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19.11.2013 admin
Once on the fringe, about 750,000 off the grid American households pioneer green living by tapping sustainable energy from the wind, sun, and earth. Green living: Bill and Paula Cirone have sacrificed no modern comfort in their new wind- and solar-powered home, which is completely off the grid and powered with sustainable energy from wind turbines and solar panels. The off grid homes presence in Squamish remains a mystery until one accidentally bumps into a small community of cabins on a hike, or on a backcountry expedition into Garibaldi Park. Since 1998, Lisa Bjornson, general manager at Black Tusk Realty, has lived with her husband off the grid in the Ring Creek community.
Because Ring Creek is located directly on the back of the Diamond Head area of Garibaldi Provincial Park, the land is owned by the province. Instead of clear-cutting the space for their home, the Bjornsons selectively cut around it and fit the home into the space, even building their deck to accommodate a single tree. Lisa chose the Micro Hydro system, a system that thrives in places like coastal British Columbia, where creeks and other water resources are easily accessible. The micro hydro system works when a certain amount of water from the running stream creates pressure to spin a wheel. The home’s logic centre (a bank where all sources of power connect, which all alternative homes have) then pulls DC power out of the batteries and converts it to alternating current (AC), which is present in the house.
Lisa’s micro hydro system feeds off this stream for around 8 months of the year, as the other four bring either drought or ice. Fortunately, for the Bjornsons, a glacial stream runs straight through their property, making micro hydro power possible.
Often, properties don’t have connections to commonly used technology like internet and cell phone reception. It’s a neighbourhood where people drive around with chainsaws in their cars in case a tree falls down, she says. Buying the land and setting up the power systems are more expensive than moving in to a pre-constructed home on the grid. For Eric Carlberg and Sara Kuitunen, weathering through the rough patches of off-grid living brought them closer. Eric and Sara came to Squamish individually, but found each other through their obsession with the rock climbing and backcountry skiing. Taking full advantage of Squamish’s rugged, outdoorsy side, the couple made the big move to a renovated train caboose deep in the woods of Paradise Valley. Though aesthetically pleasing, building codes and power shortages often intercepted the peaceful lifestyle. An antique wood burning stove was a prominent component of the caboose’s rugged style, but the landlord could not insure the house with it, as it wasn’t up to code.
In the video below, we meet Jeff, Rose, and their 5 girls who are living completely off grid on a 40-acre piece of land in Northern British Columbia, Canada. The house was so affordable to build because they didn’t have to excavate or pour a concrete foundation, dig a well, or install a septic system. They have a backup generator but they only have to use it for about 40 hours per year during prolonged cloudy or snowy periods. All of the water the family uses is rainwater collected from their shop roof and stored in a tank under the shop floor to keep it cool. The grey water from their kitchen sink and shower drains into a shallow grey water field in the backyard. They have 2 composting bucket toilets and they sprinkle sawdust into the buckets after each use to absorb moisture and prevent smells.
We’re very impressed with the clever solutions this family has come up with to make off-grid living seem so easy. Join over 220,000 people that get our organic gardening & self sufficiency lifestyle tips via email. Jaimie lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead known online as An American Homestead.
We considered a rocket stove, but we need a very large cooking surface for big pots and lots of them! Hi Jamie, Lil Girl Scout trick I learned is to coat the outside of your cookpots with dishsoap before using them over a wood fire. If you have no natural shade, why not create shade with a canopy over your prep area at least.
How much home canned goods does your family consume on average per week during the winter months?
Exploring nature and all of it can offer to a curious and adventurous mind, can take a toll on the stamina of even the most fit of persons. About usGoodshomedesign is an online home design magazine but do not sell the products reviewed or showcased on this site.
In an in-depth interview, Truck Camper Magazine writer Angela White talked with Jim DeLoziers, the driving force behind the ultimate Survivor Truck bug out vehicle.
A professional security consultant, DeLoziers “wanted a vehicle that could quickly evacuate his family in an emergency situation, and keep them safe and comfortable for weeks at a time, no matter what.

Her bathroom is outside on the hill and family ran water from a spring to her tub which she proudly showed me.
Hall, an outdoor-skills instructor, and his wife, Alicia Bliss Hall, a natural healer, live in a kind of off-the-grid neighborhood with another young couple: Jason Brake, a professional muralist, and his wife, Diana Styffeler, a mountain bike excursion leader. The only catch was that they needed to build some type of structure or dwelling on it within a year. Aven used a tree branch from right outside to make the dining table, and the drawers were made from a single piece of wood from the area. They built their own off-grid house for less than $25,000 with cedar posts sunk into the ground like a pole barn, log rafters, plywood, foam insulation, and a living roof.
The first solar system is just one solar panel that generates 12-Volt power for their lights, cell phones, and music player. You are right on the hot-hard-work but so worth it part– especially this winter when you open up those jars of summertime goodness and the family so enjoys every bite! All my canners purchased new came with a warning to never use them over open flame as they would warp and then be unuseable on a stove top. I’d love to build something I can cook on outside on and your set up looks interesting.
We learned and always taught our Boy Scouts to smear dish soap on the outside of a pot that you plan to cook over an open fire. So if you like to be close to the natural environment, we suggest taking a look at this impressively simple log cabin with a rustic design.
I do see however something that looks like an AC unit in the window and other things that might require electricity.
We try to show you what is new and beautiful in this area, arranged in several categories (apartments, ideas, interior design, home decor, home design, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, furniture, hotels & resorts, architecture) related to the area and style.
When he couldn’t find a vehicle that satisfied his requirements on the market, he made one,” reported White.
Their two cabins, nestled in temperate rain forest, are powered with electricity that comes exclusively from solar panels mounted on a wagon that they wheel around the property to catch the best rays. My dad build a stove, or whatever you would call it so that the fire was not open and we could work from the other side, not the fire making side, it made it much more bearable. Located in Spurger, Texas, the 384 square feet camp house is surrounded by forest trees and lots of beautiful wildlife. In all my 60 yrs I have never been so in awe as well as impressed with a person’s independence and faith.
Using nature – the sun, wind, water, and the earth itself – they cheaply warm and cool their homes and power everything from a blender to a giant flat-screen TV to a raging hot tub.
We have been planning on trying pressure canning (we know e can water bath) over wood but haven’t wanted to ruin a canner. With fishing facilities nearby, your short vacation can have all that it needs to be put in your favorite memories album.
If you really have something good, we will publish it with your own name in our online magazine.
Bless this sweet lady and may I learn and remember how to feel thankful and blessed as this sweet woman is. And with the constant concern about global warming and messy dependence on fossil fuels, it's natural that growing numbers of Americans – "the foot soldiers" of energy independence, as one expert calls them – would begin taking steps to untether themselves from the grid.
They're installing a hydropower system in the stream that will add to the solar power.Their existence appears quite rustic – and the "sustainable" lifestyle depends a whole lot on them to sustain it with such work as wood chopping and wagon pulling. But they say they have all the creature comforts they need, and – if February's record snowstorm is any gauge – some their neighbors need, too. It has electricity and is fitted with an air conditioning unit but it has no running water and the toilet is located in an outhouse. Hall.• • •Off-the-grid living for Paula and William Cirone has a more suburban look and feel, as well as a different motive. The cabin is still cozy for any inhabitants and also provides a covered porch and a fun fire pit in the 2 acres of unrestricted free space.
Their hearts were set on buying and building on woodland near Farmington that he had hunted and fished two decades before. But an issue over easements meant the utility company could not extend lines to connect to their new home. Cirone was initially nervous, not wanting to give up her comfortable lifestyle – being able to throw in a load of laundry, or flip on the TV or microwave, whenever she felt like it.
But the Cirones built a comfortable, spacious home powered entirely by wind and solar energy, with a geothermal system for heating and cooling."It was a little scary at first, wondering if this was all going to work," says Ms.
In an age of extreme economic insecurity plus concern about the effects of using fossil fuels – witness the BP oil spill and a host of recent coal-mining disasters – living off the grid gives people a feeling of structural, financial, and emotional independence.

It liberates them from the grip of government regulators and utility companies – not to mention reducing their utility costs, after the initial investment is paid off.
And it hints at the potential of a different energy future, free of the environmental and social costs of using fossil fuels.Mr.
Rosen estimates that the number of people living off the grid in the US is growing by about 10 percent per year. For others, going off the grid is an intentional part of "downscaling to a simpler existence," as Rosen puts it.Most clean-energy experts don't see off-grid living as the solution to the nation's energy crisis. Hall figures that once the hydropower system is finished on his property, he will have invested about $15,000 on energy systems.
Most North Carolinians spend several hundred dollars a month for electricity, water, and heat. So the Halls will have paid off their investment in a decade.Cirone says he doesn't expect to see a financial payoff anytime soon on his $100,000 investment in higher-end, higher-capacity systems, but the nonmonetary benefits are many. Their two sons, an electrical engineer and a doctoral student with an energy focus, are so enthused about the potential of off-the-grid living that they are launching a renewable-energy consulting company."There's a lot more return on investment than just money," Cirone says.
We hope this proves to anyone who even considers [going off the grid] that if you don't want to give up anything in your lifestyle, you can use alternative energy and still have all the amenities you want."• • •Solar energy is the most popular and fastest-growing way to generate your own power. Improving technology, a glut of solar panels on the world market caused, in part, by the end of European subsidies that had driven production, and American government incentives mean solar power is an increasingly affordable option. San Diego, like some other cities, has started a program to lend money to home-owners for the purchase of solar panels, with loan payments added to the property tax over 20 years.Though the Southwest and South are solar hot spots, studies show it is a viable option in seemingly gloomy locales like the upper Midwest and the Northeast. Homes typically use "small wind" power – with turbines that generate less than 10 kilowatts. But "small wind" is not a new concept – wind power has been harnessed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, for such things as transportation, milling, and pumping water. The "small wind" market grew 15 percent in 2009 despite the recession, says Ron Stimmel, small systems manager for the American Wind Energy Association.
The five-kilowatt turbines needed to power an average home range from 30 to 140 feet tall and cost about $30,000. Turbines that produce less than one kilowatt – to supplement solar panels or electricity from the grid – can cost less than $10,000.Wind turbines aren't as easily suited to a wide range of buildings and geographic locations as solar panels, because they usually require up to an acre of space, unobstructed by tall buildings, hillsides, or trees.
Wind turbines can be mounted on roofs or parapets – as in the Bronx apartment complex featured on page 29 – but only if the structure is strong enough. Zoning restrictions can make it difficult to install wind turbines, so proponents are pushing for wind-friendly codes.And generating one's own electricity isn't the only way to bypass or reduce dependence on commercial utilities.
In many homes, a large amount of electricity is used to run air conditioners, and electricity, natural gas, or oil is used for heating. The simplest way is through architecture that naturally keeps the home at a stable temperature, as John Sagebiel's home near Reno, Nev., featured on page 30, demonstrates. Windows are placed to maximize sunshine exposure when desired, and thick concrete floors and walls hold heat. Recently developed "smart" windows and drywall even react to the temperature outside by keeping heat out or drawing heat in.Geothermal energy is a high-tech, relatively expensive way to heat and cool a home. But for individual homes, geothermal cooling and heating systems pump water through underground pipes that heat or cool the water to the constant temperature of approximately 55 degrees F. There are different models, but all essentially rely on fluid circulated through tubing that can be installed up to about 200 feet deep vertically, or horizontally about 10 feet deep and roughly as wide as the property. In winter, the fluid is warmed below the earth, then heats air using a compressor and standard technology known as the refrigeration cycle.
In summer, the cycle is reversed so heat is essentially extracted from the home and sunk back into the earth.In relatively soft or sandy soil, pipes for a geothermal system can be run horizontally or in a variety of loops.
On top of hard bedrock, one must drill down – a more expensive proposition – to create a "standing column" system where fluid is circulated through a vertical cylinder with a "riser pipe" in the middle. As it has become more economically practical, geothermal systems also have gained "cachet" as a status symbol, says Andrew Collins of the New York City firm P.A. The firm has designed geothermal systems at the new Liberty Island Retail Pavilion and for upscale homes in Tribeca, the Upper East Side, and on Long Island.Meanwhile, on or off the grid, experts say the cleanest, cheapest energy is the energy not generated at all. Weatherizing a home is the best thing for the environment and the wallet."It's great to have geothermal or photovoltaic [solar], but we like to stress you don't need those technologies to have a real energy-efficient home," says Nate Kredich of the US Green Building Council.

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