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  1. #1
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    Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    Could you do it? Would you? I think it would be cool, but I would think the initial investment is out of my reach. Will we see things like this becoming standard in the future though?

    Pay zero in heating bills - MSN Money



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    There are alot of programs out there that offer grants, tax credits, etc for high efficiency appliances. And I guess some places even help out with solar panels and the "higher" cost items.

    Are you saying the 6K was out of your reach? Or did I miss another number? Add up my utililes for a moderate size house, I get probably half way there every year.

    My wife and I have been throwing around the idea of building a new home and I'd love to do stuff like this. I don't think much of it's overly practical. But I definitely want to incorporate the obvious of thicker walls, better windows, more efficient appliances and would love to give geo-thermal and solar a try.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    If you live in an area with enough space, even a 6 foot tall wind generator can give you a crapton of power. I mean a ton.




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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    Just curious what the wood burners are doing to his homeowners insurance.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    It's a very interesting idea. I saw a link on a tech site where a guy cut his electric bill by 2/3s through relatively simple changes. CFL bulbs, high efficiency appliances, power strips that turned off power to all devices, dimmers, stuff like that. Funny thing was that he actually got audited by his electric company for meter tampering because his bill had dropped so much! It's amazing how much more efficient we could be by a nation if we actually tried. Problem is the initial cost that people can't get over.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    The biggest problem my house has right now is crappy old windows. We have been using CFLs alot in places the they wont show. I try to turn off and unplug alot of things I dont use. Probably should shut down my pcs from time to time. But like I said our windows just shoot the hot air right out.

    That guys green house room where he grows his own food is just awesome.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    A friend of mine put in a geothermal system in and his utility bills are 1/4 of mine and his house is 1000 sq. feet bigger. Obviously you can't have a 1/3 acre lot to put in a geothermal system, but something to think about when building the next home.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    My buddy built a straw bale house five years ago and he started a franchise. He had trouble selling more straw bale houses.


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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    A wood burning furnance is my primary source of heat. I can start a fire, go to work, return home from work and the house will still be warm when it is minus 30 degrees outdoors.

    There aren't trees in this area but pallets are everywhere since they are used for shipping purposes. Businessess discard the pallets and they become my free fuel source.


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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    A goal of mine is to start a wind/solar farm. I have 3 different areas in mind, just need to get the cash to start up.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    My mom actually built a home that's incredibly similar to the one in the article. She lives in NW Arkansas on about 50 acres with a 3,000 sq ft house and doesn't have a traditional heater. She uses passive heating from south facing windows with an overhang that blocks the summer sun. She's got about 14" of blown insulation in the attic space/roof (R-80 or so) and the entire home is framed with 2x8's, also blown full of insulation. She's got a closed loop solar panel water heating system, a 6' wind generator, and 3 solar panels that all dump into a battery array. If she chose, she could live off the grid by simply flipping a switch. However, most of the time she's actually putting power back on the system w/ her wind generator, and she earns electricity credits with her local electric cooperative. She has a wood-burning stove and a wood-buring/gas oven and range, but she hardly uses the stoves, even in the winter. I was there in early January and it was 40 degrees outside and 75 inside, just from the passive solar heating. She's also got a closed loop heating system embedded in the concrete slab floor that can pump hot water into the floor and heat the home that way as well. I don't think she's even used that yet because the passive sun and wood-burning stove keep the place very toasty. The 50 acres she lives on are heavily wooded, so she's got an endless supply of firewood at her disposal. It's really quite the set-up.

    Sorry for the wall of text, it's just kinda cool that others are into this sort of stuff.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclonepride View Post
    Just curious what the wood burners are doing to his homeowners insurance.
    The new wood burners are actually set up outside the house. Then you don't get the would smell as much. Geothermal can actually be done in wells so I don't think you are as limited on lot size as some think. The overhang design is probably the easiest way to help your energy costs also.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by Wesley View Post
    My buddy built a straw bale house five years ago and he started a franchise. He had trouble selling more straw bale houses.
    I guy I know from Fairfield lives in a straw bale house he built himself. He also has an "energy farm" in his yard, and routinely sells electricity back to the electric company from his solar/wind production from his solar panels and wind generator. Some years they actually mail HIM a check.



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskaguy View Post
    A wood burning furnance is my primary source of heat. I can start a fire, go to work, return home from work and the house will still be warm when it is minus 30 degrees outdoors.

    There aren't trees in this area but pallets are everywhere since they are used for shipping purposes. Businessess discard the pallets and they become my free fuel source.

    I just watched the movie Into the Wild and read the book as well. Do Alaskans really think Chris McCandless was crazy?



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    Re: Pay Zero In Heating Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by erikbj View Post
    A friend of mine put in a geothermal system in and his utility bills are 1/4 of mine and his house is 1000 sq. feet bigger. Obviously you can't have a 1/3 acre lot to put in a geothermal system, but something to think about when building the next home.
    I just put in a new 96% efficient heating system, and notice no difference in my heating costs. But maybe this winter has just been really cold.


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