Over the last few years, sustainability, most particularly the renewable energy coming from the big ball that we see travel across the sky every day, has simply fascinated me. This blog is a place to discuss my ideas on the topic, looking at both the both some of the applied ideas for living sustainably, as well as a bigger picture look at how energy is produced and used in the world around us.
My most practical experience has come from designing, building, and living in a very "green" home. It is highly insulated with a tight building envelope, designed with passive solar principles at the forefront, and is fully off the grid, with electrical power generated by photovoltaic solar panels. Being off-grid has forced me to think a great deal about how one really puts together a power and energy 'ecosystem'. I share the lessons that I have learned during my journey at the Manitou Hills Project.
The less applied path, but just as important, has been a broad examination of energy production, use, and storage, examining such questions as; How much energy do people really use over time? Where does it come from and where does it go? With solar energy, how is it harnessed to provide for our needs? Through technology? Through biology and the harvest of plants and animals? While these questions don't always have a direct impact on our day-to-day lives, they provide the big picture that frames those daily decisions. In An Acre of Sunshine, I examine different land uses and how energy moves through the landscape to the point where people can harvest some of that energy for their own uses.