Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel and Wind Turbine Kit

I’ve been wanting to blog about this for awhile now, but I wanted us to try it out first. My husband is a master carpenter, and very good at estimating job costs. We are looking to do this as a business.  Construction has gone to a stand still in our area, and I have always wanted to pursue this for our own benefit.  The kit that we purchased said that you can do this for about $200.  My husband feels that we need $500 before he gets into a project.  But he felt that he could do it.  My husband and I have always talked about the solar panels and wind turbine and basically my husband was not sure about how they convert the solar to electric, but this kit tells you what equipment you need to get the job done. I really feel this kit is worth the $49 they are asking.  It also comes with a 60-day fully refundable guarantee if you are not satisfied. As energy prices keep going up we finally have the ability to take matters into our own hands and save our hard earned money.

Anyway, this kit will instruct you how to build your own solar panels and wind turbine and you can take your knowledge and do it as a business.  So it can make you money as well.

The link to the kit that I purchased is here: Click Here!
The founder is Ben Ford.

The link where they compare different kits is here:
Includes kits featured in Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.

Again, I chose the one above because not only because it had a good rating, but because it said you could build this inexpensively.  I don’t know how much it will cost to build a solar panel and wind turbine from the other kits out there. So you may want to keep that in mind especially if you are on a budget.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Drip Irrigation versus Overhead Sprinkler Systems

When I was younger, my father installed a sprinkler system which was set to go on and off by a timer. Our yard was very lush and pretty, not to mention the plants grew large and plentiful. I’m new to gardening, but I would love to have a system that would work like the one my father designed and installed, but maybe perhaps be a little more eco-friendly. I think I found the kind of system I am talking about on DIY network’s show Desperate Landscapes. The landscaper installed drip irrigation. There are advantages and disadvantages of drip irrigation versus overhead watering. I think drip is supposed to be more expensive because it only lasts 1-2 years because of the wear of the materials. I would think that overhead watering would be more expensive. I’m going to have to look into this more, because I really would like to try the drip irrigation system. Supposedly it is harder to install properly because you have to take into consideration the soil type and how much water it needs not to mention what will be planted there. So hiring a landscape contractor is highly recommended. Also, for those who want to utilize gray water, the drip irrigation is great for this. If you read my blog about the earthships, they utilize gray water, so drip irrigation is probably the method of choice there.
This article written by Amy Smith compares the benefits of drip irrigation to overhead watering
Below is a very helpful video about what you need to install drip irrigation including what kind of timers are available you can view it here:

Here is the direct link in case there is a problem:

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I love to watch HGTV. I saw a re-run of an episode on “Extreme Living”. There was a community of people in New Mexico who built these unique and unusual homes which were very “green”. They used tires to make their walls – by using tires it allowed the walls to curve instead of forming 90 degree angles, not only did it provide a different design, but it saved the owner money as well. The tires were packed with dirt and then the walls were made of plaster. The foundation of the homes were built 3 feet down into the ground to control the temperature. Ironically, the roof was built completely backwards from the way roofs are built today – instead of trying to deflect the water, the roofs for these homes were built to catch the water. Once the rain water was trapped, then it would be filtered, it was used for about 5 different things before it was released back into the earth. Drinking, cooking, bathing and washing, toilet water, watering plants inside, watering plants outside and finally released back into the earth.

I love this concept. What I love about this concept is that when we used to live in Texas, there was a particular article in the newspaper about how old tires and junk were collecting near the Texas/Mexico border, and how water would collect in these tires, causing moscuitos, hence causing disease. I remember at the time, how seriously I took that article. I did a little research and thought if I had the money, I would set up a recycling plant right there on the border and not only would I be helping get rid of disease and trash, but I would be creating jobs, too. I felt like I had just struck gold - that I had come up with a real money making idea and could save the planet at the same time. Nothing ever came from my bright idea or my researching efforts, however.

Back to the show, one home only used 2 solar panels, while another owner opted for 4 panels. I have not done enough research into these panels to know how many is required per square footage and what the cost is per square foot, but to not be dependent on the power companies would be great. Although, you would still be dependent for your battery backup I would think.

I am going to try to find the links for this show. Here is one link The link from the HGTV web site is The homes featured on this show were called “earthships” and located in Taos County, New Mexico. So according to google maps, this is north of Santa Fe, NM right below Colorado Springs, CO. So probably where there is annual snow fall. As I was browsing for links for this article, I came across a link showing actual earthships for sale. Most of them come with a lot of acreage and are in the high price range, but if you look hard enough, there are some that are incomplete and are less money. In the past, my dream home was nothing like these earthships, but today, I’m starting to contemplate the possibility of living in one of these. I just don’t know if I would like the desert like environment that these current homes are built in. I guess only time will tell.

Please take a look at the earthship photos below. The following earthship pictures are provided courtesy of Kirsten Jacobsen with Earthship Biotecture

click on image to enlarge picture or hold control key and hit + to enlarge or control - minus key to decrease size of image on screen.