Preventing energy waste

December 6, 2015 Michael Ideas & InspirationThe Build

Several physical means are available within the constraints of current technology to mitigate or eliminate the main categories of energy waste.

Space heating

The energy driving the thermodynamic system of a building comes from sunlight, direct combustion of fuels, electricity and also the metabolic energy of the occupants.

To use these energy inputs to greatest effect, and to reduce the amount of input required from means which have ecological or financial costs associated with them, the movement of heat in a building should be carefully planned and controlled.

The physical means available to acheive this include;

  • Well sealed buildings with ventilation only through controlled pathways.
  • Well insulated buildings.
  • Very large thermal masses for seasonal heat storage.
  • Integrated greenhouse and air to earth heat exchanger for heat collection during periods of excess.
  • Air to air heat exchange for supplemental ventilation.
  • Heat exchange between grey water and hot water feed.
  • Intelligent control automation for efficiency, with natural convection fallback.
  • Choice of materials with low processing and transport energy.

Water heating.

  • Hot water storage tanks should have thick insulation to prevent heat loss.
  • Several energy sources may be employed to heat water in stages such than little, if any, additional heating from fossil fuels or electrcity is required. For example; greywater heat reclamation, waste heat from electricity generation with biogas, solar thermal collectors and biofuel boilers.

Water and sewerage

  • A greywater treatment planter in a¬†greenhouse can¬†be used to purify water from washing to the point it may be used for toilet flushing.
  • Blackwater can be anaerobically digested to produce methane and soil additives. Methane, once washed, may be used in the same ways as utility-supplied natural gas, including liquifaction for transport use.
  • Rainwater may be collected to supplement irrigation and flushing, or washing and drinking depending on the level of purification.

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