Equipment and products that enable us to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels and conventional electricity are highly beneficial. Examples include solar thermal systems, solar electric (photovoltaic) systems, and wind turbines. Other power generation equipment, such as fuel cells and some energy storage systems (like batteries) are included here because they help us accommodate varied energy sources so that we may eventually move beyond fossil-fuel dependence.
While resilience—the ability to weather natural disasters and maintain livable conditions in the aftermath of disruptive events—is mostly an issue of building design and community preparedness, certain products can help. For example, almost all heating systems require electricity to operate even if their primary fuel is oil, gas, or wood pellets; systems that allow operation even if grid electricity is not available are more resilient in the event of power outages. Rainwater harvesting, water storage, composting toilets, and waterless urinals contribute to resilience not only in drought-prone areas but also during power outages in any home dependent on well water. Solar water heating systems that can operate without utility power, and back-up power systems that are more energy-efficient than standard generators, may have this attribute.
The Spectra Solar Cube is a solar- and wind-powered water purification and/or desalination system that can provide both pure drinking water and electricity for small villages, resorts, or disaster relief. The system's 1 kW wind generator and 1.2 kW PV panel provide power to an inverter/charger that keeps the 100 Amp-hour battery pack charged, and powers the 900 W filtration system. The system can provide extra power in 24V DC, or convert it to 110 or 220V AC. Each subsystem can be removed from the cube for accessibility and easy maintenance. The SSW 3500 Spectra Solar Seawater System produces 3500 liters/day of fresh water from saline water. The SSBW 6500 Spectra Solar Brackish Water System provides from 3500–6500 liters/day, depending on the salinity of the feed water. These systems use Spectra's patented clark pump reverse osmosis desalinization system. The SFWS 15,000 Spectra Solar Fresh Water System can purify 15,000 liters/day from almost any non-saline water source using an ultra filtration purification system from GE to remove virus and bacteria without the use of harsh or toxic chemicals.
Water filtration equipment is necessary in many areas to provide high-quality purified drinking water. In the U.S., 15% of households have their own wells, many in rural areas where agricultural runoff containing pesticide residue makes water purification an essential health measure. Worldwide, the number of people without access to clean drinking water is in the billions.
GreenSpec lists products using solar power, or passive solar distillation, processes which use renewable energy and that will work in off-grid situations or in the case of power outages. These systems can also be key components of rainwater harvesting systems.
GreenSpec does not currently list reverse-osmosis systems or water softeners, which introduce salt into wastewater. For more information, see The Water We Drink: Softeners, Filters, and Other Treatment Options in EBN.
EAc2: On-Site Renewable Energy
EAc2: On-site Renewable Energy
WEc1: Water Use Reduction
WEc2: Innovative Wastewater Technologies
WEc3: Water Use Reduction
WEc3.1-3.2: Water Use Reduction
WEp1: Water Use Reduction—20% Reduction
WEp1: Minimum Indoor Plumbing Fixture and Fitting Efficiency
WEp1: Water Use Reduction
Ratings and Commentary