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Old 06-05-2014, 12:45 PM   #41
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learn to see in the dark. Eat dry food. Cook with gas. use led for anchor lights. That is what we used to do 60 years ago ..........
If you were using LED anchor lights 60 years ago you were pretty far ahead of the curve. Did you also have an I Pad?
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:53 PM   #42
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.....Cook with propane, heat water with propane, run the refer with propane(absobtion).........
You can cook with propane (in compliance with ABYC standards) and you can certainly heat water in a pot on a propane range, but you cannot operate a water heater or refrigerator with propane safely on a boat. That is, if you believe the ABYC knows anything about propane safety on boats.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #43
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Don't talk to me about backpacking.



(My very last day of backpacking after 38 years doing it. Cooked with white gas.)
Why was that your last day?
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #44
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It's a complicated issue of lifestyle vs energy efficiency vs cost vs environmental impact. We use our generators a lot especially when cruising in hot areas. Right now in the PNW not using air conditioning and that's very different than our norm. We do not use propane or carry it on our boat. We don't currently have solar or wind. Probably will add solar at some point as further refinements are made, but our roof area compared to our consumption is very small. This is a common situation with any boats where half or more of the bridge is open. We do buy the most efficient appliances and lights available. We have the most efficient and quietest generators we could find.

We have large battery banks, but feel it's important to remind of the ugly side of lead and batteries. Lead smeltering has been among the largest polluters there has been over the last few decades. Some countries have taken steps to limit exposure of people today, the US among the leaders in this. But still remediation of prior damage is billions and much left to be done. One of the larger producers in the US not too long ago declared bankruptcy and left behind damage, some covered by previous bonds but most not. US EPA requirements are now strict so you now have a lot of it being done in Mexico and more battery production in China. Very simple. Instead of absorbing the costs of doing it right, move it to where you can do it cheaply and without concern for the environment. Why do I bring this up? Because often in making our changes we think of only part of the energy. Yes, solar is great for a boat. But it requires increased battery banks in most cases and batteries themselves take a lot of energy to manufacture and that manufacturing is very environmentally harmful if not done right.

I still believe solar is a positive step and not attempting to undermine it or discourage it. Just recognize that even though we think of the sun as free, the storage of it is not free. Cheaper than generator for sure though.

Honestly we aren't willing to make many sacrifices to reduce our power consumption so we look at products that do. Something very simple we use is solar phone and tablet chargers. We have them scattered on deck for ourselves and guests. Energy Star compliance has saved a lot. LED lights the same. Having them at home and on the boat, they have become the norm to us and we feel odd with anything else. Our office is LED rather than fluorescent. As to retail stores, we've switched all non fluorescent bulbs to LED. Now that brings to a very interesting topic, switching of fluorescent fixtures to LED. And we did one small store as an experiment. Results are great, but was quite expensive to convert. Our thoughts are that a few years from now people won't even think about LED bulbs. They will have become the norm and then light from other sources will be considered "odd." I'm sure going from candle to light bulbs was a challenge for some.

At home we've also tried to find the most efficient ways of doing what we do without compromising lifestyle. Unfortunately, we've not been able to figure out how to go solar at home. We have a home that has a terribly designed roof for solar and are in a community where limitations exist as to changes and appearance. Plus we're only home 4 months a year. Still it is our hope to figure it out and do it one day. I will say now though that the construction of our home plus the current roofing tiles are very energy efficient. We have concrete roofing tiles (referred to by manufacturer as "cool tiles"). We didn't build the home, but purchased it. However, the cooling costs are at least 30% less than a traditional home. Meanwhile our tile manufacturer is working with solar companies on means to integrate the two.

It's hard to compare, but I'd say overall our energy costs on our home in Florida with the tiles, Energy Star everything, very efficient heat pumps, and other items such as design and overhangs and windows is 40-50% less than a traditional home it's size would be. It's far more efficient than our older home in NC was.

My point is that even for those who aren't willing to sacrifice creature comforts there are means today and will be more to less consumption regardless of the power source.

And a pet peeve energy related. Cost some marinas charge for electricity. They give good rates for dockage and then the add-ons are marked up enormously. Please I wish they'd set the slip fees even higher if necessary but not go after such revenues in other areas. Where we're docked at this very moment, the slip fee is a very reasonable $1.75/ft, water, trash and cable tv even included if desired. Pump out is $17.50 for under 100 gallons but $50 for over 100. And electric for 50 amp is $10, but 60 amp 3 phase is $50 per day and 100 amp is $100 per day. We're not going to but we could run our generators cheaper. For permanent moorage they bill at utility company rates but for transients it's just wild.

We do enjoy reading what everyone is posting and gathering ideas. Some are things we won't do, but many are things we've done or will consider. Often simple. Even our cooling systems at home today take far less energy than their equivalents 20 years ago. Nice thing about the PNW is that we've only used generator at start up and inverter has supplied us very well while underway most of the time. I think a generator kicked on once yesterday when laundry was started but soon went back off. A lot different when you don't need air conditioning. In Florida, the generator would have been running.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:24 PM   #45
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Just FYI, when I talk about reducing energy consumption, I look to do it without compromising what/how I want to do something. LED lights are a good example. You could same energy by living in the dark, or you could still have good light, but get it more efficiently. I definitely want all my creature comfort, but with a little thought and research, you will find widely varying ways to get those comforts, with widely varying energy consumption.

Reducing energy does not mean doing without.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:39 PM   #46
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Just FYI, when I talk about reducing energy consumption, I look to do it without compromising what/how I want to do something. LED lights are a good example. You could same energy by living in the dark, or you could still have good light, but get it more efficiently. I definitely want all my creature comfort, but with a little thought and research, you will find widely varying ways to get those comforts, with widely varying energy consumption.

Reducing energy does not mean doing without.
That's our approach too. And it's a fine line. I remember some very failed energy conservation ideas. Had many proposed to me during my corporate career. Sometimes you see all we add that uses energy. But then I look at com-parables. I know our home has far more gadgets and electronics but still uses at least 50% less energy than it would have 20 years ago. On the boat it's little things but they all add up. Our engines consume 30% less fuel than comparable horsepower 20 years ago. Same with generators. Lights all LED. All energy star.

Now some of these have had to be pushed by government regulation simply because consumers are very reluctant to pay now for future savings. It's hard to sell $10 light bulbs beside $1 bulbs. Until the emergence and common presence of Energy Star people weren't buying energy efficient appliances. And Autos are the prime example. If limits of average consumption hadn't been forced on manufacturers we just wouldn't have done it.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:04 PM   #47
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Now some of these have had to be pushed by government regulation simply because consumers are very reluctant to pay now for future savings. It's hard to sell $10 light bulbs beside $1 bulbs. Until the emergence and common presence of Energy Star people weren't buying energy efficient appliances. And Autos are the prime example. If limits of average consumption hadn't been forced on manufacturers we just wouldn't have done it.
It's the price of fuel/energy, not government mandates that drive consumer purchasing habits. Poorly thought out government mandates have arguably cost the consumer, not helped. The LED versus fluorescent miscalculation comes to mind. But let's not go there.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:08 PM   #48
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............. Now some of these have had to be pushed by government regulation simply because consumers are very reluctant to pay now for future savings. It's hard to sell $10 light bulbs beside $1 bulbs. Until the emergence and common presence of Energy Star people weren't buying energy efficient appliances. And Autos are the prime example. If limits of average consumption hadn't been forced on manufacturers we just wouldn't have done it.
Yea, we really need the government passing more regulations. The government's job is national defense and infrastructure, not telling us which toilets or lightbulbs we can buy.

Figure out a way to turn boat poop into electricity and we'll have it made,
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:11 PM   #49
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Hello Wil. I've been living on the hook for a while and am "almost" at decadence level. Not quite there yet, but I'm closing in. The first thing I did was buy an Air-Breeze wind generator as on the east coast there were a lot of sea breezes starting at 10 a.m.

Then I added a 75 watt solar panel and a Morningstar10 solar regulator. It wasn't enough. This past year I added two more 100 watt panels and upgraded to a Morningstar30 regulator. I like that regulator far better.

HOWEVER, if I didn't have real estate and was limited to the number of panels I could fit up top, I'd have opted for an MMPT regulator. What I've seen/read regarding the differences between them:

Backing up a bit...
My latitude is 30 degrees, give or take. Think FL and GA border.
From my solar panels I get approximately 100 amp hours per day. Taking wattage, divide by 3 and call it amps -- you can get fancy, but that's the number with a standard regulator that I'm seeing. This was confirmed by an EE with a penchant for precision, though I think all Electrical Engineers have that symptom.

However, there's a fellow up in WA state and he's got the MMPT regulator. He's getting the same figures as me (watts divide by 3 equals amp hours) at his latitude.
That's the difference in a nutshell.

A big help was an efficient anchor light. Whatever you buy (LED of course) should have an automatic switch so it comes on at dusk and off at dawn. You won't ever have to remember it.

And don't be so quick to shut down that generator. I've been aboard a Manatee with the genny on and couldn't hear it over the sound of the ice cubes in my glass.

Just don't be so focused on getting it all right that you forget to live the life. Get out here and play for a while and soon enough your desires will determine what is next to fix/upgrade or switch to.

But live with what you've got at first. There's a reason your boat was outfitted as she was. Perhaps it's not apparent today, but in six months you'll know for certain. In the meantime add batteries, a great charger, and live with your generator.

In my opinion that is.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:13 PM   #50
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Why was that your last day?
I was over the hill (aged 55) -- pun intended.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:46 PM   #51
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It's the price of fuel/energy, not government mandates that drive consumer purchasing habits. Poorly thought out government mandates have arguably cost the consumer, not helped. The LED versus fluorescent miscalculation comes to mind. But let's not go there.
You're right that poorly thought out mandates cost money. But, two circumstances where the mandates were effective and necessary. Average mpg on cars. The consumer was not moving that mark. Manufacturers were not increasing their mpg. It only happened as limits were set on them. The consumer temporarily went small after the energy crisis in the 70's and immediately returned to bigger engines. And the drive to get more efficiency out of the same sized engine is expensive and did cost consumers. This is why one manufacturer couldn't proceed without all doing so. The other example is catalytic converters. They cost. No doubt. But they reduce pollution. Consumers weren't going to voluntarily add them.

Now I'm sure you can give many examples of failures. Don't need to. I know plenty about failures of governmental mandates. Simply stating sometimes it has been necessary and worked. Pollution by manufacturers and EPA requirements to control it was necessary. Now it put US manufacturers on equal ground but unfortunately competing with others not required to limit their pollution.

In some cases consumers will push the bar. In others, we as consumers just don't do it.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:53 PM   #52
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And don't be so quick to shut down that generator. I've been aboard a Manatee with the genny on and couldn't hear it over the sound of the ice cubes in my glass.
On the boat we're on today our maximum at WOT with both engines and both gens is 60 decibels. Sitting we don't hear the generator. It's a Northern Lights with Sound Shield. Engines idling (750 rpms) and gens on, we get a reading of 51 decibels.
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:13 PM   #53
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- Don't heat things with electric when you can heat with gas, but this is a problem on boats. Marine "code" (ABYC in the US) has very specific requirements for gas appliances that run on their own and cycle on an off. Refrigerators and water heaters fall into this category, and as far as I know, there are ZERO products that meet the criteria. Yes, you can ignore the standards and do it anyway, but I wouldn't.
Would you summarize those ABYC requirements for refrigerators/water heaters (and presumably gas furnaces).

We just bought an RV. I was struck by those three appliances that seem to work so well in an RV, but the industry- Dometic for the most part, seems unable to make them work in a boat (to ABYC standards).

I appreciate that a boat is a vessel that will collect propane if it leaks and it will build up and up, until..... RVs do not seem to collect it, as presumably there are enough ways for propane to leak out from the bottom of an RV.

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Old 06-05-2014, 05:06 PM   #54
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Just don't be so focused on getting it all right that you forget to live the life. Get out here and play for a while and soon enough your desires will determine what is next to fix/upgrade or switch to.

But live with what you've got at first. There's a reason your boat was outfitted as she was. Perhaps it's not apparent today, but in six months you'll know for certain. ...

In my opinion that is.

Good opinion.

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Old 06-05-2014, 05:10 PM   #55
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I will say now though that the construction of our home plus the current roofing tiles are very energy efficient. We have concrete roofing tiles (referred to by manufacturer as "cool tiles"). We didn't build the home, but purchased it. However, the cooling costs are at least 30% less than a traditional home. Meanwhile our tile manufacturer is working with solar companies on means to integrate the two.

Interesting. Can you provide a link to the cool tiles? We night be faced with re-roofing in the not-so-distant future...

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Old 06-05-2014, 05:58 PM   #56
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Interesting. Can you provide a link to the cool tiles? We night be faced with re-roofing in the not-so-distant future...

-Chris
Here are links to a couple of firms with them.

Eagle Roofing Products | Concrete Roof Tile | Roof Replacement

Hanson Roof Tile - Concrete roof tile in many beautiful styles and colors.

Ours are Eagle Cool Tiles. 25 Year Warranty.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:18 PM   #57
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We feel the same way.

We like coooking on electric, and weve got to charge the batteries, and make hot water anyway, so why not have a electric stove and oven.

Same ideas here about propane. I can get my boat to within inches of a diesel pump. The nearest propane is somewhere on shore. Then I'd have to be monitoring the bottles to make sure I'm not out, etc...

The concept here is to have electrical systems that are sized to work together. Quiet generator, feeding high capacity charger. Electric hot water heater, stove, it all works together.
I am an electric boat too. My genny, an Onan, stuffed under my cockpit is really quiet and you bearly hear it out side. Need to do some work with 6Vdc batteries and inverters.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:55 PM   #58
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Here are links to a couple of firms with them.

Eagle Roofing Products | Concrete Roof Tile | Roof Replacement

Hanson Roof Tile - Concrete roof tile in many beautiful styles and colors.

Ours are Eagle Cool Tiles. 25 Year Warranty.

Thanks very much.

-Chris
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:38 PM   #59
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Northern Lights with sound shield.

No additional quieting.

Instead of making it a goal to minimize your power footprint, which in and of itself does not add or take away from the "on the hook experience", perhaps it might be useful to think of it in a different way.

What part of using energy do you not like? Generally its not the using of the energy that you do not like, its the producing it that's bothersome.

So, minimize the bother of generating energy. Invest in a very quiet properly sized generator. You can quickly exceed the cost of a good generator in both time and hassle factor trying to minimize everything.
That's a good point. I really don't have any idea how truly quiet the best AC generators are these days. Had bad memories of being anchored at The Baths with peace & beauty all around after spending the whole day beating to it--and some powerboat guy would roar up, throw out the hook, turn up the genny and tunes, and there goes that. I don't want to be that guy. He didn't mean any harm, just didn't have a clue. But that was a long time ago. Gennys as you say are quieter and their owners are more considerate. We all get better with time.

I agree it is the producing that is bothersome. The more energy is conserved, the less one has to produce. That's the easier way, you agree with that. When we get our KK42, I'm looking into a quiet DC generator to replace the existing AC one. It will be much smaller and can directly charge the bank. I believe that is more efficient and will properly load the engine, rather than underloading the main engine or maybe even the AC genny. Could be wrong, but the idea sounds intriguing.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:44 PM   #60
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Most decent gensets are as quiet or quieter than many wind generators and definitely quieter than most people who play tunes loud enough to be heard by surrounding boats...

That was my point about peace and quiet....and expectations....

Along much of the Eastern Seaboard it's rare not to hear other cruisers, small boat traffic, air traffic, traffic noise, etc...etc....
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