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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 the ‘cooking, domestic hot water’ Category

In august, during the “Do It Yourself 2.0” workshops set up by Cohabitat, I ran a workshop in which I taught how to build a simple and affordable solar thermal collector that is suitable for domestic hot water.

Of course I made a lot of video and photos so that I could edit it all into a short video. Here’s the video. The commentary is in Polish, but below you find a translated transcript. (more…)

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…)

Using propane is not off-grid!

Couple of days ago I heard that many people who want to live off-grid simply move away from the gas supply network and get their gas from another source. They substitute their natural gas (used in furnaces, hot water heaters and kitchen stoves) with propane or buthane (or LPG). That’s weird, ’cause if you use propane, you shouldn’t consider yourself as someone who lives off-grid.

Of course, you’re off the natural gas supply network. But you still get the most of the energy you use in your home (in the form of heat) from a supply network. You don’t get compressed natural gas from the pipeline, but you get compressed propane from a tank that’s shipped to you by a truck.

What’s the difference? (more…)

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History of Solar Energy Usage

We often think that modern societies were the first to use solar energy. Not true! Early cave dwellers preferred caves that had openings facing southeasterly that allowed the morning sun to warm them up without overheating in the warm months.  Native Americans in the Southwest oriented their pueblo dwellings.  So the low winter sun would keep the buildings by direct solar radiation, cliffs and overhangs blocked the sun during the summer months, helping to keep the dwellings cooler when the sun was high in the sky.

The ancient Greeks, with a climate that was sunny almost year-round, built their houses to take advantage of the sun’s rays during the moderately cool winters and to avoid the sun’s heat during the summer.  Modern excavations of many classic Greek cities show that individual homes were oriented towards the South and entire cities were planned to allow equal access to the winter sun.  It is interesting to note that by 500 B.C., when the Greeks had almost completely deforested their whole country and needed to find a reliable alternative fuel source, they chose solar energy. (more…)

Peak Oil Survival – review

Today I read the last page of the book Peak Oil Survival: Preparation for Life After Gridcrash, another Amazon purchase. Since I planned to post here every week, it’s a great I have something to write about.

The book’s title indicates that it’s about preparing for living after the electrical grid crashes. It’s not a manual on off-grid living, it doesn’t describe how to supply your own water and electricity and how to heat your home for permanent off-the-grid conditions. Instead, it helps one to deal with a grid crash in a normal, or low-energy building. It won’t tell you how to make your house autonomous, but how to deal when the energy you normally use becomes unavailable. (more…)

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