idiosynchronic (idiosynchronic) wrote,

Machines For Living

A few days ago, I posted a commentary about why I got out of architecture in college on on WWDN's forums:
"I might try applying to Master's programs in Architecture. When I was young, I had no real driving reason to do architecture after getting into the school. That lack of focus just really wiped me out, and I quit after 3 years. (I did get a BA in Art though . .) Now I'm a big fan of alternative and ecological energy technologies & techniques in residential and commercial design. Call it the function that would drive my forms. I'd like to give it a shot, at least find out if this is a dream, or just something I like to play with."

Slashdot today posted a new article on living off the power grid, which continues to fuel my mental fire. The original article can be read on Home Power magazine's website. (I'm thinking I should get me a copy out of curiosity) Some of the more interesting Slashdot user comments:

"Not that payback is currently the best reason to go with solar. If someone hits a baseball into your panels, there goes your chance of payback for awhile ;) But it does frequently exist, and a net zero or close to it for energy manufactured from a clean and renewable resource, for many, is maybe worth forgoing marble countertops. . .
Interesting that I routinely deal with homes that will think nothing of spending thousands upon thousands of dollars to use Antique Jerusalem Stone on the floors, but mention Solar and the first question is, "what's the payback"."

"You mention 150 watts [the average desktop's power draw] as if it's a large number.
Some rough figures:

Room with 3 incandescent lightbulbs: ~180 watts
32" television: ~250 watts
Microwave: 1000-1500 watts
Stove: ~2000 watts
Oven: ~3000+ watts
Window A/C unit: 750-1250 watts
Central A/C for a 2000 sq. foot house: ~5000 watts
Central A/C for a 4000 sq. foot house: ~9000 watts"

"Linksys PCMCIA 10/100 ethernet card
5V 260mA, 60mA sleep mode
3V 180mA, 30mA sleep mode

Linksys PCMCIA 802.11b wireless card
5V or 3.3V
275mA TX, 225mA RX, 20mA standby"

I look at this stuff and I wonder if its architecture or the dynamics of building energy efficent buildings with alternative power systems that intrests me more. The HVAC/thermal dynamics class I took was fun, one of the better classes I experienced . . coupled with the residential solar design class, I think I play with those materials more than any other college stuff I have.

Of course doing the GRE's, paying for school and child support at the same time, resisting the urge to skip class, putting up with the pretentious snobs in either my own studio or the classes I would T/A, working insanely long hours, and wanting to practice Architecture in a narrow application, and just trying to remain sane kinda sounds little much right now.
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