It’s tough to have a conscience! If you’re trying to live in a way that is sustainable and ethical, you can sometimes end up facing some tough decisions. If you haven’t faced them yet, this should get you thinking and asking yourself the hard questions.
Now, Tom set his sights on working out a plan to take his home “off the grid”, out of the hands of the public electric works. He needed a way to provide his own electricity, so that he and Barbara could stop using electricity from the city. He did his research and found that he had three options for an alternative power source to bring electricity into their home: solar energy, wind power, and hydropower.
Green energy has proven, centuries before the extensive use of fossil products, that it can supply the world’s need for energy. Solar power alone can have as much power as all other sources combined. This simple truth would offer anyone’s doubt a reversing of look at the situation.
Tom wanted at least a half dozen hens. Their city ordinance allowed for this, but not for a rooster, which was okay with Tom and Barbara, because they weren’t planning to breed more chickens. A half dozen hens would give them just over two dozen eggs a week. Their manure, when added to their compost heap, will give them a superior fertilizer for their garden.
The same principles that apply to living off grid can also be used for any house, even if it’s still connected to the grid. You can use windmills, hydropower or solar panels if you want to get your energy at least partially from renewable energy, while getting rid of energy provided by power plants.
These designs are readily available online from specialist web sites and the pieces of equipment are available from DIY or hobbyist stores. Once you have made your power resources, they are practically maintenance free, although you may have to top up the batteries with sulphuric acid or distilled water.
We also know that several civilizations tracked the sun and stars. The ancient Greeks use passive solar designs in their housing as early as 400 BC. The Romans improved on this design using glass to trap warm air. The Romans were the first to us glasshouses for growing plants and seeds.
Naturally, if you live near a large city (we’re talking pollution here), you don’t want to use a cistern for your drinking water. Also if you collect water from your gutters, then you’ll want a clay or metal roof rather than a shingled one for cleaner water. But if you’re in an area where you get a lot of rain, this is a viable option for collecting water for bathing, laundry, watering your garden and even cooking and drinking – provided you have a filter system for your drinking water.