033 Going Off-The-Grid: Energy Conversion and Power Efficiency 7

Going Off-The-Grid: Energy Conversion and Power Efficiency- Living-Off-the-Grid-in-Hawaii-cabin


Going Off-The-Grid: Energy Conversion and Power Efficiency- Living-Off-the-Grid-in-Hawaii-cabinToday I give the first of a series about going off the grid. I discuss energy conversion and power efficiency and why you should look at it BEFORE going off grid.

  • Lower Power Consumption and Energy Use of Your Home
    • Real Cost of off-grid solar system
      • Panels: $20,000
      • Batteries: $20,000
      • 30 years cost recovery
    • Benefit of off-grid system
      • Grid-Down Scenario
      • Regional Disaster
      • If grid-energy costs go up
    • You save more on raising efficiency over purchasing power generation.
      • $40k vs $30k (25k + 5k)
      • Get real efficiency expert for consulting
      • Work on effeciency
        • Seal up cracks in home
          • windows
          • doors
          • attics
          • basements
          • fireplaces
        • Attic insulation
          • roof pitch
          • attic vent fan
        • Seal ductwork
          • 1/5 of energy costs
          • our ducts disconnected
          • duct cleaning
        • Programmable thermostat
          • cell phone control
          • constantly turning it on and off
        • Energy Efficient windows
          • over $10k
          • Wood insulates better than aluminum
          • Storm Windows is cheaper
          • Add Blinds or Curtains
            • winter=black
            • summer=silver
            • black curtain=air flow
          • Efficient doors
            • no hollow doors
            • well sealed
            • glass patio doors
        • Some simple efficiency ideas
          • Solar window unit
          • Wood and Wood Gas Heat
          • Anaerobic Decompostition for methane
          • Double Roof (trailer people)
          • Window AC units
          • Low Flow Shower head
          • Reduce hot water temp/ add blanketLower Energy Use & Power Consumption by Energy Efficiency
  • Consider Which Alternative Source You have Available
    • Micro-Hydro
    • Wind
    • Solar
    • Geothermal
    • Wood Furnace
  • What is a battery bank and benefits
    • Silent
      • Less chance of theft or maliciousness
    • Lack of Toxic Fumes

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Great podcast, I don't exactly agree with your insulation & roof cooling ideas. The suggestions might work where you're located but not translate to the rest of the country. Proper roofing that is designed for the climate your home is located in is the way to go. Proper insulation with a ridge vent and soffet vents will circulate the air naturally for many home types in more northern climates for example. Evaporative cooling methods if not done properly could void a homeowners roofing warranty. A properly installed roofing system and insulation done correctly for that system is the way to go. Homes in different climates are designed differently for this reason. 

Keep up the great work

Ken Jensen
Ken Jensen moderator

@scottnelsonmedfordhouse I wouldn't create a permanent structure, so there would be no proof of the system.  I agree that proper insulation is best.  I also think that the stupid building and zoning laws are crap and keeping us from building proper energy efficient homes.

Latest blog post: Dry-Fire Firearm Training


Hi Ken, Just a comment about "Lack of Toxic Fumes" with battery. Don't forget when you are charging batteries, lead acid type produces hydrogen gas. Please take care when charging, charge in a well ventilated area. If batteries are inside a living area use a battery box and vent it to outside.

Ken Jensen
Ken Jensen moderator

@ChrisJohnson7 thanks for the concern.  I will talk more about this in a future podcast, but batteries generate h2 INSIDE the battery.  Don't spark the battery.  H2 escapes at thousands of meters per second.  Way faster that you can run.  You dont have to worry about buildup in your home, but I would always say to do any battery maintenance in a ventilated area anyways.


@Ken Jensen @ChrisJohnson7 please, please check

OSHA Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR), National Electrical Code (National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA 70) before installing in dwelling, boat, RV.

I've had them explode on me before at work, took out a work bench and a wall, was very lucky it happened overnight and no injuries, it was a small 18 AH SLA. OSHA investigated and found a faulty charger that overcharged the battery, the ignition source was mechanical timer for security lights.

When lead acid batteries, on charge, reach approximately 2.38 volts per cell ( 80 % of their full charge capacity ), they begin to gas. At that point, electrical energy in excess of what is needed for the chemical reaction, decomposes the water of the electrolyte into oxygen at the positive plates and hydrogen at the negative plates. Even after the charger turns off, the cells continue to produce oxygen and hydrogen until the reaction in the battery stabilizes. Fully charged, lead acid batteries on float charge continually emit oxygen and hydrogen, although at a lower rate than batteries being recharged. 

The amount of hydrogen gas emitted during gassing depends upon the: a. Charger output current. b. Number of cells. c. Condition of the battery.

Hydrogen exits flooded batteries through the vent plugs. The concentration at the vent plugs is very explosive. As it exits, it dissipates in the air and, being the lightest of all gasses, rises. It can accumulate again in explosive concentrations in the highest, draft-free areas of the room.

Small valve regulated lead acid batteries like you see in a UPS normally do not emit gases, they can do so under certain

circumstances. They have pressure relief valves to control their internal pressure. If the pressure builds too high due to high ambient temperature, overcharge, mechanical failure or other causes, they can emit hydrogen gas in explosive concentrations. The potential danger is greatest with stationary VRLA batteries kept in small enclosures with limited ventilation.

Ken Jensen
Ken Jensen moderator

@ChrisJohnson7 @Ken Jensen Thanks Chris for your comments, and I agree with much of what you said.  I just posted my next show that you so wonderfully segwayed into for me.  go to episode 34 at http://theprepperpodcast/034 to hear what I have to say about different batteries.  Then in episode 35 which is not ready at the time of this comment, I will be going over the best chargers that minimize gassing.  I hope people are seeing your comments, because I would love for them to learn from all of our experiences in our respective fields.