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Old 10-05-08, 09:22 PM   #1
tasdbois
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Default Hi from the great white north!

Hey there, I'm tasdrouille from ecomodder, I modified my handle a bit so it better suits renovation forums, but just call me tas.

I live in a 2 bedrooms appartment with my wife and 1yo son, so there's nothing really interesting about my place in terms of potential eco renovation.

However, 3 years ago my parents bought a somewhat remote rustic cottage by the Gatineau river 200 miles north of Ottawa (roughly 47,-75 ).
Currently they're mostly running on propane for the water heater, the fridge and the range. There's a wood stove for heat. Since the cottage is roughly 75 feet higher than the river, water is pumped up with a small gas pump from the river in a tower tank.

There is not much current on this part of the river. There is however a good wind during the day, especially in the afternoon most of the time. Solar exposure is pretty good in the summer, but the sun gets pretty low in the winter.

As of now the only eco stuff they have are three 15 watts solar panels used to power a radio, a cellphone booster and lightning which is all mr16 12v led bulbs.

So I'll be looking for ideas I could implement at the cottage to maximize our limited energy usage.


Last edited by tasdbois; 05-04-10 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 10-05-08, 11:38 PM   #2
groar
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Bienvenue Tas d'bois

I'm certain this eco stuff in your parents' cottage will interest people so don't hesitate to describe it more deeply. I'm living in a rather sunny place, so your experience with solar panels and batteries in such high latitudes and low temperatures interests me. I just discovered that a fridge can work on propane.

Even in a 2 bedrooms apartment there is lot of things to do (electricity, water, cold, heat...), so don't hesitate to pick up ideas. I'm certain you'll be helpful, per example you know better than us how to protect your house and yourself against cold.

Le bonjour au Pre Nol

Denis.
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Earth absorbs 1.8 t CO2/head/yr, while a French generates 6.2 t CO2/yr
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  • kg saved 06/08-08/09: 1816.9+382.9 (ecodriving / 1420mi not driven) = 2199.8
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    (2.66 kg/l diesel)
  • kg saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels : 187 kg/yr
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    (59.1 g/kWh)
Radioactive wastes saved by 3kWc photo-voltaic solar panels :
  • Long life (>100,000 years) : 2.85 g/yr (0.9 mg/kWh)
  • Short life (<300 years) : 31.7 g/yr (10.0 mg/kWh)
Based upon "official" French figures...

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Old 10-06-08, 02:58 AM   #3
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welcome tas.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:44 AM   #4
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Welcome to ER Tas, nice to see you over here.

The cottage already seems like its fairly efficient from your description. Is it well insulated, or drafty? Are there any real noticable areas where it could be improved?

BTW, what does the new name mean?
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Last edited by Daox; 10-06-08 at 09:58 AM..
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Old 10-06-08, 12:11 PM   #5
tasdbois
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The cottage insulation is not all that great, but it was a lot worse. It was originally a 1967, 60 by 13 trailer home. So it was not well insulated to start with. A 13 by 20 extension was eventually built to the side to enlarge the living room with lots of windows (the cottage is L shaped) and a 60 by 26 sheet metal roof to cover it all.

Since we bought it, we covered it all with pine planks, so I guess that helped insulate it a bit better (dunno the insulation factor of pine). We also added a lot of glass wool outside under the floor and in the attic. All smaller windows were replaced with insulated double pane glass. Just the 2 large bay windows are single pane and have not been replaced yet (pretty expensive).

The new name translates literally to pile of wood.
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Old 11-20-09, 05:46 PM   #6
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I bought a house. Well, I bought one on paper. The delivery date is next August 12th. It's a 24 by 37 cottage plus a garage and basement. Instead of just filling the hole with dirt, the garage base floor will be laid flush with the basement footing, so I'll form the actual garage floor 4 feet above the footing, it'll be supported by sonotubes. There'll be a hole in the garage floor, kind of like a pit, but with a safety exit from under the garage into the basement. So I'll have some place to easily work under my cars plus some storage. The space under the front concrete porch will also be enclosed with an access from the basement to make a cold room/wine cellar.

The house will be built on a lot I chose, so since I live in a cold climate it will be oriented with the most windows facing true south. The windows will be laid this way:

North: 34%
South: 56%
East: 7%
West: 4%

The house will be built to the code we have here, so it should be well insulated, I'll have to work out the details with my builder, but I already know the basement will be insulated with a couple inches of spray on closed cell foam.

I've read a lot of stuff over at builditsolar.com, so I know a bit what I'll have to look for to make sure the house is well sealed during the build, and add caulk where I need to, but any input would be very much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 11-20-09, 08:53 PM   #7
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Congratulations on owning a home! Even if it is not built yet.
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Old 11-21-09, 12:14 AM   #8
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That souds like a great location for something I'd like to try. I've been following AirborneWindEnergy@yahoogroups.com about using kites as windmills, and it sure sounds like the way to go. If you can arrange for a pipe, fairly straight, running from the river to a pond or tank well above it, with a fairly steep slope, it should work.
In the pipe rides a long bucket to lift water. It has a simple check valve to let river water in when it is let down. To haul it up, we use a kite. It is best to have a two-line kite, so that you can make it fly figure eights and really pull hard. Robots can take care of flying it, from a resting cradle on top of a tree or tower. When the bucket empties into the top tank, the kite is flown gently to let the bucket pull it back down. Then, whenever you want electricity, you use a hydro generator, with no need for batteries.

We have had snow for a week twice now, but all is brown again. Really crazy weather this year. I have a sister near Ottawa complaining of rain - is it really white for you, or are you just teasing the Yankees? ;-)
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Old 11-21-09, 08:45 AM   #9
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The one thing I'd highly recommend is looking into super insulated houses (passive house). Since you are so far north its a no brainer to put in more insulation. The cost isn't huge, but the savings from doing it is.
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Old 05-04-10, 08:32 AM   #10
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They dug last week, and the footing and foundation was poured. I plan to get a mini-split ductless heat pump installed, so yesterday was earth tube evening! I burried ten, fifty foot long, 4 inches non perforated corrugated poly tubes. These will hopefuly preheat the air in the winter and precool it in the summer.

I had a bit of space behind my attached garage as the house extends 18 feet farther, so I had them dig a bit wider at that point in order to place a fifty foot loop there. Total cost of the project so far was 300 bucks. I'll then have to build manifolds to duct those tubes properly between the heatpump intake and the blower I'll probably have to use.

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