Posted 09-10-2003 at 10:04:31
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I've been interested in alternative energy since a very early age. My dad built the house at the farm by himself and incorporated many solar and passive energy systems. This was in the late fifties when everyone else was building "fallout shelters".
One of the solar water systems he made was a plywood box/glass lid, with copper tubing coiled back and forth inside. The copper was painted black.
Worked great, had to move inside the house in the winter to prevent freezing. Even while inside parked in front of the great window it cranked out a lot of hot water.
I have only made solar stills under survival conditions to provide drinking water. It could be used much more efficiently with more materials than I had to work with.
I did come across a site that discussed using old radiators as a solar collectors. Back in the late 60's early 70's I lived in a large house in Vallejo, Ca. that had solar hot water, the system was from about 1920's.
My family still pratices the tradition my dad started of using black pipe and garden hose for solar showers when we have reunions during the summer, works great, don't sleep in and expect a hot shower.
There is a lot this country could do with a reverse REA program. Encouraging conservation would provide immediate returns, alternative energy would provide returns for years to come.
Good to hear from you DC.