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November 29, 2009 at 3:38 am #36611
Hello, my boyfriend and I are living in Seminole,Tx and are hoping to eventually move to the Durango,Co area after we sell our house. We are planning on buying a camper trailer and some land(atleast 5 acres). We want to build a cob house while we live in a camper. We will be getting a loan for the land, possibly camper(depending on how much the camper cost us) and we would also like to use the loan money for solar panels, stove for heat, doors and everything else we need. We use about 600-1500 kw a month so to be safe we’ll say 1500 kw a month. I’m wondering how many solar panels we would need. Mostly what I’m wondering is if there is an energy efficient consultant that would be able to help us with questions such as when we do get our land Where the most efficient place (for solar power and etc) would be, Best energy efficient heating solution… basically help us learn to be off the grid? Sorry if it’s confusing. Thanks.November 29, 2009 at 6:53 am #40646
My first advice is – wait until you find your ideal land, then keep it local – get a local loan,It will be easier and cheaper for you that way. Owner-financing will probably be the way to go.November 29, 2009 at 6:58 pm #40647
We do not know what you are capable of doing. So I would suggest you do alot of planning from size of house needed not what you want. what you can use to build it. which way the land sits according the the sun and wind and the winter snow fall. The big thing is water. A flowing creek or spring would be ideal. You could maybe get wind flows from the nearest airport. Get local rain fall from the county along with possible water table. Possible building products from an old house being torn down or even moved for the material. You might even look into a damaged trailer or an older tradin at an RV place. It could be stripped for the internal use of the things inside. Stove fridge sinks. Good planning will be a good friend to you.November 29, 2009 at 11:42 pm #40648
In addition to what has been mentioned. Going off-grid you will find that what you used on-grid and what you need to accomplish the tasks with self generated power can be quite different.
1500 kwh/month if all one has is solar/wind to provide the power is going to be very expensive. As ‘thirteen’ noted or alluded to having property with good water flow and being able to get permission to harvest that with a small hydro electric generator could result in those numbers being more feasible.
I live in the flat lands of illinois, but have been out to the durango area a few times, love the mountains but last time I was out there the population density seemed to be getting too much for me. I’ll stick with my semi flat 24 acres.
3 years ago at my current location we were using 600-1500kwh month as well depending on the time of year. I’ve been active with solar off an on since I was in college in the early 80’s. I started getting very serious though in the early 90’s. Once I moved to my present location 14 years ago I started working on my goal of going off grid.
I started out on commercial power and moved/balanced the house loads to run what I could off of the existing panels. This last summer I added an additional 1200 watts of PV, now have a total of approximately 2200 watts of PV capability and a 300 watt Air 303.
Since July of this year I have been off the grid. I am still paying a connection fee through the winter to make sure I can really get by without the commercial side.
I cut my power consumption down from that 600 to 1500kwh/month to 200/300kwh’s month. There were a few family habits that needed to be broken. But we did not change our quality of life, well maybe a little for the better in some ways. Portions of the usage reduction involved what you will find mentioned in other areas.
eliminate the phantom loads, power strips on everything that has power usage while off.
replacing old washer/dryer/fridge with newer more effecient models
cook stove and clothes dryer have always been propane from the time we moved in.
no incandescents, House has been full CFL since moving in 14 years ago and the cost of
cfl’s are a whole lot cheaper than back then.
Acquire a “kill-a-watt” or equivalent. It is a plug in the wall device that measures power usage of 120 volt ac appliances over a period of time. that way you can determine what is consuming your preciously generated power.
You are thinking about it now before the first foundation block has been layed. That is the best time to do it, plan and then plan some more.
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