How to make a homemade hydroelectric power plant!

August 3rd, 2014 Posted in construction, eco hero, electric, green living, off the grid, water | 2 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Ho-ly mo-ly. Manfred Mornhinweg, de la República de Chile, is now an official eco-hero, joining the proud ranks of such luminaries as Amory Lovins (and almost Michael Jackson).

Not only did Manfred freaking build his own homemade mini-hydroeletric power plant, but he documented the entire process with pictures and step-by-step instructions!

With the help of some of his friends and neighbors, and a whole lot of gumption, he dug a side-channel off a creek to divert some water for his lil’ hydroelectric plant.

Digging hydroelectric channel

He ordered the hydroelectric turbine from the glorious People’s Republic o’ China:
Hydroelectric turbine

And eventually was able to READ MORE »

How to Attach a Homemade Rain Water Barrel

August 5th, 2012 Posted in gardening, off the grid, projects, save money, water | 2 Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Righto, so a little while ago, I built me a homemade water barrel out of a trash can and assorted odds n’ ends. The only thing left to do was attach the barrel to my gutters to collect all that free rain water.

It turned out to be pretty easy to do, and I’ve been enjoying free rain water for my garden ever since, saving money and cutting down on my city-water usage. Bah-blam.

Supplies

Here’s what you’ll need to READ MORE »

How to Save Money by Making a Homemade Rain Barrel

June 24th, 2012 Posted in green living, off the grid, projects, water | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


A rain barrel is a great way to conserve water by storing the rain from “Father Sky” until you want to use it for gardening, landscaping, or other assorted outdoor activities. This can also save you a chunk o’ change on your water bill.

Here’s an easy way to make your own rain water barrel. I basically followed the instructions at the RaleighNC site, with a few EcoJoe twists thrown in for good measure.

Supplies

For this here project, you will need some supplies. You can get these for less than 45 bucks. Heck yeah.

Handy Hint: If you tell the person working at the hardware shop what you’re building, they can help you find what you need.
EcoJoes Rain water barrel fixin's
READ MORE »

Off the Grid – Book Review

September 8th, 2010 Posted in books, off the grid | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

(FREE book – details below!)
Oh snap! Go vote for this at Care2, por favor!
Dusty Old Book
Around the beginning of August, I was lucky enough to get a free copy of Nick Rosen’s new book, “Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America“. Nick runs the website Off-the-Grid, and lives part-time off the grid himself.

Basically, its a documentary of his travels around the U.S. as he visited loads of different people who were living off the grid. How “off the grid” they were varied from “off the grid ready” to completely off the water AND electric grid.

To tell the truth, the book didn’t draw me in at first. After a brief introduction to what living off the grid means, and some info about himself, he goes into the history of the electric and water grids. Although the information itself was neat, it was not the most attention-grabbing stuff.

But as I kept reading, I got more and more into this book. We meet different “classes” of off-grid people, from people who have vacation homes that are off-grid (but live on the grid themselves) to people who live full-time off the grids in tiny houses.

It was interesting reading the conversations Nick had with the off-gridders. A lot of them seemed intelligent and nice, but some would come off as a bit paranoid. This is where we get to see Nick’s dry British humor, as he describes what he’s thinking as the person is telling him their strange ideas.

But most of the people did seem “normal”. Many of them moved off the grid to save money, or because they wanted a nice house on nice land, but couldn’t afford it if it was connected to the grid. Some people did it for ecological reasons, some for paranoia, but almost all because they felt a detachment from the consumerism-dominated American culture.

There were two main parts of the book that were my favorite:

Earthaven and Turtle Island

Earthaven welcome sign
The first part was when Nick traveled to two places very close to where I grew up in AshevilleEarthaven and Turtle Island, where we meet the (figurative) mountain of a man Eustace Conway. I haven’t been to either of those places, but after reading about them, I definitely want to go and stay for awhile.

Jim Juczak, Sultan of Scrounge

Jim Juczak, the Sultan o' Scrounge
The second part was when he visited the Sultan of Scrounge, Jim Juczak, who lives at the Woodhenge Self-Reliance Campus. This guy sounds like a genuine eco hero. He never pays full price for anything, and gets most things for free, and the rest at insano discounts. His house (which is round and sounds awesome) is built from reused or very discounted materials, and he even gets his food for very cheap. Anyhoo, it seemed like this guy alone could fill a book. Here’s a nice article about him, with pictures of his bodacious casa.

How to Get a Free Copy of
‘Off the Grid’

To sum it all up, I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s tired of the rat race, tired of debt, tired of the mindless consumerism that too many people succumb to. In fact, I will send a free copy of this book to the person who:

  • Writes a post on THEIR site (linking to this article) best describing how they save electricity and money
  • Tells me about their post
  • Gets chosen by me when this contest ends on October 1

So that’s that. I hope you give this book a shot. I thought it had great information and was pretty cool, but you don’t have to take MY word for it.

How to Charge Your Phone with Your Bike

June 11th, 2010 Posted in bike, cell phone, electric, inventions, off the grid | 1 Comment » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Have you ever wanted to charge your cell phone, but didn’t want to waste precious electricity that you had to pay for? Well now you can get some exercise AND charge your phone for free, because good ol’ Nokia just came out with a bike phone charger!

How do I Charge my Phone with a Bike?

The Nokia Bicycle Charger Kit is attached to your bicycle. As you pedal your bike, it powers a small generator that transfers electricity to a charger on your handlebar. Voíla, just that easy.

How Much Pedaling To Charge Cell Phone?

I’ll let Nokia answer this question; Nokia, the floor is yours:

“To begin charging, a cyclist needs to travel around six kilometers per hour (four miles per hour), and while charging times will vary depending on battery model, a 10-minute journey at 10 kilometers per hour (six miles per hour) produces around 28 minutes of talk time or 37 hours of standby time. The faster you ride, the more battery life you generate.”

That sounds pretty good to me. Plus, it only costs around $20. So if you’re down for biking and charging your cell phone at the same time, this might just be the ticket for you.

Solar Plane Sets New World Record

August 25th, 2008 Posted in eco footprint, green business, inventions, off the grid, science, solar power, transportation | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


To see the video and read more about the Zephyr-6, head on over to BBC News, and tell them EcoJoes sent you.

Zephyr-6 -- running on moon power??A solar-powered plane flew for a little over 82 hours, shattering its old record. The lightweight plane, known as the Zephyr-6, was flown as a demonstration for U.S. military, which is looking for new ways to provide air support for its ground troops.

Dang, 3 days in the air just from solar power. This might be even better than the solar powered bra. Pretty amazing. If they could somehow make solar-powered passenger planes, we could cut down on air pollution while also reducing our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels. It’s a win-win situation.

Solar Powered Bra: Japanese Ingenuity with Solar Power

August 25th, 2008 Posted in green business, inventions, off the grid, solar power | 1 Comment » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!


Hooray Japan
I don’t have much to say about this, except that if I was a girl, I would be wearing one all the time.

Triumph International Japan has finally done it; our world’s environmental problems are as good as solved now, for they have done the un-possible — invented a solar powered bra. I haven’t seen a “green” invention this innovative since the new milk jug design came out and confused some people.

The bra is green (in color and philosophy), and has a solar panel attached to it that can be worn around the stomach. It generates enough energy to charge small electronics, like a mobile cellular phone or mp3 player or what have you.

Not only does this bra collect solar power, but it also has plastic pouches that can be filled with water in case you get thirsty. So I guess it might save some water bottles?

But alas, this ingenious invention has some downsides. It can get messed up if it rains on the solar panel, and also, it doesn’t work if it’s covered up with actual clothes. To me, it looks like someone just glued a flexible solar panel to a tanktop. We will be closely monitoring Triumph International’s continuing work on this creation…