Thread: Off grid
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Old 02-10-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
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Location: MI
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Re: Off grid

Originally Posted by jbug_4 View Post
DH got them off craig's list for $50.
I laughed when I saw this, we used them too early in our 'homesteading venture' - then I really laughed when I looked where you are from. You are super close to us!

As for us, we have owned our 17 acres for a 4 years now I think? And we built this past spring/summer (we've been in since August).
Before we built, we had no power or water out here, but did have our animals (a few horses, chickens, LGDs, etc) and a 24x40 pole barn with a white metal roof. Our concerns were:
1. Water supply
2. Electric fence (our colt would walk right through it if not hot)
3. Water freezing in winter
To address these issues we:
1. We had a rainwater catch system off our barn roof for the animal's water (with a 12V water pump that worked off a battery charged by a solar panel).
2. We had the solar panel wired to a battery (charged by the solar panels) for the electric fencing.
3. Built a solar/insulated water tank cover for the horse's water in winter. Didn't work great, would try other things if we had to do it again. Once ice started in the tank it froze quite quickly.
In the spring/summer/fall it all worked just fine, although we learned that there is a big difference in water pump qualities. And we did run out of water from time to time (more in winter) (we used the same large 256 or whatever gallon cheese thing to catch the water, then pumped it to where we needed it to go).
We built a home this past year and focused on being more light on the land than not. Some things we have put into this house:
1. Passive solar design to harness the sun's heat in winter, and keep the house cooler in summer without AC ** it's awesome! ** (and cheap to design this way, rather than to fight the sun/nature when it's already built)
2. inside Woodstove
3. Open floor plan to allow the air to move through the house, warm it well
4. Radiant floor heat throughout
5. a special glazing on our south-facing windows to let more of the sun's heat in, but still keep the cold out (hard to find, but SO SO worth it!)
6. 2x6 construction with blown-in insulation...I'd push for double 2x4, or maybe even look at 2x8 or ICFs if I did it again. Even with the 2x6 the savings are pretty cool (although it totally depends on your climate!)
7. White metal roof. I love it. There are various opinions, but many people say either a green roof or a white metal roof is the greenest option for roofing.
We are on propane, because we couldn't justify Geothermal as it doesn't provide all of our heating needs and (per code) we'd need a "backup" of electricity or propane heat for when the heating load is too much for the Geo.
So far, in this house (which is 600' sq ft bigger than our prior house) the heating cost (propane, which also includes the indirect hot water heater and dryer) is the same or a little less than our other house - natural gas - and our electricity costs are half of the other house (and this is also including the barn). I attribute this to the design of the house.
This summer we're building a garage, and we are designing it to incorporate active solar. We'd like to also do a rainwater catch system off of our house. And maybe an external woodstove, which would do a better job of heating our whole house than the inside woodstove, which does a decent job of heating the upstairs.

Sorry if this was boring or not applicable to your situation, and sorry it's so long!!! it's a lot of trying different things to see what works best for you. Best of luck!
Jesus lover wife to T . Mama to A (6) , K (4) , and J (1) , with another baby girl on the way (May) !

Last edited by missc; 02-10-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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