how much would it cost to buy a small holding (read the rest of the question)?
how much would it roughly cost to buy a small holding (about 2-3 acres) and and build a house with solar panels and wind turbines and be able to grow all my own food and have a septic tank and use grey water for the toilet and washing Machine. in cornwall and have the majority of the house made of renewable materials
Windmill Farms answers:
My partner and I have been looking for 6 months to do exactly the same thing. Ignore the ignorant, cynics and sceptics, I hold a good upper 2.1. In Environmental Quality & Resource management, so I am not exactly a lay person in this, and my partner is an accountant, so the financial side is also covered, and yet we are finding it hard to locate a plot we can afford.
You will need to allow costs for what one oh-so-superior respondent calls “green toys”… ( I hope s/he is around when you and we sit cosy and well-lit in winter, and they freeze in the dark ‘cos the oil and gas have all gone and the local electricity Co. Charges a kidney and a lung for an hour’s light and heat!! :oD )
Sewage: Instead of a septic tank, consider composting toilets and a constructed wetland to clean the greywater, so you can a) reuse the waste from your poo on your garden, roughly every 18 months,
and b) return the clean water to rivers and streams, while creating a wildlife habitat for waterfowl and other species.
There are lots of companies that supply microgeneration equipment to live offgrid,
The Microgeneration Bill:
Rainwater harvesting is the way to go, but bear in mind draught conditions could cause you real problems, as water cannot be stored in passive (e.g. Un-oxygenated, static conditions) without becoming a health hazard.
Boreholes are also ok for localised independence of water abstraction, but be very, very careful to discuss your plans for this with the local Council, Water board and Environment Agency, because if you pollute an aquifer you will loose everything in compensation and have to declare yourself bankrupt for the rest!
Land searches – see below:
If you are willing to pay a one-off fee of £40, you can sign-up with PlotSearch, browse their database and set-up a plot alert. One exclellent option is to look at PlotShares that allow several people to buy independent plots on the same area of land, so you retain independence but could create your own micro-village, maximising effort by helping each other through the self-builds, giving you neighbours of like mind and creating an economy of scale in buying everything, from building material to bulk food supplies, and only needing one single delivery point.
Go and visit Intentional Communities like Landmatters, who are creating a permaculture community, in Devon:
Be weary of buying land without any kind of building permit, as you may never be granted one and, if you do build without it, the Council can force you to tear it down and you’ll have wasted money, time, energy and effort on something that will never be granted DPP.
Outline PP is ok, but you have to make sure you submit a design that the local Planning Department will eventually approve. Look at
Below are some useful websites we have found… But be prepared to look to spend upwards of £150,000
We came across a portfolio of land on sale in Cornwall, from the local Water Company (I forget which, but if you look it up and then contact them, they may be able to point you in the right direction) these were plots where they had old reservoirs they are trying to divest… Check it out.
A few links I could not fit in the Sources panel:
What is the best electricity generator for my scenario?
I have a 800 square foot cabin in Maine. I want to get electricity out there to power a t.v., radio maybe, MAYBE a computer, a room fan, basic lights, washer and dryer. Im wondering if I should use solar? Wind? there is a stream running nearby and Im curious about “Micro hydro turbines” to fuel my electricty. Im just looking to see which is best for the money, and electric output. – Thank you
Windmill Farms answers:
A fuel powered combustion generator is most cost efficient. You can get gasoline powered generators for under $150 per 1000W, which would do that.
Solar and/or a small wind turbine would be next up. You would need a battery set to store the charge, and an inverter to power your AC loads. Your computer, TV, and radio could be set up to work off of battery directly, if you choose the right ones.
Unless you are going to build a dam an all that, collecting energy from flowing water is not economical.
In any case, get a propane stove and dry your clothes on a line. You should get a tri-fuel fridge, if not a 12/120V one.
Does An Alternator Need To Be Spinning Fast To Produce Electricity.?
I am making a micro hydro system in my backyard but i don’t know if the stream is running fast enough to spin the alternator. How fast does it need to be spinning to produce electricity. Already i have 2 solar panels and a wind turbine but want a bit more power so i thought this would do the job. Please Help.
Windmill Farms answers:
You can get some power at low speeds, but it really needs to spin fast to develop substantial power. See below. 3 times 1000 RPM = 3000 RPM or 50 rev/second, quite fast. Max speed, for max power, is about 5000 x 3 = 15000 RPM.
“Alternators are used in modern automobiles to charge the battery and to power a car’s electric system when its engine is running. The stronger construction of automotive alternators allows them to use a smaller pulley so as to turn twice as fast as the engine, improving output when the engines are idling. The availability of low-cost solid-state diodes from about 1960 onward allowed car manufacturers to substitute alternators for DC generators. Automotive alternators use a set of rectifiers (Diode Bridge) to convert AC to DC. To provide direct current with low ripple, automotive alternators have a three-phase winding.
General passenger vehicle and light truck alternators use claw-pole field construction, where the field north and south poles are all energized by a single winding, with the poles looking rather like fingers of two hands interlocked with each other. Larger vehicles have salient-pole alternators similar to larger machines. The automotive alternator is usually belt driven at 2-3 times the engine crankshaft speed.
Modern automotive alternators have a voltage regulator built into them. The voltage regulator operates by modulating the small field current in order to produce a constant voltage at the stator output. The field current is much smaller than the output current of the alternator; for example, a 70-amp alternator may need only 2 amps of field current. The field current is supplied to the rotor windings by slip rings and brushes. The low current and relatively smooth slip rings ensure greater reliability and longer life than that obtained by a DC generator with its commentator and higher current being passed through its brushes.”
what business would you open?
lets say you have half a million and you want to start your own business. what would you get into?
Windmill Farms answers:
A half million isn’t a lot of money these days and you would have to expect that a business would take two to three years to build up a clientele. Your main advantage in a small business would be yourself, your ability to work long hours at little to no cost. A simple time tested business model would be the most reliable venture so something like a fast food franchise in a shopping mall in close proximity to businesses where a lot of workers are would be best, even a simple business like that could quickly eat away at that half million in capital before you start to turn a profit.
As to an innovative concept, I would like to start a Car Sharing Organization that services more distant suburban communities instead of the densely populated central neighborhoods that current CSO’s served. This would mean starting by leasing premium parking at kiss and ride LRT and bus stations to take advantage of the collector distribution bus networks from those stations, dispatching runners/drivers along the LRT lines to relocate the cars dynamically to better meet scheduling requests and maintenance checks on the vehicles. Extensive use of GPS and wireless technologies would have to be used to track the vehicles so the capital cost for the vehicles would be high but operating costs can be kept minimal by purchasing diesels. Webhosting for the scheduling and dispatching could leverage cloud computing to scale with demand as needed thereby only requiring a minimal infrastructure and Internet connection, call center work could be homeshored within the community and CSO membership. As more vehicles are purchased, instead of leasing more parking at the stations, drivers can be homeshored amongst the membership and a premium charged for delivery and pickup of vehicles in the communities, again dispatching would be key perhaps dispatching two vehicles to deliver the vehicle so the homeshored driver can be returned to their home, (the membership rules could also require the member requesting the dropoff service to drive the driver back). The vehicles would then enjoy free parking in the community at the homeshored employees residence and the ability to use the vehicles within the community when not otherwise reserved would be a perk provided they still deliver the cars when dispatched, they can of course reserve the car at the regular rates should they wish uninterrupted use or use outside the designated zone which also implies being off the employment clock as they would not be available to dispatch the vehicle at that point. With sufficient vehicles and a suitable premium for reserving vehicles during high demand hours, a shared ride collection and distributor service could be provided to members shuttling them to and from the public transit stations. Funding for this service can be solicited from the governments as a public service or a minimal shared ride fee can be assessed.
Another venture that I would be interested in but would require far more than half a million would be the development of a micro community using garden cottages in the 300 square foot to 1,000 square foot size. The village would be designed around pedestrian traffic and perhaps a PRT system and feature a central shopping, business, storage, parking complex that may feature a farmer’s market. Permaculture community gardening would be encouraged and part of the rent/community fees would have to be in local bartering currencies such as the Calgary Dollar in order to encourage community participation as a method for earning such currency. Windmill sites would be leased out for people who want a small wind turbine but due to various restrictions can’t have one on their property, the energy would be sold to the grid, the proceeds minus the lease sent to the client and the client could use that to offset his energy purchase from the grid. Both steam and chilled water lines would be run under the pathways to the houses from a central solar thermal plant thereby allowing both solar heating and solar air-conditioning far more inexpensively then solar photovoltaics.
What energy efficient materials would you select to construct your house?
You have $500,000 to construct a sustainable house for your family – you already own the land, so no money goes towards lot purchase. What energy efficient materials would you select to construct your house? What energy and water saving features would you include in your house? Which direction would your house face? How will you handle waste water to reduce water pollution and water usage? What would make your house unique and sustainable? Do a little research before answering this – incorporate appropriate new technologies into your home to make it energy efficient.
Windmill Farms answers:
Here is a list of sujects that you should research on the internet which will provide a comprehensive answer:
1. Double glazing will creat a near vacuum that is an excelelnt insulator from heat loss (or gain) by convection or conduction. A special coating on the outside surface will also reduce gain through radiation
2. A cavity between the internal and external walls filled with insulating materials will cut down loss through the walls. This material should be made with a fibre with high resistance to conductivity and have a reflective (shiney silver) coating form aluminium on one side. Walls can be wood or brick/stone
3. Floors should be suspended from the earth but lined underneath by similar insulation materials to the walls.
4. Roof should have plastic lining that prevents draughts and then a fibre insulation underneath also with reflective coating.
5. Clay tiles or metal roof is fine.
6. Doors should have effective draught excluders to prevent heat loss this way.
7. Add a heat pump system that extracts heat from atmosphere outside and upgrades it to provide background heating in loops located underneath your flooring. This is also reverseable in Summer to provide cooling.
8. Heating should be electrical using low cost power at night or if gas then a condensing boiler shoudl be used that extarct maximum heat from combustion.
9. Solar heating panels on roof can pre-heat water
10 small wind turbine can cut down on power
11. Use low energy light bulbs
12. Always cook with lid on pots
13. Use showers and not baths for washing
14 Separate waste water from sewage and save for watering garden
15. Have toilets that flush small amounts for Urine and larger amounts for larger objects
16 collect rainwater from roof and store for other uses
17 Hetaing should be thermostatically controlled for effficiency
18 If you liove in a very cold country then facing South Helps. If a hot country then facing East ensures heat in mornings
19. If you want something unusual the try a micro gasifier heating system that exports excess energy to power on the grid but otherwise you create your own heat and power in a CHP unit
20 consider buring waste packaging and wood in a multi product stove located in your main living are with balanced flue so that you do not suck air in from outside
I hope that this helps
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