Green Building – Your Own Power Plants

Green Building – Your Own Power Plants
December 13, 2011 TNH Editorial Team

It is said that a whopping 65% of electricity gets lost between production and consumption in our homes.  So why not produce electricity right in your house?! Better yet, why not produce both electricity and heat at your house?… AND get off the grid! Be ENERGY INDEPENDENT!

 “Cogeneration” technology makes this a reality.  It is the simultaneous generation of electricity and heat using a single fuel source, which for US homes generally means natural or propane gas.

The big news: it is now feasible and affordable to get cogeneration technology in decentralized installations i.e. in individual / private homes. Add a bank of simple batteries (batteries like the one in your car) and replace any further need for a generator at your home.

The picture shows the entire amount of equipment needed.  It really is not much bigger than your standard furnace. Depicted is an installation by Blueprint Energy Group in a home in Connecticut. This cogeneration unit provides enough heat to heat a large house and pool.

Cogeneration is well-known technology. Extensive use in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands resulted in a 2004 EU directive promoted this technology (EU Directive 2004/8/EV).

Who is the largest cogeneration producer? Wikipedia tells us it is ConEdison producing both electricity and steam heat servicing a large grid of buildings in Manhattan.  But now it can be powering your very own individual house independent from large-scale industrial grids.

Cogeneration technology can also be combined with different fuel sources such as solar, geo-thermal and agricultural waste products -the Island of Mauritius is using sugarcane stalks left as waste from sugar production.

NEXT GEN:  Since cogeneration units produce heat at all times to date heat has to be “dumped” during summer months.  It stands to reason that there is talk of a new generation of “cogen” units which have built-in chillers to reclaim and convert the heat and convert it into cooled air.

Homeowners who are interested in building a new home or are thinking to undertake a large-scale renovation of their home are wise to seriously investigate cogeneration technology.

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