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2007 October » Our Sustainable Home
Archive for: October, 2007

Solar panel production to quadruple by 2009

October 19th, 2007

Today an article in Reuters indicated that annual solar panel production will double for the next two years!

As I’ve previously discussed here, I think solar panels are not the best value for your sustainable dollars (yet). But I do think few technologies have as much potential to disrupt the way we think about… anything powered.

It’s hard to imagine what sort of changes a society would go through when power generation is so widely distributed. And since there will be no need for it to travel long distances, we should probably expect to see a rise in DC appliances. The only reason I know of to use AC is that DC can’t travel over a wide distribution network.

I may be overly optimistic, but I think the article underestimates how quickly solar will be adopted. To me, most people seem keen to both end their relationships with their utility companies and implement technologies that make them more self-sufficient.

I now think we might just have solar panels on our own house as early as 2010. (Edit: Reading that now, it probably is overly optimistic: 2012.)

Posted by Colin
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Finally Bullfrogpowered™ and an EnergyStar refrigerator

October 5th, 2007

We’ve talked about Bullfrog Power here before, but we have only just today signed up with them. (Ooops.)

We just had that down as one of those small tasks we’d take care of once the house was built which was going to get underway any day now for the whole year. But since we’re now officially on house-building-hiatus, our plans have been getting shifted around.

Another task we put off last year was replacing our awful, scary fridge because we thought “We don’t want to have to move a brand new fridge into storage, when we could just dispose of this one when construction starts, and buy a new one when we’re ready to move in.”

This fridge was so old it proudly boasted an Energuide rating of 1742kWh/year. But that was when it was new. We had put a UPM EM-100 usage meter on it (~$25 @ Canadian Tire) and found it was actually running at a rate of almost 2400kWh/year. You would think the fact that our old fridge used almost $250/year in electricity would be incentive enough to get rid of it right away, but for some reason waiting just a couple more months seemed like a good idea at the time (and the next time, and the next time).

Our new fridge (18.2 cu.ft.) is a fantabulous Whirlpool ET8FTEXRQ (note to marketing: not the catchiest name) and uses just $39/year or 412kWh of electricity. So, our electricity bill just came down by about 40%! We selected this particular fridge because it is the close cousin of the 21 cu.ft. ET1FTEXRQ which is currently the top rated fridge at Consumer Reports.

A call to Whirlpool’s “Customer Experience Centre” (yes, it’s an awful name but the staff there were top notch) revealed that, mechanically, the ET1 and ET8 are the same fridge, just different sizes. In case you go looking for it yourself, you should know that the ET8FTEXRQ has been replaced by the ET8FTEXSQ. I did not call them to ask what the difference was.

We made the semi-mistake of buying it from Lastman’s Bad Boy because they had a great price on the fridge we wanted, but I’ll blog about that experience another day.

Posted by Colin
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