Off Grid Heating and Cooling
The Best Off Grid Heating and Cooling Options
Summary: Off Grid heating and Cooling
Off grid heating and cooling may sound like mission impossible for the inexperienced first-timers but it’s far from a challenge. In fact, people living in off grid properties have a number of practical possibilities to choose among.
Just like electricity production, off grid heating and cooling rely on alternative sources of heat. Here are some of the most reliable and practical options that many people have already introduced in their off grid homes.
Passive Solar Heating
Solar energy can be used to produce electricity but it’s also great for heating the home.
Passive solar heating refers to a property design that allows sufficient quantities of sunlight to enter the home, thus heating the air. Needless to say, quality insulation will be essential for this off grid heating approach to work.
Dark colored floors, more windows and a specific installation will be required to do passive solar heating. The surface that’s hit by the sun inside the home is called an absorber. It’s connected to a thermal mass that consists of stone or concrete. This mass “stores” some of the heat generated during the day and releases it during the night.
Active solar Heating
Active off grid heating and cooling that relies on the sun is different from the first possibility. Solar collectors are used (these can be made at home from black-painted copper panels). Water flows through this collector, it gets heated and it’s used to maintain optimal temperature throughout the home.
Active solar heating is a bit trickier because it requires either the creation or the purchase of a more complex installation. This is a sealed system and as such, it can be used effectively to reduce the risk of experiencing temperature fluctuations due to climate changes.
Wood and Fire
The most traditional off grid heating option is still classified as one of the most effective possibilities.
Firewood is readily available in most areas. Just a few days of work will be required to get the wood ready for use. It’s a good idea to learn a bit more about the types of wood that are best for heating purposes – dense hardwood trees will usually burn for a longer period of time.
Most wood stoves don’t need electricity to function and a closed system can once again be created – heating water and circulating it throughout the house. Usually, such solutions are most effective for smaller off grid homes. Otherwise, large quantities of wood will be required.
The final option worth mentioning when it comes to off grid heating is relatively new. Biomass refers to heat generation through the use of compost, grains, wood chips and even methane collected from cows.
The biomass is once again used to make a fire and heat water inside a closed system. This is the simplest possibility. The market is already starting to feature more sophisticated biomass off grid heating and cooling systems. Chances are that these will become readily accessible in a couple of years.
If you want more in-depth info you might try this free download.
You Also Might Be Interested in...