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Home Forums General Discussion Help…Designing off grid home in Michigan UP Re: Help…Designing off grid home in Michigan UP


I second Dustoffer’s suggestion to get the Solar Living Source book, its one of the books I recommend on my article at titled “Green?”

I have never built a selfsustaining, green, offgrid home. But I have studied a lot about it. Self-sustaining is a nice thought, something to strive for. Net zero energy is a nice thought too, what many don’t mention is the energy and carbon emissions(not that I care about carbon emissions too much, I’m not a greeny per say) in manufacturing associated with some of these homes.

What you can do if you plan carefully however is to have a home that is far more energy efficient, cheaper to operate and maintain and somewhat self sufficient. The degree will probably depend on the individual and the situation.

I think basement type situation is always good anywhere, even if the basement is not below grade and the earth is bermed around it. Even if the whole house is a basement with a roof on top of it.

Radiant heat is a good idea but it is active and not passive and will consume some power and possibly have some maintenance issues and cost(true of all active systems). If you use passive solar right radiant heat won’t be necessary and I think would be a bit overkill.

Your wood heating system can heat water and pump that hot water to a heat exchanger in the home where it will then heat air that is blown into the home through central heating ducts. My brother designed and built his own wood heating system just like this. You may also buy them. Some run on chord wood and others pellets. Coal might be an option as well if you can find a supplier. Its a super idea and I don’t even talk about that in my blog article on wood burning stoves ovens and fireplaces. There are other ideas in that article that you will want to review.

You should use the sun to heat with in winter, direct heating of objects or mass and air with the sun is the best way to earn $$ from solar. This is part of the Passive Solar concepts and design as I explain in my article on the green.

Heating water with solar is a great way to go, and i’d back it up with on demand gas tankless hot water heater.

What you have just begun to think about I’ve spent several years thinking about. Any other questions? I might have answers.

P.S. none of this comes without cost.