alternative energy (49)

Remote Living on High Altitude Lake on Xeni Gwet’in Land in Canada

Today I got an email from Jakub Amler in British Columbia, describing a 75-year-old man named Chendi, who has been living on the shores of the high altitude (4200 feet) 50-mile-long glacier-fed Chilco Lake in west central British Columbia for over 50 years. This is on the land of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations tribe. From Jakub (edited):

“It’s hard to believe he has been here for such long period of time since he hasn’t cut down a single tree — for firewood or structures. He collects all his wood, mostly with his rowboat on the wild and windy Chilco lake.

It is totally off grid, no road access. His “truck” is a rowboat which he uses to carry all the logs from the lake. He doesn’t use any power tools (lover of japanese tools, of course), the craftsmanship is unique, his buildings are charming like most of the buildings in your publications.”

Chendi allows people to come stay there (one month minimum), and says:

“Volunteers sleep in simple and old log cabins, carry water, use an outhouse and rustic bath or sweat house. This is a very difficult and isolated lifestyle, requiring volunteers to be physically fit. You cannot function here if you are not up for the challenge. The wind is quite intense for much of the year. It is also as majestic a place as you ever will see.

Kayaks are available with access to pristine wilderness, hiking, rowboat, fishing from a kayak, gathering wild roots and hunting or snaring.

I also only want people who are serious about going forward from this experience to lead a different life. This is not just a place to have an adventure, but a place to learn a meditative lifestyle (yoga). I want people to come here with intention and mindfulness.”

www.workaway.info/en/host/438711758842

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Frustrated with Utilities, Some Californians Are Leaving the Grid

NYTimes
By Ivan Penn
March 13, 2022

“Citing more blackouts, wildfires and higher electricity rates, a growing number of homeowners are choosing to build homes that run entirely on solar panels and batteries.”

NEVADA CITY, Calif. — In the Gold Rush, Northern California attracted prospectors looking for financial independence. Now, this area is at the vanguard of a new movement — people seeking to use only the energy they produce themselves.

Angry over blackouts, wildfires caused by utilities and rising electricity bills, a small but growing number of Californians in rural areas and in the suburbs of San Francisco are going off the grid. They can do so because of a stunning drop in the cost of solar panels and batteries over the last decade. Some homeowners who have built new, off-grid homes say they have even saved money because their systems were cheaper than securing a new utility connection.

www.nytimes.com/2022/03/13/business/energy-environment/california-off-grid.html

From Maui Surfer

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Iceland’s Innovations to Reach Net-Zero – in Photos

Isolated and challenged by a harsh climate and battered by the financial crisis of 2008, Iceland has successfully moved away from fossil fuels and shifted to 100% electricity production from renewable sources. The island nation has developed high-tech greenhouses to grow organic vegetables and embraced sustainable fish farming, ecotourism, breakthrough processes for carbon capture and disposal, and efforts to restore the forests that were lost in earlier centuries.

www.theguardian.com/…

From Maui Surfer

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SunRay Kelley’s Solar Electric Diesel Hybrid

249790

18 solar panels charge a Leaf battery bank that powers the electric motor. When battery runs low, a diesel generator kicks in to power the motor and extend the range.

It has a 1937 Willy’s front end and custom-made doors and grill.

Will be featured in our next book, Rolling Homes.

It’s for sale: SunRay@SunRay Kelley.com.

If you know of any unique road rigs, contact me at: lloyd@shelterpub.com

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Half-Acre Homestead in Boise, Idaho

Hi Lloyd,

I’ve attached a few pics of our half-acre homestead project here in Boise, Idaho. My wife and I bought a .42-acre lot with a fixer-upper house in the heart of town 5 years ago. We also added two beautiful girls, Willow (6) and Zoe (7 mos).

We focused on the house first, with a goal of having a net-zero house … and we are pretty close thanks to it after gutting and replacing all the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems. This includes a bad-ass Mitsubishi heat pump, solar array that is net metered, heat pump water heater, all LED lighting, induction range, and lots of insulation.

My family deserves a lot of credit living thru the remodel process (is it ever really done?) and dealing with their carpenter dad that has big ideas sometimes.

The gas company came to replace our old meter and I just told them to pull it, we don’t need it anymore. That felt good.

The last 2 years we have focused a lot on the food production side, building up soil. We build a hugelkultur bed out of some trees we took down, and this has become a great spot for annuals, zucchini, squash and particularly melons … they love it. It also has a lot of mushrooms that fruit from the rotting wood below when the weather is right.

We get lots of water from our irrigation ditch as this area was all orchards before WW2, and Boise has an elaborate system of irrigation ditches all over town.

After reading The Half-Acre Homestead, I built up a compost area out of job site scraps and just poured piers for our chicken coop/garden storage area. The piers are big because I plan on adding a green roof like your coop.

I could go on and on, but I want you to know that books like yours have been a real lifeline for a builder like me, especially out here in Idaho. Folks like yourself, and Foster, Bruno, et al have been a great inspiration, and I will be forever grateful. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

Take care and come visit sometime,
T.J., Missy, Willow, and Zoe Sayles

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The Half-Acre Homestead Book Is Finished!

(Subtitle: 46 Years of Building & Gardening)

You know, it’s Thanksgiving morning, both boys are off for the holiday with spouses’ families, and Lesley and I are working on our separate crafts. What a difference with no phones, no email, no business necessities, no one else around. Witness the fact that I’ve hardly blogged at all lately. Gonna have to get one day a week here with no distractions. A right-brain day!

The unbound pages came in from the printers a few days ago. What a thrill! The book’s getting bound (in Hong Kong) this week, shipped and will be available in early March, 2020. When we get it together, we’re going to take pre-orders.

I’m still getting used to the book. After covering hundreds of builders over the years, this is the first on my own (and Lesley’s) work.

Stay tuned.

These photos shot with iPhone. We just got these early pages.

Music de éste día: The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers, 1969
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUeFJ7QIRbE

Here’s how I make books:

Read More …

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Tiny Home in Scottish Highlands

Hi Lloyd,

Just a quick email to update you, and send a photo of our small house in the NW Highlands.
We spoke a few years ago, when you were over in Scotland, heading up this way see Bernard Planterose. Sadly we could not meet, but I thought you would like to see our tiny, but much loved home.

It is approx 40msq (about 430 sq. ft.) – the exterior is larch timber and ‘wriggley’ tin. The interior is CLP – heavily insulated with sheep’s wool.

We have a small office, a compost loo, a main living, cooking and sleeping area with a climb up bed and a compact bathroom. There are floor to ceiling windows to the front of the house – we feel like we are sitting on the deck of a ship – watching the ever changing sea loch and the birds and mammals that call it home. Heat comes from an old Jotul wood stove, power from 6 solar panels, a battery bank and inverter (we have a 24 +12v system) and we use bottled gas for a cooker and boiler. In the summer we run a small freezer and camping fridge, in the winter a hole in an outside wall!

“Twoflower Croft” has been our home for almost two years. We are still finishing soak aways and retaining walls, planting trees, planting gardens – but we are getting there.
… Our friend Sam Booth from Echo Living made our plans a reality, and it is to him, and to you we owe a huge debt. It is wonderful to know that there are people out there celebrating the fact that that simple, small houses – designed for the life that the owners live – make the most perfect homes.

Huge respect and best wishes from Scotland, hope you find yourself here again soon.

Sara Garnett

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