The Green Cabin
Been doing some more research. It seems that you need to
calculate the totals of your system. The power produced by the solar panels,
the number of panels needed, the size of the battery bank as related to your
power needs, the size of the charge controller/s, the overall wattage usage
you intend to use on the complete system. This web site is the best I've
found so far as it explains the whole concept of solar power.
I've been thinking of a way to cooler my cabin and go solar with out using an AC-unit, so I've been looking into swamp coolers and I think I have come up with a design that when built can be powered by solar and be portable at the same time. It consists of a kiddy pool, a section of field fence (rolled into a hoop) and covered with a sponge mesh (to be soaked with water as it evaporates to cool the in coming air), a top cover, a dc fan motor (to move the air thru the system). lastly an air duct to pipe the air into the cabin. By building a smaller version of this design you can make this unit completely self-contained and portable. I choose field wire fencing so my design can be round. You can use anything to make the cage, as long as it contains the sponge mash in its form so air can be drawn thru it and into the structure you are trying to cool. The mash should let air pass thru it but at the same time let the water run down slowly so it evaporates, cooling the in coming air as it passes thru. The kiddy pool is only used to hold the water and sump pump, acting as a pan.
To take advantage of the rain and conserve the water run
off from my cabin's roof. I plan to use a rain barrel system to catch it.
Something like the drawing below, that I found on-line. To in large the
system just add more barrels.
This past week we got snow and the power went out for about four hours. If I
had already had my Solar Power (stand alone) System up and running I
wouldn't have even noticed the outage. I'm not ready yet, but we do have a
log fire place. So heat was not even an issue, our water system was because
we are on a private well that uses AC power.
I feel at this point that I have covered the basics of going green and being energy independent. I hope that I have given you the information you need to help you live off the grid and tell "big power" what they can do with their "big" bills. Think of going green as an investment in your future. Some of you well have the money to make the investment all at once, some like me well have to invest a little at a time but the money you will save off your energy bills well be money you can spend on other things. While at the same time decreasing your carbon foot print and helping mother nature. Letting this rock we call home last just a little longer. The best thing you can do is to be energy wise.
Now don't get me wrong. I am by no means a hippy type guy. I don't plan to live in a tent or old bus, smoke pot or stay drunk. I do plan to invest in my future. If I spend $400.00 a month on energy to power my home that would be $4800 a year. If I can eliminate that bill it gives me $4800 a year I can invest in other things. Now multiply that by ten years, that's $48,000. I don't know of many investments that gives you a guarantied return with no risk.
Man is the only animal that has the ability and knowledge to change any environment he lives in to fit his needs no matter where that environment is, even space. The thing we need to do is to walk lightly in the environment we now live in.
I think I have come up with the ideal cabin floor plan
(found online and doctored by me) for me.
It has all the basics, a full bathroom w/shower, a full semi-galley style kitchen, a good layout, not too small, not too big, easy to heat and cool, (when insolated correctly) expandable and should be quite easy to build and cheaply too. It is based on a two car garage. By orienting the cabin east-west I can also install my solar panels toward the south at an angle of 32 degrees (my latitude) (+15 degrees in winter, -15 degrees in summer) to capture the most sun most of the year. I'm also thinking of installing a tin or metal roof to make capturing the rain run-off in a cistern or rain barrels easier. I just need small high efficacy appliances to keep the power usage down. As stated before, I figure once all systems are up and running my bills if any will be very low, if I even need to be on the grid. And if lucky enough to find a piece of land with a strong running stream (good water to drink too once filtered) I should be able to setup all three systems (solar, wind and hydro) then I can live completely off the grid.
When talking about Hydro-Power, most people think of water wheels. While this is partly correct. Hydro-Power can be produced with more then just a simple water wheel. A traditional water wheel weather over-shot or under-shot can be built with ease and configured to produce power. Right now I like a small "MICHELL (BANKI) TURBINE". There are many papers on how to build one. Myself I plan to use one to turn a permanent magnet DC motor into a generator since I plan to use a 12-volt battery bank in my cabin. By using more then one system to charge my batteries I would not have to depend on any single system. Thus having a more reliable overall power system.