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Practical Changes

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  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 07:38pm

    #21
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    Re: Practical Changes

I’m gonna bump this thread because I think it is important and don’t want it to die!

I may be in the group of folks who has spent too much time and money on the preparation, so it is interesting to see other people’s preparations. I guess you could say I am in the rounding out stage looking for things I have missed.

Moon, did you find the almanac? I’ve never used one but have heard great things.

One thing I don’t see as I look through the different answers above is a solid plan for energy independence. Is anyone else prepared for off-grid? How?

What about communications? Is it a safe bet to assume the internet and cell phones are going to remain functional? If they both failed tomorrow, I’d be sending out smoke signals I guess!

One last question, I personally believe we have another year before it might get bad, but this fall will be interesting. Does anyone have a target completetion date they are working towards, and why? How will you know when you are ready?

Best,

Rog

 

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 08:10pm

    #22
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    Re: Practical Changes

[quote=Ready]

I’m gonna bump this thread because I think it is important and don’t want it to die!

I may be in the group of folks who has spent too much time and money on the preparation, so it is interesting to see other people’s preparations. I guess you could say I am in the rounding out stage looking for things I have missed.

Moon, did you find the almanac? I’ve never used one but have heard great things.

One thing I don’t see as I look through the different answers above is a solid plan for energy independence. Is anyone else prepared for off-grid? How?

What about communications? Is it a safe bet to assume the internet and cell phones are going to remain functional? If they both failed tomorrow, I’d be sending out smoke signals I guess!

One last question, I personally believe we have another year before it might get bad, but this fall will be interesting. Does anyone have a target completetion date they are working towards, and why? How will you know when you are ready?

Best,

Rog

[/quote]

Hmm…I’ll know I’m ready when SHTF and six months later me’n’mine are carrying on okay.  How else does one know for sure?  Undecided

As for a completion date, my (seriously nothing more than ballpark) estimate is Spring/Summer 2011.  Which very well could be “too late”…

In the meantime — Viva!  Sager

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 08:18pm

    #23
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    Re: Practical Changes

[quote=SagerXX]

Hmm…I’ll know I’m ready when SHTF and six months later me’n’mine are carrying on okay.  How else does one know for sure?  Undecided

[/quote]

Quite true.  At the same time, I had a list of stuff to accomplish before I felt warm and fuzzy, just wasn’t sure if anyone else wanted to share theirs. Since I found peak oil before CM, energy has been my strongest play, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be before I was “done” if there is such a thing.

The world won’t melt down betwewn now and 2011, so you are OK.  Now, 2012 is another issue (just kidding, no planet X)

 

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 08:32pm

    #24
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    Off-Grid Power

Hi Ready,

I have been fascinated by off-grid alternative power systems for most of my adult life. But as anyone who has looked into it knows, they are very expensive. Right now I can’t afford a system for my home, but it is a priority. When I built my house, I spent a lot of my capital (and elbow grease) on climate-specific adaptations to the design of the home. I live on the hot and humid Gulf-coast of Texas, so I added 9 sets of french doors to the exterior walls to maximize passive ventilation. I supplemented this with a very energy efficient whole-house fan. There is no way to run an central air conditioner on a PV/Wind Alt. Energy system, so I thought these design changes were a more important initial investment than an off-grid system.

The result of these climate-specific adaptations to my home is that I only have to run the AC about 4 months out of year. I would say most people who live here run their AC about 9 months out of the year. By my calculations, this saves us about $2,000 a year on the utility bill compared to our neighbors.

 

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 08:42pm

    #25
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    Off-Grid Refrigeration

I have been looking for a simple solution for off-grid refrigeration. Last year I found a simple solution, but I can’t find anyone who sells it. The solution involves a Sundanzer Solar-Powered/Battery-Free Refrigerator and a 120 watt PV panel. The refrigerator is really a great design. It only requires intermittent power, so it can be connected directly to a PV panel, with no battery bank, inverter, or charge controller needed.

Has anyone seen this particular model for sale? Thanks in advanced….Jeff

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 08:55pm

    #26
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    Re: Practical Changes

Jeff,

You make some good points, and are clearly looking at this from the perspective of staying where you are, and I believe you are in a suburban community, correct? I have not found an effective way to provide off grid power for my house in the subdivision either. Wind is not allowed, and only flat mounted PV. Too bad my house points the wrong direction.

On the farm, that is an entirely different story. And yes, you can have AC off grid in that environment. You are better off to design around it though, if you have the luxury. Putting the house underground is a great option. I realize this might be a bit late for you, and your wife may not take to kindly to burying the house at this point 🙂

While this is not the answer you are looking for, my refrigeration consists of a 25 c.f. chest freezer with a brewer’s thermostat installed that allows me to set the temp to the non-freezing range. The idea of a vertical fridge was clearly desinged by a guy who cared nothing about AC use, as every time you open the door all the cold pours out on the floor. The electricy used is something like 1/10 of the upright cousin, and lends itself well to off grid use and still has a lot of space. We also have a root cellar.

While folks lived for eons without a fridge, I don’t plan to.

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 09:11pm

    #27
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    Re: Practical Changes

Hi Ready,

I do live in what could be called suburbia, but I choose the location because the neighborhood had no deed restrictions or home-owners association. Its quite the eclectic neighborhood. The neighborhood is on the coast, so an underground home (my personal dream home is a semi-underground dome home) is not an option. In fact my house is raised on pilings 12ft off of the ground. We do have an excellent costal wind source here and plenty of sunshine for PV. And just last year the local utility company stated that they will accept grid-intertie systems now. A battery-bank is so incredibly inefficient, and expensive, that this was welcome news to my ears. Of course you would still need a small battery bank for power outages.

What type of wind turbine did you go with on your farm?

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 09:21pm

    #28
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    Re: Practical Changes

I’ll bet you have awesome wind potential. I would really look at that close if I were you. Even if you just sell to the power company when you are not using and reduce your overall needs, you have gone a long way more than most, and if things get tight you can make different arrangments then for storing excess power.

Based on what you have said, I would think multiple small turbines would be the way to go for you. I went the big route, but I don’t care about the dead birds, noise, tall towers with guy wires, and neigbors out on the farm. I have nobody within miles to complain.

Are you the handy type, or do you prefer a kit / pre-manufactured device? We may want to take this offline unless there are others interested…

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 09:22pm

    #29
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    Rocket Stove

I’m sure most people know about these, but I would share my experiences with rocket stoves in case somebody might have missed it. The advantages of a rocket stove are:

  • The are very efficient, so they use very little wood.
  • Can be powered by twigs and sticks.
  • Can be made very easily.
  • Provide a means to cook food in dire circumstances.

Last year when Hurricane Ike took at all of our utilities, I used the rocket stove to boil water for pasta, and to make the sauce. I bought mine off of ebay last year from the guy who made the youtube video below for just over $100. But if you have welding skills you could make a nice one very cheaply.

  • Mon, Sep 14, 2009 - 09:28pm

    #30
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    Wind Power

Hi Rog,

I’m somewhat handy, but making a wind turbine is beyond my skillset. I was thinking several small micro-turbines might be ideal. I really like the vertical axis turbines but the watt per $ ratio is poor compared to traditional turbines. Traditional wind turbines create interference for TV reception. I wonder if the new digital broadcast standard is effected in the same way?

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