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Thread: Wind energy turbine for roof


  1. #1
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    Wind energy turbine for roof

    I found this Saturday - which was quite good timing as I had been flying over windmill fields and then wondering how to put a windmill/turbine on my future house.

    This is a pretty cool solution - it is a box-like structure roughly the size of an AC compressor (think of a hamster wheel of blades on its side w/ a box frame around it), so it could be mounted on a roof/platform and not cause issues w/ blades hitting birds/views etc. Obviously this is a prototype on a small scale, but I could see it working on the many flat roofs typical to cities/commercial structures etc. as well as for residences.

    One Man's Wind Machine

    A 75-year-old Beloit Man Has Designed A Wind Energy Turbine For His Roof

    Saturday, June 20, 2009
    By SARA SIEKIERSKI Beloit Daily News


    At 75 years old, Howard Ovist is looking to the future by becoming the first person in Beloit to install a wind turbine on a home.

    Ovist began building the 4-foot-tall wind turbine himself two months ago. It was set to be installed on his roof Friday.

    The wind turbine will be used to charge 6-volt batteries. The batteries power a generator, which Ovist has wired to the basement lights, refrigerator and microwave. The basement has no windows, so Ovist wanted to make sure there would be light if the electricity went out. Plus, food and hot coffee would be essential.

    "You can't live without hot coffee," Ovist joked.

    Since Ovist's wife is in a wheelchair, he hopes the batteries charged by the wind turbine can also power her wheelchair lift.

    Ovist first became curious about wind turbines went he built a small model turbine in 1978. Ever since then, anyone who saw the model encouraged Ovist to build a big one. He finally decided this year to do it.

    The aluminum blades are surrounded by a wooden base and top. The blades were done by Jerome Sheet Metal Shop in South Beloit, Ill. Ovist, who can walk with a walker but also uses a wheelchair, has friends who have helped with the project. He'll also have help when the time comes to install it on the roof.
    Although some neighbors were concerned about the noise of the wind turbine, a simple test shows just how quiet it is. The turbine barely made any sound at all as Ovist demonstrated by blowing a steady stream of air into the blades, setting them in motion.

    Because the city had never dealt with anything like this before, Ovist had to get a conditional use permit approved by the Beloit City Council. He got that approval Monday night.

    Before Ovist came to the city with his wind turbine proposal, the city was looking into a wind energy ordinance, said community planner Drew Pennington. But Ovist's project has really set the wheels in motion, and an ordinance will probably be set by the end of the year.

    The city is expecting, and hoping, to see more residents looking into alternative energy sources for their homes.

    "It certainly is something that is on the horizon as concerns of our climate change kind of enter the mainstream and utility costs continue to increase," Pennington said.

    As applied to wind energy, the ordinance will include standards designed to protect public health and safety, which is all the city can regulate. State law prohibits municipalities from regulating the physical appearance of such alternative energy devices. The standards will include height, placement or setbacks, sound and any other factors that involve safety or health.
    Solar energy is also up for consideration, and the city may begin to look at an ordinance for other forms of alternative energy, but Pennington said those forms are still a ways off.
    Last edited by scooterbug44; 06-22-2009 at 10:48 AM.

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  3. #2
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    We inquired about installing a wind turbine on our new house - definitely going with solar - and we were told that at this point, they are not cost effective because there isn't enough wind in the area - which surprised me because it sure seems like there is always a breeze.

    PLEASE let me know if you find out more, or if you know of anyone in SoWal who is currently using them

    I read last night that the single most cost effective way of "going green" when home building is SIZE. It is plain and simple that it costs less to cool and heat a smaller home. Our ICF will be small and we will be using the wonderful Mr Slim units to cool. (we currently have Mr Slim)

    I would love to hear of all of the ways people are building green in the area!

    Thanks for the article - I sent it to my dh - maybe he'll rethink the turbine idea

    G

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    I would think that if you are near the beach or bay there would be enough wind for supplemental wind power. There's always a light breeze at rooftop or "tower" height - which is where I envisioned locating the units.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    I would think that if you are near the beach or bay there would be enough wind for supplemental wind power. There's always a light breeze at rooftop or "tower" height - which is where I envisioned locating the units.
    Well, we will have 2 stories but back away from beach - over in Blue Gulf neighborhood. Trouble is, there's NO ONE around with one to compare costs, etc...

    Bill Nye has the COOLEST one = have you seen the show with him and Ed Begley?

    G

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    this is america. the private sector will continue to invent ways to bring about power. ive been to several building shows and believe me theres very unique ideas being practiced. this has been happening for many years and will continue too and al gore had nothing to do with it. he simply uses it for political points....as always. i have a flat roof and thought about this same product. if it were something i could afford, id be all over it. but, if one cant afford to put turbines etc on their home, there are huge ways to save energy. for example shutting off the ac when your not home. building smaller homes. and the list goes on.....

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    This isn't a political issue . Could you please just let me post an article I thought others might find interesting w/o bringing politics into it?

    Howard is an old working class guy who designed his own wind turbine and whose neighbors will help him install it since he is partially confined to a wheelchair - the cost isn't excessive and Al Gore has nothing to do with it.

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    I saw something like this in Dwell Mag ( can't remember the issue), and they used it along with solar panels. We should be able to do both around here.
    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    I found this Saturday - which was quite good timing as I had been flying over windmill fields and then wondering how to put a windmill/turbine on my future house.

    This is a pretty cool solution - it is a box-like structure roughly the size of an AC compressor (think of a hamster wheel of blades on its side w/ a box frame around it), so it could be mounted on a roof/platform and not cause issues w/ blades hitting birds/views etc. Obviously this is a prototype on a small scale, but I could see it working on the many flat roofs typical to cities/commercial structures etc. as well as for residences.

    One Man's Wind Machine

    A 75-year-old Beloit Man Has Designed A Wind Energy Turbine For His Roof

    Saturday, June 20, 2009
    By SARA SIEKIERSKI Beloit Daily News


    At 75 years old, Howard Ovist is looking to the future by becoming the first person in Beloit to install a wind turbine on a home.

    Ovist began building the 4-foot-tall wind turbine himself two months ago. It was set to be installed on his roof Friday.

    The wind turbine will be used to charge 6-volt batteries. The batteries power a generator, which Ovist has wired to the basement lights, refrigerator and microwave. The basement has no windows, so Ovist wanted to make sure there would be light if the electricity went out. Plus, food and hot coffee would be essential.

    "You can't live without hot coffee," Ovist joked.

    Since Ovist's wife is in a wheelchair, he hopes the batteries charged by the wind turbine can also power her wheelchair lift.

    Ovist first became curious about wind turbines went he built a small model turbine in 1978. Ever since then, anyone who saw the model encouraged Ovist to build a big one. He finally decided this year to do it.

    The aluminum blades are surrounded by a wooden base and top. The blades were done by Jerome Sheet Metal Shop in South Beloit, Ill. Ovist, who can walk with a walker but also uses a wheelchair, has friends who have helped with the project. He'll also have help when the time comes to install it on the roof.
    Although some neighbors were concerned about the noise of the wind turbine, a simple test shows just how quiet it is. The turbine barely made any sound at all as Ovist demonstrated by blowing a steady stream of air into the blades, setting them in motion.

    Because the city had never dealt with anything like this before, Ovist had to get a conditional use permit approved by the Beloit City Council. He got that approval Monday night.

    Before Ovist came to the city with his wind turbine proposal, the city was looking into a wind energy ordinance, said community planner Drew Pennington. But Ovist's project has really set the wheels in motion, and an ordinance will probably be set by the end of the year.

    The city is expecting, and hoping, to see more residents looking into alternative energy sources for their homes.

    "It certainly is something that is on the horizon as concerns of our climate change kind of enter the mainstream and utility costs continue to increase," Pennington said.

    As applied to wind energy, the ordinance will include standards designed to protect public health and safety, which is all the city can regulate. State law prohibits municipalities from regulating the physical appearance of such alternative energy devices. The standards will include height, placement or setbacks, sound and any other factors that involve safety or health.
    Solar energy is also up for consideration, and the city may begin to look at an ordinance for other forms of alternative energy, but Pennington said those forms are still a ways off.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxman View Post
    I saw something like this in Dwell Mag ( can't remember the issue), and they used it along with solar panels. We should be able to do both around here.
    That was my thinking - between solar water heaters, a wind turbine, good architectural design, and material selection, (and possibly solar panels) someone should be able to greatly reduce the amount of outside power their home needs w/o breaking the bank.

    I'll look in my back issues of Dwell and see if I can find it.

  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    That was my thinking - between solar water heaters, a wind turbine, good architectural design, and material selection, (and possibly solar panels) someone should be able to greatly reduce the amount of outside power their home needs w/o breaking the bank.

    I'll look in my back issues of Dwell and see if I can find it.
    It's so wonderful to see these things being discussed here. I would add passive solar design to the list (part of good design IMHO) as an approach that costs nothing but saves energy and enhances comfort for the lifetime of a building. It's about appropriate sizing and placement of windows, overhangs, thermal mass and landscape elements to maximize solar heat gain in cold months and minimize it in hot months, while allowing for cross ventilation in spring and fall. My dream house has a built-in solar oven in the kitchen, on the south wall...

    About wind turbines--I remember reading something a coupe of years ago about someone in Chicago who was developing rooftop wind turbines that were horizontal, must poke around and see how that's coming. Will post if it's anything new and exciting.
    Susan Horn
    www.artisan-builds.com

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    helical wind turbine info

    Susan Horn
    www.artisan-builds.com

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  15. #11
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    Very cool! It seems to have solved many wind power issues - small rooftop units in cities vs. giant turbines in the middle of nowhere.

    Unfortunately they won't sell you one if you are more than 50 miles from a dealer/servicer and the only 2 (currently) are in SanFran and Chicago.

    Hopefully that will change once they get their smaller residential model in production!

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    This looks like a major DIY project!

    There are actually lots of new products and "breakthrough" innovations in Small Wind right now. One of my favorites is the Helix Wind product. Unfortunately most of the wind in our area, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, is out in the Gulf. That doesn't mean some well positioned homes in isolated areas couldn't harvest enough wind to offset some of their electricity usage; it just means that utility scale projects aren't feasible here with current technology. This map shows where it does work in the U.S.
    If you can't fix it with a hammer... you've got an electrical problem.

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  18. #13
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    That's Howard! Where did you find his picture?

    The turbine Susan posted only needs to have 10 mph winds and be mounted min. of 40' off the ground. The map you linked measures wind at 150' and wants 15 mph +.

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    I would implement alternative energy sources in a skinny minute! Wind and solar! Good research!!
    Helping others is a gift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooterbug44 View Post
    That's Howard! Where did you find his picture?

    The turbine Susan posted only needs to have 10 mph winds and be mounted min. of 40' off the ground. The map you linked measures wind at 150' and wants 15 mph +.
    We have an office in Janesville, WI (it used to be in Beloit a few miles to the South) and I've seen the paper's website before. I searched the site for the article and his picture was attached to the article.

    The map is put out by the DOE and is primarily used for utility scale project decisions. Our branch in Janesville just installed a utility scale wind farm in Indiana (in the orange part of the map).

    The Helix Wind product I linked is the best looking residential product I've seen in the market... if a wind turbine can look good. It can be mounted as low as 15' above the ground and works with 14 mph wind speeds. Here's a video... [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9flSPAdOLk"]YouTube - Helix Wind Turbine[/ame]
    Last edited by 30abob; 06-22-2009 at 04:10 PM. Reason: video no worky...
    If you can't fix it with a hammer... you've got an electrical problem.

  21. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Horn View Post
    It's so wonderful to see these things being discussed here. I would add passive solar design to the list (part of good design IMHO) as an approach that costs nothing but saves energy and enhances comfort for the lifetime of a building. It's about appropriate sizing and placement of windows, overhangs, thermal mass and landscape elements to maximize solar heat gain in cold months and minimize it in hot months, while allowing for cross ventilation in spring and fall. My dream house has a built-in solar oven in the kitchen, on the south wall...

    About wind turbines--I remember reading something a coupe of years ago about someone in Chicago who was developing rooftop wind turbines that were horizontal, must poke around and see how that's coming. Will post if it's anything new and exciting.
    Excellent point about passive solar. We have been going over where to place windows for that very reason. I think the ICF THICK walls are going to be amazing. Also, we simply LOVE our tankless water heater, solar shower, Mr. Slim for a/c, and of course, energy efficient windows. The solar panels are awesome and there are all kinds of tax breaks for installing them..We've been on phone with electric co and are excited that they are so enthusiastic.

    Thanks for links on turbines.

    I have googled and can not find anyone in FL with wind turbine. Have you guys seen anyone? Also, is there anyone around SoWal with solar panels? Not just the water heating kind but the ones that generate electricity.

    Thx

    G

  22. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Gidget View Post
    Excellent point about passive solar. We have been going over where to place windows for that very reason. I think the ICF THICK walls are going to be amazing. Also, we simply LOVE our tankless water heater, solar shower, Mr. Slim for a/c, and of course, energy efficient windows. The solar panels are awesome and there are all kinds of tax breaks for installing them..We've been on phone with electric co and are excited that they are so enthusiastic.

    Thanks for links on turbines.

    I have googled and can not find anyone in FL with wind turbine. Have you guys seen anyone? Also, is there anyone around SoWal with solar panels? Not just the water heating kind but the ones that generate electricity.

    Thx

    G
    Tankless water heaters are da bomb. And superthick /insulated walls too (we used to live an a house built of AAC, AMAZING stuff)! Chandra Hartman is the go-to person on solar, thermal and PV, in this area. She might also know about wiind turbines, not sure. www.cfhdesignstudio.com

    Do you know about Amory Lovins' house in Colorado? I think you can see it at the Rocky Mountain Institute's website. He has super-duper insulated windows and grows bananas at 8,000 feet in the Rockies, is almost off the grid and stays warm in ridiculous cold. Has terrific grasp of cost-benefit of spending more to build super efficient and reducing operating and maintenance costs to near nothing.
    Susan Horn
    www.artisan-builds.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gidget View Post

    I have googled and can not find anyone in FL with wind turbine. Have you guys seen anyone? Also, is there anyone around SoWal with solar panels? Not just the water heating kind but the ones that generate electricity.

    Thx

    G
    I'm not sure of any local residential wind turbine installations. There's a small wind turbine on a billboard in Pensacola; Gulf Power is testing the concept.

    There was a recent article in the Walton Sun about a couple of Photovoltaic (Solar) installations.

    I recently attended the Florida Solar Energy Center's week long "Installing Photovoltaic Systems" and passed the NABCEP entry level certification. I only need two installations to qualify to take the full PV certification test; there are currently only a handful of "certified" installers in Florida, none are in the panhandle. We have a couple of people with this certification in our branches in the Midwest markets and it really differentiates the installer's qualifications in a business that currently has it's fair share of "snake oil" salesmen.
    Last edited by 30abob; 06-23-2009 at 11:46 AM.
    If you can't fix it with a hammer... you've got an electrical problem.

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