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"The salvation of mankind lies only in making everything the concern of all."

- Alexander Solzhenytsn

Tampa 'Greenesis' House
My ‘HyGrid’ Home Learning Project
Transforming from Traditional Housing To Renewable Energy 'Hygrid' Homes

 By "E"

gen·e·sis Pronunciation: 'jen-&-s&s - 1. the origin or coming into being of something 2. the process or mode of origin - Webster's Dictionary

green·e·sis - The chronicle of humankind's shift into symbiosis with universal law
Greenesis is a created word in my 'Semantic Calculus' Dictionary of the Viridian REVELution language of 'Virspeak'

(part 1 of series - The Solarization of America)

     This series covers the genesis & progress of my D.I.Y. 'Hygrid' (grid inter-tied, renewable resource) home. I intend this "Exampling" project to be a way for others to learn to build such a home for themselves. This house will make way for my "East Star" renewable energy & hurricane survival home. I couldn't build my "East Star" house in the historical neighborhood where the home pictured at left & discussed in this article is being constructed.

    The first step for any energy efficient structure is to build for your geographic area. Use a contractor who's been building in your part of the country for a while. They will be acquainted with atmospheric & geological characteristics & know how to integrate with them.
     The starting point for my project is a home built by a 3rd generation Florida builder who knows how to build for the number one challenge to a house in FL (hurricanes).

   Other environmental challenges in FL are termites & mold. Wood elements should be checked yearly for termites & paper coated drywall is a problem if mold invades. I chose a concrete block home, but even they have wood framed roof supports.

   Good roof structures are critical for a home that will utilize solar. You will at least want a solar backup generator system for hurricane & storm blackouts.

    My roof type (known as a 'hip' roof) is angled on all sides which gives exposure options for solar modules at all times of the day. This roof design also does best in hurricanes. The other advantage of the roof will be to maximize aqua duct exposure to fill a cistern system for landscape/garden irrigation & greywater cycling. The xeriscaping of my lot & water recycling system to the greenhouse / garden offsets water usage in a city that has had some water shortage issues over the last decade. Plus, Tampa city water is chlorinated & hard; you are going to want a filtering/softening system.

    Super insulating construction materials should be used whenever possible. The more energy efficient the home is, the less overall power it will need to draw from any source. I offer a personal energy consulting service to provide specific information on making homes & businesses as efficient as possible. LED lighting offers also considerable energy reduction.

There have been major advances in roofing materials. The old tin roof has always been better for the FL climate, but that tin roof has been advanced with insulating alloys that also stand up better in windstorms & outlast wood shingle roofs by decades.

    The solarshield metal roof fits in perfectly with my historical neighborhood. It is actually what the historical board prefers I use. So that was a win - win deal. They did make me change the look of the home to the old bungalow style, different from the one in the picture, & wouldn't let me do a few other things that would have been more efficient for the home, but didn't fit in with the 'look' they demand for the neighborhood. That's NOT smart growth in my opinion.

    My first solar project was hot water. My father & I built a solar hot water system into our house when I was a kid, & I was fascinated by it.

iconicon They've come a long way since then. I 'm using a progressivtube system which is passive. (plugs right into water tank). You do have to note the weight the collector can reach when full. A large collector can weigh up to 600 pounds, so make sure your roof can support it. (Ground mounting is also possible).

   The next project was designing my photovoltaic system to power selected electrical systems & trickle charge a battery array for emergency power to the fridge should grid go down (as it often does here in the lightning capital of the world). I've been using this web site to learn about the tax incentives I can get from Florida for using these technologies.

   Of course there is solar power’s nemesis. It goes by the name of 'night'. This is not the good knight in shining armor, but the very black night that gives no quarter & no photons. That’s why my house is an electric assisted ‘Hygrid’. I’ll remain tied to the grid so that I can draw power when photon-less.

    Under the new net metering system, a solar PV system that generates more power than you use can be sold back to the utility company at the going rate. My system sets me up for this as well as to provide back-up power in a battery array.



    The PV modules I’m using are 24 volt modules in series strings connected to a pre wired charge controller/inverter that ties into house's mains. The extra money for the pre-wired system is saved in not having to pay a pro to wire the several components needed to invert the solar voltage from DC, wire it through a fuse box, send my excess out to the grid & trickle iconcharge a back-up gel battery array.


    I found angled P.V. panels that allow me to cover the entire surface of my double pyramid roof & keep the historical board happy by making it look pretty. You ideally should keep your PV panels in series strings facing the same way to get the best results; (differences in light intensity from cell to cell & panel to panel is a classic problem of the technology [That's what makes a practical solar car from being manufactured]).

   The angle & exposure of your panels is critical. Facing them due south at a 30 degree incline is a good default position (for anyone in the northern hemisphere). You can get more exact by formulating an angle based on your latitude & longitude. I’ll post my formula after I get my GPS readings punched in.

Wiring it all up.
    Connecting into the grid should be done by a pro (unless you're like me, who thinks he knows enough about it to do it himself. Don't risk your life! Call a pro! Many pros are not yet up to date on this. You can refer your electrician to the guidelines at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
Or contact me to use one of my distributor's affiliated installers, who specialize in solar.

continued, top of next column

  Here's the basics of how solar P.V. works & the components I’m using to do it.
    Sunlight hits the P.V. cells where light (not heat) is converted to electricity. The subsequent voltage is called the photovoltaic [PV] effect; Click here to see a video explanation of how solar cells convert photons to electricity.

    Solar heat energy is solar thermal & can be used used for other applications like water heating or the nifty home heating window boxes I'm building into my windows for the few weeks it actually gets cold in Tampa. There's also a really trick solar oven I've got my eyes on for when I cook for guests (I'm a happy raw food vegetarian (except when @ Bern's Steak House here in Tampa. God cooks my food with the sun. Ironically, I love the good ole' backyard cookout. However My backyard B.BQ's will be a bit different than the Jones's because of the solar oven I'll utilize.

    Again, PV cells convert photons to D.C. voltage & it travels through wire to an inverter where it is changed to A. C. current (the standard in U.S. households). There is an ever growing variety of DC household appliances coming on the market that are more efficient than standard AC appliances & allow you to reap more power from PV arrays, because inversion is not needed.
    I'd like to install a backup DC fridge /freezer for assistance through hurricane seasons. Fortunately, the builder I chose includes Energy Star appliances in his houses, & I think he is to be commended for this. I am going to interview him for a forthcoming article to help promote this idea among other builders. I did some math on the environmental savings that could be reaped if all new home builders did this. Just like with increasing mileage standards for the auto industry, a little more efficiency goes a long way in savings.

• Here's a note of 'karmic' interest: NBC news reported today (9/27/05) that the amount of refined fuel lost after hurricanes Katrina & Rita equals the amount of fuel that would have been saved had our president stuck to the planned auto industry mileage standards.

    O. K. no political interludes. I intend this site to be non-political & focus only on solutions everyone can apply of their own free will. I just get sensitive when people try to defy the immutable logic of math.

    Back to our solar P.V. system. Once the sunlight DC voltage is converted to A. C. at the inverter, it is connected to the house mains through a fuse box.
    Excess power can flow through to the main out of the house & be fed back to the grid. My home is now a ‘mini-tility’ that sells it’s excess electricity back to the electric company at the current rates through the net metering system. Another meter can be wired into the system to monitor outgoing electricity or, I can watch my meter roll backwards when it is feeding the system.

SAVING POWER IS PATRIOTIC. Don't just be a bumper sticker patriot.

   Remember the enemy we fight. Note where they get their financial ability to wage war from. Using foreign oil is like loading bullets into a kalachnikoff pointed at yourself.

   My next article, entitled "My Bright Idea; - How To Combine Government & Private Industry to Solarize America & Defeat Foreign Oil Cartel Terrorism", came to me while going over the electrical diagrams for connecting my house into the power grid. If you're on the C2 mailing list, you'll get that article next month. Betcha' can't wait. ;->

Sign up for my newsletter to keep track of my progress as I contemplate adding wind & other renewable tech. I will of course put up a wind gauge to measure if an investment in wind is feasible for my area. My other big project is to see how cool I can keep the home without powered A. C. I’m looking through all my insulation options to see what I can get my builder to go for. There is a new spray insulant that forms an air tight seal for the entire house & several other new insulations that cut A.C. costs dramatically.

   I hope these examples will help many to live at higher standards & with more L.L.P.H (life, liberty & pursuit of happiness).

   I will keep upgrading the solar PV system with more modules & batteries until I reach a net zero grid requirement for electricity.

Click HERE to see the turnkey renwable energy systems I can provide you with to get your home or business running on solar, hydrogen or wind without you doing any of the work!.

What Else You Can Do..

• Expand Your Consciousness: Books

• Vote with your Wallet: Products & Services

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