An interesting idea to cut home energy costsIt's amazing the sort of news items that come my way. I think there must be an "Editor Contact List" out there somewhere with my name at the top of it. Using this list, some folks just blast everyone in sight with whatever is on their mind at the current time. Thus, I regularly receive emails saying things like: "We think your readers would be interested to hear that our XYZ chicken feed product increases the size of your average chicken by 6.284%..." Hmmm, I think not...
On the other hand, there's also an occasional interesting nugget of knowledge that – although unrelated to programmable logic – "tickles my fancy" in a manner of speaking.
At the moment, for example, energy consumption is much on everyone's minds. In fact I recently wrote an article for someone with regard to using programmable logic to control electric motors, thereby improving their efficiency. Did you know that over 20 million motors are produced every day around the world, which equates to more than 7 billion new motors each year?
Also, electric motors use more than two thirds of the power consumed in the U.S. by industrial applications. Also, the efficiency of small and mid-range electric motors can be as low as 50%, which means that half of the power you push through them ends up as wasted heat.
Using programmable logic to add intelligent load-matching and variable speed control can increase the motor efficiency by anywhere from 14 to 30%, which means that – if implemented broadly – such control could result in savings of as much as 15% of the total electric power used in the U.S.
But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about (I don't know how you always manage to make me wander off into the weeds like this – shame on you!)...
The reason for these waffling is that I just received an email from Francois Michel representing a Canadian company called RenewABILITY Energy. From the look-and-feel of the website, I'm guessing that this is a small company; indeed, Francois may be the company for all I know (hint to Francois, we [my company] create mega-cool websites for tiny to humongous companies). But the size of the company doesn't detract from the fact that he (or they) have come up with a jolly interesting idea.
Watching their Video on YouTube, we are informed that heating water is the second-most energy consuming activity in the home. (Apparently this is true in industry also, because Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), a department of the Canadian government, reports that water heating is the second largest use of energy in Canada.)
Think about when you are taking a shower. The vast majority of the energy you poured into heating the water is literally being flushed down the drain, and from there into the outside environment. In order to address this waste, RenewABILITY Energy has come up with a Drain Water Heat Recovery (DWHR) system called the Power"Pipe. In a nutshell, the Power-Pipe is a simple heat-exchanger that removes heat from the water leaving the house and uses it to pre-heat cold water entering the house.
A simple idea, you may say (and certainly not a cheap one if you look at the prices on the RenewABILITY website), but Francois claims that this can reduce total home energy costs by 25 to 40%, which would be nothing to be sneezed at.
Which brings us to the news Francois really wanted me to impart, which is that, on Tuesday 11 November 2008, RenewABILITY Energy will officially launch a pilot-project at the environment-friendly Alouette Homes' ÉcoTerra House in Eastman, Québec.
The objective of this pilot-project [which is part of the PISTE program, one of Hydro-Québec's Demand-Side Management (DSM) initiatives] is to validate different commercial approaches aiming to increase the penetration of DWHR technology in the residential new construction market in Québec.
Francois says that a 200$ instant rebate will be offered to the first 500 homebuyers equipped with a Power-Pipe system as part of this pilot-project.
Well, I for one wish Francois luck, because anything we can do to save energy, preserve our natural resources, and protect the environment has to be a good thing. My point of view is that if we all saved even a few percent here and a few percent there, pretty soon we'd be talking about something really significant... (it's like they say: "A million dollars here and a million dollars there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money!").
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