Tuesday, November 27, 2007

heating water with wood

I normally heat water using home built solar panels. When it is below freezing it's a good idea to circulate anti-freeze in the solar panels and have a heat exchanger beside the water tank. I've never got around to that. So, in winters past I've instead run a very shoddy loop of copper coils in front of the air outlet on the biodiesel powered furnace. By pumping water to this loop and back to the water tank I've had very hot water.
Last year I installed a wood stove and have been pleased with wood heat. It seems to offer savings compared to biodiesel or other fuel oils. I've wondered if it was possible to heat water using wood and without consuming any electricity for the pumping. It's kind of a crappy idea to run a 15 watt pump all winter long if it can be avoided.
After some reading I built something very simple and it's worked first try. Here are Flickr Photos.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ontario bans incandescent bulbs

Going off grid with solar has been all about about reducing consumption. So when I see governments forbid these dingy colored , asinine little heaters I experience shameful joy, trepidation and an immediate need to fit what is an act of aggression into a anarcho/panarcho/libertarian justification.
The joy of course because replacing 60 watt bulbs with 14 watt bulbs is projected to allow 600,000 additional Ontarians to exist on the same amount of electricity. But, there's shame too. Should there even exist a government with the power to dictate choices like that? Should there even exist a government? No to both. So celebrating the exercise of majority power over property rights and freedom is flawed. But then what about the ownership of our atmosphere? It is certainly a shared resource and I can see no way to for it to be privatized. There is a collective interest in it's maintenance. For one reason or another the atmosphere is not being well cared for and some of the players who might suffer from regulation are hardly my capitalist heros. They claim to be, of course. But instead of nimble competence in a free market they've used lobbying power to divvy up the market into fiefdoms. Consider eminent domain land seizures by electric utilities, government guaranteed regional monopolies for power generation and distribution, industry lobbied Inspectoriates that prevent free adoption of individual alternative energy production and new building methods while at the same time providing life-long employment for a new welfare class of otherwise useless government employed losers who are too tired to work in the building trade and end up as inspectors. There's dozens of more crimes I could list.
GE makes a bunch of incandescent bulbs and are the epitome of military-industrial complex. I wish this regulation could kill them. But they also make CF lamps and likely other future lighting technologies. I wonder if they are not behind the whole thing. Get people spending $2.50 a lamp instead of $0.25. But it's just a tiny slice of their business anyway. They may be too big to care. If it were to impact their shareholder value there's no doubt a government welfare check in the mail.
But what else might the regulatoriate try to impose? If they can have this why not enhanced road tax on alt-energy cars and tax on off-grid solar producers? Grow your own food on your own land and you are probably stealing from all the poor souls that maintain your air and soil and water. How long before every type of regulation is applied to food production? Oh, wait. Duh. Already is. We have a system that pays farmers to produce less so that well lobbied cartels can maximize profits while producing less and costing consumers more in a world where not everyone is well fed. Farmers can double their income by adding a second mail box.
How long before it is claimed that Nasa maintains the sun and there are no free rides?