Sunday, September 03, 2006

Starting the Micro Home

Yesterday I went over the site where we are going to build the Solar Micro Home and I measured off the work space and cleared the area of brush and weeds etc. This home is going to be movable so We will build it on leveled concrete blocks. I will post some photos as soon as the rain stops and I can take some decent ones. The next step is to lay out all the concrete blocks and get them level and square. Then we will set in the treated lumber floor joists and flooring. That will give us a nice level platform to build the walls on. I will post photos as we go along.
I accidentally deleted a readers comment this morning and if the reader wants to repost it he is more than welcome. It had to do with water heating and when I tried to comment back I lost the whole thing! We like to know that someone is reading our blog. It is ok to plug your energy products in your comments. We need all of the choices we can get when it comes to energy saving products, but please stick to energy saving products only. So please comment!
Thanks,
Walt

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Is Anyone Out There?

When I started this blog I was hoping to spark some interest, and encourage people to join our efforts in the Green Energy Business. Unfortunately, we have had virtually no comments good or bad about our ideas. I hope that in the future if anyone is reading this that you will let us know your opinions, good or bad and perhaps start some discussions.
Thanks,
Walt

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Free Micro Home Heating With Used Vegetable Oil

Free Micro Home Heating With Used Vegetable Oil

In previous blog I mentioned that we are going to build our first solar heated micro home and it will be totally off the power grid. A solar heated home has to have a back up system and I have been putting a lot of thought into it lately. We already build fuel system components and kits used in converting diesel engines to burn SVO (straight vegetable oil) so it was an easy leap to go from diesel fuel to heating fuel utilizing vegetable oil. There is plenty of free vegetable oil around, and it makes sense to use it while we can get it. So I researched a lot of articles written about burning waste motor oil and even found a couple of guys that have already built SVO powered heaters.
I decided to make some experiments this morning in an attempt to accomplish my goal in a more simple fashion than the semi high tech solutions I found on the Internet. I am quite pleased with my results for the morning. My low-tech solution was to take a very large cast iron frying pan with six ounces of vegetable oil in it, and set it nice and level in the bottom of my new back up wood stove we have in the cellar. Then I stuck a large ball of newspaper right down in the middle of the oil pressing down so it could soak some up. I lit the paper very easily and within less than five minutes we had a great little fire going and it was perfectly under control. I have been watching it on and off for three hours now and it is still burning. This tells me that when I build the smaller model that we will use in the micro home we will have a great source of heat and hot water, as I plan to use the SVO to make backup hot water too. The nice part is that wood now becomes our backup fuel if we run out of SVO.
I am sure that a lot of people are going to write to me with a great many suggestions on how to get more efficiency. I will carefully read them all and consider them, but I find in many cases that by being overly obsessed with absolute perfection the mission you started out to accomplish never gets finished. We have a micro home design that has now grown to 12 feet long by 8 feet wide by 10feet high to accommodate a sleeping loft, and we can heat it for at least three hours on three coffee cups full of straight vegetable oil in a converted wood stove that is sold on the Internet for $129.00. All we have to do is add the cast iron frying pan. It works for me.
Please tell your friends about our blog.
Thanks,
Walt

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Solar Micro Homes

Solar Micro Homes

This is a subject I have wanted to write about for a long time. Solar homes can be expensive to build because of the cost of the equipment needed to make heat and electricity in sufficient quantities to make it a viable project. Solar micro homes lend an entire new aspect to this fascinating and very important subject.
First, I would like to give you a little background on how and why I developed my attitudes towards housing, solar, and electric power etc.
In my lifetime I have literally gone from oil lamps to the Internet.
I started studying solar energy in 1950 when my Dad brought me a solar energy book from the library where he worked as a maintenance man and boiler operator for many years. I learned a great deal about buildings, and mechanics from him
Now my folks were very hard workers but they didn’t have a great deal of money. They were married in 1929 when the great depression started, and they had a five-dollar a month flat in Central Falls, Rhode Island. My Dad lost his job when the depression started and the two of them moved into a tent that they set up on a $50.00 house lot in Lincoln, RI that they had purchased in better times financially. My Mom and Dad took a series of low paying jobs at twenty-five cents an hour, and started building what we would now call a mini or micro home. It was only 480 square feet and there was an extra space in the attic for two tiny bedrooms. When I came along in May of 1933 they were still tying to finish the house and the three of us spent the winter of 1934 sleeping in the attic space which they got up to with a ladder through a trap door in the attic floor. There was no electricity, no running water, no bathroom, and only a small wood stove for heat. When they finally finished the house in the late nineteen thirties it still only had a sink with running water and the toilet was an outhouse in the back yard. We finally got a full bathroom about 1948, and it even had hot water from a tiny coal fired mini hot water heater. About 1950 we got a propane space heater for the living room and a propane dual range for the kitchen. My mother used to get upset because some people used to day that we lived in shack in the woods, but they had a lot more money than we did and frankly, I am extremely proud of my parents and my background because my parents and my life experiences from the old days made me whatever it is the I turned out to be today at 73. There is nothing like a little poverty and backbreaking work in a mill to give a person a little incentive to get ahead in this world! I started working part in a mill at 14 to help my parents out financially, but I never let it interfere with my education. I went full time second shift for my last three years of high school. But, that aside, the three of us were very happy in that tiny little home, and it was certainly better than the alternative like sleeping under a bridge etc. like people are doing today.
So now we come to the present day with expensive housing costs, high fuel costs, expensive automobiles, and too many low paying jobs.
I look back on my early life and we always got by in our very small home because we could heat it for next to nothing and we used little or no electricity etc. – you know the drill by now. We didn’t even have a mortgage because you couldn’t get one in the depression unless you had so much money you didn’t need one anyway! Well anyway, all of these recent events that we are experiencing have cause me to do a great deal of thinking, and the upshot is that I am going to take a bunch of the money that
www.ChinaDepot.com is making and start a micro home company. Our homes will be solar heated and solar electricity. We will have a backup heater that will run on wood or used vegetable oil etc. We are going to make them as small as an eight x eight x eight cube. We are not the first to do this size by a long shot, but could be the first to offer full solar off the grid making it possible to purchase cheaper land with no electric power to it. I have decided that to make it more interesting building the model here at our place we are going to use as much free and recycled materials as possible. At this point, I don’t care if we make a cent on the project. I actually see this as a way to help people and also, these micro and mini homes will be an excellent vehicle for my many solar and wind inventions. These homes will be more affordable in some cases than a new automobile. They will vary in size from sixty-four cubic feet to two hundred and forty square feet. The energy bills will be tiny to almost non-existent depending on the needs and location of the users.
When I see the ever increasing energy costs here in the Northeast I do not see how an average working family or even a single person can possibly survive here with a large inefficient home or automobile for that matter. We could be looking at six dollar a gallon fuel and twenty-five cent a kilowatt hour for electricity. In my minds eye it would be a very wise business move to get in on the leading edge of the autonomous mini home business. I would like to invite a discussion on this subject on this blog. Also, a great web site to visit is
www.inhabitat.com I intend to do a great deal more research and work in this solar and micro housing field.
Walt

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Not in My Backyard Syndrome


I have just returned from a week of traveling and visiting my business associates in upper New York State, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Now if any area of the USA ever needed a break in the cost of energy, or a source of clean energy, it most certainly is New England. So you can imagine my surprise when I was listening to the local news while driving from place to place I heard several news reports about ongoing battles over the location of wind farms in several of the New England States. It seems that when prominent nature and conservation organizations were faced with a choice of wind farms or fossil fuel generating plants that will add even more co2 to the atmosphere at an alarming rate, they chose more co2. The opponents of the wind farms in their areas made arguments that these windmills would chop up the local bird population like giant Mixmasters! Now I have visited several of these giant windmill sites and did not see a single bird carcass on the ground. I also noticed that these large windmills turn at a very slow RPM and being an avid bird watcher and lover of birds I have watched birds fly through the forest at extremely high rates of speed and marveled at the fact that never once did they hit a branch or tree trunk etc. It seems to me that if we are going to follow the dead bird argument then we had better outlaw window glass because I have seen far too many birds knock their brains out flying into windows. So if the real argument is that you don’t like the look of the windmills sitting up there on the ridge in your back yard why not just come out and say it? If anyone has any factual studies on the number of bird deaths involving windmills in the New England area please publish them on this blog. In the very near future we may be faced with some hard choices like windmills, or nuclear power plants, oil lamps and iceboxes etc. I think it is time that someone comes up with some proof of the overall destructive threat of wind power in the USA. If we follow the bird death argument then I would assume that there are no birds left at all in Holland, or other countries that have used wind power for several hundred years.
Please someone, prove me wrong, and also, offer me a better and safer alternative before we all roast to death, and prove to me that the whole topic is not just more junk science because the earth really just took a wobble in the wrong direction and it will all be better in ten years.
Walt

Saturday, August 05, 2006

New Supplier For solar Electric Modules

We have just found a great new supplier in the USA for solar electric modules and now we can begin packaging and selling our solar water pumps and solar power modules again. If you wish to sell or purchase these products please contact Walt at info@chinadepot.com .