Energy and Systems

Here is an accounting of the various “green” and/or energy systems I am using in Gyrtle.

Nature’s Head, urine separating, composting toilet.  Urine, diluted, fertilizes plants.  Solid waste composts and can go on non food plants, or food plants if composted at over 120 degrees, or can be buried in the ground to enrich the soil.  The grey water (from two sinks and shower, which is also my wash tub) can be recycled for many uses, depending on the level of “cleaning” it undergoes.  Water comes in through a port in the side, either pressurized by a city system or pumped from portable tanks in my truck.

Wash clothes by hand.  Use a hand wringer (from Lehman’s) and hang clothes to dry.

The four 177W (net energy) solar panels charge eight deep cycle batteries. The charge in the batteries can be routed through the inverter to produce AC.  Other parts of the system include an inverter, converter, fuses and circuit breakers and switches to keep the systems separate.

Onan 3600W LP generator that can run the AC or charge the batteries by running through the converter.

“Shore Power” line in that can run the AC and also charge the batteries by running through the converter.

Radiant Floor heating run on LP and DC.  The Precision Twin Temp water heater runs both my domestic hot water and the radiant floor.  It provides instant hot water to my sinks and shower.  The floor is bamboo that I got off Craig’s List and from family for $.50/sq.ft.

Insulation is mainly sheets of polyisocyanurate.  It has an R factor of 6.1/inch.  I have 5″ in the ceiling and 3″ in the walls and floor.  Holes were filled in with cans of spray foam.

Double pane Jeld-Wen awning style windows.

All my lights, whether AC or DC have LED bulbs in them.

Two-way RV refrigerator (Norcold), DC/LP or AC electric.

Three burner RV LP gas range top.

A DC three-speed ceiling fan.  Two Fantastic Vent fans also DC.  The toilet ventilation fan is DC and the water heater pump and the fresh water pump are DC.

Four 30 lb. LP gas tanks (about 7 gallons each).  They last about a month.  They run the water heater and the gas cooktop and the generator.  They can run the fridge if I set it up that way.

I have a 100 gallon water tank and a 25 gallon grey water tank.  No need for a black water tank.  All my water is inside except for the grey water tank which is kept warm with a loop from the radiant floor.

Various other appliances run on AC, including; electric piano, small sweeper, Sharper Image convection/infrared counter top oven, coffee grinder, hand blender stick, electric tooth brush, hair dryer, laptop, iPad, stereo.  A number of these have rechargeable batteries so only plug in to recharge.

I use my phone as an internet hotspot.

6 thoughts on “Energy and Systems

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  1. What about your solar system? Is there a problem with the slant of your roof or do you compensate for that in some way? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      I had originally planned to have the roof more slanted, but adjustments had to be made so it is what it is. However, the solar panels still collect lots of PV current. They just lose a small percentage. I am in the process though of remounting my panels and I’m planning on having a way to adjust them to a more ideal angle when I’m not driving down the road (which is most of the time).

  2. Robin, I am really appreciating your posts as we are building soon and figuring it all out! I wonder what it costs you to heat your home and hot water with the dual system, and what climate/state you are in? Thanks, Tara

    1. Hi, Tara. I’m not sure of the living costs, as things were constantly in flux. In the winter months, gas cost around $120/month. My mom lived in Black Forest, Colorado, though Gyrtle will likely be moving down to Phoenix where I am for her next leg of life.

  3. Shucks I meant to post that on a different thread with some folks wondering about radiant heat in tiny houses. Sorry

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