Last post on Dec 05, 2013 at 9:23 PM
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#712 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [steve_]
Feb 08, 2013 (7:03 pm)
All ours are full. Not much chance of a blizzard. Though we are getting hail as I am typing. Snow just 1000 feet higher than I am. Our gas is always high because everything in CA is more expensive. Except oranges and avocados.
#713 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [steve_]
Feb 11, 2013 (11:01 am)
Actually, you can grow barley, and pretty well at that, but the problem back in the 1980's is that they hadn't developed a strain of barley that was suited to the northern climate. Now, we have such a variety (Sunshine Barley), developed right here at UAF.
As with corn, it isn't that barley couldn't be grown here, it's that it couldn't be grown reliably from year to year. An additional issue with Delta is that the bison herds, which are of the plains variety, love open areas (as opposed to forest, which is what is native to the Delta area) and they love barley. So, you can see where this is going....
Be that as it may, it would be a complete travesty to use any crop harvested in this state for something as inefficient as ethanol production. The growing season is short and food is a precious commodity.
We get poor enough fuel economy in the winter as it is, the last thing we need is another hit by including ethanol in the fuel. The "smog" we see here in the winter months is primarily due to the temperature inversions, which can be quite severe at times, holding all of the emissions down low to the ground. The vast majority of the contributing emissions are from space heating devices (boilers, stoves, etc). Automobiles used to be a prime source, but emissions from them are vastly cleaner than even as recent as fifteen years ago.
Fairbanks even ended its emissions testing program a few years ago, despite the ongoing winter air quality concerns.
#714 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [xwesx]
Feb 11, 2013 (11:39 am)
Still a lot of people heating with wood and oil I would imagine. That is not the cleanest form of heat. With our atrocious propane price here I use a lot of wood. Of course that is not cheap this time of year. I bought in the Summer at about half the current going price.
#715 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [gagrice]
Feb 11, 2013 (11:47 am)
Shoot, if I lived in that area, I'm not sure I would even heat!
Yes, there's a lot of wood burning. Fortunately, the price of oil has encouraged many (most?) folks to keep their heating appliances in top shape, so oil particulates are pretty low. Wood burners are probably the biggest contributor to the air quality problem because it is so easy to burn wood inefficiently, and it is still inexpensive enough that many folks aren't willing to put in the extra up-front investment to increase the burn quality. The same can be said for coal, I suppose, but there is very little coal use here except in the power plants, which are equipped for their fuel source.
We have limited access to gaseous fuels like propane or natural gas, and both are very expensive. There is some use, but it isn't wide spread outside of the city of Fairbanks.
#716 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [xwesx]
Feb 11, 2013 (12:17 pm)
I remember the propane bills in Eagle River during the winter. Easy $500 per month to heat our big log home. I use a high end Avalon insert in my fireplace here. It is pretty efficient and sealed to keep the particulates out of the house. I would imagine you have hot water baseboard heat. Which is so much better than our forced air furnaces. We have needed heat here since November. At noon today it is 45 degrees at my house. A full 20 degrees below normal. Of course the liars at the NWS will post their in the sun figures. Our home is well insulated which helps. We have used the heat more this year than AC. I think we turned on the AC maybe 10 days all summer long. Which was the coldest July ever recorded.
#717 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [gagrice]
Feb 11, 2013 (12:27 pm)
That's good for the summer... bad for the winter!
I installed an in-floor hydronic system rather than using hydronic baseboards, but it's the same idea... just better executed.
I love it! I can't believe it took me eight years to get it hooked up, dealing with cold floors every winter. Next time, the heating system is the first thing I finish. Heck, I don't even need plumbing or electric first. Give me that in-floor heat! We start heating around the beginning to middle of September, whenever the temperature in the house drops under 56F during the day. Night-time outdoor temperatures are generally with 5 degrees of freezing (+ OR -) by then. From there, we heat until May 1, at which point I shut the system down and the family just has to deal with cold spells if the outdoor weather doesn't cooperate.
Last year was my highest consumption winter, the first after which we had the boiler hydronic system installed for a full winter, and we used ~750 gallons of #1 heating oil (for 2400 square feet, which is really good this far north). This winter, based on current consumption, I expect to come in close to 600. We had a guy come out in late October and re-tune the unit, which has made an impressive difference.
I was hoping we would use ~400 a year when I first built the house, which would give us 2.5 years from our 1,000 gallon tank, but that just wasn't realistic for the size of the space. I'd have to dump a mint into additional insulation to get us close to that, and I just don't think it's worth the effort or the money.
#719 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [steve_]
Feb 11, 2013 (4:52 pm)
Hahaha; yeah, well, everyone loves an
handout entitlement, right?
Subsidies aren't necessary to succeed. Growing the right crops in the right mix is the best bet for success. Personally, I think potatoes, sunflowers, and peonies are the way to go. As a short day plant, sunflowers might seem like an odd choice, but we have a few northern-adapted varieties that are pretty consistent producers.
#720 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [steve_]
Feb 11, 2013 (4:54 pm)
Betting.... hah! There has to be chance involved to bet. The fact is that if you let people play these games with such a basic commodity, they will always win. Always.
#721 of 948 Re: $4.00/gal is back... [xwesx]
Feb 11, 2013 (5:49 pm)
The in-floor heat is wonderful. We had that put into our big shop in Prudhoe when we built it. The building was the warmest of our complex. And far and away the cheapest to heat with Natural Gas. Our main building had electric heat. What are you paying for heating oil this year? Looks like your gas is cheaper than San Diego. And diesel about the same.