Category: Energy Systems

Free Geothermal Power from Earth’s Heart

Geothermal Power Plant

I have yet to get my mind around the idea that Earth’s inner core is dense iron and nickel, surrounded by boiling liquid like the stuff that comes out of volcanos. Nevertheless I find the potential power of it awesome, although it does remind me how transient life is on earth. The ancient Greeks were not far off when they believed everything – including you and me – is a […]

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The Endlessly Renewable Power of the Tides

The Endlessly Renewable Power of the Tidesfeat

The water flows high up the beach when the moon is directly overhead, as happens on the far side of planet. The rhythm is predictable with a spacing of approximately 12 hours and 25 minutes. Half way between these points, the water level is at its lowest. There are subtle variations because of local factors. However, the power is always there. This knowledge is not new. In approximately 150BC the […]

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PV technologies: Is there a Buyer’s Advantage?

Solar panels and storm

Solar cells have come a long way from being in the realm of NASA, far beyond the pocketbook of most mortals to an ever cheaper commodity that is quickly becoming a mainstream source of electricity. Throughout the history of photovoltaics (PV) different technologies have been competing for the favors of the market, touting their respective advantages. The main two classes competing for the market today are crystalline silicon and thin […]

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What is an Earthship?

What is an Earthship feat

What is an Earthship? The name itself is a source of puzzlement and wonder to some readers. Some might even think that it’s a vessel where only a chosen people can go to when the world is going under. Here’s the truth though. Anyone can go to an Earthship. But what is it anyway? An Earthship is actually a place where people can live. The place is applying sustainable practices […]

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Storing Heat Underground in a Geosolar System

2015-10-20-Geosolar-trench - feat

As an engineer and permaculture designer living in a cold-climate, I am particularly fascinated with the interplay between thermodynamics and design and with capturing “waste” energy and finding novel, inexpensive and efficient ways to store and/or recapture and re-use it. One of these such systems, is geothermal storage. In late 2015, our consulting company, Adaptive Habitat, was hired to design and install a geosolar heat collection system just north of […]

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Making Biogas is Easy

Bio Energy

Methane is a versatile, sustainable gas that can be used to perform everyday tasks like heating water and cooking food with surprising simplicity. Unfortunately producing it and using it at home may seem messy, but below we have a simple DIY instruction on making a biogas digester. All grazing animals have bacteria that are needed for creating methane in their guts, with cows being the most efficient creators of the […]

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How to Heat and Cool Your Home Without Electricity

Earthship under construction

Electricity carried through an immense web of copper eventually makes its way into our homes, providing the endless supply we need for temperature control. It’s expensive, and in some places the air conditioning can easily account for half the electricity bill. Paying this upkeep could even make the difference between life and death in extreme climates. Thankfully, there are other options out there. Using alternative building techniques, houses can be designed that passively heat and cool themselves all year long – without electricity!

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How to get a Hot Shower out of your Compost

How to get a Hot Shower out of your Compost

Anyone that has been invested in permaculture or who is beginning to broaden their horizon on the topic will know that bacteria are to be revered. For example, nitrifying bacteria break down ammonia and provide us with healthy aquaponic systems while anaerobic bacteria can provide us with hot showers, yes, nice hot showers, as well as rich compost. Compost heaps can provide hot water for showers for up to 10 […]

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Nature Produces Renewable Energy — Let’s Capture it!

Nature Produces Renewable Energy — Let’s Capture it!

Transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy is a hot topic right now. Well, natural processes harvest renewable energy all the time, and release it in excess to be recycled! When the focus is on stacking functions and transforming waste into resources, this becomes apparent–a concept we are intimate with as permaculturists. Let’s cover some sources of renewable energy that haven’t been given as much media coverage as […]

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Permaculture Zones of Use: A Primer

Permaculture Zones of Use: A Primer

Ah, an archetypical permaculture zones of use chart. So elegant in its simplicity, yet bewildering to those who wish to transpose it. Just what are permaculture zones of use and why do they matter? Permaculture zones of use are at once an organizing force during the design process as well as a management tool. They directly aid our efforts by offering simple, but effective logic to the positioning of design […]

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