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Autonomous home on Australian Grand Designs

Ozzie architect Sam Zaher has clients flocking. He makes the most of the best spots in the country! His latest project is a little getaway overlooking Byron Bay, possibly the finest view in Australia.

And he has shown that off-grid living and luxury go hand-in-hand.

The Coorabell residence he designed for an environmentally conscious Sydney family not only ticks all the sustainability boxes, but also the cover of Grand Designs magazine.

The brief was to create a modern, stylish and interesting home that would sit lightly on the 27ha of land, be open, airy and age well.

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Affordable Green Homes

China’s government just announced it will allow financial institutions to provide lower mortgage rates for buyers of environmentally friendly housing (see below for more detail).

Meanwhile in the USA there is a lack of incentives to encourage housebuilders to shoulder the extra cost of an eco-home. Developers pont to the absence of specific subsidies, tax breaks and supportive policies, it is difficult to add on the cost of making a sustainable structure.

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Urban

Auto dweller denies he

An eccentric Brit living in a Land Rover in New Zealand has denied wild speculation that he is Lord Lucan, the missing peer whose disappearance sparked an international manhunt 20 years ago after the death of his nanny.

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Energy

Solar powered hydrogen production

PV to Hydrogen
PV to Hydrogen

Apart from saving resources, using solar energy instead of power from portable generators like diesel generators. Yamaha generators or Honda generators, for everyday power needs could shield the West from the negative effects of dramatic shifts in the supply and price of energy.
But the sun does not always shine. You need backup power for your home — a way to store solar energy for times when the sun is not shining. Hydrogen provides a safe, clean , efficient way to do this.
Here’s how the solar hydrogen cycle works:

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Energy

How to build a Water Motor

The Water Motor
The Water Motor

We all know how an industrial electric motor operates. You have a power switch. It turns electric current on and off to an electric motor, which then does work. That work can be pushing a cart, a fridge, a submersible water pump, or any number of rotary devices. What do you do off the grid, in the mountains of South America, where there is no power supply? What do you use to give power supply for your electric motor? Enter Ron & Diane in Bolivia, and their “Water Motor“. A unique Micro-Hydro device that uses the power of a falling stream to power stationary devices like saws, mills and generators like home generators and so on.

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Mobile

Mobile Homesteading

Documented mobile, school bus conversion so others can learn and duplicate thework. A 1991 GMC/Ward 66 Passenger School Bus is shown at the various stages of conversion, and all the steps taken to convert it into a rolling home are documented.

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Energy

Make your own Biodiesel Processor

Biodiesel processor
Biodiesel while you sleep

This unit will take lye and methanol, react it with vegetable oil, and produce a direct substitute for diesel fuel, to be used in any diesel engine, with no changes or modifications to the engine or fuel system. From tractors to trucks, cars to generators, even your boat, if you have a diesel engine, you can make your own fuel, no fumes, no fuss.
We start with a standard electric water heater from our local Sears store, and a conversion kit from Biodiesel Warehouse. After removing the cold water inlet tube, we remove the bottom drain, and attach the valve “T” assembly. The pump then bolts on to the “T”, attaching the fuel transfer manifold to the top of the pump.

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People

WC=Waterless Closet

On our homestead, we have greatly reduced our water usage by eliminating the flush toilet. The idea of polluting fresh drinking water with humanure is an odd concept, but widely held as the only solution.
A sawdust toilet is ONE of three components. The system will NOT work without all components, which are:

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Energy

Making fuel from manure

Al Rutan and his tabletop digester
Al Rutan & tabletop digester

The production of natural gas (CH4) occurs everywhere in nature in swamps, bogs, coal mines, land fills and in the guts of warm blooded mammals. In fact, anyplace where organic matter is present and air is excluded.

It is this same vapor gas that the utility companies market. Made by nature and deposited in the ground over eons of time, the chemical formula is one part carbon to four parts hydrogen (CH4).

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Land

Remote Scottish eco-project

remote<br /> highland lodge
Utterly remote

Wildlife millionaire Paul Lister bought the Alladale Highland Wilderness Reserve after a 10 year search. He was looking for somewhere isolated, private and with vast, uninterrupted views to fulfill his dream of reintroducing indigenous predators to the Scottish Highlands. He is now offering students an ecology holiday, but at a price.

Set within 11,000 hectares of truly dramatic and stunning Highland landscape, the reserve covers 5 glens, 10 hill lochs and 2 river systems. Alladale is the site of one of Europe’s most prominent ecological restoration programmes, conserving native wildlife whilst reintroducing once native Highland flora and fauna in a controlled environment.

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Which Batteries? (2)

A Reader wrote to us: Hi!

I intend to use a solar system, but don’t seem to get proper advice on storage batteries.

I was advised to use Trojan 105 (6 volt) golf cart batteries x 2 for my six 22 Watt solar panels. Apparently there’s also a 12 volt type golf cart battery available, instead of the two 6 v. batteries. We have daily good sunshine of app. 8 hours and PV output app.12 amp @ app.. 16.8 (Voc).

Now, I don’t know if above are **wet cell** types, giving of gasses or whether they are sealed types. And moreover, should their electrolyte be topped up etc. The main point is: I would like to keep my batteries inside the house, due to excessive heat in our area, but with vapours it would be very corrosive indoors. On the other hand I would prefer “deep cycle” batteries for longest lifespan, that would be the most cost effective.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could advise on these matters.

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