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The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy Independence through Solar, Wind, Biomass and Hydropower

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The coming energy crisis caused by a peak in global oil and natural gas production will profoundly affect the lives of all North Americans. As the price of these vital fuels rises, homeowners will scramble to cut their fuel bills. Two options for meeting the upcoming challenge are dramatic improvements in home energy efficiency and efforts to tap into clean, affordable, re The coming energy crisis caused by a peak in global oil and natural gas production will profoundly affect the lives of all North Americans. As the price of these vital fuels rises, homeowners will scramble to cut their fuel bills. Two options for meeting the upcoming challenge are dramatic improvements in home energy efficiency and efforts to tap into clean, affordable, renewable energy resources to heat and cool homes, to provide hot water and electricity, and even to cook. These measures can result in huge savings and a level of energy independence. The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy tells you how. It starts by outlining the likely impacts of fossil fuel shortages and some basic facts about energy. It then discusses energy conservation to slash energy bills and prepare for renewable energy options. Focusing carefully on specific strategies needed to replace specific fuels, the book then examines each practical energy option available to homeowners: • Solar hot water, cooking, and water purification • Space heat: passive and active solar retrofits • Wood heat • Passive cooling • Solar electricity • Wind-generated electricity • Electricity from microhydropower sources • Emerging technologies—hydrogen, fuel cells, methane digesters, and biodiesel The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy gives readers sufficient knowledge to hire and communicate effectively with contractors and, for those wanting do installations themselves, it recommends more detailed manuals. With a complete resource listing, this well-illustrated and accessible guide is a perfect companion for illuminating the coming dark age. Dan Chiras has studied renewable energy and energy efficiency for three decades and has installed several renewable energy systems. He lives in a self-designed passive solar/solar electric home. An award-winning author of over 20 books, he is a sustainability design consultant who teaches courses on renewable energy, green building, and sustainability at Colorado College.


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The coming energy crisis caused by a peak in global oil and natural gas production will profoundly affect the lives of all North Americans. As the price of these vital fuels rises, homeowners will scramble to cut their fuel bills. Two options for meeting the upcoming challenge are dramatic improvements in home energy efficiency and efforts to tap into clean, affordable, re The coming energy crisis caused by a peak in global oil and natural gas production will profoundly affect the lives of all North Americans. As the price of these vital fuels rises, homeowners will scramble to cut their fuel bills. Two options for meeting the upcoming challenge are dramatic improvements in home energy efficiency and efforts to tap into clean, affordable, renewable energy resources to heat and cool homes, to provide hot water and electricity, and even to cook. These measures can result in huge savings and a level of energy independence. The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy tells you how. It starts by outlining the likely impacts of fossil fuel shortages and some basic facts about energy. It then discusses energy conservation to slash energy bills and prepare for renewable energy options. Focusing carefully on specific strategies needed to replace specific fuels, the book then examines each practical energy option available to homeowners: • Solar hot water, cooking, and water purification • Space heat: passive and active solar retrofits • Wood heat • Passive cooling • Solar electricity • Wind-generated electricity • Electricity from microhydropower sources • Emerging technologies—hydrogen, fuel cells, methane digesters, and biodiesel The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy gives readers sufficient knowledge to hire and communicate effectively with contractors and, for those wanting do installations themselves, it recommends more detailed manuals. With a complete resource listing, this well-illustrated and accessible guide is a perfect companion for illuminating the coming dark age. Dan Chiras has studied renewable energy and energy efficiency for three decades and has installed several renewable energy systems. He lives in a self-designed passive solar/solar electric home. An award-winning author of over 20 books, he is a sustainability design consultant who teaches courses on renewable energy, green building, and sustainability at Colorado College.

30 review for The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy Independence through Solar, Wind, Biomass and Hydropower

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark Edwards

    This book goes deeper into renewable energy systems available to address the power needs of residential buildings and related topics. I appreciate his discussion on conservation, the breakdown of the energy/power consumption of a 'typical' residence, etc. This book goes deeper into energy than "The Solar House" goes into passive design, providing almost enough information to evaluate and size some systems. The amount of information presented varies by system, as solar photovoltaic and wind power This book goes deeper into renewable energy systems available to address the power needs of residential buildings and related topics. I appreciate his discussion on conservation, the breakdown of the energy/power consumption of a 'typical' residence, etc. This book goes deeper into energy than "The Solar House" goes into passive design, providing almost enough information to evaluate and size some systems. The amount of information presented varies by system, as solar photovoltaic and wind power get a more detailed treatment than biomass.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Felicity Fields

    Slow but thorough reading! If you're looking for an overview of solar, wind, and microhydro options for your home, this is a great book to start! I learned a lot in each chapter and even kept notes - something I haven't done since college! I also have a half dozen further reading titles, all recommended in this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carl Wade

    Pg 5: You can't trust his graph. After 2013 everything keeps going down. Pg 122: Rural areas may continue to burn wood. Suggests fast growing wood lots. What is the fastest growing fruit tree? Pg 129: New wood stoves produce less smoke. What about having the stove in another building? Pg 126: Catalytic converters in wood stoves increase efficiency. Pg 134: Wood furnace in basement, garage or outdoors. Pg 142: The masonary stove can have an oven and pizza oven in it. How could wood stove fit with the Pg 5: You can't trust his graph. After 2013 everything keeps going down. Pg 122: Rural areas may continue to burn wood. Suggests fast growing wood lots. What is the fastest growing fruit tree? Pg 129: New wood stoves produce less smoke. What about having the stove in another building? Pg 126: Catalytic converters in wood stoves increase efficiency. Pg 134: Wood furnace in basement, garage or outdoors. Pg 142: The masonary stove can have an oven and pizza oven in it. How could wood stove fit with the multigeneration family unit: Clear division of labor between male and female. Guys; wood lots, cutting and burning. Gals; cleaning and baking. Pg 169: If building a new house .2 miles from a power pole it may be cheaper to put in solar power. Pg 245 Here is a use of a 5 gallon bucket. To measure the flow in a stream for a power dam. Pg 310: He has books on wood heat."The good woodcutters Guide: Chain Sawws, portable saw mills and wood lots. Dave Johnson 1998.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leonardo Etcheto

    Very good overview. Now I want to buy a property with a river of some kind to get the small hydro power going. Makes a good case for going renawable if you have a new home construction with expensive grid connection fee's.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Martha Smith

    After reading this book, I want to build an off-the-grid home. Great book. Who wants to pay increasing utility costs?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    I read this book for class and I really liked the writing style. The book was easy to understand and interesting!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This gives overviews of different energy sources, but doesn't give a punch list or step by step instructions, boo!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark Woodland

    Great information & good ideas.... wish there were more material about how people with limited funds can pay for these things; perhaps web links to contantly updated information? Great information & good ideas.... wish there were more material about how people with limited funds can pay for these things; perhaps web links to contantly updated information?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Erskine

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lyubomir

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tara

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hank

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda Meyer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bobby Gray

  18. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  20. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Hopkins

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rupali

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lillian Huff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Great ideas to enhance your home with renewable energy!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lancashire

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