Posted in Gardening & Backyard Farming

Humus – the essential ingredient: Graeme Sait at TEDxNoosa – YouTube

Humus – the essential ingredient: Graeme Sait at TEDxNoosa – YouTube.

As Graeme Sait explains in this must-see Tedx talk, we all need to protect and increase our healthy soils, which have been devastated through conventional farming and other means. The humus in soil is what traps carbon, holds moisture and contains the minerals needed for healthy plants and food crops.

Graeme talks about one way we can all help keep our planet habitable for future generations, by simply making sure our towns and cities are collecting food waste and turning it in to compost, which is then put back into the soil to feed it.

Posted in Gardening & Backyard Farming

▶ Flow™ Hive Full Reveal – YouTube

Here is a rather successful Indiegogo campaign that allows you to support and own a very interesting new idea in Bee Hives. Instead of having to disturb the bees and endanger yourself to get at the honey, you can have the honey flow out easily through what looks to be a very exciting and innovative new hive technology. This could make it much easier for many more of us to enjoy our own home-grown honey and help to keep our honey bees around. If you do get one, let us know how it goes.

▶ Flow™ Hive Full Reveal – YouTube.

Posted in Sustainable Homes and Living

The Kume Shade: Simple, Homemade, Low-cost Insulating Curtains

The Kume “family” in Chile has come up with a new design for thermal shades that I think is very interesting and may be a good solution for you if  you are looking for thermal shades.

The Kume shade if various states of rollup

The Kume shades fit in the window frame and roll up to stow in a built in catch at the top — the rollup only takes a few seconds.

The shades use four layers to provide better insulating value.

Layer 1 is a front insulating (and decorative) material, 2 is a moisture barrier, 3 and 4 are wood batten spacers, and 5 is the back insulation panel.

IR picture shows the Kume shade in action

The shade materials are relatively cheap and the shade is easy to build.  The instructions are very complete.

Good, detailed build instructions

The room facing layer can be a decorative insulating fabric, so the shades can be very nice looking.

One thing this shade appears to address is the problem of condensation on the window and frame that can occur the room air is humid, the outside temperature is cold, and the shade does not prevent room air from circulating behind the shade.  This design’s combination of fabric that seals against the window frame and a moisture barrier address this problem.

I’d be very interested in hearing from anyone who build these shades on how well they do.

The Kume “family” is a group of friends and relatives living in Chile who are working together on projects that will have a positive effect on climate change.

For complete details on the design and build …

For lots more on other thermal shade and window insulating techniques…

March 7, 2015

Posted in Sustainable Homes and Living

Making A Solar Oven

I have been looking back into some of the great projects on Build It Solar. One of my goals this year is to make a solar oven. Living in the semi-desert Okanagan area of British Columbia means that we get a lot of sun in the summer-time. It makes sense to take advantage of it and save energy at the same time.

If you have built your own Solar Oven / Solar Cooker, let us know how it worked out and share your plans / project with us.

This particular oven was built by Bill Becker, back in 2007. He has shared a lot of his ideas and posted several photos, to make it quite easy to understand.

Making A Solar Oven.