Last week I talked about zero net energy homes and challenged home builders to design a home that could take advantage of wind power without having a giant wind mill in your back yard. Over the week I had a few moments to ponder this problem myself and came up with the following.
Apple recently introduced a new Mac book pro with a fan that has the ability to cool the power hungry processor without making any noise. The way they achieved this was to offset the pitch of the fan blades so there was no resonant frequency. I am currently typing on a retina mac and I cannot hear the fan even when I put my ear right up against the machine.
What if we were to apply the same technology to a ducted fan that is in the attic of your house. There would be ducts around the house to direct the air to the fan so that the wind could blow from any direction. The blades of the fan would have a varying pitch but would be located such that the fan would always rotate in the same direction. The assembly would be mounted on steel legs that would attach to the foundation through the wooden walls, but special care would be taken to ensure that the assembly is mechanically isolated from the building structure. The isolation would provide for sound isolation.
The steel assembly would provide a mount for the generator which would be located above the ducted fan in the existing attic space. Heat generated by the generator would be exhausted through the attic in the summer and channeled into the home heating system in the winter.
The house could still be square but rather than having a fascia board around the eve, it would have a grill and a series of ducts that would direct air to the ducted fan. If you installed solar panels on the rest of the roof, you would be well on your way to a zero net energy home.
Here’s a cool web site with lots of interesting information about sizing generators. The site has links to information on traditional wind power systems as well.