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Large DIY Serpentine Drainback Solar Space Heating Project

Tim, Doug, and Will provide a very detailed description of a unique solar space heating system along with quite a bit of design information.
The system uses solar to heat water, which is in turn used for space heating in a radiant floor system. One of the most unique features of the system is that the drain back solar collector uses serpentine path absorbers rather than the usual vertical riser tubes. This arrangement allows the entire south face of the building to be used as a collector, right up to the peak of the roof. In addition to providing more collector area and more heat, it has a very nice look.
View of the full wall drain back collector.
The absorber uses a serpentine arrangement of tubes to carry heat from the absorber to the tank rather than the more usual vertical riser tube arrangement.  This allows the absorber to cover the entire wall all the way up to the peak.  This makes for a very nice looking full glazed wall.
Shows the serpentine absorber being fitted to the wall.  
The entire south wall is glazed with greenhouse style twinwall polycarbonate.  The full glazed wall makes for a very nice looking collector.
Full wall collector with glazing in place.
The system also uses a unique heat storage tank design that is partitioned into a warmer and a cooler section.  The collector circuit pulls water from the cold side of the tank and returns it to the warm side, and the radiant floor circuit pulls water from the warm side of the tank and returns it to the cooler side.  The idea is to allow the collector to run cooler, and therefore more efficiently.
The partitioned solar heat storage tank under construction.
January 19, 2015
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GMO Farmer: I Wont Eat My Own Crops


Interesting but sad article from Natural on the morals of a farmer trying to make a living, but yet knows that his crop is poison to himself. Farmers have had to work around these dilemmas many times. Imagine being a tobacco farmer who wouldn’t want their children to smoke.

Many people who work in the Oil sands don’t believe in the environmental damage being done, but feel that is the only way for them to make a living. It is a hard choice, but most people will make a decision based on feeding and housing their immediate family first and push environmental issues to the side.



“Like a thousand other farmers across the US, Kirk Bair is a farmer looking for ways to grow food economically and with as little labor as possible – but what are the moral implications of planting food you are aware is toxic, and selling it to your friends and neighbors? Is Bair in the right for planting GMO seed, even if conventional seed is hard to come by?”

Full article at

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Garden Pool

Here is a great way to make use of back yards pools. Many times you will hear people wondering how to get rid of their old in-ground pool. Instead of getting rid of it, take advantage of the structure to feed your family, or perhaps start an urban farm.

The use of home aquaponics has really been taking off among the urban homesteaders / backyard farmers over the last few years. Great to see all of the innovative ideas that people are coming up with. For more information, check out sources such as Aquaponics Source, where they have a blogs on how to build your own system along with inspirational stories from around the world.

Garden Pool from Dark Rye on Vimeo.