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Living Off the Grid

Living Off the Grid

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Published by dritzz73
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Published by: dritzz73 on Jan 13, 2009
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07/21/2013

 
 Living in the Yukon
off-grid
Efficient renewable energyuse and practices
 
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) manages a research programthat fosters renewable energy technologies and integratedsystems. Its goal is to improve the reliability, cost effectivenessand social and environmental advantages of these technologiesand systems so that they become the preferred energy optionsfor people who live off the electrical grid. The Yukon Energy Solutions Centre (ESC) provides technicalservices, undertakes research and demonstration projects,and manages programs to facilitate efficient and renewableenergy solutions for residential, commercial, First Nations andgovernment clients. The Yukon off-grid residential renewable energy project is acollaborative effort of NRCan and ESC. The project consistedfirst of a survey of 254 Yukon off-grid residence owners. This wasfollowed by a baseline study of the renewable energy usage andenergy efficiency of 30 of these off-grid residences. Finally, anintegrated design charrette was held to focus on three of theseresidences.Other parts of the project include the provision of technicalsupport for the upgrade of renewable energy systems and theenergy efficiency of the participating homes, as well as thecreation of this guide.
CONTENTS
OFF-GRID LIVING1 Introduction3 What off-grid living means:Characteristics of anoff-grid home4 Where to build an off-gridhome: Site layout6 How to build an off-gridhome: Case study of theLuet house
 
HOME RENEWABLEENERGY SYSTEMS DESIGN10 Planning11 Batteries15 Generation24 Regulating and monitoring29 Efficient power use33 Renewable heat sources
 
RECOMMENDATIONS36 Lessons learned
 
APPENDICES39 Integrated design charrette40 Load calculation43 Solar radiation44 References
Energy Solutions Centre
206A Lowe StreetWhitehorse, Yukon Y1A 1W6Telephone: (867) 393-7063Fax: (867) 393-7061info@nrgsc.yk.cawww.nrgsc.yk.ca
Natural Resources Canada
 PV and Hybrid Systems1615 Lionel-Boulet BoulevardVarennes, Quebec J3X 1S6www.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca
All photos by Peter Long, Joel Luet orEnergy Solutions Centre.NRCan and the Energy SolutionsCentre would like to acknowledge thecontributions of R. Alward and F. Sheriff,CETC-Varennes, S. Henderson andAbri Sustainable Design ConsultingInc., as well as the efforts of the YukonEnergy Solutions Centre, participatingCarcross, Takhini and Long Lakehomeowners, charrette participantsincluding housing and energy experts,NRCan/CETC-Ottawa, northern housingexperts, Canada Mortgage and HousingCorporation, Federation of CanadianMunicipalities, and energy serviceproviders in Whitehorse, Yukon. Theproject was funded through Canada’sProgram of Energy Research andDevelopment POL 3.2.2, managed byDr. Lisa Dignard-Bailey, CETC-Varennes.
© Energy Solutions Centre and Natural Resources Canada, April 2005
 
 The Yukon’s energy grid reaches only a small part of the territory. Those who wish to live outsidethat area must do without electricity or produce their own. Off-grid living generally refers to livingunconnected to the public electric utility system. This document discusses how to live off-grid, theparts of the puzzle that make up a home renewable energy system, and some advice from otherswho have embarked on an off-grid lifestyle.
Is it for you?
There are many reasons to choose to live off-grid. Maybe it’s geographic — you have found your little bit of paradise to build your dream home, but it is too far from the electrical grid to be economically feasible toconnect to it. Maybe you have a cabin back in the bush and would like to have a few modern conveniences.Or maybe it’s an ethical or environmental choice — you want to produce and use clean energy so that you canreduce the environmental and social costs associated with non-renewable energy sources.Whatever your reason for living off-grid, your quality of life can be as good, or better than, it would be livingconnected to the grid. You will need to be more involved in the workings of your energy system: monitoringthe state of your batteries, deciding when to run your generator, conserving energy, and planning for the use of items that consume a lot of electricity. The first rule of off-grid living is that the electricity you produce mustbe equal to or greater than the electricity you consume. If you can manage your demands to keep them withina reasonable level through conservation and wise use of energy then your renewable home energy system canprovide for you without being too costly or unwieldy. One dollar worth of energy conservation can save three tofive dollars in energy generation equipment costs.Your home energy requirements will be greatly affected by your lifestyle. Do you work at home? If so, are youworking on a computer, a table saw, a sewing machine or in a recording studio? If you want all the latest bellsand whistles (there’s an off-grid home with its own climate-controlled wine cellar!) and aren’t prepared toconserve energy, then you will pay more for a larger energy system.As your lifestyle changes over time your energy requirements will also change. A growing family or a new big-screen TV entertainment system means growing energy demands. Think ahead when planning and try to buildin flexibility.If you are new to photovoltaics (solar), wind or micro-hydro power, they may seem confusing and complicated.But the same thing can be said about computers, CD players, microwave ovens, cell phones and programmingthe clock on your VCR. Living off-grid will soon become part of your routine, as will the satisfaction of knowing the source of your power. And you won’t be subject to the occasional blackout suffered by thoseconnected to the grid.
Introduction
This rustic-looking cabin has asimple renewable energy systemyet houses a growing family and ahome-based business.
OFF-GRID LIVING
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