buy prepared wood it wouldn't be worth our while.

We do also use bottled gas, two 47kg bottles/year for hot water and cooking though.

None of the savings we try to make have anything to do with environmental (green) reasons - it's all about cost, sod the environment, especially the CO2 argument :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:11 am 
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I once went to a lecture diesel under the wire, where they were talking about the problem running the British rail system as the electrification is not complete, so we still use diesel locos.

The question was raised what about using bio-diesel, the lecturer stated he expected that question, so had done some research, it would need 5 times the area of the UK to grow enough green stuff to power our trains.

So using waste to get power great, growing stuff from scratch forget it. But then we get the next problem, does not matter if coal or wood, they are both the same, they contain much more than simple carbon, I still remember when the local steel works had coke ovens to make the large coke needed for the old blast furnaces, as well as coke, we got a whole range of goodies from creosote to nylon. Good when separated so we can use them, very bad when simply burnt off. Making charcoal in a proper resort removing all the tars etc produces a reasonable environmental friendly fuel, however made in the old way it is extremely bad.

To avoid particular emissions when burning wood or coal, it needs extreme heat, after burners achieve this, but it means, at least until wood or coal is turned into charcoal or coke, the fire must run at a set rate, this is likely too hot, so we have to heat stones or water so the heat can be used latter.

So in real terms only way is to have a central burning and use the heat to generate electric which can be then fed to our homes, in other works if you want to go green, then only real way is go electric. Once we bite the bullet and go electric then you can look at heat recovery and heat pumps, that is the real green route.

So we then look at out power companies to use wind, tide, and other energy sources, which to be blunt are beyond the ability of most individuals to do on a micro basis. We can fit wind chargers and solar panels, but that is about the limit.

To fell a tree and use the bulk to make furniture, leaving the smaller branches to rot so feeding the ecosystem so it feeds grubs and badgers then use the old furniture to heat the home is great, however the problem is what is the old stuff made of? Laburnum has historically been used for cabinetmaking and inlay, as well as for musical instruments, however this beautiful tree is one of the most feared of the poison plants. You would not want to burn it in any open fire, also most wood is treated, but we have no idea with what, burning in a communal power station with extreme heat OK, but I would not want to use my old fence panels on the BBQ.


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:44 pm 
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Heard this , http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/magazine-4 ... -into-fuel on BBC 4 this morning. Definitely turning waste into something useful albeit a bit shocking , 30 tons a week from one plant in Birmingham alone.


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 Post subject: Re: REAL Green Energy?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 8:45 am 
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That's all well and good except we are being told not to buy diesel cars! :lol:


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