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Off The Grid

I'm going to live off-grid. Read my blog and learn how to do it yourself!

Archive for December, 2011

Last week I wrote here how I plan my off-grid house to be built. Today I will explain in more details my ideas on how to supply heat to the house, how to ventillate it and how to make domestic hot water.

In my climate the most of the energy our houses use goes to heating, so a reliable off-grid supply of heat is a must.

As I already mentioned, I want the house to be built as close to passivhaus (passive house) standards as possible. Insulating the walls will not be difficult, but as the walls will be built with wooden frame, they won’t store much heat. This will make using all the passive heat sources (like waste heat generators — TV, computers, kitchen stove, etc.) a bit more difficult. (more…)

Starting with this post, I wanted to share with you my ideas on my off-grid house and homestead. I’ll begin with the general ideas on design and house construction, used materials, techniques, etc.

The very first draft of my house design is ready, but some details need to be corrected. It looks like typical small house Polish families build these days, one story high, with rooms in the attic, gable roof, nothing fancy. On the ground floor I want a large room, kitchen in the corner, bathroom and a small entrance hall. In the attic I want to have three bedrooms and a bathroom.

I want the house to be as close to passivhaus standards as possible, so the house will be facing south with three large windows. Two of those will be fixed, which will save me some money and some heat, as such windows have better insulation properties than ordinary ones. (more…)

5 ways to harness solar thermal energy

Today I wanted to show you in brief 5 good ways to use solar energy to produce useful heat. Most people probably at this moment think about solar thermal collectors for domestic hot water, but there are many other possibilities.

Of course I will write about solar collectors, though it’s not a device I suggest to use or purchase.

I hope this article will be an inspiration for further research and reading for you.

1. Solar thermal collectors for hot water

This is the traditional way many people in modern Europe use solar energy. The solar irradiation heat the fluid circulating in flat plate or evacuated tube collectors. If frost is not a concern, this fluid is simply domestic water, while in colder climates some solution of glycol has to be used. In the latter case an additional heat exchanger must be used. (more…)

Gifts for off-grid enthusiasts

With the holiday season near, you’re probably wondering what to buy as a gift for your friend, who likes the concept of off-grid living. In this post you will find at least a couple of ideas for such gifts. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something that will be interesting for both you and the person you have in mind.

My number one suggestion for someone who likes the concept of off-grid power generation, would be any kind of portable solar energy source. My first idea was the flexible solar panel, but those panels are expensive, and generate not much energy. But if the person you want to give it likes to spend a lot time outdoors and uses many electronic gadgets like smartphones, such panels may be a good idea. (more…)

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