Now that we have low and high voltage utilities connected to the power pole, the next step is trenching for water and gas, and to run utilities out to our pool house. For starters, take a look at the point at which the utilities go into our house.
Holy cow! There are the four lines that lead to the street on the left. On the right we have low voltage and high voltage lines going out to our pool house. (I call it a pool house but it is really a roof with three sides open, so not really a house.) We ended up adding too many conduits into the panels and to under the house, but we figured we might as well connect them all in case we need them in the future; we did a lot of future proofing in the audio-video-network install.
In those conduits, we have three for low voltage (audio/video/network), one to provide power to the pool house, and three for things like a backup generator and/or or a fuel cell, one for data / control, and two for power.
You might have heard of fuel cell vehicles, which work on a similar principle. A fuel cell takes some kind of gaseous hydrocarbon, like hydrogen or natural gas, and generates electricity through a reaction with a catalyst. With natural gas, the reaction produces a combustible by-product (like hydrogen) which can be burned to generate heat. This type of system is also called a combined heat and power system (CHP).
It has been my dream since we started building this house to install a fuel cell. Besides generating electricity for about 6 cents per kwh (incredibly cheap) using clean burning natural gas, the by product could be used to heat our pool, so we would be able to keep our pool very warm all year-round. Otherwise, heating a pool can cost hundreds of dollars a month.
But unfortunately, no-one makes residential fuel cells at the moment, so we are dutifully putting in what might be necessary to install a fuel cell, and have a location picked out right behind the pool equipment, which would make it easy to allow it to heat the pool.
There is quite a bit of trenching going on.
That is what I have to walk across now to get to my office trailer from where the picture was taken. The water and gas lines are going in next.