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Daox 01-30-2009 12:54 PM

What's going on over at EcoRenovator
I see a lot of discussion going on here and can't help but see there is real interest in home efficiency. So, if you haven't been to EcoRenovator's forum lately you've been missing out on some good stuff going on. Here are a few things.

MetroMPG is trying to squeeze the most from a tiny, old, uninsulated apartment.

I have recently done a lot of work in my attic as far as insulation goes.

We've all been gushing over plans and specs on superinsulated / passive houses. How does a $35 heating and electric bill for December in Illinois sound?

I also built a new efficient computer for myself.

Jwxr7 has setup a very nice small DIY solar PV array and has been tracking his power generation for a few weeks now.

Daox 02-10-2009 12:59 PM

I thought I'd give an update seeing as its been a couple weeks. Come check things out.

jthistle is looking at doing some water conservation with a dual flush toilet conversion.

ftumsh is figuring out how to properly insulate his attic/loft that houses his boiler.

I posted a link to a blog that explains how to get cheap or free solar PV panels.

Of course, MetroMPG finished up the work on his bikegen, a bicycle powered generator made at nearly zero cost.

groar continues his solar pv thread and updates us with the progress and generation hes been getting with it.

Daox 02-18-2009 04:41 PM

Some more updates. Still see a lot of posting going on here so I know there is interest.

I started a new project. It is a clothes dryer heat recovery system for gas or electric dryers.

TimJFowler recently cut his heating bill by 37% by adding additional insulation.

Higgy installed some inline duct fans to boost heat to his living room.

Bob McGovern posted a great write up about small wind power, Part 1.

We've all been mulling over different ideas for rain water collection and reuse.

MetroMPG 02-18-2009 05:30 PM

HEY - don't forget my new thermal floor, which appears to have significantly cut my energy requirements. :)

OK, that's bad. It's not what you think.

Squeezing the most from a tiny, old, uninsulated apartment - EcoRenovator

Daox 02-19-2009 11:33 AM

I mentioned your thread in the very first post. :p I suppose there was enough updates to give an update here.

Everyone go see Metro's amazing updates! AMAZING!

Daox 08-20-2009 04:37 PM

I haven't posted anything here for quite a while. There are a few bubbling projects going on over on ER. Come take a look.

AC Hacker has been building a home made heat pump for a while now. This thread is really something as well as the work he has done. Anyone interested in heat pumps needs check this out.

Insaneintention has been giving us all udpates on his garden. Higgy has also given us some looks at his garden including his self watering tomato planters.

I just am gathering info on how to insulate my garage.

I'm also looking into ways to setup an inexpensive solar garage heater.

Jlindstrom has posted some info on a DIY MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracker) circuit. This device can boost solar panel output by up to 15%! Very good stuff to look at when thinking about how much panels cost.

Bicycle Bob 08-21-2009 04:26 AM

I should join that list soon. I had to laugh, though, reading through one long thread about an electric-resistance heated space, where the occupant was careful to minimize more interesting ways to use electricity, which all wind up as heat anyway, except for light that shines out the windows.

Daox 08-21-2009 09:30 AM

Yeah, we're all learning haha. Feel free to comment and help us out over there. :) We'd appreciate it.

Daox 08-24-2009 05:08 PM

Here are some new updates.

I just posted an blog on DIY Home Air Pressure Test. This explains how to do a DIY version of a blower door test. I'm anxious to try this out myself as I know my house has a lot of leaks.

Ben Nelson just lent me some batteries so I can do more ecorider testing.

I found a great instructable on a DIY passive cooled fridge.

Jlinstrom is looking into installing an efficient fireplace in his cabin.

I also found a great CHEAP solar/wind charge controller kit for $15. It even has a dump option on it.

Daox 09-04-2009 03:02 PM

Here is another update.

Binger posted a good article on the honest truth about blown insulation and how you might have been shorted if a contractor did it. Apparently its a fairly large problem.

There has been some new discussion on a post of mine from a while ago. A clothes dryer heat recovery system for electric or gas dryers.

Again, some good discussion on how to get rid of ants. Mostly discussing green ways, but some non-green as well.

There are EcoRider updates to be read as well.

Homeless (Cd on EM here) did some great work with his fridge/freezer to convert it into a very efficient fridge. His energy usage for the month is amazing.

There are lots of interesting projects going on, so come take a look. It would be great to see more too. :)

Daox 09-14-2009 12:22 PM

More updates.

I did some sealing work on the house this weekend. Old farm house, lots of leaks!

Basjoos has been teaching us about how he has naturalized his garden so he doesn't need to till and replant every year.

We've put together a couple recipes for organic weed killer.

Ben Nelson put together a DIY solar hot water heat exchanger

I found a great list about how long appliances normally last.

Daox 09-30-2009 03:18 PM

Some more goings on over on ER:

AC Hacker did a some cool eco hacks to his rice cooker.

Robert Smalls is working on winterizing his apartment.

Ben Nelson made a DIY solar food dehydrator.

Ben is also refurbishing some solar hot water panels.

I did some testing that shows the effect of defrosting on freezer efficiency which is part of an ongoing series on freezer efficiency.

Come check things out and get some ideas. We'd love to see what you are doing too.

Daox 11-10-2009 07:34 PM

There are some great updates this time around.

Xringer has put together a great thread on a DIY install of a Sanyo heat pump / AC unit.

I've gotten batteries for the riding mower and have begun making battery racks for it.

Charlie D has a house up in Canada with big utility bills that he is trying to winterize on the cheap.

AC Hacker has put together a great thread containing info on DIY hydronic floor heating.

GvilleRenovator has done some recent work in his attic sealing air ducts leaks.

Daox 09-07-2010 01:21 PM

Its been quite a while since my last update here. I figure there are new users interested in home efficiency. So, here are a few things that have been going on recently over at the EcoRenovator forum.

Xringer has been experimenting with his new solar PV panels and trackers.

I recently blew the motor on my electric riding lawn mower.

Gasstingy has been working on his new garage / shop for a while now.

Patrick coated his roof with white roof seal to lower attic temperatures and reduce AC usage.

Trikkonceptz recently picked up a bed fan to reduce AC usage during the night.

Daox 09-24-2010 10:26 AM

Heres some more links for those interested:

Aproldan has started doing work on yet another electric mower. This one is combining a tractor front end with a golf cart back end.

RobertSmalls has broken down his energy usage by appliance and is analyzing how to further conserve.

I've been experimenting with using attic heat to heat my house.

We've been discussing the benefits of enclosed showers.

We've also been talking about thorium reactors and the benefits they provide over nuclear power plants.

Daox 11-08-2010 11:00 AM

Heres another short list of some of the happenings over at ER. If you have any interest in home efficiency I suggest taking a look.

Patrick and nibs have been discussing how to make efficient wind turbine blades.

I've been working on making some interior storm windows for the windows in my sunroom which should triple the insulation value of the window, and easily pay for them self in the first year of use.

Xringer's solar tracker project is showing excellent results as his 500W array has hit over 500W of production.

Robertsmalls is working on a way to heat only certain areas of his house effectively.

We've also had some good discussion going on about low cost LEDs.

Daox 10-23-2012 06:34 PM

I was talking with Darin today and he brought up the idea of bringing this back, and we agreed it was a good idea. There really is a lot of interesting projects going on over on EcoRenovator for anyone with any interest in home efficiency, saving money on your bills, or reducing your carbon footprint. Like the sticky says, its just like EcoModder, but for your home.

1) Solar Hot water Panel Rack
Daox has been working on his solar hot water panel rack and trench to get it ready before winter rolls around.

Desigining & building a solar hot water panel rack - EcoRenovator

2) LED lights & feedback
There has been a lot of activity in our ongoing thread that gives feedback on LED lighting that people are using. With the days growing longer for most of us, its worth a peek to see what is working well for people.

Anyone using/used LEDs? - EcoRenovator

3) Extra water heat for long plumbing runs?
Bikin' Ed asks the question if its worth having a small point of use water heater on the end of a long plumbing run.

Extra H20 heater - EcoRenovator

4) Spray foam experience and tips
Ryland shares his experience of having some spray foam insulation done, and includes some tips on what to look out for.

Spray Foam Experinces and Tips. - EcoRenovator

5) Using motion sensors for more efficient lighting
Ownerbuilder2012 asks if its more efficient to use motion sensors and how to use them.

Motion sensors - EcoRenovator

Daox 04-03-2013 12:30 PM

Another long overdue update. I keep forgetting... :o

Anyways, there are some interesting things going on, check them out!

1) Replacing a water heater

Greif is looking to replace his water heater relatively soon and asks about some different possible replacements.

water heater - EcoRenovator


2) 5.5 kW solar array install

Michael shares with us his DIY install of a 5.5 kW solar array with tracking.

DIM 5500 w PV Array - EcoRenovator


3) Cooling with water

Charles asks about using cold / ground water to cool down his house.

cooling with water - EcoRenovator


4) Heat pump water heaters

Drake asks about heat pump water heaters.

Heat pump H2O water heaters?? - EcoRenovator


5) Ventless dryers

Daox asks the owners of ventless dryers about their experience with them.

Who is using a ventless (heat pump or condensing) dryer? - EcoRenovator

Daox 06-05-2013 11:29 AM

Only forgot one month this time, getting better!

1) Stone age simple geothermal Scottorious asks about a extremely simple geothermal setup that rolls into a good discussion on simple geothermal cooling systems:

stone age simple geothermal - EcoRenovator

2) Hasty freezer to fridge conversion AC Hacker has another project hes been working on. This time he has taken a freezer and converted it into a very efficient fridge.

AC_Hacker's Hasty Freezer Conversion - EcoRenovator

3) New electric lawn tractor Nibs has been working on his electric lawn tractor and shares some progress updates.

Just ran Sparky the electric tractor. - EcoRenovator

4) Cooling the house with the basement As things warm up, new ideas are always popping up to see what can be done to keep the house cool. This thread is a popular one and has many good ideas in it.

Cooling the house with the basement. - EcoRenovator

5) PV installation update Fordguy64 shares some updates with his PV system he has been working on.

Finally adding solar.. - EcoRenovator

mikeyjd 07-04-2013 08:27 PM

I tried to register but it keeps telling me that my answer to the random question is wrong...

Daox 07-05-2013 03:55 PM

The answer is:


justme1969 07-18-2013 04:23 PM

great thanks Ive been wanting other real world solar users advice for awhile.
he said in that mix n match PV sizes draw down output of largest panels I diddnt understand that very much though.

Daox 09-09-2013 10:31 AM

Another month, another batch of cool projects to take a look at. :)

1) DIY 9.2kw Solar Array

Pinballlooking has put together a very nice 9.2 kW solar array. Check it ot.

DIY 9.2kw solar array - EcoRenovator


2) Hot Water Heater Timer Options

Pirate is looking for a hot water heater timer. He gets a list of options on what can be used.

Looking for water heater timer - EcoRenovator


3) Rheem HP50RH Water Heater Review

Hikerjohnson goes over the installation and then reviews his new Rheem HP50RH heat pump water heater.

Review: Rheem HP50RH Water Heater - EcoRenovator


4) Attic Heat Project Designed From The Bottom Up

Exeric has designed a great heating system that utilizes hot attic air to help heat his home.

Attic heat project designed from the bottom up - EcoRenovator


5) Solar Swing Set

Ever find yourself in need of a ground mount for your PV panel? Why not use your kid's swing set? That is what BenNelson is doing.

Solar Swing-Set - EcoRenovator

Daox 11-05-2013 01:27 PM

More cool stuff going on. Check it out. :thumbup:

1) Heat pumps for dummies (beginners guide)

Do you want to know what a heat pump is and how and why its so efficient? Check out our new thread that attempts to demystify these devices. If you know a lot about them we need your help too to make this thread a great resource.

Heat Pumps for dummies (beginners guide) - EcoRenovator


2) LED lights - What're you using?

Have you used LED lights? Would you like to know what works and what doesn't? Check this out to see what is working and what isn't for people.

Anyone using/used LEDs? - EcoRenovator


3) Are the sub $300, 400w wind generator from china/ebay worth it?

ATLleaf asks if cheap chinese wind generators are worth it.

Are the sub $300, 400w wind generator from china/ebay worth it? - EcoRenovator


4) Low power modem and router

How much power does your modem and router suck up? You know those things that are plugged in 24/7... Its worth a look.

looking for a low power modem and router - EcoRenovator


5) Free air source heat pump project

Hikerjohnson finds a free air source heat pump on the side of the road and is starting to fix it up for his own use.

Air Source Heat Pump Project! - EcoRenovator

gone-ot 11-05-2013 04:42 PM

FWIW -- we've moved our home from CFL to LED lighting for two reasons (in order of precendence):

1) LEDs consume less power for same/better lumen output.

2) LEDs produce less heat so can be operated upside-down (where CFL lamps tend to overheat and fail sooner).

Daox 11-07-2013 02:23 PM

Here is some more stuff. Check it out! :)

*) Win free stuff in our fall giveaway by posting in the forum

We're giving away some great prizes, from a TED 5000-G whole house
electricity meter to a Kill-a-Watt, to low flow showerheads, to a Black &
Decker thermal leak detector, and more. To qualify to win, all you
have to do is participate in the forum between now and the end of
November. Every post you make counts as an entry. More details:

2013 EcoRenovator Fall Giveaway! (Just post in the forum to qualify.) - EcoRenovator


1) What kind of PEX tubing for hydronic heat?

Daox is getting ready to put in a hydronic floor in his office, so he inquires about what PEX tubing to use for it.

What kind of PEX tubing for hydronic heat? - EcoRenovator


2) DIY solar dehumidifier

NiHaoMike contemplates a DIY solar dehumidifier using calcium chloride as a desiccant.

DIY solar dehumidifier - EcoRenovator


3) Building an attic door insulation enclosure

RobbMeeX contemplates buying or building an attic door enclosure.

Building an attic door insulation enclosure. Thoughts/Help needed... - EcoRenovator


4) Solar space heating for shop

Randen is building solar hot water panels into the outer wall of his shop to heat it.

Solar space heating for shop - EcoRenovator


5) Another hot water tank heat pump

In addition to the solar hot water project, Randen also salvaged a hot water tank and window A/C unit that he is hacking into a hot water heater.

Another hot water tank heat pump - EcoRenovator

Daox 12-26-2013 04:22 PM

Another month, another update:

1) Using suntuf as the only roofing on a large shop?

Skyking asks about using suntuf corrugated polycarbonate as a roofing
material to aid in heating his shop.

using suntuf as the only roofing on a large shop? - EcoRenovator


2) Internet / wifi thermostats

Daox does research on the available internet / wifi thermostats, and then
goes about installing and reviewing the one he selected.

Internet / wifi thermostats - EcoRenovator

Install and review:
Motison CyberStat CY1201 WiFi thermostat installation & review - EcoRenovator


3) Cycling Losses for Gas Furnaces

Servicetech brings up the question of how much cycling losses hurt your
energy usage.

Cycling Losses for Gas Furnaces - EcoRenovator


4) Solar hot air panel construction guide

Solarhotairpanels put together a very nice PDF guide on how to build
your own solar hot air panels. He has had great success with his own.

Pics of 2 DIY systems being built / Hot Air Collectors and Drainback System - EcoRenovator


5) Does bubble-wrap work for insulating windows?

AC_Hacker did some testing a while back to see if bubble-wrap works for
insulating windows. Check out his results.

Does bubble-wrap work for insulating windows? - EcoRenovator

Cobb 12-26-2013 07:25 PM

Yeah, solar is something else. I got about a thousand watts in 2 diffferent panels. FIrst off if you build a panel of broken cells, the smallest cell will be your bottle neck, so you need to test them all and really go with larger unbroken cells. If you plan on doing grid tie inverters, check the voltage ranges and build your panel or shop for one that has the similar output. Many panels are ment to be connected to a 12,24,36,48, etc battery bank, so the voltage is accordingly. Grid tie panels have different voltage ranges for use with GTIs.

When it comes to multiple panels and MPPT, you need to run all like panels in series or use a MPPT a panel. If the voltage starts to dip too fast due to shading, etc the MPPT wont suck low enough or reset its load to take advantage of what the panels can produce.


Originally Posted by justme1969 (Post 381045)
great thanks Ive been wanting other real world solar users advice for awhile.
he said in that mix n match PV sizes draw down output of largest panels I diddnt understand that very much though.

Daox 01-21-2014 11:12 AM

More interesting topics to browse...

1) LED vs. CF vs. Incandescent (2012/2013 DOE testing)

See the US Department of Energy's results after testing out incandescent vs compact florescent vs LED lightbulbs.

LED vs. CF vs. Incandescent (2012/2013 DOE testing) - EcoRenovator


2) How much power does your house use in standby?

How much power does your house use when everything is 'off'? Share and check out what others use as well.

How much power does your house use in standby. - EcoRenovator


3) Evaporator sizing - is bigger better?

Acuario asks how large to size the evaporator in his heat pump project he is working on.

Evaporator sizing - is bigger better? - EcoRenovator


4) Electric garden tractor & snow plow

DH1 shares a video of his electric garden tractor plowing his driveway quietly and with ease.

Electric Garden Tractor - EcoRenovator


5) 2014 new years resolutions / goals

Do you have some goals for your 2014 renovations? Share them and see what others will be up to this year.

2014 new years resolutions / goals - EcoRenovator

Daox 05-20-2014 03:29 PM

Another month, another list of interesting things.

1) Passive cooled house in the tropics

A very interesting house design that minimizes radiant heat gain to a large degree.

Passive cooled house in the tropics - EcoRenovator


2) Cheap window reverse cycle ac build

Check out Jeff5may's modification of a window A/C unit into a window heat pump for heating and cooling.

cheap window reverse cycle ac build - EcoRenovator


3) My DIY cellulose wall dense pack experience

Exeric shares some very helpful information on DIY dense packing his walls with cellulose.

My DIY cellulose wall dense pack experience - EcoRenovator


4) Ventless washer and dryer vs high efficiency dryer and washer

Nokiasixteth asks about the difference between a ventless washer and dryer and a high efficiency washer and dryer.

Ventless washer and dryer vs high efficiency dryer and washer - EcoRenovator


5) What is your average kWh/day usage?

An oldie, but a goodie. How much electricity do you use per day? Compare with other ecorenovators.

What is your average kWh/day usage? - EcoRenovator

California98Civic 07-05-2014 08:00 PM


Daox 12-09-2014 10:44 AM

Here is another update.

1) Reverse air conditioner freeze up problem

F357 is having some freeze up issues with his window A/C unit that
he is using as a heat pump (reverse air conditioner).

Reverse air conditioner freeze up problem - EcoRenovator


2) Alaskan Home Energy Upgrade Project

Erich_870 is renovating his Alaskan home to reduce energy usage.
Check out what he has up his sleeve.

Alaskan Home Energy Upgrade Project - EcoRenovator


3) Preparing for Infrastructure Lapses...

AC_Hacker questions what to do, and plans for power outages.

Preparing for Infrastructure Lapses... - EcoRenovator


4) HP COP vs NG boiler $ Balance point

See how buffalobillpatrick calculates when its more cost effective
to run his heat pump versus his natural gas boiler.

HP COP vs NG boiler $ Balance point - EcoRenovator


5) Building a large shop with SIPS

Stevehull is in the process of building a 40 x 60 foot shop with
SIPs (structurally insulated panels).

Building a large shop with SIPS - EcoRenovator

j12piprius 12-09-2014 12:01 PM

Having an EcoRenovator garage would be helpful, for keeping track of planned and current modifications.

Daox 12-09-2014 02:21 PM

Thanks John. It would be a really nice feature. Its actually been in the works for... well really way too long. :) Thanks for mentioning it though, we need a kick in the butt every once in a while.

Daox 06-22-2015 03:16 PM

I keep forgetting to update this thread... Ah well, here is an update:

1) My Solar Arrays

An excellent and quick history on the making of gasstingy's solar PV array.

My Solar Arrays - EcoRenovator


2) I got this tank of R134a...

Daox got a free 30lb tank of R123a and asks if it goes bad, and what can
be done with it.

I got this tank of R134a... - EcoRenovator


3) Dxgshpwh (ground source heat pump water heater)

Memphis91 has done an amazing job putting together a ground source heat
pump water heater. Seriously check this one out.

Dxgshpwh (ground source heat pump water heater) - EcoRenovator


4) Energy meter that can handle >= 5600W?

Anthezium asks about finding an elecricity meter that can handle 5600W.

energy meter that can handle >= 5600W? - EcoRenovator


5) New Mini Split

WyrTwister shows us the install of his latest mini-split.

New Mini Split - EcoRenovator

Daox 09-09-2015 12:20 PM

1) Lennox Solar A/C

Gtojohn talks about hooking a Lennox air conditioner up to solar

Lennox Solar ac - EcoRenovator


2) 4-ton GSHP - Hydronic conversion

TechShop shows the progress on his 62' x 42' shop with 2nd floor
apartment with hydronic heated floors and planned ground source
heat pump.

4-ton GSHP - Hydronic conversion - EcoRenovator


3) New living roof

Sunspot shares his project of creating a living roof for an area
on his home.

new living roof - EcoRenovator


4) Another heat pump food dryer

Mechanic has taken the reigns and created a food dehydrator out of
an old refrigerator.

Another heat pump food dryer - EcoRenovator


5) Adding more Blown in Insulation

Geo NR Gee is considering blowing in some more attic insulation.

Adding more Blown in Insulation - EcoRenovator

Daox 01-13-2016 10:24 AM

Another EcoRenovator update.

1) Most popular topics/threads of 2015!

What generated the most hubbub in 2015? Lots of interesting things!
Check it out:

Most popular threads of 2015! - EcoRenovator


2) Ice storm, generators and lessons learned

Stevehull shares what he learned as he went through an ice storm.

ice storm, generators and lessons learned - EcoRenovator


3) PV for a 30ft 5th wheel

Doug30293 is looking for a 400w solar PV setup for his 5th wheel.

PV for a 30ft 5th wheel (photovoltaic solar panels on RV) - EcoRenovator


4) Warmed/heated toilet seat

Oil pan 4 shares his experience with a heated toilet seat he installed.

Warmed/heated toilet seat - EcoRenovator


5) How to make the most of thermographic camera?

Piwoslaw is planning on borrowing a thermal camera and asks for tips
on how to best use it.

How to make the most of thermographic camera? - EcoRenovator


6) Anything to look for in 12V charge controllers?

Daox is looking to pick up a 12V charge controller and ask for some
advise on what to look for.

Anything to look for in 12V charge controllers? - EcoRenovator

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