Solar shingles are a type of Building Integrated Photo Voltaic (BIPV) solar panels. They have been around for some time but have always been too pricey and difficult to install. That is all changing now with the DOW Powerhouse line of solar shingles. These shingles have been developed by Dow Building Solutions in the USA. Dow is one of the largest companies in the world and they have been making building products for generations. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing the Powerhouse solar shingle and have had great success in the USA. Now they are entering the Canadian market (small plug for us, Daisy Energy is a dealer installer). What makes the Dow product so successful is the fact that the shingle is installed just like a regular shingle (four nails) and will out last a typical asphalt roofing shingle.
The key advantage of the system is the fact that there is no racking or external wires. All connections are integrated into each shingle and the wiring is fed through special flashings into the home. The main disadvantage is the initial cost, but if you factor in the cost of a new roof when comparing it to traditional PV the difference is only slightly higher.
LED Light bulbs
Yes I know this is not a new and exciting ground breaking technology. But, it is so much better and cheaper than when it first appeared on the market that it is well worth looking into again. Like many of you out there we had our kitchen designed with pot lights featuring Par 20 50W halogen bulbs. And like many of you we have spent countless hours trying to unscrew the burnt out bulbs and replace them with the $2 to $3 replacement bulbs. Out of the 56 bulbs in our kitchen and hallway I have changed every one of them at least 6 times in the 5 years we have had them. My wife would argue I am underestimating this.
Three years ago I bought a $25 Par 20 LED at a trade show and installed it in one of our pot lights. It has shone brightly ever since. It also uses 8W versus the 50W+ of the halogens. Encouraged by this, last year I bought ten Philips Par 20 8W replacement LED’s at Home Depot. I used the saveONenergy coupons that let you buy up to 5 bulbs at a time and get $5 off each bulb. (This coupon event is on again so click the link for yours, I got mine!). My net cost before taxes was about $14 per bulb. Given that the halogen bulbs last about 11 months on average and these are rated at 25,000 hours (about 10- 20 years depending on usage) I am thrilled I will not have to climb up on the ladder every other week to replace a bulb. If I factor in the energy savings with the lower replacement cycle these bulbs pay for themselves in about 18 months.
It turns out that Canada has several electric boat manufacturers. One of them is called Infinyte Marine out of Kelowna BC. They have several models and sizes and the i4 seems to be their big seller.
It is joystick controlled, can run for up to 10 hours between charges, has a top speed of about 10mph and is completely silent and pollution free. It is perfect for cruising and fishing around small lakes and can go where other gas powered boats are restricted. A full charge will also only cost you about $0.70 to top up the batteries. The boat has twin 24V Mercury Marine electric motors and even has an option for a remote control. That would be a fun way to pick up your friends from across the lake!
Now, this technology is not yet ready for tubing or water skiing, but there are prototypes in development and some commercially available models that can reach speeds of up to 30 mph but for short bursts only and without a 10 hour range.
Solar Pool Heaters
There is so much heat energy provided by the sun in the summer months that it just seems crazy to have to burn natural gas to heat our pools. The suns energy can easily be harnessed with simple black tubing laid out in the sun and circulating pool water through the pipes. In fact, there are probably more homemade solar pool heaters in operation than there are commercial units. If you don’t want the hassle of designing and building your own solar pool heater there are many options to choose from. Most, if not all, involve black tubing, shut off valves and drain valves. The tubing or tubing mats are installed on your roof and connect to pipes that feed into your existing filter system so that the pool water is heated by the sun before being sent back to your pool.
For more information on these and other green energy technologies, drop us a line or call 877 352 0024 and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.