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Sustainable Living and
Energy Conservation Links

As we come across reputable, thoughtful and informative sources, we will add them to the list below.

Resources for calculating energy consumption of appliances.

Energuide This is a Canadian Government web site that has data on the annual energy consumption of appliances. Look here for data on specific types of appliances.

A debunking of energy saving devices (e.g. power factor correction) from NIST, press release and technical note.

Resources for Air Quality and Ventilation Issues

Health Canada

American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers. They have a guide on ventilation of residential buildings that is widely adopted by local building codes. Search for "ASHRAE" and "62.2".

Collector efficiencies

This is a research paper from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) about the performance of a 35 Kilowatt photovoltaic system that they installed on their roof in Gaithersburg Maryland. "Annual conversion efficiencies of 10.8 %, 8.8 %, and 7.4 % were achieved using cell, module, and footprint areas, respectively."

Wind Power Resources

The best place to start is with a brand new, old fashioned paper book -"Homebrew Wind Power". They cover the theory, debunk the scams and provide the practical details to make commercial quality wind generators from scratch.

Dan Bartmann & Dan Fink
Foreword by Mick Sagrillo
ISBN: 978-0-9819201-0-8
Published by Buckville Publications LLC
Order from: Otherpower

The inspiration for OtherPower's designs came from this great pioneer. See Hugh Piggott's web site.

Wind speed data for Canada is available from the Canadian Wind Atlas

Resources for hot water heating

United States Department of Energy has a page called "Install a Timer and Use Off-Peak Power for Electric Water Heaters"

Resources for Cooling Evaporative cooling

Inexpensive to purchase and operate, but only appropriate for hot, dry (low humidity) climates.

Google Books (search: Evaporative Air-conditioning Applications for Environmentally Friendly Cooling - World Bank Technical Papers)

Resources for Floor Heating

Although published by a major manufacturer of heating components, this article is down-to-earth and accurate. How Hydronic System Components Really Work.

Resources for Heat Pumps

Canadian Renewable Energy Network: Ground source heat pumps & Heat pump efficiencies

US Department of Energy: Geothermal heat pumps

Resources for Insulation

This is from the province of Ontario. Being colder than the continental USA, the standards are higher than required by most US jurisdictions, but nevertheless, worthy of serious consideration. Best Practice Guide: Full Height Basement Insulation

Basement Insulation Systems is extremely important to read if you are insulating your basement. It challenges the conventional wisdom of using vapor barriers and is easy to read with excellent illustrations and photos.

Healthy Heating, a non-profit organization that has among other things, a great section on "radiant insulation" scams.

Quality Control Inspection of Homes with Thermal Imaging: Sampling of Thermal Images collected during a study of construction quality of homes built recently in the five most populous parishes of Louisiana."

Resources for Solar Electric / Photovoltaic Systems

Photovoltaic Power Systems And the 2005 National Electrical Code: Suggested Practices.

A Guide to Photovoltaic (PV) System Design and Installation - California Energy Commission.

Here is a great 1 hour long documentary about a self installed, grid tied, photovoltaic system by a California home owner.

Resources for Sustainable Living

Below are some of the better resources I have found lately. All of them have something in common -- the details are more complicated than you think and it will take a long time to absorb it all. Initially, it might seem reasonable to make methane from your septic tank or put a wind generator on your roof - but as you read these resources you will see that there are many complexities. This is not meant to discourage you -- rather to encourage you because knowledge is power, and with the right knowledge you will succeed.

This is the complete set of Energy Self Sufficiency Newsletter that was published over a two year period. They are full of extremely practical and realistic information written by people that know what they are talking about. Unfortunately, lack of funding killed it despite being widely circulated. The publisher is Rebel Wolf. Please check out their web site.

ESSN January 2005

ESSN February 2005

ESSN March 2005

ESSN April 2005

ESSN May 2005

ESSN June 2005

ESSN July 2005

ESSN August 2005

ESSN September 2005

ESSN October 2005

ESSN November 2005

ESSN December 2005

ESSN January 2006

ESSN April 2006

ESSN July 2006

This is a guide to making quality bio diesel, that takes the chemistry seriously. This is the kind of fuel that you can safely put into a diesel car. Free Fatty Acid to Ester Conversion

This is a comprehensive guide to generating methane gas from waste products. The article is titled Methane Digesters For Fuel Gas and Fertilizer With Complete Instructions For Two Working Models by L. John Fry, Santa Barbara, California.

If it takes more energy to extract an energy resource (like ethanol or oil) than the energy contained in that resource, you have a problem. What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable society must have?

Resources for Stirling Engines

Good information is hard to find, most of the existing designs are either secret or vaporware, and most of the stirling model kits are junk. Here are a few good publications I have come across.

Stirling Engine Design Manual, 2nd edition published 1983, 410 pages (sponsored by a NASA grant)

The Regenerator and the Stirling Engine (I haven't read it yet) that appears to be worthy. Read the reviews on Amazon.

Environmental Ratings Systems

There are a variety of competing environmental systems such as LEED and Green Globes that were derived from BREEAM.

United States and Canada

LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council

Green Globes is administered by the Green Building Initiative.

The University of Minnesota study A COMPARISON OF THE LEED AND

United Kingdom

BREEAM was developed by Building Research Establishment


Passivhaus Institut certifies houses in which a comfortable temperature in winter as well as in summer can be achieved with only a minimal energy consumption.


MINERGIE® is a sustainability brand for new and refurbished buildings.

Resources that Analyze Alternate Energy

This is a free e-book, approximately 300 pages long and full of numbers, that does of superb job of showing how much alternate energy the U.K. might be able to generate and compares it to the energy usage today. It makes a convincing case that small changes are hopeless and that Europe as it exists today cannot live off of its renewable energy. While it is conceivable that mankind will spend trillions and fill entire deserts with solar collectors, solve the transmission problems, and somehow make it all afordable, it is unlikely. More likely is that we will be forced to radically alter our lifestyles and do with much less.

Sustainable Energy without the hot air