Monthly archive for August 2009

Joe’s House

1Located off the coast of British Columbia this house is situated on a island and is completely off the grid.  The style harkens back to a outpost or fort.  They designers made the house narrow so that they didn’t have to cut trees down and with the elevated floor plan, you feel as if you are walking among the trees.  The house is 500 square feet, designed with a water catchment system, heat is supplied through a wood stove and power is through solar panels on the roof.


The best feature of this house in my opinion is the bedroom.  The end of it opens up entirely to allow the entire wall to disappear.  This then leads to a large deck with amazing views of the water.  The rest of the floors are also designed to completely open up and bring the outdoors in, which is a concept that I love, with great views and fresh air, I’m jelous!




Infographic of US Government Budget 2010

Here is a graphical representation on how US tax dollars will be spent in 2010.  Notably is that money to green energy has been increased 92% while nuclear has decreased by 10%.  The largest portion of the budget (62% or 901 Billion), not surprisingly, is going to Defense, this is pretty standard for US spending trends.  National Parks revived a boost of 5%.  Interestingly The Department of State, has also a brand new line item called “Clean Technology Fund” at a half a billion.

Take some time and check it out.  What would you change?  What are your reactions?

Solar Panels Drop In Price 40%

Found this great article in New York Times about how solar panels have dropped in price by 40%!  What is more, is that the prices are expected to take another notable drop in price by next year.  Traditionally an installed system was running around a $5 a watt, it now sits at $2 a watt and is going lower.  Combined with tax incentives (click here to see your states incentives) this just might be shaping up to be a viable option.  I have wanted to have a system that can fully cover my needs and then some.  By law in most places utilities are forced to buy any excess energy you have.  I estimate I need around a 10 to 20kw system if I stay here in NC.  I really have no idea how much I need because living so small makes it more efficient and less space to cool.

Reprinted: NYT Kate Galbrath 8/2009

When Greg Hare looked into putting solar panels on his ranch-style home in Magnolia, Tex., last year, he decided he could not afford it. “I had no idea solar was so expensive,” he recalled.


Greg Hare recently installed solar panels on his home that he hopes will cover between 50 and 80 percent of his electrical bills in Magnolia, Texas.

Greg Hare installed solar panels on his home in Magnolia, Tex., for $77,000 — less than he expected to pay.

Leah Nash for The New York Times

A worker at SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Ore., fills a container with polysilicon, which is then melted to make a solar crystal.

The New York Times

But the cost of solar panels has plunged lately, changing the economics for many homeowners. Mr. Hare ended up paying $77,000 for a large solar setup that he figures might have cost him $100,000 a year ago.

“I just thought, ‘Wow, this is an opportunity to do the most for the least,’ ” Mr. Hare said.

For solar shoppers these days, the price is right. Panel prices have fallen about 40 percent since the middle of last year, driven down partly by an increase in the supply of a crucial ingredient for panels, according to analysts at the investment bank Piper Jaffray.

The price drops — coupled with recently expanded federal incentives — could shrink the time it takes solar panels to pay for themselves to 16 years, from 22 years, in places with high electricity costs, according to Glenn Harris, chief executive of SunCentric, a solar consulting group. That calculation does not include state rebates, which can sometimes improve the economics considerably.

American consumers have the rest of the world to thank for the big solar price break.

Until recently, panel makers had been constrained by limited production of polysilicon, which goes into most types of panels. But more factories making the material have opened, as have more plants churning out the panels themselves — especially in China.

“A ton of production, mostly Chinese, has come online,” said Chris Whitman, the president of U.S. Solar Finance, which helps arrange bank financing for solar projects.

Read more

Trailer En Tow

I was sent this link about Paul who lived in a Tiny Trailer that was towed by his bike.  The Trailer was where Paul lived for Burning Man.  trailerhome

Reprinted: Dvice Charlie White 8/2009

Why tow around a bus-sized motorhome when you can create a 100-pound trailer that has nearly everything you need? Meet a guy named Paul, creator of this bicycle-towed camper with a wind turbine on top, a place he called home at the Burning Man project for a week.

He cooks his meals in a solar oven, and heats up water for showers and kitchen use with a solar water heating system. There’s a urinal funnel on the outsidetrailerhome2, but unfortunately there’s no facilities for taking care of number two. Guess he just had to squat for that. Overall, this is as off-the-grid as you can get.

Paul built this micro house as a design study, wondering what would happen if Swine Flu resulted in an apocalypse that required him to be entirely self-sufficient.

Check out the gallery below to peruse his Spartan accommodations, and don’t miss our favorite feature, the bubble on the end where he lays his head at night, giving him a clear view of the stars.


Tiny House Trend Watch

Here is good video about how the economy today is making some traditional home owners rethink the McMansion and of course pursuing the Tiny House Movement.  Sitting at a around 425 square feet, this house is decked out with really high end finishing touches.  Basically the owner is taking a traditional home budget and dumping it into a small foot plan for the costs savings and simplified living.

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