Small-scale home biodiesel production holds a singular attraction for the do-it-yourself enthusiast. While perhaps it can't save the world, this unique renewable fuel is economical, fun to make, better for the environment, and will help you reduce your dependence on Big Oil. And getting started is easier than you think.
Backyard Biodiesel is written by two recognized experts in the field of small-scale biofuels. This comprehensive hands-on, practical, DIY guide includes:
Making your own fuel is not only possible, it is rewarding. Designed to be accessible to everyone from readers with no prior technical expertise to alternative energy buffs, Backyard Biodiesel is a must-read for any aspiring brewer, packed with everything you need to get up and running quickly and safely.
Author: Lyle Estill & Bob Armantrout
You want to do something for the planet, but what? Change a light bulb, install a low-flow faucet, eat organic? How about ride 4,700 miles across America on a bamboo bicycle, using only water from natural sources, avoiding fossil fuels almost completely, supplying your few electrical needs with solar power, and creating nearly zero waste?
Author: ROB GREENFIELD
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Green Transportation Basics is a guide to greening your personal driving habits by dramatically improving the efficiency of an existing vehicle using simple measures such as trip planning and regular maintenance to improve fuel economy. This handy guide also explores the most promising new green cars and trucks, including electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and natural-gas cars. And it critically examines sustainable fuels including ethanol, biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, hydrogen and biomethane, evaluating each according to a set of established criteria. Each green fuel source must:
Don't let your dream of greening your transportation idle – Green Transportation Basics will guide you through the myths and misconceptions and provide clear options for the road to a more sustainable future.
About the Author
Dan Chiras is a respected educator and author who has published more than 25 books on residential renewable energy and green building. He is the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute, where he teaches workshops on small wind energy systems, solar electricity, passive solar design, energy efficiency, and green and natural building.
Author: DAN CHIRAS
Harness the Sun offers a grounded, persuasive vision of America’s energy future. It is a future fueled by clean, renewable sources of power, with solar at center stage.
Author: Philip Warburg
Winds sweeping through the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United States. Nowhere is wind’s promise more palpable than in Cloud County, Kansas, where the soaring turbines of the Meridian Way Wind Farm are boosting incomes and bringing green jobs to a community that has, for decades, watched its children drift away. In Harvest the Wind, Philip Warburg brings readers face-to-face with the people behind the green economy–powered resurgence in Cloud County and communities like it across the United States. This corner of Kansas is the first stop on an odyssey that introduces readers to farmers, factory workers, biologists, and high-tech entrepreneurs—all players in a transformative industry that is taking hold across America and around the globe. In this illuminating book, Warburg reveals both the remarkable growth of a breakthrough technology and the formidable challenges it faces. He visits epicenters of anti-wind opposition as well as communities that have embraced wind farms as neighbors. He guides readers through an Iowa turbine assembly plant that is struggling to compete in a global marketplace dominated by European and Chinese manufacturers. And he looks at the thousands of miles that wind-generated power will need to travel to reach American consumers. Harvest the Wind is an earthly antidote to loftier treatises on global warming and green energy. By showing us how practical solutions are being implemented at the local level, Warburg offers an inspirational look at how we can all pursue a saner and more sustainable energy future—while at the same time investing in the nation’s infrastructure and jumpstarting its economy.
Author: Philip Warburg
A behind-the-scenes look at the robustly competitive race to dominate the market for electric cars, the larger-than-life moguls behind them, and the changes that are transforming the auto industry.
In the 1980s, it was unimaginable that the home computer would become as common and easy to use as a toaster. Today, plug-in charging stations and smart grids seem like something still far off in the future. But by 2020, the auto industry will look very different from today’s field of troubled auto giants. The combination of technological breakthroughs and charging networks driven by global warming and peak oil makes it clear that revolutionary change in the auto industry is happening right now.
In High Voltage, Jim Motavalli captures this period of unprecedented change, documenting the evolution from internal combustion engines to electric power. Driven by the auto world’s ambitious and sometimes outlandish personalities, the book chronicles the race to dominate the market, focusing on big players like Tesla and Fisker, as well as a tiny start-up and a battery supplier. Flashing forward to the changes we’ll see in the coming years, High Voltage shows a not-so-distant future where we will live on a smart grid, our cars “fueling,” that is, charging, while we shop or sleep. The ramifications of these changes will be on a grander scale than most of us ever imagined—altering foreign policy, reducing trade deficits, and perhaps even ending global warming.
Author: Jim Motavalli
Labor and related costs account for more than half of the price of the average home solar installation. But homeowners can save thousands of dollars with this user-friendly manual, which follows the same process professional contractors use. Through detailed directions and step-by-step photos, veteran solar installer Joseph Burdick and seasoned builder Philip Schmidt teach you how to determine the size, placement, and type of installation you’ll need. This comprehensive DIY guide covers everything from assembling rooftop racking or building a ground-mount structure to setting up the electrical connections and making a battery bank for off-grid systems.
Author: J. Burdick & P. Schmidt
Following the simple plans in Lights On will ensure that you are safe and secure during widespread long-term power outages. The United States electric grid is at greater risk today than ever before. From aging infrastructure, severe weather, and EPA mandated closure of coal-fired power plants to solar storms, digital sabotage, terrorism, and electromagnetic pulse attacks, future outages are almost certain. And they will likely last far longer and cover much larger areas than anything experienced in the past. When the grid is down and you run out of fuel for your generator, and all the stores are closed, then what? Lights On has the solution. Energy expert Jeffrey Yago lays out the lost history of early residential battery power and delves into just how durable and universal battery-powered devices are. Battery-powered devices can provide lighting, communications, refrigeration, safety, and entertainment when all else fails. Yago covers the multiple ways to keep your batteries recharged and ready to go. There are many books and magazines on emergency preparedness, survival, solar power, and disaster planning, which show strong public interest in these topics. However, many offer brief introductions to each topic. Lights On provides easy-to-understand, detailed information on having a plan of action for setting up a battery-powered home in advance of widespread and sustained power outages. This is the only book you need to be prepared to keep your refrigerator running, your lights on, and much more.
Author: Jeffrey Yago
In daily life, we can take control of the resources and services we depend on. Electricity and energy don’t have to come off the public utility grid—alternatives abound in solar, wind, and water generated power. Design decisions can drastically affect power consumption, and bio-diesel and alternative fuels can help break the oil habit. Dave Black describes alternatives for eco-pimping your home and lifestyle for independence, economy, and a more integrated way of life. Equally valuable for the urban dweller vaguely concerned about the size of his or her carbon footprint and the rural self-sufficiency enthusiast, Living Off the Grid can help anyone take control of his or her life and way of living.
Author: DAVID BLACK
Just how high will gas prices go? Nobody knows, but you can save money on gas now and find the right fuel-efficient vehicle for your needs via our new Guide to Green Cars. With reviews of more than 50 cars that get 35-plus mpg, proven tips for maximizing mpg, and the latest on hybrid, electric, clean diesel and flex-fuel vehicles, this 100-page special issue will be an invaluable resource whether you need a new ride now or down the road.
Articles in this guide include:
Author: Mother Earth News Editors
Solar panel systems can give you the energy independence you want, and in Power From the Sun, author Dan Chiras gives you accurate and easy-to-understand information about small-scale solar energy systems.
Starting with basic information about electricity and solar power, this book includes information about site assessment for optimum use of your solar panel system, types of PV systems, inverters, batteries, generators and maintenance of your solar electric system.
With chapters for every part of a solar panel system, you will be able to understand clearly how and why everything works. The authors have also included a final chapter on permits, insurance and other necessary paperwork for solar panel systems.
Homeowners and businesses will benefit from reading Power From the Sun by better understanding how a solar panel system can save them money in a short time, and how they too can achieve energy independence.
About the author:
Dan Chiras is president of Sustainable Systems Design, Inc., a residential renewable energy and green building consulting firm, and is director of The Evergreen Institute's Center for Renewable Energy and Green Building. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker and author and has published 25 books, including The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy and Power from the Wind.
Robert Aram, PE, LEED AP, is a renewable energy advocate and consultant. His consulting projects include off-grid farmsteads, highly energy-efficient homes and a solar system for a university sports complex. He has participated in the design and installation of photovoltaic, solar thermal and small wind systems.
Kurt Nelson has been installing solar electric systems through his company SOLutions since the late 1980s. He specializes in off-grid PV and teaches classes for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
Recommended Books for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books and products to its readers. For nearly 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America's "Original Guide to Living Wisely," creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Dan Chiras
Format: Other/miscellaneous products
Written for the layman, this is the fully revised and updated guide for individuals and businesses interested in generating their own electricity using the sun. Practical and accessible, it provides a basic understanding of electricity, wiring, and solar energy, and guides the reader through site assessment and determining the type of system needed, providing a solid understanding of grid-tied and off-grid systems, along with important guidelines on installation.
Power from the Sun — 2nd Edition discusses types of photovoltaics (PVs) and photovoltaic systems, and includes comprehensive information on recent changes and improvements in PV modules, charge controllers, inverters, batteries, generators, and net metering policies. It offers an excellent overview of the many options available, allowing the reader to make the best choices for their individual situation during the design, installation, and operation of a solar electric system.
This is the definitive guide for homeowners, business owners, installers, architects, and just about anyone interested in lowering energy bills while achieving greater energy independence.
Author: Dan Chiras
Author: Dan Chiras
Have you ever wanted to build your own chicken coop, cider press or herb-drying rack? How about a clever two-bin composter, horse-blanket washing machine or genuine Langstroth beehive? In Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, you'll find these projects and a couple dozen more to help you develop and grow your self-reliant lifestyle. Most self-sufficiency books give you pages of words and a couple of small drawings for an explanation, but this book shows you exactly how to do things, employing beautiful photos and complete plans. The projects are organized into four categories: Food Prep & Preservation, Homestead, Garden and Animals. Among the projects are a simple brooder box for chicks, a jumbo cold frame, a basic loom, a large-capacity soil sifter, fencing, trellises and even a solar oven. So, whether you're a longtime do-it-yourselfer looking to complete your skill set or a newcomer taking your first step toward sustainability, Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency is the book to get you there.
Author: Chris Peterson
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape is the first book in a three-volume guide that teaches you how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This revised and expanded second edition increases potential for on-site harvests with more integrated tools and strategies for solar design, a primer on your water/energy/carbon connections, descriptions of water/erosion flow patterns and their water-harvesting response, and updated illustrations to show you how to do it all. The stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will inspire you to do the same!
Author: Brad Lancaster
Earthworks are one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways of passively harvesting and conserving multiple sources of water in the soil. Associated vegetation then pumps the harvested water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, and passive heating and cooling, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, and improving water and air quality. Building on the information presented in the first volume of this series, this book shows you how to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen water-harvesting earthworks. It presents detailed how-to information and variations of a diverse array of earthworks, including chapters on mulch, vegetation, and greywater recycling, so you can customize the techniques to the unique requirements of your site. Real life stories and examples permeate the book, including:
Author: Brad Lancaster
What book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? Widely regarded as the bible of off-grid living, the Solar Living Sourcebook might be your best choice. With more than 600,000 copies in print worldwide, it is the most comprehensive resource available for anyone interested in lessening their environmental footprint and increasing their energy independence.
This 14th edition of the sourcebook is the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living and alternative transportation, written by experts with decades of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This fully revised and updated edition includes brand new sections on permaculture and urban homesteading, and completely rewritten chapters on solar technology, sustainable transportation and relocalization. It also boasts greatly expanded material on:
You’ll also find maps, wiring diagrams, formulas, charts, electrical code, solar sizing worksheets and much more.
Whether you're a layperson or a professional, novice or longtime aficionado, the Sourcebook puts the latest research and information at your fingertips … everything you need to know to make sustainable living a reality.
Author: John Schaeffer
Waterpower is the largest source of renewable energy in the world today, and microhydro is a mature, proven technology that can provide clean, inexpensive, renewable energy with little or no impact on the environment.
Serious Microhydro brings you dozens of firsthand stories of energy independence covering a complete range of systems, from household pressure sites to higher pressure installations capable of powering a farm, business or small neighborhood. Topics include:
With all the variables involved in microhydro, there is no "typical" system. These case studies represent the most comprehensive collection of knowledge and experience available on tailoring an installation to meet the needs of a site and its owner/operators. If you are considering building a system, you are bound to find a wealth of creative solutions appropriate to your own circumstances.
Serious Microhydro shows how scores of people are achieving a high standard of living from local energy sources with a minimal ecological footprint. It has particular appeal to home owners, teachers, renewable energy professionals, activists and decision makers who want to understand the technology from a "hands on" perspective.
Author: Scott Davis
Solar energy is clean, efficient, sustainable … and expensive. Or is it? Technology is quickly becoming attainable for the middle class. Rather than leasing panels from one of those home solar startups (and letting them reap the financial benefits), why not join the thousands who are doing it themselves? With energy costs only set to increase in the future, now is the time to make the switch to solar and start selling power back to the grid.
Author: Mike Sullivan
Heating water with the sun is a practice almost as old as humankind itself. Solar Water Heating, now completely revised and expanded, is the definitive guide to this clean and cost-effective technology.
Beginning with a review of the history of solar water and space heating systems from prehistory to the present, Solar Water Heating presents an introduction to modern solar energy systems, energy conservation and energy economics. Drawing on the authors' experiences as designers and installers of these systems, the book goes on to cover types of solar collectors, solar water and space heating systems, and solar pool heating systems, including their advantages and disadvantages; system components, their installation, operation and maintenance; system sizing and siting, and choosing the appropriate system.
This book focuses on the financial aspects of solar water or space heating systems, clearly showing that such systems generate significant savings in the long run. With many diagrams and illustrations to complement the clearly-written text, this book is designed for a wide readership ranging from the curious homeowner to the serious student or professional.
Author: BOB RAMLOW AND BENJAMIN NUSZ