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Domestic Wind Turbines & Living Off the Grid

Domestic Wind Turbines & Living Off the Grid

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Published by Tim Brennan
Domestic wind turbines can be a huge step towards living off the grid. However, in this article I explain that energy efficiency measures should go hand in hand with your installation to enjoy the maximum benefit.
Domestic wind turbines can be a huge step towards living off the grid. However, in this article I explain that energy efficiency measures should go hand in hand with your installation to enjoy the maximum benefit.

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Published by: Tim Brennan on Aug 15, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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For those wishing to live “off the grid”,domestic windturbinescan provide a significant portion of energy needs. Butthis is only half the story, as I will explain in this article.In July 2009, whilst on holiday I was fortunate enough tovisit a self-sufficient eco centre in Kerry, Ireland. KerryAlternative Technology (KAT) is a handful of homes that arecompletely self-sufficient. Not only do they generate their ownelectricity using a wind turbine, hydro and solar; they alsogrow their own vegetables, treat their own waste water, andtake water from a nearby stream instead of using mains water. The whole experience was pretty inspiring, not just for aneco-enthusiast like me, but also for the rest of my family whoat first didn’t want to make the visit.Although this kind of eco lifestyle might seem unlikely tobecome mainstream, there is still a lot that can be done by theaverage household to reduce its carbon footprint. I think thereare a lot of people that would distance themselves from self-sufficiency because they think it would be impractical or noteconomic. However, over the next few years, I have set myself a challenge to see just how much I can adopt from this way of life.A good first step would be to install a domestic windturbine. The best place to locate these is up high on a poleaway from buildings where the airflow is smoother and faster. The one I saw in Kerry was able to produce 1,500W on amoderately windy day, which could feed the houses directly, orbe stored a set of batteries reclaimed from a telephoneexchange.It seemed too little electricity to power a household, butthen I discovered just how energy efficient their applianceswere. It turns out that using electricity to heat water, cook, orheat a house is not a very good idea. It’s far more appropriateto burn wood for these things. Then you have more thanenough electricity to power the rest of the appliances.What I learnt was that simply installing a domestic wind

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