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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:17 PM
Original message
So, I spent all day at the Living Green Expo
I am now an expert on everything green and environmentally friendly... :P

Actually, what I did see was very impressive, and I am now convinced that it is very possible to build a home, with all the modern conveniences, and still be off the grid entirely, or maybe even giving power back to it.

Got all sorts of cool swag, and a cookbook!
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
1. Where was it?
I live off the grid, except for the internet grid, and I am always interested in talking to others.

:hi:
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. St Paul Minnesota
Edited on Sat May-02-09 07:33 PM by Pierre.Suave
at the State Fairgrounds.

I saw all sorts of cool things, from the smallest environmentally friendly products to the solar air conditioner and some mini windmills, solar panels, even some inventive water saving plumbing.

Check this out: http://www.a-menenergy.com /

I also have a business card made out of, and I am not kidding, Elephant Poo... :rofl:
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Good site. Thanks.
We live primarily off of solar. We looked at wind generators, but they really aren't efficient enough at this time (IMO).

Elephant poo business cards? Does it smell?

:hi:
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. nope, no smell
I did wash my hands after handling it though, even though they claimed it was very sanitary...
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Wow, really? That's pretty awesome.
I'd love to do the same, but the expense right now is just so high. Maybe another 5 years I'll have enough saved for panels on my roof.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I'm on a boat, so my requirements are low.
But this is the key - when you start making and storing your own electricity (or water or waste or food), you start paying very close attention to use.

I think if more people had some personal responsibility for these things and knew that what they had was limited, we would see dramatic changes in use patterns.

Anyway, it's great. I love not paying the electric, gas or water companies!

:hi:
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Now I'm even more jealous.
I'd love to live on a boat. Not that I'd know what to do with the dogs. Is that a pic of your boat in your avatar?
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I am jealous as well
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Yep, that's my beautiful boat.
Lots of liveaboards have dogs. Even really big dogs. Once they learn to get into and out of the dinghy, they adapt pretty well it seems.

I have even seen these cool dog swim-steps that people attach to the backs of their boats. Like little dog staircases.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. So you're on a mooring, not docked at a marina?
How do you handle maintaining a fresh water source?

Looks like a beautiful sailing vessel. Reminds me of my dad's O'Day. He loved that boat.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. We are almost always on a mooring or at anchor, but we go into town about
once a month for provisioning.

We carry 150 gallons of water, which lasts us a long time. We have a 6 gallon jug, so top it off as often as we remember to take the can to shore.

We have a water maker, but haven't installed it yet. If you are not familiar, it makes potable fresh water from salt water. It has energy requirements though, and once you set it up, you have to use it regularly. So for now, we are just frugal. I have a salt water pump on board, which works for some things, like washing dishes, too.

It's fun. Every day is a wonderful challenge.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. 150? That's a pretty big boat, then isn't it?
I think my dad's held 50 or so. That was also a long time ago.

That water maker sounds really cool. I didn't know they had them on a non-commercial sized vessel scale. That's pretty brilliant.

Thanks for sharing your experience.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. 43 foot, and thank you for listening.
This is something I love to tell people about and hope I can encourage more people to move in this direction. I probably hijacked this thread.

Sorry, OP.

:hi:
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. On solar here too.
But my utility (SMUD) has a leasing program for their solar farm. I rent my house, so I can't actually install anything, so that's perfect for me and I jumped at the chance.

Hardly costs me a thing. It's about $8 extra in the winter, in the summer my bill should be at least that much cheaper because I'll be credited for the excess production.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. That's cool. I have a friend in Austin who makes money off his roof panels.
It was a hoot watching his dial go backwards.

But if people had storage systems, i.e. batteries, they could store their own excess and use it when the sun goes down. That saves all the costs of moving it around.


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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Definitely can't do that here. "My" panels are on the other end of town.
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. So, I guess they are just on demand, then?
We get a lot more sun during the day than we can use, so we store it.

Someday, maybe most people can do this to some degree.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. Nah, they're just connected to the grid.
My panels produce power, it goes to the grid. I draw power from the grid. "My" electons don't go to my house, but "my" panels offset my use most of the time and sometimes produce a surplus which gets credited back to me.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. ..
:yourock:
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
20. When I was living in FL and had to deal with ridiculous amounts of sunlight/heat coming in my window
while I was trying to sleep, I contemplated investing in a window-sized solar panel so I could make an AC unit that would be powered by the very same solar energy that was causing the entire problem. :P

But its just as well that I didn't, because now I have another idea on what I can use the peltier plates I was planning on making the AC out of.
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