Housing and smart houses. I believe that we could have avoided this upcoming Natural Gas Shortage by building smarter and more efficient homes. For instance by using small devises which are simple such as using the idea of mini-hydro pumps, reflective energy boosting solar efficiency by 2.5 from a water pond (with 1-2 inches of water covered by a polymer substance of a couple of molecules and a reflective bottom surface), condensation and gravity. These small things can improve the energy efficiency by 10-fold. Here are a few things; this is how I propose which could be done.
Put in a pond which has a reflective ceramic bottom and is filled with water of 2-3 inches depth out side of the house on the East side. The sun comes up and reflects off the water onto a side of the house which has a convex/concave lenses shaped glass window facing 30 degrees as an over hang off the house. On the other side of the lens enclosed is a shaft where the air is heated.
The pond is connected to the inside of the house and the water evaporates up as the air heats up to the roof. The top of the roof on the inside of the shaft is at a 45 degree angle, as the water cools it follows the roof line down the other side of the house through small wheels at each floor providing electricity and running your mini-hydro pumps. The sun coming up on the water is reflected increasing your solar power by 2.5 as you stated and is further magnified by the lens window. The air stays hot in the day and the water roiling back down is used for heating, and electricity for lighting, etc. When the pond freezes in the wintertime you will still have your energy.
Another innovation for this project would be to use those small spheres ceramic glass coated beads, that look like ball bearings look like shiny golf balls in a chamber around the lens area, so that at night they can cover the lens and keep the heat in, these would be enclosed in a pain of glass covering the lens window. Due to the little amount of moving parts and the pure physics and mechanical nature of this without adding any complexity, it should be trouble free forever pretty much.
The only other way I can see this working is to use a “U” shaped water pool with a membrane in it on one end, then dropping in one side concentrated crystal layers, which would attract the water past the membrane and such the water into the one side rising the water level and then using that raised level to flow back to the other side through small hydro-pumps. The membrane could be easily constructed something like a tempered solute mono layer at a lower level of the house and the remaining heated water continues upward in a condensation cloud which would cool later and provide more hydro when the temperature cooled in the top of the shaft of the tower. I do not believe this cannot work.
The pond at night would also provide a starting point for the heating and allow you to use less energy for hot water cooking and showers in the house, giving you a head start of about 100 degrees since heating water is usually the most energy consuming.
One last thought, the spinning wheels could be connected to a sound machine creating a hi-pitched sound, focusing the sound wave into a steel tank filled with helium, and as the helium heated up the molecules would bounce off each other creating friction and heat to make steam to super charge the water in the winter within the bottom of the tower if your pond became iced over. Also it is a good way to make additional energy for heating the air, with fans at the top of the tower you would be able to heat the house too by blowing the heat into floor vents you talked about.
Mathematically this is all feasible, based on an article I read in Modern Solar Magazine about the 2.5 times increase of solar radiation of Beta and Alpha particles in water reflection. Just some thoughts on the designing of an energy efficient home and it’s design. The house it self as long as built efficiently would have no problem being nearly any shape you need. Tri-level would be best for my design, although it does not matter as much the outside shape. I recommend an article in;
Infinite Energy Magazine
Volume 8, Issue 43, 2002
“Heating and cooling towers”
The rest of these ideas were from comments heard from the World Think Tank, Naval Survival Techniques of converting ocean water into drinking water by use of a small condensation devise and listening to you talk. One further thought is if you use ocean water and put it into the down flow system and use one of the hydro wheels to speed up the water and cross fire it against a heated stainless steel plate, you could purify the water by RSD Distillation and actually have all the drinking water you needed which was desalination, by simply introducing the small cross fire system somewhere in the water flow from the top of the house. All you need for flow is gravity and you would be slowing the water down by using the wheels to make hydro for the mini-hydro pumps with the salt water and using the distilled water from the top of the house to carry away the contaminants of the ocean water.
You could make about 50 gallons a day pretty easily. Would I live in such a house myself? Well probably not, but for those who live in the sticks or are concerned about occasional power outages or costs. Or those who are paranoid about the future of mankind and his ability to generate his own power, well then this exercise of the brain is not a waste. If you have any ideas on this email me, always interested in such ideas, after all we may need to use these techniques when we build facilities on the Moon or on Mars and certainly they could be of use half the year on the North Pole?