Facebook PixelFind the cheapest way of heating your home during an energy crisis
Brainstorming
Tour
Brainstorming
Create newCreate new
EverythingEverything
ChallengesChallenges
IdeasIdeas
Challenge

Find the cheapest way of heating your home during an energy crisis

Image credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/XPy3ZRkfoYo

Loading...
jnikola
jnikola Oct 01, 2022
Please leave the feedback on this challenge
Necessity

Is the problem still unsolved?

Conciseness

Is it concisely described?

Bounty for the best solution

Provide a bounty for the best solution

Bounties attract serious brainpower to the challenge.

Currency *
Bitcoin
Who gets the Bounty *
Distribution
Imagine one of the scenarios:
  • Europe spends all the gas and heating on gas is not an option
  • Electricity gets really expensive so electric heaters don't present a solution
  • Sudden war cuts the electricity, gas and water and the winter is coming
How could we generate heat in urban areas/residential buildings where creating an open fire is not an option?
9
Creative contributions

A DIY rocket stove fired by fallen branches collected from local forests

Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 05, 2022
A few years ago I made a rocket stove using one square steel pipe. The build was almost exactly like this one, but less complex (no air intake up front, but with an ashtray underneath):

My DIY rocket stove was fired indoors to heat a horse stable and prevent the water from freezing. The stove was welded together in one piece with the chimney. Imagine something like this:
From experience, this rocket stove is not easy to get started. The air starts moving in the right direction only once it heats up (hot air moves up - and gets pushed out). So it took some effort to get started but once it got going the rest was easy. I used a torch to heat up the pipe and get the air going. A hot fan could also work.
One could heat their home during the winter by going out on firewood gathering trips, collecting dead branches from nearby forests. They could use a hatchet or a hand saw.
The same solution could be used for inner city apartment buildings in times of heating crisis. If electricity goes out and there is no central heating one would take out a window and replace it with an OSB board. Cut out a piece where the steel tube is exiting (makeshift chimney) and you're ready to fire the rocket stove right in a city center. It's not elegant but it's better than freezing.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
jnikola
jnikolaa year ago
Yes, I wanted to ask if the smoke was coming up out of the air in-vent, but you answered the question. Very cool!
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
Seems like a possible solution for heating an RV too. Could be dangerous though
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Darko Savic
Darko Savica year ago
Povilas S By default all RV's should have air quality monitors where the alarm goes off if monoxide or CO2 is too high. Those monitors are fairly inexpensive
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Compost heating

Loading...
Spook Louw
Spook Louw Oct 05, 2022
This is perhaps not a great solution for urban areas, as it requires quite a large compost heap, which can have a strong odour and takes up space. But perhaps for people who are struggling with heating and do have a large property or farm.
"Compost heat is produced as a by-product of the microbial breakdown of organic material. The heat production depends on the size of the pile, its moisture content, aeration, and C/N ratio. Additionally, ambient (indoor or outdoor) temperature affects compost temperatures."
A compost heating system harnesses the heat that is a byproduct of this chemical process that occurs when organic material decomposes.

[1]http://compost.css.cornell.edu/physics.html#:~:text=Compost%20heat%20is%20produced%20as,outdoor)%20temperature%20affects%20compost%20temperatures.

Please leave the feedback on this idea

DIY: Candles or oil in terracotta pots

Loading...
jnikola
jnikola Oct 03, 2022
I found a cool solution that people used to heat the room. They created a terracotta pot heater which runs on candles. It could also run on oil or any strong alcohol, which makes it suitable for really challenging times.
This guy described how he created it, what were the costs, how much it costs to heat yourself on candles and how efficient it is. In his video, he says that he managed to lift the room temperature for 5.2 ºC in 4 hours!
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Off-grid renewable energy sources

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 03, 2022
Install off-grid renewable electricity generating systems - solar panels, running water turbines (in case you live near natural streams), wind turbines. Use the energy to operate electric heaters or contribute to semi-electric heating sources (such as geothermal heating).
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
jnikola
jnikolaa year ago
But what if you live in a residential building with 120 apartments? The documentation could be a nightmare, a never-ending story.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
J. Nikola I don't know about bureaucracy in this case, never dealt with that, but generally, I don't see a reason why you couldn't install some, say, solar panels in your balcony and use the energy to complement your needs.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
jnikola
jnikolaa year ago
Povilas S That was actually my idea in the last few weeks :)
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Enhancing the efficiency of electricity-generating home fitness equipment

Loading...
jnikola
jnikola Oct 03, 2022
The idea is to generate enough electricity or heat to make you warm by exercising on a home fitness bike, rowing machine or similar workout equipment. Here I proposed several ideas that could maybe make it happen.
Why?
With expensive electricity and no gas, workout could be a good way how we could not only warm ourselves but also our homes.
How would it work?
Similar to the example of a gym (or this one) that reduced their $600+ monthly electricity bill to $30 by implementing power-generating equipment, we could do the same for our homes, but some changes need to be made.
When you search for "powering your home with a bike", you usually find that a person cycling on a home bike can generate energy equivalent to an energy spent by 100W lightbulb. In other words, if you pedalled for 8-hours a day for a month, you would generate approximately 16 kWh. Average household spends 1000 kWh per month. So no huge electricity saving, but some heating could be possible.
  • CONNECTING EXISTING FITNESS EQUIPMENT TO A LOW_POWER HEATER
Some heaters require less energy to produce heat. Sometimes they just produce less heat but sometimes they have a different way of dispersing the heat what makes them more effcient. One example is this one. If we connected it to a fitness bike, it could theoretically work during the exercise on 1/4th of its cpacity, generating heat.
  • CONNECTING BIKE OR A MILL TO A MATERIAL THAT STORES HEAT FOR LONGER TIME
Another way could be to power a heater or transfer heat into the material that stores it and emits for a longer time. For example, rear wheel of a bike could be connected to a breaking disc that makes the exercise harder by friction and thus gets warm. After the workout, this stone or terracota-based disc could emit heat for some time, making the room warmer.
Why it could work?
In all linked posts, people discussed scenarios where fitness machines are used to generate electricity. However, all the electricity generated was used to create heat, along with the heat that an exercising body itself produces, rugs, insulation of your home and similar heat-capturing tricks, it could be enough to heat up the room.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Florin Buda
Florin Budaa year ago
I'm talking from memory so i might be wrong: the human body produce 4 parts of heat for each 1 part of power (or so). So if you all you want is the heat, just do pushups and let your muscles heat the room.. :)
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
jnikola
jnikolaa year ago
Florin Buda I agree with you and that's something we should definitely use when constructing these machines and novel ways of heating with human labour. However, using these machines could save energy and use it for heating hours after we stop working out. In that way, we could stay warmer for longer periods, not only short after the workout.
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Geothermal heating

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 03, 2022
Geothermal heating seems like a perfect solution to this. It doesn't use gas or any other type of fossil fuel and requires little electricity to operate. Contrary to common belief, off-grid geothermal systems can be installed at any home, independently from its location. The main con of it is comparably high installation costs. But I think that's exactly the right price to pay to have energy crisis insurance. Read more about it here.
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Portable fireplace

Loading...
Spook Louw
Spook Louw Oct 05, 2022
I was thinking, instead of trying to find something to generate heat because an open flame is not an option, why not try and make an open flame an option?
So I started looking at portable fireplaces, while they do exist, they seem to be mostly electric. The wood-fueled indoor fireplaces I found seemed more like permanent installations.
So perhaps there's an opportunity here? Maybe we can design something which would safely contain a fire, generate heat and an effective way to direct the emissions into the open air outside without causing any damage to the building. The last part seems to be the trickiest. I can imagine some sort of exhaust that simply goes out of the window, similar to old air conditioners, but I foresee problems with that if there are other people in your building. Still, I don't think it is an impossible task.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
jnikola
jnikolaa year ago
Great problem finding right there! I accept the challenge!
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Using algae photobioreactors to heat up the buildings

Loading...
Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain Oct 31, 2022
As an alternative to plant-based heating posted elsewhere, the idea is to use algae as the heat producer.
In this type of system, the idea is to use wastewater from the building, and use it to grow algae that feed off nutrients like phosphorous and potassium in the wastewater. The algae can be grown vertically on the walls (though the walls need to be designed for especially containing the water, and they need to be transparent), and also on the roofs. If designed properly, this system works as a water purification cum heat-producing.
This idea has actually been tried and brought to life in Germany. In what the designers refer to as Bio Intelligent Quotient (BIQ) building , the 15-story apartment building's facade is wrapped in algal biomass that is produced within a photo-bioreactor. The photobioreactor is modified and designed to attach as an additional transparent panel onto the sides of the building. These bioreactor panels generate energy by acting as solar thermal collectors, and the generated energy is carbon-neutral. Additionally, in the photobioreactor facade, the algae grow by using sunlight and produce biomass and heat as it grows. Apart from direct heat, the biomass can be converted to methane with an efficiency of up to 80%. This research review further explores this idea and summarizes challenges and opportunities for photobioreactor facades.

[1]https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/german-building-uses-algae-for-heating-and-cooling.html

Please leave the feedback on this idea

Using thermogenic microorganisms and chemical thermogenic reactions

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 22, 2022
The compost heating method proposed by Spook Louw works because of the thermogenic bacteria multiplying in the organic waste. I wonder could one create a mini econiche for these microorganisms in, say, a plastic bottle, using a liquid with nutrients instead of organic matter. It should be easier to control the thermogenic process this way. This might lead to the creation of a thermogenic, "hydroponic" DIY heating system.
Purely chemical thermogenic reactions could also be used, although those might require chemicals that are hard to obtain and be more dangerous to initiate in a domestic environment.
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
jnikola
jnikolaa year ago
Although a great idea, maybe a single bottle could not be enough to heat a small room. Also, since you would probably have to close the bottle to stop the unpleasant smells from spreading, you would have an accumulation of gasses inside. To release the pressure, you would have to open the bottle, which would smell really bad, I guess. How could we scale this up and solve the problem of bad smell?
Please leave the feedback on this idea
Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas Sa year ago
J. Nikola Yes, I had in mind that you'd use multiple bottles for this or a larger tank. For proper heating of the indoor space, a specialized system should be developed, tubes would be used to provide nutrients and release the gas pressure. Such a system shouldn't be too complicated to develop using DIY means.
Please leave the feedback on this idea

Add your creative contribution

0 / 200

Added via the text editor

Sign up or

or

Guest sign up

* Indicates a required field

By using this platform you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

General comments