We hear a lot about wind power and photo voltaic power generation, but when it comes to what we can actually do in a practical way, the wind power is often illegal to install in our neighborhood, and we usually can’t afford the photo-voltaic installation.
But, there is one area of clean renewable energy that most people haven’t thought of, Micro-Hydro. This is where you have any sort of elevation change in your property that creates a water wall, even a downspout, or a merely seasonal flow. 30 years ago I designed six micro hydro plants small elevation changes in for irrigation ditches in the Grand Coolee Dam irrigation project in Eastern Washington. All of them were seasonal flows, and one was even named Summer Falls, and one was only 6kw, My boats usually have larger gen sets (9-12kw).
Currently, there is a growing trend in home micro-hydro installations. All you need is a little rain an elevation change, some enthusiasm, PVC pipe, a turbine and a little know how to convert your run-off water into electric power. Home Energy Magazine has a great series of how to design it and how to do it articles on this. And it is something an architect can easily work into a storm water retention program for more green points. Check all this out at Home Power Magazine.
About the author
Alan Huguenot, Certified Energy Plans Examiner (CEPE), ASHRAE, NFPA, BCA, CABEC, U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) with over 20 years experience as a Mechanical Engineer and Commissioning Agent (CxA). As a California Certified Energy Analyst (CEA), Alan provides Residential Energy Audits and full HVAC and plumbing commissioning services, to make sure that the systems in the residence are operating at their full rated efficiency.