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JANUARY 2009

Compliments of OasisHybridHomes.com

PREVIOUS ISSUES

November 2008
December 2008

 

How An Oasis Hybrid House Can
Protect You From Natural Disaster . . .

I promised to be talking about passive solar and I hope to pick up that subject next month. However, this time around, the events of the moment are teaching me the significance of depending on life support.

As I often tell news reporters who come out to do a story on my oasis hybrid house, American homes are all on life support.  Cut the utility lines—water, electric and gas—and our homes become lifeless shells.

Last month, on December 13, 2008 the homes of 1.25 million people died after an ice storm swept through the Northeast.  The outage didn’t last several hours, but several days.  That’s hard to handle anytime of year, but especially during the Christmas season. 

 “I can’t shower, I can’t cook, I can’t do much of anything,” said Debbie Reed from Rochester, NH, who was on her way to a school turned into a shelter.  “It’s so cold I can only stand it for so long.”

You may think Debbie’s problems would be over once the power came back on.  But pipes will have frozen and burst, creating extensive water damage to both the house and its contents.   And she’ll likely have to wait in line for a plumber. Not a very Merry Christmas.

This is just one incident, one ice storm, ruining so many lives.  Yet each year there are countless power outages from winter weather, hurricanes, fires, floods, earth quakes or just regular black or brown-outs.  The physical damage and human suffering is enormous.

Had Debbie’s house not been on life support, her Christmas could have looked much merrier.

The Oasis Hybrid House is impervious to these disasters.  It generates its own power with wind and sun and collects its own rainwater from the roof and stores it in underground tanks around the house.  No matter what happens to the utility companies, the house remains alive and healthy.  That fact alone brings me great peace of mind.

While I have yet to live through a catastrophic power outage in my new house, I have already lived through several smaller ones, yet never noticed them.

The first time this happened was when I was still building the house.  The power systems were all in place and I was using them to run the lights and my construction tools.  At one point, my family called from our old home in the same neighborhood to say they were in the middle of a power outage.  I didn’t even know until then.  Our new house was running flawlessly. 

I now think of utility companies as supplying back-up power to my home.  And the same system can just as easily be created for commercial structures as well.

Reporters and visitors often ask “How much time does it take for these systems to pay for themselves? “ In the past, I have mumbled the answer that it depends where the energy prices go in the future. But now, after watching people evacuate their homes during these natural disasters, I know a much more accurate answer to that question: They begin paying off immediately, just like any other good insurance policy.

The Oasis Hybrid House is an insurance policy that guarantees the same, very low monthly price for heating and electrical each month for the next 20 years.  At the same time, the quality and reliability of your utilities are better than anything you can get from outside sources.

How much would you pay for such a policy?  The increased cost of installing these systems is about 30 percent more than traditional systems.  That’s the total cost of this policy. 

Many people are beginning to realize this point and are starting to consider implementing the same systems found in the Oasis Hybrid House in their own homes.  The up front cost, which can be deferred into a loan, buys the added security of your own power, heat and water source.  Never again will you be a sitting duck, along with the utility companies, when they get hit by natural disaster and shut down.  And this is just one advantage of what utility independence can do for you.

Next month—Passive Solar Heating

On addressing the importance of power independence, we invited Bill von Brethorst of "Planetary systems" to do a write up on the subject. He is an expert in the field and his article further helps us to understand the level of trust we have placed in public utilities and our "live or die" dependency on them!

Wishing you all a mighty fine 2009!

                                                                  Pouwel

Renewable Energy and Energy Storage
by Bill von Brethorst

There has been a media blitz of late and everyone has seen and heard about major wind generator farms and large solar installations which are supposed to be the future energy supply for the US. These systems are patterned after European successes in energy supply, but there is one major difference. In electrical supply, generation is always most efficient when the distribution is closer to the source.

Sure, you can increase the voltage to hundreds of thousands of volts so the power goes farther, but even this technology has limits. In terms of energy delivery, France, for instance, has a land area for the entire country only about 1-1/2 times the size of Montana. France has 59 operating Nuclear power plants which provide 87% of the countries power needs, supported by wind and solar power. Spain, which has massive solar-thermal power plants and 15,515 megawatts of wind generation is only 1-1/3 times the size of Montana.

In all cases, virtually no area of power requirement is more than 75 miles from a renewable or low emissions power supply. Add to this, the fact that the average European uses only ¼ the electrical power consumed by the average American, and that all their infrastructure is nearly new. This scenario presents a serious problem for the US, and with the current economic situation, no utility will have the ability to invest in the required infrastructure to make widespread renewable energy use a possibility.

Nearly all major power generation in the US is hundreds of miles from load concentrations, and no wind generation is near population centers. These are but a few of the issues, when climate change, weather and lack of energy conservation are factored in, our current electrical energy supply is in real trouble.

The question is, why would you not make your own power? The solar industry has been very busy promoting solar and wind grid-tied power systems which sell back power to the grid, with incentives and tax rebates. Unfortunately, the majority of these systems have no onsite energy storage and rely on the stability of the grid for these benefits.

This is a bit like purchasing a round trip ticket on the Titanic. It is common knowledge that the current electrical grid structure cannot take full advantage or rely upon these widely distributed small scale inputs. Wind and utility engineers are scrambling to find very large scale energy storage systems, at very high cost, to help stabilize these grid inputs.

With currently available technologies, a low energy use home can be totally isolated from the grid, or use the grid when required, but run nearly totally on its’ own power generation for about $ 0.14 per Kwh. New federal tax incentives of 30% make independent power a win-win situation. All that is required is an energy efficient home envelope, the will to be somewhat conservative and the best energy efficient appliances and lighting currently available.

Planetary Systems, Inc. Patented Power Package system allows any home with the above attributes to be independently powered, sell back excess power if desired and can integrate any PV (photovoltaic), wind, fuel cell or other generation inputs to provide a complete, sustainable system. Our systems offer the only large scale, 2vdc AGM/VRLA industrial, long life (up to 20 years) battery available.

Power Package systems are based on the Outback Power Systems inverter/control platform made here in the USA, while most grid-tie non-battery PV systems are not US made. Currently, our Power Package system (www.planetarysystems.com) is providing most of the power for the Oasis hybrid home.

Call for help

     If you are in the market for an existing home or are looking for a lot to build a new one and would like my assistance in evaluating the property for maximum element-gathering capabilities, please contact me at 406-223-1406.  You can also contact me if you would like help with any of the elements explained above, or to build your own oasis hybrid home, which is designed to include all the above considerations and custom-fitted to your site location.

Ask A Question

     Please join me for the tour and fire off your questions for our mid month frequently asked questions and answers portion of our newsletter to pouwel@oasishybridhomes.com

 

 

Pouwel Smiling
Pouwel Gelderloos, Designer,
Builder and Founder
of Oasis Hybrid Homes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renewable Energy Systems Still Work in the Winter
Renewable Energy Systems
Still Work in Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renewable energy systems
Renewable Energy Systems
at Oasis Hybrid Homes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

windmill closeup
Windmill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photovoltaic systems
Photovoltaic Array

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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