[Homestead] Off The Grid - Out of the Question?
genegerue at ruralize.com
Wed Mar 21 19:50:03 EDT 2007
On Mar 21, 2007, at 6:55 AM, tonitime at juno.com wrote:
> I am not saavy at all in RE tech stuff, but my brother has lived
> in the norcal redwoods for 2-3 decades.
> He is incredibly power frugal, and really walks the talk on energy
> consumption (it is his passion, belief toward environmental
> wellness, and
> he makes his living as a writer/editor for HomePower Mag, while having
> modern comforts of electrical devices that most of us find needed. he
> also has never had money to blow on frivolity ( 'cept good foods and
> brews!). It sure can be done by we commoners and homesteaders.
> BUT, it
> just takes learning and doing a step at a time. You might like to
> take a
> look at that publication online - good archives there.
Please never hesitate to turn us on to something good just because
you are bashful about promoting something connected to a friend or
relative. I have read HomePower magazine. It is a good resource.
They are at: http://www.homepower.com/
Homesteading typically entails frugality, also known as simple living
or intentional poverty. Makes sense to many of us. We are also
independent so the siren of solar power sings to us. I hold solar
power in high regard but find it not yet economic; it takes too many
years for purchase price payback. Further, batteries charged by solar
are inadequate for using power tools that have a heavy starting load.
Even if I evolve to solar, I will stay connected to the grid.
Eventually all electric utility companies will let the electric meter
run backwards if your system is generating more than you are using.
The path to energy security starts with energy conservation. Reduce
use. Tighten up the house. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
Insulate. Build storm windows or insulating shades. Buy energy-
efficient appliances. That hundred-dollar refrigerator is eating your
budget and enriching the utility company. A water heater's efficiency
rating is worth studying to help you calculate payback period; the
new ones are real money savers. The fastest money saver is simply
lowering the temperature setting. Not sure today but it used to be
that the most cost-effective energy saver was a water heater
Learn how and implement energy-saving lighting techniques. Some of
those expensive new bulbs are cheaper in the long run. Most air-
conditioning could be eliminated with various simple shading and
ventilation strategies. Build trellises, as simple as tall posts and
chicken wire, and plant fast-growing deciduous vines on the hot sides
of the house. Figure out how to bring cool air in at the low side and
vent warmed air out the high side of the house. A simple screened
door will vent refrigerator heat to the outside during summer, inside
during winter. And for goodness sake, position the fridge as far as
possible from the stove.
Implement designs to save water-pumping electricity. Build a gray-
water system separate from your waste lines that will irrigate
garden, ornamentals, fruit trees. If you can live with it--I can't--
install a water saver device on your showerhead. Brush teeth with a
partial glass of water instead of leaving the faucet running. Have a
family brainstorming session and see who can think of the best ideas.
A propane generator is a good resource if your area experiences
frequent outages. But with planning you can get by without it. Get a
used RV propane fridge for fresh-food backup. Convert your propane
heater's fan to twelve volts and use a car battery when the lights go
out to keep the heat blowing. Buy some kerosene lamps.
Control yourself, man. You do run on. Okay. Outta here.
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