Some of the members of Blackpool Makerspace have been considering undertaking one or more energy self-sufficiency based projects with reference to a Blackpool Town-House.
Water recycling, Solar hot water generation, Solar electric generation, wind generation of electricity, other types of generators which can or could use a range of different fuels.
Also considered as possible projects: How to store the energy for later use, using batteries, water tanks, piles of bricks and other yet to be thought of ideas. How to minimise energy use, and how to conserve energy.
Food production is also being considered. Compact growing systems for confined spaces, including hydroponic and Aquaponic.
While looking for projects, it became apparent that there are numerous old patents and designs which have been sidelined or forgotten about in the name of progress. There was also a suspicion that big business buy up patents if the patents in question may pose a threat to their business model.
Practicality, cost, and return on investment will be considered for each project under consideration. For example, it was pointed out that the cost of the scaffolding alone would be over £1000 before any type of solar panels could be put on the Makerspace roof. With wind turbines, there is legislation regarding hight and size to be considered. There is a lot of conflicting information relating to solar and wind generation, with the marketing people tending to push the most expensive option as opposed to the most efficient, or best value for money option.
Energy companies in the UK are pushing (marketing) smart meters as an energy awareness and possibly energy saving option. But it has been reported in the press that the meter might cease to be smart and need replacing when you switch to a new supplier. It is also reported that the meter may not save the user any money at all. Given that switching supplier is becoming more common, needing a new meter every time you switch looks like a huge waste of money and resources. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-4912922/Smart-device-replaced-swap.html
There are numerous free and open source methods of energy monitoring which may be more appropriate and waste less resources. The Open energy monitoring project: https://openenergymonitor.org/
More details of our progress will appear as we continue to investigate the options.