Off the Grid in an Eco Cabin

| March 12, 2013

Being ecologically conscious isn’t just for tree huggers. I’m certainly not one, but I do realize the United States predominantly uses non-renewables as our primary source of energy. We won’t have these available forever, so there is no reason my cabin (my second home) needs to burn through more energy than a family of 12 in China. For this reason alone, I do my best to power my cabin in ecologically-friendly ways. It’s a solid investment and when people criticize me for driving an F-350 I’m able to reply that I power my own home via solar panels and wind.

If you don’t have a stove or some kind of fireplace in your cabin, you’re not a true cabin dweller. You can’t have an exclusively electrical-heated cabin. If you do, I’m calling you a chump. A wood stove is great for cooking when it’s too cold to do so outside. It is also useful for heating up the living space. Wood is an abundant renewable resource. The reason loggers and logging companies catch so much flak for logging vast areas of forest land is largely because they don’t replace the trees they chop down. Replant the trees you cut down. Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be right this second, but wait until summer or when it gets warmer in spring. Having a continuous stash of firewood can be a great primary and emergency source of heat for your eco cabin or if you run into a string of cloudy days when your solar panels aren’t doing the job.

The sun is big – its diameter is 870,000 miles. The earth’s diameter is around 7,900 miles. The sun is a great source of energy to power your eco cabin. By implementing a battery bank, you won’t have to worry about prolonged periods of overcast weather patterns. Slap a few solar panels on the roof of your cabin and experience the power of the sun besides when rubbing witch hazel to soothe second-degree sunburn. If you’ve got issues with not having enough power to supply your lifestyle, you can of course supplement those solar panels with goal or gas. I’m not really a party animal nor do I regularly throw eco cabin parties. But the solar panels I’ve purchased are more than enough to sustain my modest living style.

I haven’t really gotten into wind power on an individual level – I realize it’s got enormous potential, even enough that Google has recently invested $200 million in a Texas wind farm. I find wind more of a large-scale operation, but it is certainly possible to power your cabin especially in heavy-winded areas. You can find personal wind turbines for relatively inexpensive, considering the amount you save on those power bills over time. Larger wind turbines that can power an average sized home can cost upwards of $10,000. As technology improves the price will certainly drop, so perhaps a little price comparison and research will do wonders for your bank account.

Powering your cabin ecologically is strangely satisfying. You power your own home. There are expenses, obviously, but you can save quite the pretty penny comparatively. You also won’t have to pray that tensions in the Middle East subside to lower petroleum bills. According to USA Today households paid around $1,500 on average for electricity. If your cabin is a second home or primary home, it doesn’t really matter. Everyone can conserve resources. Everyone can save money on power.

Daniel Swinton is an interior decorator and freelance writer. He specializes in cabin decor. When he’s not decorating for his clients, Swinton finds time to perform in local improv troupes and to hike on his favorite trails.

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Category: Eco-Friendly

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