I'm going to live off-grid. Read my blog and learn how to do it yourself!
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…)
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.
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…)
This week I watched the “Garbage warrior”, a film about american architect, Mike Reynolds. This documentary shows several buildings and subdivisions built by Reynolds, starting with the Thumb House, and the Earthship, of course.
This film was highly motivating and inspiring for me. I am wondering if I could add some tires with rammed earth to my off-grid ideas (this could be a good idea for my greenhouse). I was a bit dissapointed that there was not much technical details, but it is still worth viewing. (more…)
Off-grid house should not get any energy input from outside. It should use only energy generated on-site. Because of that, in my opinion a house that’s powered by propane (for genset, cooking and heating) is not off the grid.
But in cool climates most of the energy is required for heating and domestic hot water. How can an autonomous house get large amounts of energy needed for those two uses?
In this article I will get you a short review of off-grid HVAC, or off-grid heating, ventillation and air conditioning. (more…)
Thermal mass on the interior of the building is able to store heat or cold, and then slowly release it back out to the surrounding air. Heat from a sunny winter day as well as the coolness of a summer night can be retained inside the insulated shell of the exterior walls if the building incorporates adequate thermal mass. Thermal mass is needed to prevent daytime overheating of the structure and to stabilize its ambient temperatures through nights and periods of cloudy weather. The more mass is available, the more stable the interior temperature. Also, the more directly the winter sun hits the mass, the higher the solar heat gain.
Floors can provide a good source of mass. Concrete, brick, flagstone, or other masonry materials work especially well. Any of these can be layered over with cork — an organic material that insulates well, and has the advantage of creating a softer surface underfoot. Earth floors can be used, but do not perform as well. Insulating beneath the floor helps to return the heat gains to the interior of the building more quickly. Interior walls and houses are often framed with wood, but if built out of masonry materials such as rock or adobe, these can provide excellent mass, especially those interior walls hit directly by the sun. Concrete poured between studs is a quick way to add mass. (more…)