Mechanical systems


Lights, appliances and all things electrical

These guide pages are intended to help you find the most efficient and affordable options for pretty much anything that runs on power, and the best ways to generate power yourself. There are a lot of options to consider when shopping for appliances, designing home lighting, and heating your home. These pages outline s…

Reducing the need for air conditioning
Heating and cooling

How to keep homes cool without air conditioning

Some techniques that will help you reduce your A/C needs, and certainly help you stay cool in the absence of having one.   How to cool a home without AC While it's true that no matter where you live, be it urban, suburban or rural, the hottest days and nights of summer may have you dreaming of coolers climates. Howeve…

Outdoor solar shower
Solar thermal collectors

DIY solar hot water shower for the great outdoors

What could be better than an outdoor shower? If your answer is a solar powered hot water shower that you built all by yourself (or with friends), read on. It might seem like pie in the sky, but with these easy to read DIY instructions from the good folks at the Endeavour Centre your dream of a warm, net-zero shower is…

Epiphany 0nE Puck
Renewable energy

A 'Stirling' idea for charging your cell phone

Imagine charging your phone with the heat from your morning coffee. With the Epiphany onE Puck you can. The idea behind the Epiphany onE Puck is simple: use a Stirling engine powered by heat disparities (a hot or cold drink, a candle, ice, etc.) to fully charge your cell phone. Invented in the early 1800s, Stirling en…

Wind farm
Wind power

Storing power from wind farms

Belgium's offshore wind power reservoir uses excess power to pump water, storing it as latent hydroelectric power. One of the biggest drawbacks to renewable energies like wind and solar, is that it is unpredictable. This presents a challenge to grid operators, as they struggle to meet demand while compensating for cal…

Where to place solar panels
Renewable energy

Where to place solar panels

An introduction to the math behind the placement of solar panels to optimize your yield, and speed up your return on investment. There is a lot you can do in home construction to take advantage of the free energy provided by the sun. That can be passive solar, which is about home orientation and window design to passi…

the installation of a LucidPipe power generator via Lucid Energy

Portland, Oregon will Soon Generate Hydroelectric Power in Water Pipes Under City Streets.

The inside of city water mains has up to this point not been a newsworthy place. With in-pipe power generating turbines, that is now poised to change. Hydroelectric power generation is definitely renewable but not always 'green' when you consider all the side effects, especially when it comes to large hydroelectric da…

Bullfrog clean power
Renewable energy

Bullfrog Power makes clean renewable energy available to all of us.

Electricity is clean at its destination but can be very dirty at its source. Not all of us have the means to install solar panels or wind turbines, but with the help of Bullfrog Power you can live a greener lifestyle hassle-free. Bullfrog’s green electricity comes exclusively from wind and hydro facilities that have b…

Hydronic heating system
Delivery: radiant, forced-air and decentralized

Hydronic heating

Hydronic heating systems involve heated liquid being pumped through radiators, baseboard heaters, floors or even walls. Similar to electric baseboards, hydronic heating systems facilitate zone heating as you can keep different rooms at different temperatures. Though different from electric resistance heating, hydronic…

Electric Heaters - is heating with electric an eco-friendly option?
Heating with electricity

Heating with electricity

Electric resistance heating converts almost 100% of its energy into heat. Ultimately though, the true efficiency and environmental impact of heating with electricity is determined by the source of its production. Is Electric Heating Eco-friendly? Determining whether or not electricity is an efficient and ecologically…

Natural gas fireplace
Heating with gas and oil

Heating with natural gas

During the combustion process, natural gas is the most efficient and least harmful of fossil fuels. How affordable or ecologically responsible it will be in the future depends largely on supply and sourcing. The clean burning process and price has made heating and cooking with natural gas quite popular in the last cou…