Carbon Footprint

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We continue to reduce our carbon footprint (and on-going expenses).  One of the easiest things to do is replace our inside lights with LEDs.  They use a fraction of the power and are advertised to last a lot longer.  We have experienced some early life failures but that could be explained by our source - eBay. 

We have several security lights around the house that required a lot of power to operate.  Converting to compact fluorescents saves a lot of power and the illumination is more comfortable to the eyes.

We also replaced our Christmas lights with LED's.  With our old incandescents, we needed a "booster" relay because the lights required more than the 1,000 watts available from our controller.  With LEDs we can light up the entire area using less than 100 watts.

A major power hungry device is the hot water heater,  We converted it to solar with a solar powered circulation pump.  Now we have "free" hot water even during extended power failures.

We have also begun to use a Solar Oven to replace our electric stove.  It takes a little longer and requires you to re-align it every hour or so but the cooking cost is "free".  The slower cooking also makes delicious roasts and meatloaf.  We discovered a great meatloaf recipe for solar:
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb mild Italian sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onions & bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • season to taste
If you want a beef taste, add a little beef bullion or flavoring. Mix everything well & cook in the sun oven till internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees.   This recipe Makes enough for two meatloaves.  We use half and freeze half for another day.

Most of the year it's hot and humid requiring a central air conditioning unit to stay comfortable.  We saved a lot on cooling by converting to a high efficiency solar powered hot gas compressor that gives us three or more times the efficiency on sunny days (when you need it most).

[Dashboard]
Most recently we installed a solar photovoltaic system that ties to our local power grid.  It not only helps supplement our power needs but also feeds our excess power back into the grid for others.  Solar PV systems are expensive but the return on investment can be very good.  It can take several years to completely pay for a system but you should immediately see a 6-8% annual return which increases every year because of inflation and because you are reducing your expense.

Visit the Videos section of our [Multimedia] page to see how it happened.

We also use PV panels on our golf carts.  They do not completely charge the batteries but they do reduce the need to re-charge to about once a month.  Separate PV panels power our fertilizer injector and maintain the batteries on our lawn mowers.  

Although it does not directly reduce our carbon footprint, we installed an emergency generator to provide constant power when our grid goes down as it often does in high winds or thunder storms.   You can count on loosing grid power for several hours, days, or even weeks during and after a tropical storm or hurricane.

Visit the Videos section of our [Multimedia] page to see how it happened.

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