DIY Solar Hot Water

SolarCampShower
There are lots of interesting projects out there to help people who want to use the sun’s energy to heat hot water at minimal cost.

Last Sunday Energy Emporium hosted a workshop on Do-It-Yourself Solar Collectors. Lots of good ideas and projects were discussed from batch heaters to home made flat plate collectors that rival some of the more sophisticated commercial collectors available today.

Spending vs Investing

washing-machine
Most of us would rather invest our money than spend it. But finding a good investment that is close to home and low in risk is a challenge.

Think for a minute about laundry. You probably purchased laundry machines as an “investment” against spending at the laundromat. The laundry machines were also probably expensive compared with the cost of an individual load. But as a long term investment it seems like a good deal.

My Electric Bill, Part 1

electric billI wanted to take some time and share with everyone my electric bill.  “Brag” about how low it is might be a better way to put it.  As you can see in the graph I use approximately 3.5 kWh per day which works out to be an average monthly consumption of just over 100 kWh per month.  Not too bad, eh?  Especially, when you compare that to the average U.S. household which has monthly rate of 600 kWh.

So before I go into more detail about what I do (and more importantly what I don’t do) I want to briefly explain my living situation.   I live in a very small 3 bedroom ranch with just myself and my 5 year old daughter, who is only there half of the week.  I don’t have any renewable energy systems because I am just renting at the moment.  What I do is all of the little things to save electricity.  That is the message that I want to get across in this blog post; that the little things matter!

Wood / Solar Combination Heating

Wood/Solar Combination

Here in New England many home owners have their own source of wood they can use to heat their home. Or, they may decide that local wood or pellets can replace fossil fuels helping them achieve a level independence from foreign oil.

Working with a few of these customers, I have had the opportunity to put together combination wood and solar heating systems for both home heating and domestic hot water.

Building New

New House Construction
I recently got a call from someone who is building a new house and wanted to know what kinds of things they should consider to be as self-sustainable and as fossil fuel free as possible.

This was the third person I’ve talked to in the last couple of weeks so I thought it was a good topic for a blog post. Also, I’m hopeful that this means the economy is starting to turn around and people are finding the money to invest in their homes.