Category: Energy Systems

Free Hot Water from Compost Wheelie Bin

Here’s a great tip given by a member of the Aquaponics Made Easy Forum on a cheap easy-to-build hot water system using compost. The original question posted to the forum was "how to heat a fish tank over winter without any extra energy costs?" A hard thing to do. Thermal Mass heating was one answer but a crafty member posted a very interesting solution and swears that it works a […]

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Solar Towers

The PS10 Solar Power Tower near Seville, southern Spain Having been a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy bookworm as a lad, and looking more like a big-budget prop for a Tolkien fantasy-brought-to-screen than an attempt to close the growing energy gap, the tower at right certainly piqued my interest. Accordingly, I thought it was time we had a quick look at these gigantic obeliscoid desert entities (by the way, the image […]

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The Rocket Powered Shower

Plan for our Rocket-Powered hot water system for the Basecamp shower + bath block Spending all your day gathering sticks for a hot shower is just no fun. No fun at all. Mind you, anything that results in a hot shower (or even better, a hot bath) has to be considered a priority at Milkwood. So when Nick finished converting the old ‘Sunbeam Sheep Shower’ structure (basically a new-fangled sheepdip) […]

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World Geothermal Power Generation Nearing Eruption

by Jonathan G. Dorn, Earth Policy Institute With fossil fuel prices escalating and countries searching for ways to reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, capturing the earth’s heat for power generation is garnering new attention. First begun in Larderello, Italy, in 1904, electricity generation using geothermal energy is now taking place in 24 countries, 5 of which use it to produce 15 percent or more of their total electricity. […]

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Reality Check one two…one two

If you were to get up and walk to the sink and turn on the faucet, there is a pretty damn good chance that water will come out. And if it didn’t you’d be surprised to say the least, more likely pissed off and annoyed at the inconvenience. You’d then wonder who is to blame for this unacceptable turn of events. I mean it is your god given right as […]

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Design with Energy in Mind

Permaculture designer, Robyn Francis (see also) looks at a variety of design strategies for using energy responsibly and sustainably. The practical ‘down-to-earth’ farmer, gardener and layperson will often find the theories surrounding ecology and energy very heavy going, if not downright confusing. What I would like to do is offer some practical perspectives on how we can use resources responsibly. Energy, in a holistic sense, involves much more than electricity […]

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Design for the Human Life Cycle

by Permaculture designer, Robyn Francis (see also). Photo: Craig Mackintosh It seems to be a common failing in a society that is so peer-oriented, that people rarely seem to design and plan for the changing needs of the full human life cycle. It is easy to relate to the here and now, and the needs of our immediate, short-term future. As permaculture designers we need to consciously develop our awareness […]

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What is ‘Zone Zero’?

llustration by Cecilia Macaulay Zone planning in permaculture design means placing elements according to how often we need to visit them. Areas that need to be visited every day (e.g. the glasshouse, chicken pen, herb garden) are located nearby, while places visited less frequently (grazing area, orchard, woodlot) are located further away. In Bill Mollison’s book ‘Introduction to Permaculture’, zone zero is defined as being the centre of activity in […]

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Efficient Glasshouse Design

A well designed glasshouse can serve many functions and be an extremely productive element in a permaculture system. It creates a self-contained environment in which the designer can modify conditions of heat, light, water and air for a variety of benefits. High value crops can be grown out of their normal climatic range or produced out of season, growing seasons can be extended by starting seedlings of annual plants early, […]

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Retrofitting Tips

Reprinted from ‘Earth-User’s Guide to Permaculture’ Most of us are stuck with the house we live in. What can we do to improve it? Here is a checklist of ways to retrofit a home and some good ideas to make life more comfortable. TOO HOT IN SUMMER Insulate ceiling Pergola and vines Deciduous trees Shady verandahs Breezeways/corridors Solar fans Cool air tunnels Deciduous creepers Shadehouse with plants

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