After a dreary month of January, the sun is making its appearance again. We are all relieved and choose our own way to bask in sun's warm rays. The solar panels have produced very little and we have relied on the storage capacity of our battery banks and the back up generator on a weekly … Continue reading Here comes the sun…
After the Thanksgiving Holiday, my wife and I were beginning to look at the muddy ground and wondered if purchasing a snow plow truck was a wise decision. It wasn't until December 19th that I began to realize the extent that I would use our snow plow. By the twenty-first, I was plowing the driveway, … Continue reading Merry “White” Christmas and a Happy New Year
When designing an off grid sustainable home, it is best to design the majority of the windows facing south to utilize the most amount of solar gain. During the winter it is crucial to let in as much natural light as possible. This cuts down on the use of electricity and the need for electric … Continue reading Facing Due South
Creative ways to store electrical power using alternative energy such as wind and solar. The argument about continuing with non renewable resources is getting thinner and thinner. Yes, facilities like these will be expensive, just as the systems we currently have were in the beginning.
From Daryan Energy Blog: Proposals for mega sized pumped storage facilities in Scotland to back up intermittent renewables, such as wind. Certainly these proposals do get around one of the major myths you’ll hear put out about renewables – that we can’t store the energy and thus renewables can’t be relied upon.
The first proposal involves taking Loch Morar, a freshwater loch 300m deep, but one just a few hundred metres from the shores of Loch Nevis (salt water). The plan would be to build a dam 280m high across a narrow pass to the North, which would allow an upper reservoir to be created 300m high. Water could then be pumped in either direction to create 600m of head and provide up to 1,800 GWh’s of energy storage. By comparison, the UK’s current storage capacity is about 30 GWh’s.
And if this proposal seems a little oversized, there’s what…
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I mentioned that my wife and I were looking at a way of cooling ourselves off during the heat wave we are having here in Northern Idaho. Our house is insulated well, but on a 100+ degrees day, it still is pretty warm. We do not have air conditioning, but we would be prime candidates. … Continue reading Keeping cool while the world outside is cooking…
I have spoken about our battery bank, appliances, solar panels, and backup generator, but I haven't put it altogether to explain the efficiency of our system. When designing an off grid power system, the first thing to do is know your current use of power and cut it till it hurts either because you can … Continue reading Cut “it” till it hurts is power conservation
All domestic hot water in our home currently is heated by the wood cook stove and stored in the tank behind the stove for later use. Since we have been using the wood cook stove to heat the home and cook meals, there has been plenty of hot water for showers, dishes, and laundry during … Continue reading Domestic hot water from a wood cook stove, now that’s a hot idea.
How do we do a simple task like laundry? Is there a bucket and washboard involved? No, we are off grid, not in the 1800s. We purposely bought an older electric Kenmore washing machine with no computer, just plain old knobs and dials. At first that was not our intention, we went shopping for a … Continue reading Laundry, moving through life’s cycles
When picking out an appliance, a person in an off grid home is constantly asking, "Does this appliance have a phantom load?" A phantom load is an appliance that draws power when it isn’t being used and even when it is turned off. For example, your old VCR that had the clock display that flashed … Continue reading Phantoms of the Home
See update on July 23rd, 2016 "How to turn a freezer into a refrigerator" Refrigeration in an off grid home is a reality, and there are only a few minor differences from a conventional home. Our freezer and fridge are both 24 volt DC appliances. They are wired to a 15 amp breaker that connects directly … Continue reading Energy efficient refrigeration for an off the grid home