Efficiency contest

Disclaimer: I may be biased, since I have an entry in the running.I am very confused as to why the current leaders of the efficiency contest are in the contest at all, nevermind winning.One is not instructions for making anything. It just says "watch less TV". It may be good advice, but it is not a DIY project.One is a recipe for bread. It may be wonderful and delicious bread, but it has nothing to do with being green.One is about making a suit out of a sleeping bag. I suppose this would allow you to turn down the heat, but that is a bit of a stretch, (besides, so would a sweater - and the instructable doesn't say anything about this being the reasoning).I don't mean to disrespect these fine instructables, I am just saying they are totally irrelevant to this specific contest.But not only are they in the contest, they have been in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place since voting opened 2 days ago. Who is voting for these entries, and why?

Topic by JacobAziza   |  last reply


Will removing a rear seat move the centre of gravity in a minivan too far forward? Answered

A family member frequently drives around in the van all by themselves, which I'm sure is an enormous waste of gasoline. Removing one or both of the rear seats will help reduce the weight of the vehicle and improve the efficiency a tiny bit. That said, I was wondering if doing that would cause handling issues due to the centre of gravity being farther forward. Also, winter is long and icy here, so rear traction is an issue 5 months of the year.

Question by zalf   |  last reply


How to get 9 volt from a computer power supply? Answered

To save some energy i thought it would make sense to remove all those small powersupplys. They all transform pricey power (24 eurocents per kw/h here) into heat. However, in my computer is a powersupply that actually is very efficient, also, if i take more energy from it, it wouldn't have much more loss. Right now my computer uses about 54 watts if idle (i selected the components to be as efficient as possible). My DSL-Router uses 14 watts, but i guess most of it goes away as heat in it's own little PSU. The DSL-Router needs 12 volt and my computers PSU can deliver that, and since the DSL-Router is only needed when the computer is switched on i plan to use the computers PSU to power it. I have a pair of speakers with an internal PSU and AMP. After opening them i saw that both are on separated boards. The PSU gives 9 volt to the AMP and gets quite hot while doing it. The problem: as far as i know there is no 9 volt power connection in the computers PSU :(.

Question by tecneeq   |  last reply


How do I figure out the cost differential between turning on an inefficient furnace and using oil-filled space heaters? Answered

The big deal is that this furnace also heats the upstairs unit of a duplex, which i also own and rent out to my brother in law.  the deal is that he spends maybe 5 nights per week at his girlfriend's house.  so, if i turn on the furnace, all of the heat that goes upstairs will be wasted.  i'm interested in learning how to measure energy usage and learning how to determine the usage difference between running the furnace, which is about 50 years old and runs at about 50% efficiency and three pretty standard 7-fin oil-filled space heaters.  the flat in which i live is about 800 sq.ft. and the upstairs space is about 600 sq.ft.  the windows are old, but are covered with plastic shrink film for better insulation.

Question by hobbssamuelj   |  last reply


Study: Ethanol Worse for Climate Than Gasoline

Ethanol is under fire again: At first blush, biofuels such as corn ethanol and soybean diesel seem like they would be great from the standpoint of global warming. The crops soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, and that balances out the carbon dioxide they produce when they're burned. But until now, nobody has fully analyzed all the ripple effects of this industry. And Tim Searchinger, a visiting scholar at Princeton University, says those effects turn out to be huge. "The simplest explanation is that when we divert our corn or soybeans to fuel, if people around the world are going to continue to eat the same amount that they're already eating, you have to replace that food somewhere else," Searchinger says.Searchinger and his colleagues looked globally to figure out where the new cropland is coming from, as American farmers produce fuel crops where they used to grow food. The answer is that biofuel production here is driving agriculture to expand in other parts of the world."That's done in a significant part by burning down forests, plowing up grasslands. That releases a great deal of carbon dioxide," Searchinger says.In fact, Searchinger's group's study, published online by Science magazine, shows those actions end up releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide. The study finds that over a 30-year span, biofuels end up contributing twice as much carbon dioxide to the air as that amount of gasoline would, when you add in the global effects. The rest of the article (and radio broadcast) is here

Topic by Goodhart   |  last reply


selective room heating?

I just turned on the heat before going into my room to go to bed. My roommate and I are in about one fourth of the whole house (and will be for about six hours), yet every room is being heated. This seems like a huge efficiency problem. Are there commercial systems out there that can heat selective rooms? If not, are there ways of making such a system? Can I just tape cardboard over the vents?

Topic by moisture   |  last reply


Audio: 8 hours of Amory Lovins lectures

Video with slides http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid231.phpmp3 audio only http://sic.conversationsnetwork.org/series/si-energy.htmlAmory Lovins runs the Rocky Mountain Institute, working on cars made from thermoplastic/carbon re-formable body panels among other projects.He's a charismatic motivational speaker on the subject of energy solutions. Listen to this stuff to get enthused again after you get burned out by hearing about what our idiocracy is doing to us and the world. It's a really it's nice to hear him saying that thetechnology solutions exist and all our dreams will come true once we switch tothem. And this crisis is just the thing to get us off the dumb old methods thatare only used from habit.

Topic by TimAnderson   |  last reply


Solar Thermal Design and efficiency?

I have finished building and testing my diy solar thermal collector. i decided to paint the outside framework black, will this make a difference? also i was wondering how to work out the efficiency and power it can produce? the temperature difference was 17 deg going in and 29 going out at a flow rate of .36 litres a minute and the solar radiation was 800 watts per m^2. the temp difference might seem low and there a 2 reasons for this. 1)im in ireland and 2)i never bled the radiator so i have a feeling the water only flew across the bottom rather than circulate. Thanks

Question by rich5007   |  last reply


Sandia, Stirling Energy Systems set new world record for solar-to-grid conversion efficiency

31.25 percent efficiency rate topples 1984 recordALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --On a perfect New Mexico winter day -- with the sky almost 10 percent brighter than usual -- Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate. The old 1984 record of 29.4 percent was toppled Jan. 31 on SES's "Serial #3" solar dish Stirling system at Sandia's National Solar Thermal Test Facility.The conversion efficiency is calculated by measuring the net energy delivered to the grid and dividing it by the solar energy hitting the dish mirrors. Auxiliary loads, such as water pumps, computers and tracking motors, are accounted for in the net power measurement."Gaining two whole points of conversion efficiency in this type of system is phenomenal," says Bruce Osborn, SES president and CEO. "This is a significant advancement that takes our dish engine systems well beyond the capacities of any other solar dish collectors and one step closer to commercializing an affordable system."Serial #3 was erected in May 2005 as part of a prototype six-dish model power plant at the Solar Thermal Test Facility that produces up to 150 kilowatts (kW) of grid-ready electrical power during the day. Each dish unit consists of 82 mirrors formed in a dish shape to focus the light to an intense beam.The solar dish generates electricity by focusing the sun's rays onto a receiver, which transmits the heat energy to a Stirling engine. The engine is a sealed system filled with hydrogen. As the gas heats and cools, its pressure rises and falls. The change in pressure drives the pistons inside the engine, producing mechanical power, which in turn drives a generator and makes electricity.More here:http://www.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2008/solargrid.html

Topic by ewilhelm   |  last reply


Jevons Paradox

I recently read a thought-provoking article in the New Yorker: "The Efficiency Dilemma" by David Owen. The main gist of the article is that as our machines use less energy, we use them more, thus negating any environmental benefit we hope to achieve. This is known as "Jevons Paradox". You can read the abstract and article here, but you have to be a subscriber for the full article. You can read a commentary, with excerpts, here. Please discuss...

Topic by aeray   |  last reply


Efficient House in Maine has no Furnace

This house in Maine has no furnace and will generate more power than it uses. With some extreme air-tightness and solar panels this is one super efficient house. It even has mood ring-style lights on the side to let you know how it's doing. Green is for Net-Zero use, yellow is on the border, and red for pulling more from the grid. Linkvia MAKE

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


A more efficient way to stamp paint

Hi all! I have been working on a crowd source campaign for elaborately designed dice for a while now and have a problem with my home manufacturing process...hopefully, someone can give me some ideas. I need to find a quick and efficient way to apply paint to the raised surfaces of the dice faces. You can see in the rendered pic the 3d printed file that I'll be making the mold from. I made the numbers extend out instead of going in to simplify the painting but need to get down a system of applying the paint. I was thinking some sort of stamping but thought that was only good with ink. Any input is appreciated...

Topic by dmenegon   |  last reply



Simple, efficient, low-cost, solar energy equipment

I am looking for a DIY simple, low-cost solar water heater and solar light that will work in any kind of weather and still be able to supply atleast some working heat and light. Please suggest.

Topic by rseni   |  last reply




What's the most efficient way to build a new small home in a midwestern climate? Can a laymen really pull this off?

I'd like to build as green and as efficiently as possible, most likely building it off-grid, and incorporating a composting toilet (clivus multrum style), and energystar appliances.

Question by bhsx   |  last reply


Electric car 3 times more efficient than a Prius

OptaMotive is working on the E. Rex, an electric three-wheeler that goes 0-60 in under 5 seconds, is three times as efficient as a Prius, and has a range of 100 miles. The focus is on the driving experience, though, and there's barely enough room for the driver and passenger, much less a couple more friends or some groceries in the trunk. OptaMotive is predicting a top speed of 160 mph, but hasn't had a chance to test that out yet. Right now the car is in the testing phase so there's little chance of getting to drive it any time soon. If it does go on sale it's likely to cost over $50k, making the Prius a hell of a deal in comparison. Check out the link for much more info. E. Rex Is a 3-Wheeled Electric Hooligan

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


Sustainable housing development

Is there anyone that has gone through the process of setting up a sustainable housing development, preferably in Australia, but would be happy to learn of some expriences elsewhere. I've built my own house but am now considering to setup a project to build more efficiently - perhaps get 15 to 20 people together and buy a larger piece of land which would be lot more efficient to build on - with share facilities etc.

Topic by icecreamguru 



Toshiba has stopped making incandescent bulbs after 120 years

Lighting has taken another step towards energy efficiency as Toshiba stopped making incandescent bulbs yesterday. It will now be focusing more on other lighting such as LEDs. This is all great news as incandescents wasted a lot of energy as heat instead of lighting. Now with a greater focus on the energy-efficient options we can expect to see quality and efficiency improve as prices come down. Lights out on Incandescent Bulb Production at Toshiba via inhabitat http://www.flickr.com/photos/laszlo-photo/ / CC BY 2.0

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


Connecting small generators in series?

Hi all,I'd like to make a bunch of small generators, like Pleech turbines, for example. Each one might only be producing a couple volts and however much power. What is the best way to connect them together to get their combined power?I was thinking that I could just give each generator its own rectifier, and then connect everything together in series. Would that be efficient?My circuitry understanding is a little limited, so a simple solution that is 90% efficient may be better than a complicated solution that's 100% efficient.... :)Thanks for any suggestions!

Topic by Asbestos   |  last reply


why can't you enter an instructable into a contest if it was published before the release of the contest? Answered

If you have an instructable that would be perfect for a contest, but cannot enter it because it was published before the release of the contest, why can't you? Is it worth unpublishing and republishing?The instructable I am thinking about entering into the Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest is the following below:https://www.instructables.com/id/Several_Easy_Steps_to_Boost_Your_Computers_Speed/Of course, it would have to be slightly modified with a few changes, but I think if your computer is running with less going on, it would be faster and therfore more efficient.If you also know why contests do this, I would appreciate the knowledge!

Question by lukethebook333   |  last reply



What is the fastest most energy efficient way to evaporate seawater on a small scale and collect the salt that reminds?

I tried standard sun evaporation in trays (1 gallon) and it takes far too long (not to mention all the debris that collects in the water during the evaporation process). Heating it over the stove uses too much energy. I am thinking a solar fan / heat combination. Your thoughts? (Note: The goal is to collect the sea salt.)

Question by ericrowe   |  last reply


Greenpeace You Are My Sunshine Compact Flourescent Campaign

Use an energy efficient light until light shines out of your ...

Topic by ewilhelm   |  last reply


What type of fan is best? What moves the most air using the least amount of electricity?

As a second part what fan will be efficient and also the least noisy.

Question by    |  last reply


Solar Heat in Cold Climates

Cool Energy is making a solar power and heating system that works in cold climates. Hooray!  It makes use of a highly efficient Stirling Engine.SolarHeart

Topic by whiteoakart 


What is the easiest/cheapest way to charge batteries from a wind generator.

Can I use normal 120v battery chargers with a 120v generator? Is there any easy way to do this with stuff I can buy at the store, regardless of efficiency.

Question by theRIAA   |  last reply


How can you make a fridge more efficient? Uses of solar, heat exchangers, etc. Any ideas?

I was thinking of a heat exchanger, on one end a constant stream of cold well water, on the other end, the fridge coils. Or maybe use solar to cool it with peltier effect device? To keep it from coming on too often. Throw out any ideas, just though of this but have not seen it around, probably for a reason. It would be nice to use this idea at a cottage or camp eventually with little to no power, but at a cost worth building. The point would be to save money over the long run, so like a full blown solar would work, but it would cost a lot. Thanks again

Question by newinvestor23   |  last reply


Is there a dishwasher model available retail that is easier than others to repair and maintain, AND is efficent.? Answered

 I imagine the base model for any brand is a piece of crap.  Could you advise me to particular models that are easier than others to repair and maintain, is sturdy, is efficient, and will last a long time. thanks.

Question by hobbssamuelj   |  last reply


Is there a way to make your own version of an EZ-Bake oven?

I know these things are cheap, but I was wondering if it's possible to make a homemade version of the popular EZ-Bake Ovens. Obviously you'd have to use an incandescent bulb and not the modern and energy-efficient CFLs/LEDs.

Question by rmgb   |  last reply


how to build a solar harvester? Answered

My team and I are building a device that allows homeowners to monitor their homes' electricity usage. I would like for my device to be energy efficient by implementing some sort of solar harvesting module to the device's mcu. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Question by doc0016   |  last reply


How would it feel like putting a small windmill on top of a car, so it will produce 5 volts of electricity?

Just wondering, can putting a small windmill on top of the car to produce some electricity and charge a battery pack, and the battery pack can be brought everywhere so whenever we need to charge our cell/iPod, we can just hook it up?? Will it be efficient??

Question by huang.wencong   |  last reply


I am trying to find instruction on how-to build a wall bed or similar ideas for space saving.

My husband and I bought a piece of land with a converted garage into an efficiency apartment - so we are thinking of living in there while we save up money to build an actual home on the property. Any ideas on how to save space and still have all the necessities?

Question by amurray14   |  last reply


Treehugger gives Instructables Two Best of Green awards

Woohoo! Treehugger has given Instructables TWO of its Best of Green awards! Honus won a Best Gadget Hackaward for his Solar iPhone Charger - you may remember it as a winner of the Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest.  Congratulations Honus! Instructables is also named as the Best DIY Website. We'd like to thank the cool folks at Treehugger for the award - we'll keep doing our best to deserve it.  Hooray for keeping it green!

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


Man turns himself into a puddle to protest climate change

In order to protest global climate change, this man from Red Cross Argentina turned himself into a puddle and handed out information on ways to protect the planet from imminent climate disaster such as reusing plastic bags, conserving water, and buying energy efficient cars and appliances. We just wonder how long it took him to get out of there.but you got to give him propsmain story

Topic by Chicken2209   |  last reply


Looking for Heat Resistant Flexible Material

I am trying to find a heat resistant material that is flexible... I am trying to make a pull down shade to attach to a tension rod, that will make my home more energy efficient... This means It will also need to be thin enough to roll up into a small roll... It needs to be reflective or at least block out all the sun... I work nights and sleep through the day, and have trouble sleeping when the sun gets through...

Topic by BadBobbo   |  last reply


anybody using on demand hydrogen to heat hot water?

Hello all - I am interested in either converting an existing gas-fired hot water heater to burn homemade hydrogen gas, or building an on demand heater powered by same. Is anybody doing this? What are the issues, beyond safety of making your own highly flammable gas? lol... I am thinking jet/hole size on the gas burner ring for efficiency considerations, corrosion issues, etc..... THanks in advance... Matt

Topic by concreteblue   |  last reply


How do I convert wind power or wind energy into heat?

I have access to a huge piece of windy  but south facing land,  solar gain will not be sufficient for heating green houses, barns, ect..., it is very cold and at high altitude (about 6500 feet).  Strong wind blows all the time.   How do i turn wind into heat and bank that heat as inexpensively and efficiently as possible.   space needed is no issue  the property is a half mile wide.  

Question by ztevo   |  last reply


Boiling a fluid to make a inverse water wheel?

Ok, how about this; Submerge a waterwheel type structure with cups facing downwards on one side. Under the cups you have some kind of heating element. The fluid is methanol or some other low boiling fluid. A very small amount of heat from the element will produce bubbles, which rise and are caught in the cups, the wheel turns and can generate electricity or whatever. I'm using this principle in another application, but thought it could be quite an efficient means of generating electricity from heat. If the meths is sitting at forty something degrees and boils around 50, it shouldn't take hardly any energy to tip it over. And since you're effectively generating force from gravity (the weight of the fluid on the other side of the wheel) you're kind of getting ten times your force back. ie producing one litre of bubbles will give you 9.8 Newtons of force (for water, 8ish for meths). So (excuse my dodgy maths) 125 litres of bubbles in an hour would give you 1 kiloWatt hour? One cola bottle per minute, doesn't sound very much and that much energy could easily be produced through concentrated solar. Slight risk of explosion... How efficient do you think it would be, overall?

Topic by SolarFlower_org   |  last reply


Printing my logo designs onto a usb flash drive any ideas?

Hi guys, I need to print some white graphics onto a flat black USB flash drive, I've included a picture.  I'd prefer to do this using a silkscreen process of some sort. Do you have any ideas about the most efficient way to get this done. I want to avoid Pad printing because of the high cost. I have 200 to print on both sides (400 prints total). Let me know what you think, thanks!

Topic by moleculeism   |  last reply


What type of whole house water filtration systems are out there?

We moved to a house which is on well water. There is a whole house filtration system but it is not doing a good job of removing iron from the water. I see brown stains in commodes and they come back again one month after removing the stains. The system we have now is regeneration type which does not need any salt to be added. I want to know if there is a body of knowledge for layman home owner giving me a lay of the land about cost affective options available for filtering the whole house water efficiently.

Question by  


New LED lightbulbs shine light in all directions

GE is going to be releasing a new LED lightbulb early next year that shines light in all directions, like a normal bulb, instead of one direction like they do now. The bulb will use 9 watts and shine as much light as a 40-watt incandescent. It will also last for 17 years. The drawback is the cost, which will be $40-$50, but it does provide an efficient lighting option for those who don't like the light from CFLs. No word about the blades on the side, however. GE Unveils New Omnidirection LED Bulb That Will Last 17 Years

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


Help!! Hydro power

Hello! I need step by step instructions which shows how to build a hydro power system. I have to do this for a small hostel in the mountains. It needs to make 12v atleast and will use a alternator.I will need lots of help from you guys to build it all.Particulatly on the runner(what type for best efficiency,how to build it, cost, tools)and on the housing for the turbine(what material to use,it will have to be very durable and strong).I am an electronics expert so no need to explain to me what is what. Include a circuit which can charge a 12v battery bank . I am aware how a rectifier can be used to convert the alternator's AC to DC.I would like the rectifier circuit too.Added bonus if you show me how to make a housing for the turbine.Also I would like a homemade charge controller circuit too.The controller will have to have dump load options as well.If you can give a good way to water proof the whole thing... Kudos to you I will need all the plans for this project Alternator, Charge controller ,Blades, How to best wire battery bank etc. Please explain what materials to use etc. And please be aware this will be a rather low budget project.I prefer maximum efficiency and please do not worry yourself about where i will get flowing water etc.And please post your own pics if possible.It may not be possible for me to use power tools and a welder,I prefer simple tools, if not, no problem.

Topic by mhkabir   |  last reply


Using body heat as a power source

You've heard of geo-thermal energy, but what about homeo-thermal energy? I know I sure haven't, mostly because I just made up that word :) Bad portmanteaus aside, what do you guys think of this concept? Running or charging things using the body heat you generate throughout the day and especially during the night. I'm not sure how plausible it actually is, or how efficient it is, but I thought it'd be a nice project to start working on and wanted to know what you guys think of it. Is it worth-while? Too complicated? Not scientific enough? I'm interested in your feedback! :)

Topic by kenizl86   |  last reply


Sandblasting old wrought iron porch railing, how to,can I do it? Answered

I have old wrought iron porch railing with at least three layers of paint that need to be removed in order to repaint. I have tried paint stripper and it is too detailed a job for this, and not efficient. The railing has two posts that it is attached to with a floral and leaf decorative piece that is attached to each of the posts. These pieces have intricate detail and fine crevices that the paint that is there now has covered in. It is very nice decorative pieces and I would like to preserve them. Please let me know if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks

Question by labsnme   |  last reply


Light Bulb Lamps

Oh what to do with the light bulb now that you're basking in the efficient glow of your CFLs? Well, you could convert them into these light bulb lamps as Sergio Silva has done. It's a pretty sweet item with neodymium magnets holding them in place on an included acrylic plate with embedded bits of steel.However, the price tag is $650 for the set which is pretty flippin' ridiculous for what can be remade with scrap and $10 of materials, if that. To be fair, the light bulbs Silva makes are sturdier than the regular item, are all made by the original artist, and are limited to a run of 66. So you're buying some design-y street cred before they get knocked off and sold for one-tenth the price. Linkvia bbgadgets

Topic by fungus amungus   |  last reply


What's the best type of solar water heater?

I am in the process of renovating a bathroom that hasn't been used since before i was born, which currently lacks a water heater. Being poor, it is very unlikely that i will be able to buy an on-demand heater for this bathroom, and i know how inefficient normal water heaters are, so i am looking into solar water heaters. I live in a sub desert climate, so catching sun is not a particularly big issue, but i am looking to find out what type of heater is most efficient, both as far as heating water, and cost. would i be better off with a passive, or active system, and what other recommendations do you have for solar water heating?

Question by cyc4015   |  last reply


How to sand without sand paper?

 So my question is, is there a fairly efficient way to sand  something without using sandpaper? I am doing a project for haiti, and i just realized a breakdown in a system. Sandpaper would add a huge cost to anything.  Right to what it is used for: I was wondering, if anyone have any simple ideas on how to sand soda cans after cutting them into sheets? Solutions i can think of in context with whats available in Haiti is may be rubbing the sheets against concrete or even in a sand box?  I am just thinking, back in the old days, before sand paper, how did people do it? any ideas would be really appreciated!

Question by bennelli   |  last reply