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Build a Solar Cart Instead of Removing Trees

| 11/5/2013 9:53:00 AM

solar cartReading John Perlin’s latest blog  about 6,000 years of solar energy, I am reminded how modern builders can rarely consider natural efficiency anymore when positioning a house. Sometimes regulated by local ordinances, most homes simply face the road, no matter which way it’s pointing.

Our house, for example, a 1966 rancher, faces due west, with the largest windows catching intense summer heat all afternoon and bitter wind in winter. (I made triple-layer drapes of old blankets and bed sheets to compensate for this layout boo-boo.) Trees, too, at most homes are situated for curb appeal, rather than strategically planted to block wind or sun.

At least 4,000 years ago, the Chinese built their roads wide, running east and west so every building benefits from a southerly exposure in winter. In the last 100 or so years, those building practices were all but abandoned in industrialized nations. Middle class Americans could build 5,000-square-foot homes facing any which way, so long as there was electricity and fossil fuels to heat, cool and light them.

Resurgence in popularity of solar systems to reduce electric bills or to transition to off-grid lifestyles has many folks wondering what to do about the weeping willow and magnolia shading the yard. My husband solved the solar-power/shade-tree dilemma for us last week.

I knew something was going on when I saw him grinning like a cat and digging through boxes we hadn’t unpacked since moving here more than 3 years ago. Strange noises came from the shop – hammering, drilling and sawing – that I haven’t heard for quite some time. He also came home from town with one of those heavy-duty lawn wagons that I had dreams of using to haul logs or rocks from the woods.

Then, in just a few days, there was a peculiar new appliance basking in the sunshine outside the shop. Darren calls it our new mobile, compact, solar-powered, emergency, energy-supply system that follows the sun to store power for lights, radios and other electronics.

2/19/2014 1:23:01 AM

This is something good. I loved this I am definitely going to try my hands on making a similar cart.

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