Batteries aren’t the only way to store energy. Here’s another.

“Reduce emissions and save the grid with this one weird trick!!!”
-Confucius

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20 comments

  1. Hey! I realized that I pretty much only talked about the residential side of things and left some of the tactics commercial buildings use until the very end. Well, here’s me now saying that this is by no means something we can’t apply wherever it would work. In fact, many commercial buildings are doing pre-cooling already when it makes sense for them. None of the ideas presented here are new, exactly.
    But I do think there’s a lot of potential here specifically when it comes to getting use out of renewables. “Make hay while the sun is shining” is a perfect expression, here. In some areas we’re already running into issues where there’s so much solar capacity that we can’t use it all. Rather than wait until we have more electrochemical batteries at our disposal, perhaps we can use all this thermal mass we have.
    The key thing about insulation is that it slows the transfer of heat. That means it buys you time. The challenge of renewables has always been that the time of production doesn’t match the time of consumption, but with more intelligent control and awareness of a building’s thermal capacity, ability to pre-heat and pre-cool, and the tolerances of its occupants we have a pretty flexible tool for shifting consumption right now.

  2. I sometimes forget that people live in places that require them to control the climate in their house. South Africa – the crime’s terrible, the economy is screwed and our leaders are clueless, but at least the weather is nice 😀

  3. I feel like a lot of people would be equally pissed off about having the temperature turned down.

  4. Another appliance that would be rather simple to move the load on is the water heater.
    Fill it during off hours, heat it to the limit, then limit the refill to a minimum during the day.
    If you were to use a more advanced machine then it could heat the water close to the boiling point, and then dilute it to a safe level when used.

  5. My apartment building is basically a concrete block oven behind the drywall and outer façade. There is zero shade and to make it worse there is an older lade living below me to freaking turns her heat on on “cool” summer night when it in the sixties, which just heats my place up too. Then daytime come and the sun comes right in my north facing, single-pane windows.

    I t just cooks me until I give in and turn the AC on.

  6. Ice banks/ice storage used to be popular. The contractor I work for services an ice bank in Chicago that builds about 21,000 tons of ice overnight and melts it throughout the day.

  7. You know a great deal about tech and power generation, but you’re very ignorant on issues of liberty and control. The entire electrical rate structure is a carrot and stick approach to controlling behavior.

    Learn what command and control economy is, and how government lust for power is insatiable.

  8. Cooling at night is probably more efficient, too, since the gradient between the hot radiator and the cool air is larger.

  9. Thermal mass… That is the answer to so many problems. If you have a lot of thermal mass the need for cooling or heating maximum capacity goes down significantly.

  10. On hot days, you can pretend your car has AC by keeping the windows up, putting on a warm coat and woolly hat.
    Next door will be so jealous!

  11. “though their house is in direct sunlight for many hours daily. ”

    It wouldn’t be if they fitted solar panels.

  12. Another great video with real world possibilities for many of us. I am a whole house fan fan, using it anytime I know that it will cool off significantly at night. (We only have limited window A/C so “overcooling” is not an option).

  13. I have long believed that appliances need to be made so that they work together from a collective source of heat and coldness.

    A solar absorbtion chiller could provide subzero glycol for air conditioners and refrigerators. Solar collectors could provide hot water for heat and.. well.. hot water. Utilizing solar energy directly is much more efficient than powering conventional appliances from solar panels.

    The biggest drawback is the misconception that utilizing solar energy condemns you to using solar energy exclusively, leaving you high and dry when solar is insufficient. However, an appliance like a water heater could make use of a solar collector and still contain a heating element.

  14. On August 14, 2003, the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant played an unheralded part in maintaining grid frequency as it nearly absorbed 2,400 GW of load that was being shed from the ITC SW Area as disconnects were engaging all across lower Michigan. Additionally over the next few days as utilities raced to repair, assess, and determine the cause of this major outage, the Ludington Plant shined again as it ran its reservoir dry, operating way below its safe low-low operating parameters in its ongoing effort to keep the grid stable. Without this facility and its valiant staff, the 2003 blackout could have continued to spread until plunging the whole of the eastern half of North America into darkness.

  15. How can you have 150 bucks in electricity bills, we pay 80, but we also pay like 30ct a kilowatt. We have consume around 3000kw a year and we already have a house.

  16. My family has kinda been doing this for as long as I can remember but since we don’t have an AC we open up all of the windows in the house at night and put fans in them to pull in the cool outside air and at around 7am or so we close them and all of the blinds