How To: Sustainable Energy
Creating a sustainable world is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
How do we work practically towards sustainable energy?
What are the tools and knowledge we need to make the right decisions that make sure our actions add up to the goal of sustainable energy?
Use the map to navigate (not yet operational). The items highlighted in green are the tools that we are developing or are withing the scope of this project.
The idea here is to create a practical how to guide and collection of resources on working towards sustainable energy in our homes and communities focusing on tools and knowledge we need to make the right decisions.
Context: Sustainable Energy without the hot air
In his book Sustainable Energy without the hot air; David MacKay of Cambridge University highlights an approach using quite straight forward maths for quantifying our use of energy in full and then calculating how much renewables we would require to provide that energy. The book also explores clearly the solutions that are available for better transport, smarter heating and efficient electricity use.
It is an open source, free to read online book on sustainable energy that lays the groundwork for much of this section. Read the book online here: http://www.withouthotair.com/
The energy stack
David MacKay makes use of energy stacks to illustrate how much renewable energy is required to meet our use of energy and the importance of creating energy plans that add up. After reading David MacKay's book I wanted to see what my energy stack looked like and so went about creating an application to do this.
The left-most energy stack on the right is our house, the middle stack is the national average and the stack on the right is what is possible using the solutions outlined in David MacKay's book applied to the national average stack.
As you can see we have a bit of green but yes a lot of red. We have reached 17% of the way towards sustainable energy.
We could say that the challenge of sustainable energy is essentially to turn the red blocks in the energy stacks green and to minimize any energy wasted.
or learn more about the energy stack maker here.
Turning the red blocks green
Effective use of electricity
The first item in each section is effective use. In the case of electricity. How much electricity can we save by using low energy lighting such as LED's? How much electricity does turning off lighting when not in use save?
Sustainable generation: There are a lot of resources available on generating your own electricity from solar, wind and hydro and advice on everything from planning an installation to getting together as a community to do energy projects so we wont go into it any more here. If your looking for a book on the subject I would highly recommend this book from the Centre for Alternative Technology: The Home Energy Handbook: A guide to saving and generating energy in your home and community
Effective use, How much can we save through insulation, draught-proofing and better building design?
Building thermal performance monitoring and modelling
Hot water cylinder analysis:
Measuring the solar yield, Measurement of heat loss in a hot water cylinder, Measuring heat flux in and out of a hot water cylinder