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Leadership and challenges needed? (GrandPAH)

Todd_22 Member Posts: 12
Why would York make those sports team condensors?

If boilers were next to the front door, they'd be a much more "important" accessory.


  • It's time?

    There's something missing from inside the beltway and it hit home this week when one of our techs questioned the legality of seeing 80+ eff appliances being installed in new homes. He felt nothing less than a 90-percenter should be legal.

    That got me to thinking about the lack of leadership we have (blanketing statement, but true)at the upper levels of our government.

    Vehicles that have some of the lowest MPG rates in the world - so far behind that they can't be exported and sold in many foreign countries.

    Not to pick on furnaces, but let's face it - 90%-ers have been around for decades & yet, we see 80+ models still selling like hot cakes! Yeah, it's America - the land of the free - to be short-sighted and dumb where cost differences between the two are concerned. Once the B-vent and corresponding labor is added in, there's not really much of a difference, if any!

    No solar credits in the big State of the Union speech?!? Little said about alternative energy research & funding? Where was the call to arms challenging all of us to face reality?

    Water heaters and boilers still languishing in 80%-er ville while models that can cruise well above the 92% mark are gaining traction - among forward thinking contractors and consumers - a minority.

    13-SEER when 21-SEER variable-speed reset technology is already available?

    Hundreds of thousands of new homes with obsene B-vent chimneys stabbing at the sky while puking Btu's that should have been put to work inside. Shives me the gits!

    I'll be voting for the candidate - white, black, brown, yellow, male, female, gay, or whatever - who has the intestinal fortitude to stand up and be counted on energy use issues while challenging all of our citizens and businesses.
  • Singh_3
    Singh_3 Member Posts: 58
    I'm with you, Dave.

    Found it interesting, that one Scandanavian country has
    a mandatory requiriement , that all homes must have hot
    water solar collector installed.
    Why, can't we have something like that? I can't see how the economy
    would hurt if we improved some things.

    BTW, how's your collector working out.

  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746

    last night the bride and I went to a dinner party held in honor of one of her insurance clients. The party was also to to show off the newly remodeled kitchen of the hosts. Wonderful kitchen with oak cabinets, a wet bar, granite counter tops, and top of the line appliances. I was talking to the husband and he asked what field I was in. I'm guessing that since nearly everyone there was either an appraiser, leasing agent, property manager, etc., he expected me to say something similar. He looked a bit surprised when I said "I own a heating and air conditioning company."

    We had discussed the new kitchen previously and he had hinted at the cost. After I told him that I did HVAC, he mentioned (Of course) the lousy heating system he HAD to install last year and that it was an 80% furnace and that was w-a-y too much to pay for such a 'simple' piece of equipment. I mentioned to him the efficiencies available included a 92% plus and he responded that again was w-a-y too much. I then mentioned that he could be saving another 12-14% on his natural gas bill AND would have the difference paid off (between the 80% and the 92% furnace)in 4-5 years and after that he would be 'banking' the money. I also suggested that he replace the single pane windows throughout the rest of the house with a double-pane or better windows to save more on energy costs. (he looked at me with amazement that a HVAC guy would know things like that)

    I don't think he saw the savings on such a 'simple' piece of equipment, but saw the 'value' of a totally remodeled kitchen.
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    Sounds right to me

    Fuel use should a main priority of our Goverment.

    We can't just go on using our resources as we do.


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  • keith_20
    keith_20 Member Posts: 11

    Only In America!!!!!! Yes They Will Spend The Money On The Things That They Want Everyone to See But When It Comes Down To Practial Things No Way. Thats To Much Money??????? Hopefully this Mild Winter Up To This Point !!! In The Northeast will Change Some Minds On Heating And Air Cond. Equiptment Save Money On Fuel But Invest In The Future!!!
  • Leo
    Leo Member Posts: 770
    Jeff, thats why


    You pointed it out best. The hosts had a nice gathering around the classy kitchen. It makes no difference if the furnace was 80%, 90%, or even 100% eff. Parties aren't held around heating equipment. Although you spoke to him in a more intelligent way than he expected, had you been bidding the job he still would have gotten the cheapy.

    When a leader can change human nature they will have found the key!
  • our potable solar hot water system

    Nothing like installing one at the worst point in the year where harvesting solar energy is concerned! I've been monitoring its performance and we're hitting the listed Btu's-per-day on sunny days. We're capturing 30K on nice days - regardless of outdoor air temps. Come June, July & August, which should be more like 80K, which will allow us to turn off the fossil fuel fed indirect.

    I'm more in tune with our usage and the weather than I've ever been previously. I hates cloudy days! We still capture & harvest 6K to 18K on cloudy days, but I'd be in the dog house if that was our only source of hot water(G).

    I'll be adding more collectors (lots more) as time goes by & I expect to be independent - for the most part - of fossil fuels for our domestic hot water by next winter.

    Next up: PV & following that, thermal storage for our radiant system. The thermal storage may come quickly on the heels of our beginning PV system as summer harvest gains will be far too large for just domestic once I add additional collectors.

    Sign me: a foot soldier in the war for this country's second Independence Day!

    Not to sound too corny, but that's how I see all of us who promote the new high eff products, combustion testing, siziong properly - things that reduce fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions - foot soldiers in the war no one speaks about - the ultimate survivor contest - the second War for Independence. However, there's only so much we can do on our own. Unless the Feds mandate rules, those 80K kitchens and ego-boosting gas-hog vehicles will continue to take precedence. If they can afford bottled water, they can afford to install higher efficiency appliances and purchase vehicles that at least begin to mimic other country's MPG & emission standards. They just need to be pointed in the right direction and given proper incentives to do what is needed.
  • L Thiesen
    L Thiesen Member Posts: 54

    First let me say I agree with you Dave, but in my case in my home my gas bills in winter range from $100 to $120 a month. And about $25 of that is Tax and franchise fees and misc that the gas company comes up with to pad the bill without calling it a rate increase. This with a 30 year old Burnham boiler and baseboard hot water heat, so my payback would be many, many years down the road. So why should I upgrade my equipment when I read all the posts about problems with the new stuff?
  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    Interesting combination of factors leads me to scratch my head..

    Factor 1): It seems that first off people tend to accept the status quo as "acceptable" and resist any change that does not support Factor 2.

    Factor 2): Short term improvements in pleasure are more important than long term issues.

    Then the USA has a third factor.

    Factor 3 (emphasized in the USA): The government should not be requiring people to change what they do - the people should decide first.

    Thus, 80% furnaces and boilers are status quo, not a long term issue, and not something that people would generally support the governement telling them to do.

    Also, coal fired baseload electrical generation is status quo; the fact that it kills about 5000 people a year in coal mining accidents to get the coal is accepted as status quo, the fact that it causes 10's (if not 100's) of millions of people to have air polution related health problems and shorter lives is status quo, the fact that replacing it will not produce any short term gain in pleasure means that most new major basload plants currently under construction in the US (and in the world) are actually coal. Why change; besides.... the fear mongers of the world point out that nuclear power plants might cause sickness or illness someday... We can't have that - that's a change from the status quo...

    Have you noticed that dispite all the focus on energy conservation in the last 30 years.... that the average house's electrical usage has gone up 25% (and that's for the same house); new "minor mansion" houses have huge electrical usage.

    People, in general, are not actually willing to save energy. But they sure "feel good" about a few items they bought that are "energy efficient."

    I agree that we need some changes; just not sure how it could be effectively done in the US (where factor 3 is very strong).


  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790

    I feel this is the #2 issue facing our country today. (#1 is exporting jobs) Our society has changed into one where people move every 3 years, and why install equipment with a 5 or 10 or 15-year payback if you will only live there 3 years?

    Solar energy will never survive in the free market. The free market will not drive us toward alternative energy, or even significant conservation, until it is too late. I find it interesting that most of the noise I hear from our state government involves wind energy. Solar energy is unpredictable. Wind energy is even more so. I have yet to hear a politician talk about solar thermal energy. It is always electricity.

    I agree completely that the government needs to step up and encourage alternative energy use now. We, as a society, benefit greatly from any energy independence we can gain. It is an issue of national security, more important than scanning everyone's shoes at the airport.

    For this to happen, it is going to take someone in power who not only has the forethought to see that we can make a difference if we start now, but also has the technical background to understand what is the most appropriate front on which to attack.

    I do not hold out a lot of hope. At best, I see some symbolic gestures for personal political benefit.

    I do like the idea of phasing out incandescent lights like California is trying to do. The energy that would be saved by this alone must be staggering. Imagine SDHW for every home in the southwest...

    I don't pay attention to politics a lot, but I have yet to hear a politician talking about energy conservation in the home. Conservation is the first step. Until conservation happens, alternative energy doesn't stand a chance. There just isn't enough of it.
  • adjustment in thinking

    I hear you loud & clear & I hear that almost every day while speaking with customers about the potential energy savings during sales calls/visits.

    In your case, I'd expect to see at least a 30% savings based on our past experience in similar circumstances. To be clear, that's not savings in fuel dollars, it's the reduction in fuel usage I'm referring to. But that's just the most obvious incentive. The other less seen objectives/benefits revolve around conservation and reduction of pollutants and, I have to say it, greenhouse gasses too.

    Unfortunately, our US manufacturers build cast iron boilers to last - generations and centuries. Let me point the finger at me, but not for much longer. Our business is located in a historic section of our town called Doctors' Row. Most of the row-homes were constructed between the late 1800's and very early 1900's. Ours was built in 1903. The original steam boiler, which was originally coal-fired, is in use today - 104 years old. It was converted to gas at some point and we later aded an Economite E20-A conversion burner to "boost" its efficiency when we converted to zoned hot water. The chimney is massive - unlined three-story+ brick unlined. Now, there's not much of anything I can do about the lack of insulation as the walls are brick with furring lath and plaster. However, the passageways through the cast iron monster were large enough to pass a football through before we added bricks. It works and we always had the same (relatively speaking) comfort level where energy usage and fuel bills were concerned. It works - reliably - without ever so much as a burp. Out of sight - out of mind.

    We promote and install lots of 90+ equipment. Walk the talk. My own home utilizes a mod-con with an indirect and I'm now on a solar adventure - moving towards zero-energy status, which is my ultimate goal.

    It's been bugging me that we have the old cast iron beast warming our offices and apartments above. It was slated for demo next week - until this new cold-snap loomed just over the horizon. It won't be breathing fire much longer.

    You can have my old (fill in the blank) appliance when you pry it from my cold dead fingers just isn't gonna cut it anymore. While I don't want to see boiler police like they have in Germany, we need to radically shift our energy consumption attitudes and willingness to accept the fact the we're heading towards an era when our options will be hugely affected by things we're doing today.

    If our leaders would challenge US (us) to rally to the cause, we could do it as, I believe, we're the most resillent folks on the face of this planet. But, as long as we're to be led by leaders who succumb to influence peddlers, we will be stuck in the mud.

    Suppose your boiler broke today. Your estimates for replacing it might vary by $2,500 between standard or hi-eff. Is that a worthwhile investment? What's 30% of your current annual energy bill (now we'll concentrate on the dollars spent each year instead of actual fuel usage). Divide 2,500 into the potential savings to get the percentage of your ROI (Return on Investment). Compare that to your savings account, IRA, 401K or stocks & bonds. Which area would you rather invest $2,500.00 in? Not liquid? Sure it is - when the house is sold, the hi-eff unit will increase its value. Fuel costs are going to continue their march upwards. As they do, the ROI will continue to improve. You get to bank the dividends every month - tax free dividends, which enhances the ROI too.

    Problems with Hi-E equipmnent? Ask me about the first generation Hi-E furnaces like the Heat Reclaimer models or the first condensing boilers like the one I had in my own home.

    These are not the same as yesterday's appliances and while there have been product issues, many problems have been installer-generated.

    There's no turning back.
  • Energy conservation and the free market...

    First off, let me say that I am NOT making ANY kind of political statement, and would ask my fellow wallies to keep this discussion politic free.

    Secondly, based on my personal experience with energy conservation and the governments involvement, I would rather that they NOT sudsidize alternative energy installations. I've seen what their "tax credit" schemes did before, and I DON'T want to see it happen again. Instead, they should allow the COST of energy to rise to the world market levels, and the consumer will see fit to do their OWN subsidization of alternative energy, in an effort to conserve the one commodity that EVERYONE cherishes, that commodity being MONEY.

    Take a portion the gross excess profits that the energy companies (wind fall) on a reasonable basis and use that to take care of the energy needs of the elderly and indigent and government operations.

    When you grab someone by the wallet and pinch, they will JUMP at alternatives to keep their cash in their wallets.

    Tried and proven methods of creating energy conservation...

    I have enough government in my life, thank you.

    But you are correct Dave, it has to start at the top.

    THe soap box is now free...

  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Free to Choose

    That is what I am about. Give me choices and the information to decide. I will do the right thing.

    While I agree in principle, Dave, that too many folks are short-sighted and cannot look beyond tomorrow, I am loathe to have others make decisions for me -or them. One cannot legislate judgement.

    I do not have the stones nor desire to dictate how others live their lives (so long as they are not bothering anyone else). I have less interest in using government to spend O.P.M., perhaps another topic and not for this forum.

    As Perry said, let the people lead on this as any issue.

    The free market is the best persuader. Rembember when Carter's solar tax credits dried up and took 3/4 of the solar market with them? Financially that tells you something.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Reagan

    was in office; the roof needed to be replaced; oil was absurdly cheap; memories of gas lines were short; and the cost to replace the solar on the White House roof was much higher than could be justified - at that time in history. WE know better today & the White House has both solar hot water and PV on its roofs - out of plain view unfortunately and not promoted as it should be. Bush encouraged wind energy generation in Texas & they have the most of any state. Another thing kept on the QT. Kennedy is fighting an offshore wind farm. Mixed nessages IMHO.

    The manner in which we are wasting enegy is affecting everyone's quality of life. Has been for a long time. So it's not some innocent it's only hurting the individual deal anymore. We're just beginning to see the multitude of ways it is beginning to show. I no longer see this as an issue best left to individual choice. If the gubbermint is going to dabble in mandated efficiency ratings - be they MPG, SEER, EER, or %-based, and they have done just that, then set the damn bar higher. The "new" MPG ratings are a farce. 13-SEER is a baby step. The installation of 80+ equipment in new housing should be a crime.
  • jackchips_2
    jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
    What would

    you suggest the penalty be for that crime, Dave?

    Death? :-))

    This great Country will evolve just fine as it has for over 200 hundred years with the Capital system.

    My home is my Castle and if I choose to heat with wood, coal, electric, oil, solar, gas, wear a coat or hug my wife it's up to me.

    As ME said, this is not a political statement-wink, wink.

  • Mark, please clarify what you mean...

    ... by "allow the COST of energy to rise to the world market levels..." Are you saying there's something the government is currently doing to keep the cost of energy lower than world market levels? Or is our government NOT imposing taxes at a rate comparable to those of other nations, which would imply that raising taxes on heating oil, natural gas and LP is required. I wouldn't necessarily disagree with the latter action, but am curious exactly your post intended to communicate. Thanks.
  • realolman
    realolman Member Posts: 513
    It is

    Fuel use IS a main priority of our government.
    Exxon made what was it?... $75000 a minute last year?

    Did I hear correctly that no company ever made more profit?
  • seriously?

    That would be a tad drastic(G)!

    First: outlaw 80+ equipment in new housing. Then establish penalties for violating the law. Mandate new energy efficiency requirements and standards for new housing. Heating equipment still has room to improve, especially on the hot-air side. Water heaters too.

    We're seeing it in other areas of the home: min req'd insulation for walls & insulation for ducts, as an example.

    Take the new "if the ducts are outside the building envelope, they must be a min R-8". Some inspectors are interpreting that to mean under the roof or on top of the roof for the "building envelope" while ignoring the conditions in an attic when the insulation resides in the ceiling joists below - leaving ducts exposed to outdoor air temps! Why R-8 when the ceiling must now be R-38???
  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    The most effective thing just might be

    for govenment to repeal virtually all energy aid and subsidies of every kind once a technology is developed and the regulatory process is defined to use that technology - and just let the market decide.

    Limit the government aid to only R$D of new technologies, and "one time" regulatory developement cost of implementing a technology when the governement imposes new standards (i.e- the government can subsidize "one time" the cost of getting projects through its new standard and new approval processes).

    You just might be surprised by the results. Probably 90% of the funding of the current energy bill would disapear under that scenerio.

    The oil/gas industry actually recieves the most energy aid/subsidies arround on a total dollar figure - and virtually none of that is for R&D and "one time" regulatory burden. Certain forms of solar (such as Domestic Hot water) are relatively cost effective for probably something like 80% of all houses in the the US (both in climate an house retrofit issues).

    I thing the free market would make better choices if the cost of the choices was obvious and not hidden by a variatey of subsidies and tax breaks that currently distorts the market.

  • realolman
    realolman Member Posts: 513
    I'd be very interested

    in knowing what you're doing with the solar collector. could you post or e mail me something. To hear of solar collectors in a forum of hydronic guys is encouraging.

    I read an interesting ( perhaps crazy ) article that some guy said he could solar heat houses in Chicago. He said you had to build a collector literally the size of a 2 car garage. I'm not so sure how unreasonable that would be... if it worked.

    But then he wrote about how he only heats the room he is in.. and keeps the other rooms 45 degrees. I don't think that had anything to do with his solar heating, though. I think it was just something he did to make himself happy, somehow.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    No political statements

    I agree 100%, but how can you say, "Take a portion the gross excess profits that the energy companies (wind fall) on a reasonable basis.........." and not bring a political angle to this? (FWIW, a politician said that exact same thing yesterday)

    PLEASE do not take my remarks as personal attacks OR as an attempt to promote a political agenda. I love you all and we can agree to disagree on many things without taking opinions as personal attacks.

    How is taking money from an industry supposed to encourage them to spend more money on R&D for alternative energies?

    Would it not then make sense to take the windfall profits from the heating industry(contractors included) to promote the manufacture and sales of higher efficiency equipment?

    My DEEP concern is that once you hand over that kind of power to a government, there will be no going back. Who will determine what a "reasonable basis" is? How do you think the stock holders in that industry will react if they know that their money is going to be taken away from them?

    How can a free market society continue to call itself such if the government decides how much profit is enough or how to "better" spend other peoples money?

    And not to pick on you Mark, but you state that this "has to start at the top". I thought that in America, Americans were the top. A government of the people, by the people, for the people...???

    Folks, I do not trust the government when it comes to running things efficiently and once you give ANY political system access to control private wealth they will NEVER give it back. It will become a fund for ANY wacky project that some politico deems worthy(meaning it will bring them votes) or a slush fund to reward supporters. I see billions of dollars being poured into bottomless pits of waste and mismanagement. Government does not measure success by outcome, it measures it by how much money they managed to spend.

    We, as a people, have to solve this issue. The government will only make things worse. A perfect example is found in the mandates for CO alarms that we all know are worthless, or how about the FVIR water heaters? That is government.

    I do not offer mid-efficiency equipment(not much I can do about steam boilers) and I believe that our energy consumption could be HUGELY reduced if every PHVAC contractor actually learned how to make combustion appliances combust correctly. Proper sizing for heating and cooling loads. How about building codes that actually worked toward lower energy consumptuion as well as structural integrity?

    I respect all of you and again, I am not attacking any one. I just cringe every time I hear "the government should..."

    Don't kill me.

    Mark H

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  • Darrell
    Darrell Member Posts: 303
    I'll get crucufied for this!

    One issue that must be dealt with is the environmental groups. I will get crucified for this…but, oh well. The very groups that scream the loudest for more efficiency in our cars and in our homes stand in the way of any progress to that same end. For instance: take any magazine or group that touts the virtues of generating energy with wind, and the same magazine or group screams for the wind mills to stop turning when a bird gets killed, or the view is damaged, or a rabbit gets epilepsy from the constant visual stimulus of the turning blades. The same goes for nuclear generation of power…it has proven to be safer and more reliable than any other means of generation, but nobody in their right mind will even attempt to build one because the same groups who want the energy, don’t want the land cleared, the waste disposed of, or the view damaged. Here in Alaska, we have the natural gas to run things for a long time…despite the propaganda to the contrary…but we can’t get it to market, chiefly because of the environmental lobby and the ridiculous laws that make it cost prohibitive. Yes, it is still a fossil fuel, but it is the fossil fuel that is easiest to make efficient.

    The fact that the groups that scream for the efficiencies also stand in the way of progress indicates that the whole argument is flawed at a fundamental level…and must be driven by huge profits for the environmental groups as well as the fuel producers.

    Should we press for, and use, more efficient heating equipment? Absolutely! And we should do it sooner than later. But, we ought not do it on the basis of junk science, (here’s where I get crucified!). And, we ought not give up America and what She stands for either. The European countries, which get such nice press here, (and perhaps rightly so), are fundamentally different. Their “choices” are mandated and financed by government…and yes, they can boast more efficient heating equipment, but yet, somehow, there still seems to be a lot of second and third world countries over there.

    At a more practical level…combustion efficiency cannot be the only measure of cost effectiveness in choosing a heating appliance. As a serviceman, I will tell you without reservation, that it is more expensive to operate a higher efficiency heating plant when you factor in the maintenance beyond the five-year threshold. Now, with energy prices on the climb, that number gets a bit weaker, I’ll admit, and we still should press for higher efficiencies, along with better support and reliability.

    Too long…but, you got me started!
  • RonWHC
    RonWHC Member Posts: 232
    Here goes from

    someone who sees how gummint does NOT operate, day in, & day out.

    Stop all mandates. That suggested 90+% minimum efficiency for new construction would soon be applied to every inhabited structure. The camel's nose under the tent.

    Eliminate ALL subsidies. Gummint should not be in the business of picking winners & losers. If your product(s) is a winner, find some investors. The smart ones know what the American people will choose & what they won't. Gummint is too political to make that distinction. Energy, for all the hype & scare tactics, should remain a choice, based on a person's requirements & financial wherewithall. If coal can generate reliable electricity more economically than gas, wind, or solar, coal generated volts are my choice.

    Kill all low income energy assistance. It's a celebration of waste & fraud. Its real purpose is to use your tax dollars, & mine, to buy votes for politicians. Let the beneficiaries(?) make their choices too. Bet 80* subsidized stat settings would take a sudden dive. My unsubsidized choice. One of our bedrooms is serving as a beer cooler. After all, the Constitution says "promote the general welfare", not provide it.

    Watch out for increasing gummint's responsibility for energy efficient construction standards. There are bureucrats who know about the Vaterland's law requiring energy audits, and retrofitting of homes, before thay can be sold, or rented. Applies to apartments too. Look for this in a legislature near you soon. Very soon.

    Tax motor fuels only to build & maintain our transportation infrastucture. That includes mass transit. As much as I dislike the idea, I don't see a realistic alternative. No trust fund, please. Real dollars in the kitty. Remove all taxes - Fed., State, & local, from heating fuels & electricity. In our unfair city, the same gummit that nails folks for a 7% (down from 10%) energy tax, constantly implores us to help w/ other's fuel & utility bills.

    Food for thought. Would it not help us make our energy choices if, @ the bottom of the bill, the provider had a line showing the TOTAL price per energy unit? How about that, gas & electric guys? The Euros use kilowatts for all energy units. Kinda like that.

    Oh well. Back to reality.
  • When looking at 90%+ equipment for existing homes

    or other buildings, don't forget you can't just stick a sidewall vent anywhere. We've had to tell people there was no place in their houses for this that meets Code. Then they say their neighbors have this equipment and we point out how the PVC will be blocked if we get more than a foot of snow (been known to get up to 3 feet here) which will knock the unit off-line, and how CO could get sucked into the windows.

    But boiler efficiency is only part of the picture. Once the boiler has generated the steam or heated the water its job is done. From there the system must move the heat to the rooms. There is still plenty of room for improvement in that area, but don't expect any "help" from the government there.

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  • open mouth, insert foot here.....

    Note to self: FIRMLY engage brain for at LEAST 60 minutes prior to opening mouth and or touching key board...

    Sal, after being over in Europe recently where they are paying 4 times as much for gasoline and other energies, one has to wonder what kind of subsidies we get for the cheap gas we buy over here. I am by no means an expert in this area, and should keep my mouth shut until further notice, but HOW can energy be 1/4th the cost over here that it is over there? Someone enlighten me please...

    Mark, boy, what a stupid statement that was eh... What concerns me is the potential cost increases to people on fixed incomes, with limited funds available. My heart goes out to people who still have parents alive. Both of mine passed, but I still have a lot of friends who's parents are still alive, and they are not as well prepared as they should have been, monetairily. Actually, I still have a mother in law in exactly that same predicament right now. All her kids are having to pool their resources to help her make it on her fixed income. The reason I picked oil company profits was because they are the one entity with MEGA profits, and the possibility of making even more. You are correct though in your thoughts of what industry, and how much is fair. But the problems STILL remains. If we jack the price of energy up 3 or 4 times, who is going to take care of the older and indigent people? Tough question to consider. Too much for my pea brain to handle for sure...

    Sorry for the brain flatulation.

  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Not at all Mark

    I know your passion, it can not be denied sir!

    You remain an inspiration to me. When I had the honor to share a few pints with you at the first Wetstock, I got to witness first hand your intensity. I will never forget it.

    Our industry has an opportunity here to lead the way. I say it is high time we start leading.

    Mark H

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796

    Heating oil costs about the same, here and there.

    The cost of road fuel in the EU is driven 70% by taxes, 30% by the cost of fuel. Much of the taxes raised that way are driven into the general tax pot, not for road construction, etc. The "true cost" of fuel choices may become more apparent as carbon-trading comes into effect.

    IMO, the choice of heating equipment, etc. in the EU is driven primarily by the construction materials and techniques (concrete) and the long-term ownership that predominates. Over here, FA predominates because it's usually cheaper to install and people move every 7 years, on average.
  • Consider me enlightened...

    Thanks Constantin.

    What exactly is carbon trading? I remember reading something about it in a book that Amory Lovins wrote, but never persued it.

  • Solar nuts

    and the 70's! Sounds like he's utilizing a solar hot air box. Hollow box - air heats - fan circulates - no thermal storage. ME's right about getting the Feds involved - if credits are handled as poorly as they were back in the 70's. The skeletal remains of many of those Rube Goldberg systems are frightening to look at! Today, there are a number of very good orginizations that could oversee and manage credits or incentives. FSES has led the way with many very good programs in Florida.

    We're currently making potable hot water with our first foray into the solar areana. Two issues nagged: power loss & making steam, which would be a PITA to deal with; and what to do with excess energy since we can't switch off the source once we're at high limits, which will most certainly occur with a vacuum tube system. I've dealt with the power loss issue without utilizing PV, although that will go away once the PV is installed - more of a bridge to fill the gap, but simple and effective.

    Our tank is 120-gallons, which means for every 1-degree F rise, I've harvested a net 1,000 Btu's. Makes it easy to monitor(G). On sunny days during Dec & Jan, 30-degree rises were the norm for a sunny day. That's less energy harvested than what we often use, so the tank has been up & down quite a bit. We've hit 160 F at times (following a streak of sunny days) and when Mike's home from college, we hit rock bottom, which has been 45F. Kids! With just the two of us, the range is 80 to 120 on average with spikes on both sides depending on our usage. Toss in a few cloudy days & it seems like this is a very cloudy year (although this is the first time I've been hyper-sensitive about checking the weather), and we'll ride along at 70 or 80. The outlet of the 120-gallon solar tank is currently feeding the inlet of our 75-gallon indirect. They're valved and set up to operate independently - as they are now in series - independently with either one supplying our hot water - or as a twinned tank solar-only operation.

    If our solar havest continues to match the Viessmann chart, you could determine the time of year by energy harvested on sunny days without leaving the mechanical room! In mid-summer, I'm expecting we'll be havesting more than we (the two of us) use on a daily basis. Mike will be home, so we'll see if that remains true. I'm hoping to be in a position to turn off the fossil fuel source.

    Which brings up the second trouble spot. Excess energy and load shifting. Lots of choices in our home, but not so for the majority of homes and their current mechanical set-up. Inexpensive, reliable and non-parasitic load shifting is my goal & I've built a few things so far. Not yet satisfied, so I'll keep on plugging away. May is my personal deadline.

    Beyond that, our roof deck's railing will likely be removed in favor of either PV od more tubes or flat panels. I'd like to stick with tubes for the higher temps. There's a fairly large section of roof that is good for staying lit and if I cut down a few scruffy pine trees, there's a large roof area that would remain sunny at this time of year. The current angle of the fadangle sees shadows sliding across the roof all too early in the day & there's a lot of shingled real estate to be contemplated for solar gone dark.
  • alternate routes

    We've had a few that defied venting resolutions, but on more than a few where no sidewall location worked, we've taken the vents out below grade and then straight up out of the ground. Depends on the exhaust/intake limitations for the unit, but it's worked well for us. Given the quiet nature of the operation with some units, we've also relocated the heat source and untilized injection pumping to transfer energy back to the old location.
  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Pollution trading...

    ... is perhaps the least imperfect solution to solve the issue of how to address the after-effects of most combustion, chemical, etc. reactions. It gives companies an economic incentive to pursue cleaner technologies, more efficient equipment via "market" forces.

    In theory, what happens is that the government canvasses the country to see who is polluting how much, what pollutants, etc. This is then aggregated in DC. Someone then makes a decision re: which pollution should be addressed, and what ceiling limit to impose on the national economy. This step is followed by handing out pollution permits to manufacturers, etc. to pollute. Usually, the allocation follows the "market share" of current polluters in the pool, i.e. big polluters get big permits.

    For several years, permits will be handed out until the limit envisioned by the policymakers is reached. Usually, limits are then gradually lowered, and the permits handed out are reduced in proportion. The idea is that the growing cost of polluting beyond the limits give companies an incentive to install cleaner technology. If the company has fewer pollutants to report than it got permits for, then it can sell those pollution permits on the open market to other companies that need more pollution permits to stay in business.

    Naturally, as with any such scheme, there are many issues. For one, this is a global problem, meaning that the majority of industrialized nations have to sign on in order to have a real impact on the growth of CO2 emissions, NOx, SOx, particulates, etc.

    Furthermore, it incentivizes companies to pollute greatly until just before the imposition of the permits, since the greatest polluters get the largest share of pollution-permits.

    Such permits can also act as a barrier to entry, reducing competition and allowing companies to extract economic rents.

    Never mind the enforcement issues. With that much money on the table, I'm convinced that a lot of plants will be "cleaner" than they actually are.

    Lastly, any such scheme will accelerate the trend by industry to relocate to areas of the world less affected by pollution trading credits, etc. Many important, well-intentioned environmental protection schemes have basically "forced" industries abroad, since transporting the finished goods from a low-cost, low-safety environment is often cheaper than making the goods locally.

    I still think that the current policy of minimum-efficiency appliance and building standards is a great success. The residential AC rulemaking had a NPV of $12BN alone. For some, 13SEER is too low a standard, for others it's too high. A federal standard that applies nationwide is preferable to manufacturers, distributors, etc. as a patchwork of local, state, etc. regulations would be a nightmare to manage.

    Next year, my colleages and I may once again have a hand in the next residential AC rulemaking. If the DoE continues to fund us, I'll be back modeling the costs of residential AC units, split, packaged, AC, and HP... Things have changed dramatically in the industry since back in 1999... Copper and Aluminum prices are much higher, the cost of variable-speed compressors have the potential to be lower, the cost of electricity has shot up in the coastal states, etc.

    As always, the work is fascinating.
  • RonWHC
    RonWHC Member Posts: 232
    Way to go,

    Darrell. But, don't forget, the enviros who sue @ the drop of a hat, over every energy production plan (that doesn't reward them), do so w/ TAX FREE dollars. Nothing like an unfair advantage.
  • Thanks again Constantin...

    You are a wealth of useful informaiton, an dI for one appreciate your participation here at The Wall.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like we are in for even more governmental control from ALL sources of government in order to make it work. I see a potential for black market carbon credits....:-)

    Firing up the printer as we speak ;-)

  • Interesting idea

    which would fly over the heads of most inspectors in this area.... and I haven't seen it mentioned in any I&O manual either.

    How far would you have to be from the building, or your neighbor's building?

    What provision is made for moisture to be drained from the underground pipes without running back into the unit?

    Can frost action break such an underground vent line, as it does with water mains even if they're below the frost line?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • archibald tuttle
    archibald tuttle Member Posts: 1,078
    free to choose ... sidewall vented oil boilers?

    Best illustration of the thread of Ron and Brad's comments. I was speaking to a good hotheaded friend of mine who would have been at the front of the pack (as was I) condemning government regulation on the gallons per flush of your
    toilet. He bought a 43 unit apartment building and the water and sewer fees are going through the roof so he proudly tells me how he has decided to replace all the toilets with 1.6 gallon flushers.

    If somebody told him to do it, he would have been lying in front of the bulldozers, but as a prudent option for his own benefit he was proud of it (To add to his prudence,I recommended that he get a couple of sloan flushmate models to have on hand for the installations that clog repeatedly with standard 1.6ers). And the fees compelling the decision are predominately related to the cost of providing the services charged for.

    Of course the sewer and water are government agencies and probably could be more efficient if privately run, but for the most part these concerns still see themselves as providing a particular service and not as running social service agencies whose rates are related not to the cost of service they provide but to some progressive ideal of what can be done with any pot of money the government can assemble.

    Finally, the fundamental problem with complaining about Exxon Mobil profits is it ignores the extent to which Exxon Mobil risked capital to provide us with product which we still find the most affordable form of energy. Should we take all of Microsoft's windfall profits because everyone choose windows or should we compell them to choose Linux or the Mac OS to diversify. No way!

    The Kennedys' 'lieing'in front of the windmills hints at the answer to the obvious question: if all of these alternative energies were on the cusp of economic maturity, why didn't their market share explode during the recent run up in oil prices? Either the technologies are not really ready to compete or they are hampered by the same regulatory systems they counted to enhance their competitiveness.

    In the meantime, I'm glad Exxon Mobil is making lots of money because that is the right signal to the market for investing in energy production at this juncture. Derivatively, investing in energy saving technology amounts to the same thing. Look at Toyota and the Prius, ain't exactly been a bad year for them, now has it.

    Ironically,the actuarial payoff on one of these hybrids is virtually never unless the price of gas goes to 6 bucks a gallon. Maybe this is the psychology of wearing one's environmental credentials on one's sleeve. It would be interesting to find out if people would be more quick to buy a Prius than a condensing boiler...

    ... that gets me to what I really signed on to ask today and back to a heatinghelp question:

    I'm looking at sidewall venting for an existing oil boiler (as with the 'sideshot', interested in pros and cons experienced for various makers) considering eventual replacement with higher efficiency oil designed for sidewall venting from the ground up (pun intended). Maybe I just haven't employed the search engine subtlety enough, but I haven't found any threads focused on high efficiency oil boilers, or sidewall venting units.

    I've installed many sidewall venting gas units of the first and second generation condensing style and serviced one unit on a conventional oil burner. I have a friend in a rural area who was considering switching to propane so he could avoid building a chimney and gain the efficiencies associated with gas heating appliances.

    As much as I like the Gas modulating/condensing boilers, in my own rural climes (as opposed to the city of Providence where I work) have contemplated and rejected this approach myself as the btu/volume and ultimately ptu per dollar is 30% less in propane, so even a 10% gain in combustion efficiency is actually a loss.

    Present job reads like this: my friend has gutted a 1902's farmhouse and is installing radiant tubing under the floor and lots of insulation. I told him to stick with that plan and invest in correct detailing as now is the time to spend money on energy savings/comfort increase through insulation and choice of radiation since the house is open. He can side vent the boiler he's got now and then choose a higher efficiency replacement when he see's if he has any money left in the bank.

    The boiler change is discrete in an unfinished basement with access so he would want to understand oil-fired upgrade options - ergo my request for comments on extent and upcoming options for high efficency possibly modulating/condensing oil boilers.


  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562
    Simple Statement

    As an avid reader I would recommend the following book that explains the difference between the European Union and their rapidly rising economic power and our way of doing things.

    The book is: "The European Dream" by an American economist by the name of Jeremy Rivkin.

    There is a difference between making a political statement and stating facts.

    WE Americans (and notice I say we) are a nation that thrives on individualism and in fact most of our ancestors came here to get away from unfair rules and laws. We have inherant traits of going it alone and being self made. While this has made a great nation it has also made a nation that over consumes and is a market based nation.
    Another way of putting it is we use the "stock market" as the barometer for the health of our nation.

    Pick up any newspaper and tell me if you can find our world wide rating for "quality of life" Let me know if you can find that because being rated at 20th or 25th is not something we should be proud of.

    The European Dream is a group of countries coming together with we in mind! America can no longer stand alone in this globalized economy and cannot remain an "I" nation.

    Many of you stated it in various forms above however we will fight this necessary change because change is difficult even when absolutely needed!

    Great thread from great Americans!

    Rich K.
  • Might I suggest you

    read Milton Friedman's "Freedom To Choose"? Mr. Friedman's contributions to the WORLD far outweigh Mr. Rivkin's, or the late John Kenneth Galbreath's, rants in favor of state controlled, quasi socialist economies. Funny how they always manage to leave out the consequences wherever their ideas have been tried.

    Americans don't always make the right choices, but we are still free to make them: unlike the EU w/ their all encompassing, dictate everything, Brussels bureaucracy. My freedom to choose how I live my life, trumps someone else's idea of what my "quality of life" should be, everytime.

    Your turn.
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