Monday, May 6, 2013

PDC Homework - Behavioral Strategies for Energy Usage

These are behavioral strategies we plan to use on our land/farm.

An overall focus on health and well-being, both personal and environmental, makes a huge impact on behavior and, consequently, energy usage. Our lifestyle is moving steadily towards one where the only generated electrical energy needed would be for Internet modem, phone, and computer use, recharging batteries for walkie talkies, a low energy fridge (using a chest freezer with an adapter plug to make it run at a far lower voltage as a fridge), back-up lights, and the odd power tool when needed for projects. We plan to utilize a 600 watt solar generator to handle these needs.

Use of light will be changed drastically, basing our working day around daylight timings. For the limited amount of lighting needed at night/in the dark, solar lights will be utilized using the sun's energy during the day to charge them for the night. Eventually, once bee keeping is established and we start having a supply of beeswax, we will make our own candles, providing a preferable, alternative, and natural source of light. Kitchen appliances will be replaced by a hand-crank blender, a hand operated basalt grinding stone for flour and dry grains (will last for generations, maintenance free), and a hand crank stainless steel beater. Cast iron pans and Dutch ovens, stainless steel pots, plates, bowls, cups, utensils and cutlery will all last for generations.

Water cooling will be managed by burying 55 gallon steel drums 3/4 deep into the earth with a steel hand pump  Showers are by hung 5 gallon steel buckets of heated water, with holes punched into the bottom and a lid to stop the flow when finished. Hot water will be either by a simple homemade solar heater or heated in pipes running under a compost heap. Laundry will be done manually, with a washboard and steel tub, soap nuts or homemade castille soap.

Cooking will be done on a rocket stove, in a cob oven, and underground in charcoal pits - minimal fuel required, long cooking times, no electrical or gas energy requirements.Heating of the house can be from the rocket stove, as cob can store the heat well.Cob house, storage, animal pens all mean no cooling and minimal heating with small amount of wood from trees grown on property. They also need nothing more than human energy to build

All materials are to be as natural, healthy, environmentally enriching (or at minimum, safe), high quality, and long lasting as possible.

Transportation mode will be dependent on distance. For local travel transportation will be walking, cycling, or horse (either ridden or with a carriage), with a pick-up truck (V6 for better fuel economy but still the ability to tow and haul) for longer distances and when picking large things up. We are a family that enjoys walking and cycling, so they are viable forms of transportation for us. Walking will be fine for distances of up to 5 miles each way. Cycling for distances reaching further afield, and horse and carriage up to 50 miles. Of course, we need to travel smart - get as much done in a trip as possible and prevent unnecessary trips back and forth or retracing our route due to disorganized planning.