Best RoI for Green Tech

In GNC #532, Todd mentioned that the price of solar was going to fall by 30%.  In this, case, he was talking about photovoltaic cells, i.e. ones that generate electricity from sunlight, but there are a whole host of green energy technologies.  So what gives the best return on your green investment?

The Self Build show was on in Belfast in the summer.  It’s an exhibition much like any other with stands and booths but this one caters for people who want to plan, build or extend their home.  The exhibitors are really diverse from brick manufacturers to bespoke furniture makers but this year it was the green technologies that were most prevalent.
 
I’d visited the show a couple of years ago and then there might have been a handful at most of stands doing eco-friendly stuff.  Wind turbines, heat recovery and roof tiles made from recycled car tyres was about it.  This year there was a whole hall of stands with ground source heat pumps, solar panels, woodchip-fired boilers, wind
turbines, super insulation, triple-glazed windows – the works.
 
What I wanted to pass on was a presentation given by a local housing association who had been proactive in trying out different energy sources and properly measuring the energy benefit gained.  Given that it was only a ten minute presentation, he didn’t go into detailed facts and figures but the findings were still of interest.  Remember this relates to about 55 degrees North and there may be regional variations.
 
Here are the technologies that were investigated and a summary of the findings.
 
i) Ground source heat pumps – these work well where underfloor heating or air heating is used to heat the house, as the temperature only needs to be raised to 25-30C.  Savings are greatly reduced if trying to raise temperature to 60C for hot water or for radiator-based
central heating.  Consequently, it’s difficult to retro-fit this technology to an existing house, but it’s ideal for new builds.
 
ii) Air source heat pumps – as for the ground source heat pumps but pumps tend to be less reliable and noisier.  This may not be so much of an issue in the US or hot countries, where air conditioning units are more prevalent.
 
iii) Wind turbines – the small wind turbines used in domestic situations are often not high enough off the ground and suffer badly from turbulence.  The cost / benefit of these devices was often marginal, but it does depend a great deal on location.  The presenter
thought that vertical axis turbines might overcome some of the issues but hadn’t been able to do a study.  If the turbine does generate surplus electricity, this can be sold back to the grid.
 
iv) Photovoltaic cells – currently too expensive and provide too little energy in northerly latitudes to be worthwhile.
 
v) Solar panels (evacuated tube) – after the ground source heat pump, probably the best next thing to consider.  Usually only used to heat hot water as heating effect varies during the year, but overall good cost-benefit, even in northerly climates.  Evacuated tubes are more efficient than similar flat plat models and are easier to fix if damaged.  Can be retrofitted to existing properties.
 
vi) Solar panels (flat plate) – as for evacuated tube but less efficient.
 
vii) Woodchip fired boilers – instead of burning oil or natural gas, the fuel is woodchip pellets.  The main benefit of these boilers is the low cost of the fuel which is typically a quarter that of oil or gas for a similar heat output.  The biggest downside is the storage space need for the storing the woodchip pellets.  If you have the space, can be fitted into existing homes.
 
While this is not an exhaustive analysis, it should provide enough information for you to start your own in-depth analysis.  I’m installing into an existing property and previously, I’d been considering the wind turbines.  However, I think that the evacuated tube solar panels are now the best choice and will be looking into those instead.

Do also bear in mind the environmental conditions that you currently live in – this study was for the northerly part of the UK so pick your tech accordingly and do your homework.

GNC-2009-12-03 #533 Turn the Heat Down Dummy!

Reminder to oneself turn the heat off in the room before starting the show. Not good to record the show when its 80 in the room. The folks watching the live stream got to watch a meltdown. :) Full tech show for you tonight. Ready to head home plans for 24hr Podcast are progressing. I review names submitted for the skypesaurus email me your choice.

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Listener Links:
Man controls robot arm by mind!
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.
Distracted Drive Story #1
Distracted Drive Story #2

Show Notes:
Playstation at 15!
HD Optical Implants?
Touch Screen for Cannon Cameras
Need more USB Charging Ports?
Have a Dell get your Updates!
Computer the size of two mouses.
Installation CD/DVD Please!
Gifts for those hard to buy for relatives.
Netbook Application Store.
Comcast and NBC Universal.
The 411 of the Comcast / NBC Universal deal.
Google DNS is this more Big Brother?
Will Google, Twitter & Facebook control logins?
FCC inquiry going after TV Spectrum!
Do we need a Twitter Clone?
Chrome Browser for Mac to be released soon!
Journalist get it way wrong on Black Screen of Death.
How fast is your Site Google wants webmaster to check!
Alex from Diggnation hints at cheap Apple Tablet.
Mars Odyssey reboots.
ISS down to two!
Quasar Puzzle!
Be careful of H1N1 emails.
Microsoft wants your Windows 7 Tips and Tricks.
AT&T and Verizon Kiss and Make up.
BBC shuts down Counterfeit sites.
Comcast roles out Bandwidth Usage Page.
Space based Solar power a go in Sunshine State.

Send in your stories to geeknews@gmail.com and be sure to provide a link to your websites!

GNC-2009-11-30 #532 Live from Texas!

What does a GPS and a Traffic Jam equal? Detour! I think you will get a kick out of how my GPS saved me hours in my car stuck in a massive traffic jam in I35 in Texas. Find out how Julie wife of long time listener Ronald was able to score days off work by using GotoMyPC. I have a new contest you need to listen to win you have a few short days to act. My 2009 24hr Podcast Charity Announced!

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Listener Links:
Special Contest Tonight.. Try GotoMyPC Like Julie did!
Hey Sprint the U300 3G/4G Card is a Piece of Crap!
Windows 7 Upgrade Help.

Show Notes:
Top Mobile Apps of 2009.
Crunchpad Dead before Arrival.
Apple Retail down Online Sales Up!
Malware Software Faceoff!
Hadron Collider cranks up the Juice.
ICANN no more Redirecting!
Solar Prices to come down 30%?
Get your wallets out for Hulu.
UK Newspaper puts up Firewall.
Hulu focuses on Search.
Who complains the most about companies and how?
Fix that Scratched DVD or CD.
NASA Prepared to take last Module to ISS.
FCC to go forward on White Space Database good for us!
Google Chrome OS on Macs!
Fake Lab Meat food of the Future?
Is your employer taking advantage of you?
Psystar only sold 768 Computers?
ASUS Motheboard lets you mod with Bluetooth.
Intel Chip Roadmap!
Perfect Band-aid!
Do you really want this in your car?
Small Towns + High Speed Internet = Increased Property Values!
What did you buy on Cyber Monday?
How to pick out the Perfect Domain!
iPhone to go to T-Mobile?

Send in your stories to geeknews@gmail.com and be sure to provide a link to your websites!





GNC-2009-10-08 #518 Back in Honolulu Next Show!

Another great road show, bandwidth has been a plenty and big thumbs up to the Marriott Towne Place Suites. Lot’s of tech to talk about and I have a big challenge for someone that want’s to build me a LivePack! All I can say is the folks behind this just do not get it.

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Listener Links:
Search Results lead to Malware!
UK’s Winter Hill TV transmitter
The Radio Kitchen
energy@home
PodTrapper

Show Links:
Moon Bombing
NASA gets to rock the Moon.
Is Verizon and AT&T Scared of FCC?
Is AT&T going to hammer heavy iPhone Users?
FCC says Wireless carriers need more Spectrum.
Russians going back to Venus!
Comcast to warn subscribers if they have been hacked (BRAVO)!
Have you killed your Cable TV connection?
The Power of PogoPlug!
iPhone software updated!
Olympics sues Olympian Newspaper!
Economist locks us content under paywall!
Google gives advice on Passwords!
Is your Phone as good as a GPS?
Skype calls ok on iPhone via AT&T Network!
Coin sized Nuclear Battery!
Urban Radio at 87.7!
Vue Video!
Do you like iHop?
Archos5 available on Amazon!
Dow Solar!
Cable One will slow network speeds during peak hours?
Why New Media works!
Lawmakers want probe of Google Voice!
128 Bit Windows.
Worldwide arrest in Phishing scheme!
Will Google Abandon Books?
FTC tries to calm freaked out Bloggers.
Where is the tether?
FBI Director told not to bank online by his wife!
Spotify the cost to run music portal!
Livepack great product bad business model!
iTunes replacement is Doubletwist.

Solar Icemaker Created

I just saw some information on a solar icemaker created by some students in San Jose. This is a great invention. The picture I saw was a big device but who cares. Regular commercial icemakers are big as well. It is not shocking that college kids would create something like this since many of them use ice for sports injuries, iced tea, & picnics. Oh yeah some even put their beer on ice. That is a shocking revelation I know. So now that they have broken the ice, this machine will take off. College students will make a better one because of the uses I stated earlier. Ice is expensive too. $2.50 for a small bag is kind of steep when you consider it is just frozen water. I spend about $10 a week on ice for my water cooler which equals about $350 per year for my busy work season.

Other people with the ability to tinker can make one as well. Mechanics and do it yourselfers will have no problem trying this stuff out and improving upon the original invention. Everyone I know uses ice. And most of the people I know who are tinkerers or mechanics enjoy quite a bit of adult beverages so the incentive to create cheap ice is naturally there. I think it is just a “shop thing”. Guys just like to hang out in their shops and make things or fix stuff. It is where men can be teenagers again & a solar icemaker just adds to the experience, not to mention the money it will save over a lifetime.

GNC-2008-01-15 #339

Back from Vegas back in the Saddle and ready to bring you the latest hot topics plus a full run down of everything that has been going on including some inside information.

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Listener Links:
Ford Trademark
www.sciencedebate2008.com
Bill’s Gallery
Portable EVDO Router
Network Solutions shady .com Practices
Solar Charger
No Love for ASUS
Customer Reports on Companies
Radio QRM Podcast
RIAA Liners
Updated Battery Rules

Show Notes:
Solar Masterpiece
Ford Trademark
Apple Ultra Portable?
Google Maps and Weather Channel
Macbook Air?
RIAA opens Mouth Again
Netflix Video on Demand Unlimited Views
OLPC Dissected
USB 2.0 Universal HDD Adapter
Vista SP1 RC Refresh
Droboshare
FeedDemon and NetNewsWire FREE!
FeedDemon Crack ;)
Facebook to buy Plaxo? Why?
iTransmogrify
Journalist using Bloggers
WiMax Enabled ASUS EE PC
Google and iPhone
Bad Review Request DMCA Takedown
Hubble Repair Plans
Shuttle Launch Feb 7th

GNC-2007-12-14 #325

I give away three cool products more info in the show notes. Congrats to the winners more prizes to give away through the end of the year!

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Special Give Away on the Show tonight. Big thanks to the sponsor Energizer and Pandora’s new message boards for providing the three Energi to Go portable power for iPod

Listener Links:
Check out my Interview on www.podcastingstudios.com/
Trojan.Bayrob Virus
Symantec
Termination Shock
Good Science Discussion
xPCgear Official Site
iCarta Stereo Dock

Show Notes:
Kindle Swindle
Artic Sea Ice
ISP Privacy
iPhone Video Editing
Google Analytics Updates
MySQL Performance Tips
DivX Pro Free
Bad Astronomy
Drowsy Drivers
Auto-Playlist on Zune
Battleship Mtron
10 Worst Products
Apple Cinema Display New Model Coming
World’s data in iPod by 2020?
Kindle DRM Hacked
Bill Gates Snow Globe gotta have one
FeedDemon RC4
Movable Type goes Open Source
Politicans push Google on Privacy
Apple Top Podcasts
Blognation War Continues
10 Worst Gadgets of 2007
DMCA on the Radar
NASA to study of moon Interior
Shuttle Tanking Text
Talkshoe Mention of our 24 Live Podcast
CES Bloggers
Website Liability
Google Solar Power Report

Gems I Found:
Mark Cuban on Taxes
Tatoo
Natural Selection
Shower Floss

GNC-2007-09-25 #304

Glad to be back in the saddle and I have a great opportunity for everyone to participate in a cool fund raiser that I am kicking off in this show.

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Listener Links:
SketchCast.com
VOIP Privacy
Voyager Images
Pretty Funny from Woot.com
ImageStation Shutdown
Linksys Kiss 1600
Mac Backup Article 1
Mac Backup Article 2

Show Notes:
Lots of HD Channels but no HDTV
New Solar Panels
Men on Mars by 2037
Coolest Tech Job Ever
Amazing Magic Trick
Cybercrook turned Snitch for FBI
Starbucks 50 Million Songs
Don’t mess with this Donkey
Microsoft to buy Stake in Facebook?
Cool Pictures
RIAA Looses Another One
NBC Very Foolish
iPhone headset Adapters
Downgrade to XP for Real
Mini Camcorder
FeedDemon Popular Topic
CleanScore
F.B.I. and Cyber Crime Priority
Gmail Mobile Improves
One Laptop Per Child Promotion
DocuSign a service who’s time has come.
Mars Water
Free Phone calls NOT!
Germs turn into Super Germs in Space

GNC-2007-07-20 #286

I’m fighting the flu that my lovely wife gave me and I am on the hunt for some used video gear primarily lighting a professional tripods

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Listener Links:
Verizon FIOS Setup
Atomic Insight
Microsoft Patent Spyware
Custom Website Design

Show Notes:
Solar Panels
WD-40 Explosion
Microsoft Web Standards
Ooma VOIP
Six Minutes of Terror
Have a 100 Million?
ClearWire and Sprint !!
Microsoft 50 Billion
Google Earnings Lower
Update Firefox
Spectrum Giveaway
Google Search for $100
SpaceJunk by NASA
USB Superboosters
No Vista SP1 Rush
Google Indexes in 120 Seconds
Miro Launch!
Google – Doubleclick in Cross Hairs
Jing by TechSmith
MPAA No Net Neutrality
Policeware
SoundExchange Battle
AT&T $3.00
FBI + Telcos + Records = Spying
Harry Potter

GNC-2007-07-09 #283

Regular show tonight with a guest appearance by my daughter Natalie lots of news as usual.

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My Ustream.TV Listing give it a rating is you get a chance

Listener Links:
Surface Demo
UMPC Reviews
ASUS 701
Microsoft UK Site hacked

Show Notes:
Sprint 1
Sprint 2
Sprint 3
Google Postini
OpenDNS
Cell Phone Spying
RSS for TwitterGram
Nielsen
Trillan Astra
WOW Setup
Microsoft Bag
Southwest WiFi
Vista SP1
California Solar Farm
NYC Surveillance
Time & Odeo
Blu-Ray DRM
Bottled Water
GetHuman
Aussie Speed Trap Prank
NASA Lifeform
OpenMoko.com
Apple Nano Based Phone
Open Source Template
PocketTweets
iPhone Web Dev