Category: Living Off The Grid

Tutorial: Earthships 101

Tutorial - Earthships 101Tutorial: Earthships 101 – Image To Repin / Share
Photo – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 2.0

Here’s another feature about Earthships – sustainable homes for the future! This video by Earthship Biotecture, part one of a series, takes us on a guided tour of an Earthship, showing all of the systems that make it one of the most environmentally sound building ideas to date – this one has no utility bills to pay at all!

Earthships use a “passive solar design” (ie all of the windows are on the south side) to make the most of heat and light from the sun. Building thick walls from used tyres and earth gives them a large thermal mass that will absorb heat and make a dramatic difference “evening out” the temperature – helping the house to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. In some instances, this is so effective that no additional heating or cooling is required! Additional power is supplied by solar and wind generators.

The water recycling system is very efficient – rainwater is harvested and used water goes for irrigation or is treated within the home. So it’s possible to live completely off-grid with a set-up like this!

Another bonus: Earthships can provide a safe structure in areas where extreme weather is likely; they are made partly below ground, with very thick walls – so they can stand up well to hurricanes. They are currently being made in areas of the Philippines, following the recent typhoon disaster, and even on Easter Island!

40 million tyres are discarded yearly in the UK alone! An average Earthship home takes around 1,000 tyres to make – which means you have a free material to use in up to 40,000 houses a year! Where can you get that many tyres from? Scrap yards tend to charge even for old tyres, some of the bigger garages will not give them away as they have already contracted for them to be removed. One of the best ways is to go to smaller garages or independent suppliers – they are generally more willing to give them to you for free. It’s worth paying a small amount for a load so that you can obtain a receipt, which must declare that the tyres are “part worn” rather than waste (they are intended for re-use after all!) as you would need a special license to handle waste.

In the UK, tyres are banned from landfill and have to be disposed of separately because of the leaching of chemicals or gases (called “off-gassing”) from tyres as they degrade. This is mainly a problem when the tyres are shredded or exposed to the elements – whereas in a wall that is sealed on the inside and packed with earth, there is no risk to health. It’s possible to use other materials to give thermal mass to a wall if you’re concerned – the Earthship site has loads of info, including a full technical report on offgassing that you can see here: http://earthship.com/offgassing

Okay, here is the video:

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Tutorial Earthships 101
Graphic – off-grid.info. Images – Wikipedia 1, 2 – lic. under CC 2.0

Awesome “Stealth” Home-Made Wind Generator

Awesome Stealth Home-Made Wind GeneratorAwesome “Stealth” Home-Made Wind Generator
Photo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MQaT9EbMDQ

This short, inspiring video introduction to the “Stealth” wind turbine by imikewillrockyou shows a simple design of home electricity generator that is really elegant!

This is a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (or VAWT) that is more compact than the more common horizontal type (HAWT) – it could possibly be ideal for use in some locations where the horizontal turbines are not allowed, for example due to legal restrictions imposed by a Home Owners Association (though of course please check the regulations as we cannot recommend that you attempt to circumvent them!)

The maker of this smart-looking generator has decided to share his design to enable others to use the same technology, which has now been released to the public under a creative commons license. The instructions for making your own generator can be found on Mike’s YouTube channel. There are more and more DIY turbines appearing all the time! Here’s another simple VAWT in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnJ3apXUNcI

There is one drawback to siting a turbine on the roof in this way – by not using a ground-based tower, the amount of power you can harness will be reduced because of turbulence. This is one of many considerations to look at before installing a wind generator, so it is certainly worth doing some research about the suitability of your location. If your site is among trees or close to steep hills it is unlikely to be useful for wind power. It is best if your site is level and well away from trees and other obstacles. These sites will give you a lot more information:
http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generating-energy/Choosing-a-renewable-technology/Wind-turbines
http://windturbineshome.net/

Related: How To Get Unlimited Power After SHTF – Solar Generator (Inergy Flex)

Small scale electricity generation, either installed for individual homes or as part of a community project, is looking like the prime choice for a sustainable future. The initial cost can be high but can be shared for a larger project and either way the savings will grow over time.

The majority of grid power does not use sustainable production methods – in 2011 only 8 countries in Europe managed to reach 25% or more share of renewables out of their total energy consumption, Sweden topping the chart with close to 50%! The development of technology to harvest renewable resources is generally slow and often in direct competition with the biggest companies on the planet!

By moving away from dependency on the grid system, we can take responsibility for minimising our environmental footprint. A First Nations community in Vancouver are showing the way by starting up their own wind turbine business and sharing useful information, here is their site: http://twnwindpower.com/wind-power/

Okay, here is the video:

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Awesome Stealth Home-Made Wind Generator
Graphic – off-grid.info. Image – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=8MQaT9EbMDQ

Video: Cooking Bacon and Eggs In… A Paper Bag!

Video- Cooking Bacon and Eggs In... A Paper BagVideo: Cooking Bacon and Eggs In… A Paper Bag!
Photo – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlg7Rd8sHL0

My jaw hit the floor when I first saw this astonishing survival video! Who doesn’t love bacon and eggs? If you want to cook your favorite breakfast combo over hot coals, why don’t you try this paper bag method? This video by IntenseAngler will show you how to do it. It’s definitely a perfect way to make breakfast if you don’t have any frying pans on hand. An apocalypse with bacon and eggs seems somehow bearable, don’t you think? 🙂

The key to cooking the bacon and eggs in a paper bag is to saturate the inside of the bag with bacon grease. Another tip is to keep the bottom of the bag about 3-4 inches away from the hot coals.

Related: How To Cook Fish On An Open Fire – 3 Methods

You can modify this recipe by adding hash browns! After greasing the inside of the bag, place a few strips of bacon on the bottom. Toss in the hash browns. Break one egg on the top of it. Close the bag by folding the top at least three times but leave 3-4 inches of air space above the food. Insert a pointy stick through the folds of the bag and then prop the stick with rocks or hold the bag above hot coals for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and then carefully pull out the stick. Open the bag, sprinkle some chopped parsley on top and drizzle with a little bit of ketchup or sriracha sauce and they’re now ready to eat!

Another method of cooking on a campfire is through the use of heavy duty foil. It couldn’t be any easier than that! The thing about this technique is that you have to place it on hot coals and not on the flames. The ideal way is to place them on a bed of coals that are about two inches thick. There are a few folding techniques that you have to learn so that you can achieve different cooking styles. The “tent pack” is great for steaming while the “flat pack” is great for browning.

Here’s another recipe: Hotdog foil packs!!! Slice some white onions and bell peppers. Place the hotdogs on the foil, and put the sliced vegetables on top. Drizzle olive oil over it and a little bit of butter. Season with salt and pepper (you can add a tiny bit of cayenne pepper if you want it to be a bit spicy) Close the foil in a flat pack and place it on hot coals and grill for 15 minutes or until cooked.

Anyway, please enjoy the video and let us know your thoughts!

Okay, here is the video: