Posts from — December 2009

Cool Tools
by CHARLES on DECEMBER 30, 2009 - 2 Comments in FOOD, OFF-GRID 101
home cooking on tap

home cooking on tap

This site does not talk enough about the great new gadgets and technologies which make off-grid living ever more comfortable.  Here are two – your favorite suggestions please, readers,  in comments at end of this story.:-

The impact of the microwave oven on human grazing habits has been extreme. It can reheat frozen food or cook raw food in a fraction of the time required of a conventional oven and has brought the convenience of preparing food to new levels. The WaveBox Microwave Oven is a (more…)

Blueprint for sustainable living
by VEG-HEAD on DECEMBER 29, 2009 - 1 Comment in COMMUNITY, OFF-GRID 101

katyandleanderfamilyportraitAn off-grid Community in the UK has been awarded £350,000 of central government money to help it spread its low-carbon lifestyle to families across the country.

The Lammas project in the Welsh hills involving nine “ordinary” families living in eco smallholdings in the Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire, has been named by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change as one of 10 low-carbon communities.

Lammas (named after a Pagan harvest festival)  will spend the moneyon a “community hub” building. It is seen “a blueprint for sustainable living” and the money is intended to facilitate educational visits. The local government in the area has pioneered one of the most favorable regimes to enable planning permission for off-grid developments and Lammas owes its existence to this planning framework.

The new building will help launch its low-impact housing initiative and pioneering farming and land-use technologies, as well as promoting carbon-positive food and fuel. (more…)

Bloomington preppers
by SHANNON on DECEMBER 24, 2009 - 1 Comment in EVENTS
Preppers are part of local politics

Preppers are part of local politics

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Dec. 21 — The city of Bloomington issued a press release fully endorsing a report into post-peak oil scenarios.

December, 2009, “the Bloomington City Council overwhelmingly approved the report of the Bloomington Peak Oil Task Force entitled Redefining Prosperity: Energy Descent and Community Resilience (PDF 13.36 MB). The report is the product of a seven-member task force and outlines the community’s vulnerability to a decline in cheap oil and proposes numerous mitigation strategies.”

Within 30 years, Bloomington’s least-used roads could be dirt or gravel instead of asphalt. City residents could have to capture and collect the rain water that falls on their roofs if they want to receive city water service. (more…)

Survivalism vs the media
by SPY_VONDEGA on DECEMBER 24, 2009 - 7 Comments in EVENTS
Lundin - not afraid to speak his mind

Lundin - not afraid to speak his mind

Cody Lundin, the survivalist author, spent two years spent living in a brush shelter in the woods where he slept on pine needles and cooked over an open fire, becoming disenchanted with his new role in the elite class of television survivalism presenters.

It seems like Hell may have broken loose after Cody issued a bizarre letter at the end of the first week filming his new series, Dual Survivor, for Discovery Channel.

“I have little if any control over how Dual Survivor is ultimately concepted, produced, and edited….” Lundin tells a small group of survivalism fans. (more…)

Free solar calculators
by TECHSTAR on DECEMBER 23, 2009 - 1 Comment in OFF-GRID 101, SOLAR

Who loves the Sun
Solar Calculators (aka Solar Estimators) will estimate the size and calculate the cost to install a solar energy system for your home or building. There are many free ones on the Internet. Just type in “free solar calculator”
They are all based on the number of hours of sunlight you can expect at a given address, and then vary in sophistication after that.  (more…)

Slow spread of 1BoG
by TECHSTAR on DECEMBER 22, 2009 - 7 Comments in SOLAR

Llorens: Unproven claims

Llorens: will it catch on?

Anyone considering solar power probably has a green outlook. If the deal you do is good for the planet yet not so good for your pocket book, will that slow the spread of green homepower?

Companies like solar-installation organizer One Block Off the Grid (1BoG), aggregates the buying power of consumers to get the best deal, but that is not necessarily the cheapest deal. 1BoG arrives in an area and offers to install a minimumof 100 solar households, at a cost 10-20%  below the rate you would pay on your own, and it makes sure you are hooked up with a reputable supplier.

At the moment the business is active in Arizona,Colorado and California, from where the example prices below are sourced. A house with a power bill of $150 per month that installs a 3 kilowatt system (a common size) will spend $9,639 –says 1BoG – after state and federal subsidies are subtracted — to install it, and save $97 a month under current pricing. (more…)

Bankers nixed Copenhagen
by NICK ROSEN on DECEMBER 19, 2009 - 2 Comments in EVENTS
Climate deal? Don't hold your breath

Climate deal? Don't hold your breath

It was obvious from the start that the Copenhagen climate conference was doomed.

World leaders were trying to square an impossible circle. They had to reduce carbon emissions whilst paying off the crippling debts incurred by Western financial institutions during the asset bubble of the past few years.

The only solution that would have led to an agreement in Copenhagen would also have caused riots in Washington, Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo. The problem comes from an inability to level with the public as to exactly what has to be done to get a grip on pollution.

For carbon emissions to fall, energy use has to fall and for that to happen, either the population has to fall or GDP per capita has to fall (see our earlier article on this subject ––-they’re-pointless/).

There is no chance of the population falling, unless H1N1 comes to the politician’s rescue. And that means GDP has to fall, which entails a shrinking economy. This in itself is no bad thing after decades of growth. (more…)

Eco-villages now in 70 countries
by VEG-HEAD on DECEMBER 18, 2009 - 1 Comment in EVENTS, OFF-GRID 101
Publicity still from The Farm

Publicity still from The Farm

In 1991, Robert and Diane Gilman co-authored a seminal study called “Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities” for Gaia Trust. Today, there are ecovillages in over 70 countries on six continents.

Ecovillages (only some of which are off-grid) can be located in urban or rural areas.  They are formed and populated by people who share the environmental and social values of sustainability and low-impact living. According to the Global Ecovillages Network, residents of ecovillages live out these ideals by integrating “aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices….” (more…)

Lo-energy xmas
by TECHSTAR on DECEMBER 17, 2009 - 1 Comment in EVENTS
low carbon wonderland

low carbon wonderland

The outside of your home may be a shining example of the Christmas season but there are ways to be energy efficient and still light up with Christmas fun. and in doing so we are fulfilling a historic mission, detailed below.

A British householder who wires up his home with 45,000 festive lights and decorations is doing his bit for the planet by only using low-energy bulbs. David Grant, 49, has spent 20 years and “tens of thousands of pounds” turning his house into a giant Christmas “wonderland”. (more…)

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