Is Domestic Tankless Water Heater A Energy Saver?

A Tankless water heater offers a homeowner many advantages over a conventional water heater. They are energy efficient, have a constant supply of hot water and also enjoy substantial space savings.

The tankless water heater offers builders several advantages also. You are able to up sell to a more expensive appliance, space savings and also selling of an energy-efficient appliance. Today they are installed in most zero energy homes. Also today, most custom homes are being built with a whirlpool system, high output showers, showers or tubs in other rooms, large capacity washers and dishwashers. All of these put a huge strain on a conventional water heater. Then there is a recovery period when even the biggest units run out of hot water.

A tankless water heater is fairly simple concept. Instead of a constant draw on resources to heat, maintain and reheat water in a large tank. The tankless water heaters will flash-heat the water as it is needed by running thru a heat exchange. When hot water is needed sensors will signal the burners to light and then heat the water. When the hot water is no longer needed the whole system just shuts down and there is no pilot light. This and the fact that there is no recovery period you can save 40 to 60 percent on your utilities bill.
A tankless water heater system is also compact and can be mounted to either a exterior or interior wall to save floor space. Because they are combustion sealed they can also be installed in the closet.

Tankless water heaters in the past few years have had a 20 to 30 percent sales increase per year. But they still only account for about 2 percent of the overall residential water heater market.

Part of this is the fact the some builders are jumping in the tankless water heater parade but yet others are holding back taking a more cautious approach. Also part of the increase is due to the customer’s are more knowledgeable and aware of the tankless water heater advantages.

While there are several good advantages to the tankless water heater, there are some drawbacks also.

The flow rate or capacity that a tankless water heater can supply is dependant on the heating element. The bigger the heating element is. The larger the capacity or flow rate will be. It is also affected by the difference between the water temperature and the temperature it needs to be heated. This is also known as rise.

If a tankless water heater needs to heat water from extremely hot, such as the case in the colder regions. It will have a lower flow rate. A standard shower temperature is 105 degrees. If the water needs to be heated from 65 degrees (which is common) to 105 it will do so much more efficient and with a greater flow then heating the water from 35 to 105 degrees.

Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

  • Ceramic heater with adjustable thermostat for personalized comfort
  • 1500-watt high setting, 900-watt low setting, and fan-only option
  • Manual controls; self-regulating ceramic element; quiet operation
  • Automatic overheat protection for safety; convenient carrying handle
  • Measures 7-2/5 by 6-3/5 by 10 inches; 3-year warranty

Ceramic heating with a thermostat réglable
Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

A Magnesium Fuel Cycle

Tokyo Institute of Technology Professor Takashi Yabe uses water and the common metallic element magnesium to create pollution-free power. Yabe is demonstrating the technology with an experiment performed at the Hokkaido Toyako G8 summit in Chitose, Japan, aimed to prove that the revolutionary Magnesium Energy Cycle could one-day free society from dependence on fossil fuels.  Professor Yabe’s team at TIT has been steadily testing the technology for several years now, and the pilot plant at Chitose is intended to showcase the environmentally-friendly fuel cycle to an influential audience at the G8 environmental summit.

Yabe explains that the oceans alone contain 1,800 trillion tons of magnesium, enough to meet the world’s energy needs for the next 300,000 years. But the metallic element that looks like white-silver glitter has never been considered a viable energy source because refining it, at temperatures up to 4,000°C (7,200°F), requires a lot of money and energy.

Magnesium in Assorted Forms. Click image for the largest view.

Magnesium in Assorted Forms. Click image for the largest view.

To solve that part of the process Yabe and his colleagues have been developing a system of lenses and lasers to harness one of the most readily available sources of energy around – using free sunlight.

Yabe at the Solar Collector

Yabe at the Solar Collector

First Yabe needs to get the magnesium from the ocean. To do this, the team designed a device that extracts magnesium chloride from seawater – and leaves behind fresh water -using a special evaporation technique.

Then Yabe and his team chemically turn the magnesium chloride into magnesium oxide.  Using a 43-sq.-ft. (4 sq m) plastic Fresnel lenses focuses the sunlight into lasers and sends it down microscopic fibers. The fibers help concentrate the light – and heat – onto the magnesium oxide particles inside a vacuum tank. The result is refined magnesium ready for the Yabe “magic.”

The energy extraction segment of the cycle is relatively simple: refined magnesium powder is mixed with water at room temperature, triggering a chemical reaction bonding the magnesium with the oxygen and creating heat energy. What’s left is hydrogen, which is collected and burned to produce more heat with water as its byproduct.

The cycle can recycle itself by again and again, each time applying solar-powered lasers to break the oxidized magnesium back down to the separated metallic magnesium and oxygen. The only energy used is sunlight while the waste products are oxygen, hydrogen and water. As for the magnesium, it’s not rare – the light shiny metal is the ninth-most common element in the universe, making up 2 percent of the earth’s crust and is the third-most common element dissolved in seawater.

Yabe and his team have developed a magnesium injection cycle engine, the prototype was built by Mitsubishi, which could go into production quite quickly.  Mitsubishi successfully demonstrated the injection cycle process back in 2006.  Since then, Yabe and his team have been refining the process and setting up the demonstration facility at Chitose.

The Magnesium Injection Cycle engine is powered without using fossil fuels.

The Magnesium Injection Cycle engine is powered without using fossil fuels.

Yabe and his team have dubbed the process “MAGIC” for the MAGnesium Injection Cycle.  MAGIC is a nice term for the process.

The magnesium itself may have considerable value in the fuel cell battery business as well.  Some fuel cell batteries using magnesium are reported to be seven times more powerful than the lithium-ion batteries that proposed to run many of today’s hybrid and electric vehicles.  Yabe says, “If we can replace all energy combustion with our MAGIC cycle, there will be no CO2 emissions. No one has proposed such a complete system.”

Yabe’s ultimate vision is one of a massive, solar-powered laser that beams light to a relay satellite that, in turn, sends energy to airplanes and tankers around the world.  One must say the man is thinking globally, but just getting an automobile or something running might come first.

What isn’t said or available is the overall energy needed for the evaporation, magnesium preparation or the yield from the MAGIC engine.  Having that would give Yabe and his team some legs for their efforts.  Its surely less energy intensive to recycle the magnesium, yet an overall input/output report would be very helpful.

Using the metal magnesium seems at first to be more useful than the process of using aluminum to release hydrogen, which needs a great deal of electricity input.  Lets hope the team comes up with some numbers, they would be interesting and worthwhile.  Yabe and the team’s work does look to have an interesting take on a new way to store energy using a benign metal for the “fuel.” Let’s hope it is a great idea, powered metal for fuel offers a lot of possibilities.

Original post created by: New Energy and Fuel

Go Green With LED Lighting

Robert Badaracco asked:

LED lighting is often overlooked in ‘green building’ literature while more expensive and less satisfactory environmental solutions are pursued. The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the benefits of LED lighting, and to argue that LED lighting should be considered an essential element of any ‘green’ building, house, or construction project. Let’s start with some of the benefits of LEDs. Pardon the list but there are so many it is difficult to work it into a paragraph.


LED lighting uses 80% less energy than incandescent lighting.

LED lighting produces 500% more light per Watt.

LED lights have lenses that focus the light into a pattern of equal distribution adding to energy savings as light is not wasted bouncing in unneeded directions.

LED lights do not produce as much heat. This can save on energy and maintenance costs.

LED lights do not emit significant UV or IR radiation. IR is back to the heat issue, and UV is something we generally try to avoid.

LED lights last 50,000 hours or about 25 times longer than incandescent lights. This saves obviously on maintenance and disposal.

LED lights do not contain mercury common in fluorescents.


The above is meant to be a list of environmental benefits. There are other aesthetic benefits of LEDs. For one the color temperature can be precisely controlled. Secondly, the lenses allow for better lighting rendition. This pretty much summarizes most of the benefits, and there are not any environmental risks posed by LEDs. I would simply note that while other green technologies may have some difficult drawbacks to overcome that the advantages of LED lighting are fairly strait forward and clear cut.


If there was an apparent drawback, at least from the consumer perspective, it would be the expense. An LED PAR38 12 Watt light can cost 10 times as much an incandescent light. In fact, however, the expense of LEDs is not a drawback at all. Once, energy and replacement costs are figured in the LED lights actually save money. Simply consider the cost of 24 extra replacements of the incandescent light. Then factor the extra energy use and its really not even close. We did not include that in the summer LEDs put less load on the air conditioning. Its clear the LED light ultimately saves money, but many are reluctant to purchase due to the longer term of the payback.


So if your convinced, and you want to ‘go LED’ what are some of the best products? In fact there is a broad spectrum of lighting possibilities. Everything from PAR lights to recessed ceiling lights are available all at costs that payback before too long. You should also consider the source of your LEDs. The best LEDs (in this authors opinion) are produced by CREE and SSC. CREE is a US company and SSC is in Korea. The LED fixtures may be made by any manufacturer but try to verify the source of the LEDs.


Finally, the real benefit of LEDs is that they are cool. Yes, they are not as hot as incandescent lights, but I mean they are cool. When you see the lights and what they do it is impressive. Considering how important lighting is LEDs represent the best solution and they are available today.


LEDHomePlace offers a complete spectrum of LED lighting solutions.

The New Light @ The New Light» Go Green With LED LightingThe original post is created by: The New Light