For a truly independent energy system, your choices are solar, wind, and water

By Larry Elliott Issue #28 • July/August, 1994 Just as the words "backwoods home" conjure up images of farmhouses, livestock, woodstoves, tractors, and gardens, the words "independent energy" bring to mind a whole new set of...

Design calculations for no-head, low-head waterwheels

By Rudy Behrens Issue #17 • September/October, 1992 (This is the second of our three-part series on waterwheels. The third installation (Issue No. 18) will deal with overshot wheels. -- Editor.) For those of you who are...

Radiant floor heating — Alternative to forced-air heating is solar-powered, too An interview with...

By Michael Hackleman Issue #64 • July/August, 2000 Hydronic, or radiant floor heating is a method of heating a home, shop, or other building with the heat concentrated in the floor. It works by embedding special...

Solar power trailer Part 1

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #108 • November/December, 2007 Many of us like to go camping, but as we age it's much easier if we have a bathroom, kitchen, refrigerator, microwave oven, television, DVD player,...

Keeping your food cold — Solutions to refrigeration when electricity is scarce

By Michael Hackleman Issue #56 • March/April, 1999 Many readers of this magazine live in remote settings and generate their own electricity, often through solar, hydro, wind, or generator machines, storing the electricity generated in batteries....

Solar Power 101 — Solar arrays

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #90 • November/December, 2004 This article is the fourth and final part of our beginner's course in solar electricity. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information (www.homeenergy.info) section on...

Solar Building Design

By Steven Heckeroth Issue #63 • May/June, 2000 Solar building design has been used since ancient times. In the more recent past, it has been more or less ignored as impractical, complicated, or too expensive. Incorporating...

Build a passive-solar food dehydrator

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #143 • September/October, 2013 The finished passive-solar dehydrator maintained a fairly constant temperature of 150° F throughout most of the day without any repositioning, which shows that this design can...

Solar-powered chicken coop

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #132 • November/December, 2011 Pre-manufactured chicken coop with roof-mounted solar module I am sure many of you have raised large flocks of chickens for years as a normal part of rural...

Solar-Powered Electric Fencing

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #147 • May/June, 2014 A new electric fence attached to older traditional wood fencing   More and more people are turning to electric fences as the cost of standard metal and wood...

Waterpower for personal use

By Rudy Behrens Issue #16 • July/August, 1992 (This introductory overview to waterwheels is the first of a three-part series. The second installment will be about undershot and no-head wheels, and the third installment ...

An $89 backup generator

By Jeff Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #159 • May/June, 2016 While I strive in all of my articles to only recommend products of high quality and reliability, I realize many of us are on a fixed-income...

Solar Power 101: Inverters

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #89 • September/October, 2004 This article is the third in a series of our beginner's course in solar electricity. Simultaneously we have instituted a Home Energy Information (www.homeenergy.info) section on...

Are hydrogen-fueled cars pie-in-the-sky?

By Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #103 • January/February, 2007 Hydrogen-fueled cars is a topic of much discussion these days. People who want to see the U.S. freed from dependence on foreign oil often assume the...

Powering medical equipment during a utility blackout

By Michael Hackleman Issue #70 • July/August, 2001 Most people consider blackouts a nuisance. However, for some folks, a blackout can be paralyzing or even deadly, particularly if a critical piece of medical equipment lacks electricity....

Keep the Ice On

By Jeffrey R. Yago, P.E., C.E.M. Self-Reliance, Fall 2019 When I ask most people why they own or are looking to buy a generator, most will say it is to keep a refrigerator or freezer operating....