By user12615560 on Jan 01, 2009
I'm not one to normally post much of anything personal on the web, however, since several co-workers found my family's new situation interesting, I thought I might share.
This year my family and I are going green(er). Specificially, we've moved into a house that is off the grid meaning the house doesn't use the typical public utilities (i.e. city water, electric, etc).
For electricity, the house has a solar array hooked up to a set of batteries. The setup provides enough power for two days of typical usage with no sunlight. Even though we live in California, there are days when you don't get sun during the winter. For those cases we do have a propane generator that can provide power to the house and also acts as an alternator to charge the batteries so that the generator wouldn't have to continually run.
For water, we have two pumps. One is attached to a windmill and the other is electric. So we have two choices for drawing water into our storage tank. Not much wind as of late, so the electric has of course been in use.
Being an employee of the tech industry (and a player of MMOs), high speed access is important. We have this via a microwave dish directed at a local communications tower.
The house itself is a very nice log cabin. Now don't think that we're backwoods living. The house has all of the normal amenities: wood stove (there is forced hot air heating if needed), central air, several baths, dishwasher, etc.
So for a small change in lifestyle, we get to enjoy this new house, with a great view in the mountains. While we've only been here a few days now, we've already gotten into the groove of being more conscience about power usage and you find there's a lot of things you just take for granted. A perfect example of this is a microwave. Most microwaves have a digital clock. While it's a small draw on power, it's continuous and can drain the batteries. Because little things like that have such an impact in our new reality, we can't have them. So for a microwave, we're using one with a mechanical timer. I could rattle on about other devices that you may not think twice about (we never did), but I think you get the point.
At any rate, off or on the grid, it seems that thinking about the impact of the smallest things would be of some benefit as little stuff starts to add up over time. Something to think about.
Oh! And you haven't truly lived until you've driven a fully loaded 16-foot moving truck on muddy, windy mountain roads. If we move again, we're leaving our stuff behind!
P.S. Happy New Year!