This article presents some methods of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) protection for facilities. The EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) community provides most of the products and know how for structure shielding, bonding and grounding, plus cabling and connector surge suppression along with filtering. They also provide the service for on-site compliance testing of an EMP protected installation.
This article provides the least expensive EMP protection process for the massive residential USA population since retrofit protection of existing homes is expensive. This is partly because the government, at all levels, is perceived to have abdicated their fiduciary protection responsibility. EMP survivalists and preppers have independently moved forward to cover some of the protection gap. However, there results a post-EMP era of bare bones survival lifestyle is sacrificed after an EMP event. This article shows how a post-EMP era can economically protect and retain most of ones’ lost lifestyle.
To be optimized along with cost and lifestyle are security, attainability and some ways and means. The small backyard cottage shed becomes the backbone of residential escape. Deed restrictions may make the “backyard” world not attainable, in some cases. Instead, the advantages of “Circle-the-Wagons” concept applies with communities providing the core of security attainability. Real estate developers help make it happen and counties make pragmatic administration and financing possible.
Since EMP protected solar rooftops, plus batteries, is the heart of available electricity, the Solar rooftop folks have joined the EMP and EMC community to make an EMP-EMC solar joint venture (Figure 1). This article outlines how the venture is accomplished as a county mission objective for most of the 3,141 counties in the US.
Some Lessons learned about EMP Protection and Survival
Following an EMP incident (Figure 2) comes immediate local replenishment shortage (store shelves quickly raided and stripped). Survivalists and preppers have warned about the need to become inconspicuous. They must have a survival location out in the country since it is perceived that fellow man will steal and kill for water and food. This suggests people’s escape should be in groups that provide their own security. This “Circle-the-Wagons” concept reduces individual family protection costs and significantly increases the available survival group knowledge base to generate viable communities in size from tens to eventually thousands.
Peripheral electronic security walls take on creative means and residents can enjoy their vegetable gardens. In many cases, these real-estate developments are housed on farmers’ properties that already enjoy the right settings. They all contain ponds so that most part-time residents can enjoy waterfront, if one is available. County community, cottage-shed developments also provides an excellent weekly escape for many.
Because vehicles are mostly inoperative following an EMP event, bicycles with container carts and protected electric golf carts are the preferred modes of transport out to the country cottage-shed locations.
Unless you already have an operational EMP Protection G roup, then form one of your own. Use the county as a default-level of operation. For example, generate a group of five: from the county Economic Development office or County administrator, Chamber of Commerce, an engineer or architect, a member from the pragmatic EMP survivalist group, plus a secretary. They create, generate and use educational and training materials and programs, establish plans and timelines and help make things happen. In short, this is bottom-up management. They also swap their findings, plans and actions with neighboring counties and their state on a timely basis.
Cottage Shed Construction
A cottage shed is defined as a small detached shed, configured into a liveable home with its own solar rooftop. With backup batteries, cottage sheds have 24/7 electricity for nighttime and overcast skies. Generators have limited value as they require fuel which is likely not to be available for long periods of time following an EMP incident.
Cottage shed sizes range from 8 ft. x 12 ft. (2.4 m x 3.7 m) in Figure 3 to double-wide sizes of 16 ft x 30 ft (5.2 x 9.1 m). Thus, the area of the cottage may range from 96 sq. ft. (8.9 m2) to 480 sq. ft. (45 m2). They are made from manufactured homes, shipping container homes, Amish homes and other sources. The Amish homes are particularly viable as they cost about $28/sq. ft. before EMP protection. Solar rooftops will cost about $2/watt today to about $1/watt in 2016.
A somewhat expanded version of Figure 3 to accommodate an automobile and a golf cart, plus more storage space is shown in Figure 4. The 400 sq. ft. foot-print will support up to 4 kW of solar rooftop power. This is enough for heaver loads like outside wall-mounted air conditioners, washer and dryers and hot-water heater. Special EMP protection considerations are discussed below.
Shown in Figure 5 are samples of cottage sheds before solar rooftops and EMP protection are added. They are mostly stick-built with modified concrete foundations, siding, rafters, etc. Note the A-frame designed to maximize solar rooftop power output in more northern latitudes so that roofslope more nearly equals site latitude.
[solar output = k*cos(latitude-slope), discussed later].
EMP Protecting Cottage Sheds
To save time and money, the shed is not built first and then EMP protection added. This sequence results from the choice of materials, how shield portions are bonded; special treatment of roofs, vents, siding windows and doors and foundations. For example, the popular to be, 30 OPI (openings per inch) shielded metal screen is laid down and overlapped under the concrete footing rebars. With proper bonding to the structure siding, the foundation is thus shielded with no discontinuity among seams. The power-line and telephone bottom entrances and water line and sewage lines are specially treated.
The above construction of the later-to-be-added solar rooftop is in fact only partly added at the end of construction. The reason is that the solar panels and micro-inverters are encased in their own screening mechanism and require that a bottom shield be added before the solar rooftop is installed. A rough first sketch of is process is illustrated in Figure 6.
The shielding of the four sides may be either a 3-5 mil (0.003″ = 0.076 mm) aluminum foil template or 30 OPI screen which is available in wide rolls. Cuts or adjustments are made for windows and a door.
The foundation and rooftop become the challenge since they have several penetrations as shown in Figure 7. Surge suppressors are required at points of cable entry. Waveguide beyond cutoffs are used for vent pipes and water and sewage handling as shown in Figure 7.
Adding a Solar-PV Rooftop
Adding a solar rooftop is a simple and well-known procedure. It typically consists of a number of 3 ft x 5 ft, first solar-cell generation, silicone solar-PV panels, connected in a series/parallel combination. Their DC output is converted to AC via an inverter located near the main power distribution panel. Sometimes, micro-inverters are used, one at each panel output and the AC outputs are combined in parallel.
A second solar cell generation, thin film, Cadmium Telluride, CdTe, is gaining popularity for solar and now represents about 25% of the installations in the US. Although efficiency is about 17% vs. 20% for solar, it is less expensive per watt output.
For EMP protection, it is logical that each panel have a 30 OPI shield screen built in for quality control and cost reduction. Such is not yet commercially available and may remain so until about 2016. Meanwhile, EMP protection is made available by first laying down a screen over the asphalt shingles and then applying the panel racking.
Finally, a top screen to cover solar panels, interconnecting wiring and micro-inverters, is used. This procedure may be abandoned by 2016 when built-in solar panel shielding becomes commercially available. Figure 8 shows the temporary shield over the rooftop approach.
About Solar Power Output
The rated power output corresponds to the solar panel exactly pointing to (perpendicular to) the unobscured sun at high noon=a condition that rarely exists in parts of the US. Several factors contribute to a lower power output:
- Building site latitude
- Building roof not facing South ± 30o in Northern
- Building roof slope
- Season dependency
- Time of day
Table 1 relates the above variables. Table 2 provides a list of the latitudes corresponding to some of the key USA cities.
Consider the following example in metro Washington DC of a 20 ft. x 20 ft cottage shed including car protection as previously shown in Figure 4. The flat roof structure will accommodate 18, 3ft x 5ft panels in a 3 x 6 array, The rating of the solar panel manufacturer is 225 watts per panel. The maximum available power is 225 watts/panel x 18 panels = 4 kW.
From table 2, the latitude of Washington is 38 degrees. For a flat roof, that produces a relative efficiency of cos(38-0)=79% for the March and September equinoxes at high noon, the kWh (kilowatt hours) per day is roughly equal to 3x the power at noon; therefore the solar system on a clear day is producing 4 kW x 0.79 x 3 =9.5 kWh/day. The accompanying battery system provides the energy source at night and cloudy days.
Knowing the power consumption of all the appliances and approximate use times allows the assignment of loads plus allowing some of the energy for battery charging.
Cottage Shed Site EMP
Protection Test Compliance.
Once an EMP protected installation is declared to be finished, it is time to verify EMP protection compliance by on-site testing. A small van or pickup truck is located as shown in Figure 9. It contains an RF scanning oscillator or sweeper which feeds a power amplifier that drives radiating test antennas pointing at the building to the right. Inside the building is a tracking receiver driven by similar pickup antennas.
The test configuration is first calibrated to form a reference with both transmitter and receiver configurations located on the outside (step 1). Tests are made at the seven test frequencies (1MHz–1 GHz) as shown in Table 3 (obtained from the Fourier Transform of the EMP pulse waveform threat), and the RF attenuator settings recorded. Then, maintaining the same distance between transmitter and receiver, both are moved as shown in step 2 with the receiver configuration moved to the middle of the building and attenuator settings again recorded to get the same received levels. The difference between the attenuator settings in step 1 and step 2 constitutes the building RF shielding effectiveness in dB for the test frequency.
Test setup for determining site shielding performance
The tests are repeated for the other remaining three sides of the building, recording the shielding effectiveness of each side for all seven test frequencies. Then, for each of the seven frequencies, the corresponding four side shielding effectiveness are compared and the smallest value (least shielding) is selected. These results constitute the building EMP shielding effectiveness. They are compared with table 3 to determine EMP test compliance.
If the building is large (several floors or acres in size), the transmitter may have to be located in a helicopter
While the building EMP and Solar EMP compliance tests can be done simultaneously, in the early stages, it may be best to do each separately. This will facilitate diagnostics-and-fix, if required. The building compliance test must be done first. Test procedural details are well beyond the level of this article.
Communities of EMP Protected Cottage Sheds with Solar Rooftops
EMP Survivalists recognize and state six items needed for their survival:
- Water (and tools and methods for purification)
- Food, especially freeze-dried, 25-year shelf life
- Prescribed medications and first aid supplies
- Bartering items (since money is worthless)
- An escape place or hut in the country away from starving neighbors and other uninvited intruders
As EMP survivalists learn they can live better in larger EMP protected communities, they will form such communities. There are 62 million homeowners associations members in the U.S. They tend to have a tighter cohesion among their members. As the EMP threat becomes clearer, homeowner associations members may develop a community of cottage-sheds within, perhaps 50 miles or closer to their main residence. This gives rise to a new real estate development prospects. Illustrated in Figure 10 is one example of many.
Illustrated is a group of 44, 1/4-acre lots (could be as low as 1/10 acre per lot) surrounding a two-acre pond – both for relaxation/esthetics, as well as a water source for enhanced survival including deep submersed wells. To keep the pond water fresh, there is a spraying fountain and fish. Most lot owners will have a small vegetable garden and a few will have fruit trees.
The above conceptual development is partly protected from outside intrusion by an electronic wall with proximity alarms surrounding the facility. The right side of the Figure 10 contains an owners’ common area for entertainment and some vitals storage and replenishment. There is added a beach for those not having a property front on the pond. A water-surrounded, community gazebo seats up to 40 with 120-ft. boardwalk access.
Timely spoilable replenishments are a major problem following an EMP disaster, since the site may be several hundreds of miles to the nearest non-EMP sources. Thus, for larger developments, or for one per average-size county, a relatively inexpensive 4,000 ft (1,200 meter) mat-lined, dirt runway is installed. This can accommodate a 70-ton payload, Globemaster III aircraft.
The above concept invites other real estate entrepreneurs or some large corporations to establish their own development with completely EMP protected facilities. These may be sold or rented.
Summary of Article and Jobs
The cost for an average size 8 ft. x 20 ft., EMP protected, cottage shed with solar rooftop, community well and septic over the next decade will be about $18,000. This is a fraction of the cost to EMP protect (retrofit) an existing home with solar panels along. If only 20% of the 121 million American households go this route, revenues will approximate: 20% x 121,000,000 x $18,000/unit = $436 billion. This averages $44 billion per year over a decade.
For every $225,000 in cottage-shed related sales (money spent back into an economy) produces one average paying job of $48,000/year. The above $44 billion/year corresponds to 2,000,000 jobs for a 10-year period. This buildup represents about 3.5 million jobs/year at the 10th year. This increases at an accelerated rate as more of the remaining 80% of the American families move toward their week-end country, EMP protected retreat.
In summary here are the benefits:
- Provides for a retention of lifestyle not available to
unprepared Americans, in general, and EMP survivalists
and preppers, in particular
- Provides a second weekend, escape home for participation
by you and others with common interests and shared
- Electricity is “free” both for pre- and post-EMP era
- Expands selected Federal laboratories to create and produce
detailed pilot EMP-protected cottage sheds, community
lighting, traffic lights, water and sewer public works and
- Revitalize both the earlier mentioned County Economic
Development Offices and companion Chambers of
Commerce to support activity development and issuance
of County and Corporate bonds
- Greatly expands the revenues of participating solar panels,
inverters, shielding, surge suppressor and related product
- Greatly expands the revenues of participating solar rooftop
installers, EMP test houses, maintenance and other service
- Opens up new markets for real estate developers for
country-style, cottage shed communities
For more information:
- EMP – Protect Family, Homes and Community, 3rd
edition. 2013. Don White and Jerry Emanuelson.
- EMP Protecting Housing and Solar. 2014. Don White.
Don White, registered professional engineer, retd., holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Maryland. He is past CEO of three Electro-magnetic Compatibility companies in metro Washington, D.C.
White has written and published 14 technical books over a span of 30 years. His last book was “The EMC, Telecom and Computer Encyclopedia,” an 800-page compendium.
At Don White Consultants, he published a bimonthly trade journal called EMC Technology magazine circulated over four continents. He was the technical editor and wrote many of the tutorial articles. White is past president of IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society.