I just want to give people a heads up on some excellent DIY renewable energy workshops provided by Ian Woofenden.
These workshops cover practical, standalone systems on solar electric, solar thermal, wind power, small hydro power and energy efficiency.
Ian’s workshops are known for a practical and realistic approach to DIY renewable energy — they are based on Ian’s decades of real experience in designing, building and consulting on actual systems. Expect to leave one of Ian’s workshops with actual hands on knowledge and experience that will get you ready to build a practical system of your own. Just as important, the workshops will provide you with the knowledge and tools to determine if a renewable energy system is a good choice for your situation.
Ian is also a senior editor and author for Home Power Magazine — search their archives for his many hands on, practical and honest renewable energy project articles.
Ian’s next workshop will be in Costa Rica and will be on Solar Electricity for the Developing World. This is the overview for the up coming workshop:
“Learn about solar electricity for the developing world in the developing world! This workshop provides an introduction to stand-alone solar-electric (PV) system design and installation, with a focus on small, rural systems. The workshop combines classroom sessions with a strong emphasis on real-world projects in the community, along with hands-on labs. You will have the opportunity to understand, design, and install lighting and cell-phone-charging systems that can dramatically improve the living conditions of the local people. This is an experiential program, with a real-world focus. Come and learn the basics of simple, stand-alone solar-electic systems for rural people by doing, sharing, and experiencing on projects in the developing world.”
You can find out more about this and his past and planned workshops at his website Renewable Reality.
Thanks to Ian for providing these excellent workshops.
We’ve just recently started playing around with microgreens for our family. Taking two old window blind displays that are best kept out of landfill, I reconfigured them a bit to line up the horizontal supports to allow for continuous shelves across both units. The light fixture that was previously hanging vertically inside one of the units makes great lighting for the top shelf.
We also picked up a few grow-light units that were on clearance at a local indoor gardening shop for the middle. These use very little power, but as you can see below, the plants love them! We still have a couple of 3 foot fixtures sitting in shop that will work once we expand to using bottom section of displays. The plastic panels that used to sit in behind the display blinds were handy as shelf covers (makes easy cleaning) and light reflectors.
This little storage room in our shop is heated with a small oil-filled heater each year already, so there will be no additional cost to keep the plants happy. We keep the heat very low and will see how happy the micro greens are once winter really sets in. About a week before this post, we were down to -4 C overnight and it was still comfortable in room.
Total cost to get going was only about $80.00 + cost of seeds. We decided to buy larger quantities. The two below we bought 10 kgs. of each. A little costly up front, but will save a lot over winter and spring. From what I can read, micro greens have an average 4 – 5 times the nutrients as their mature counterparts. There was a study at the University of Maryland that tested the claims on nutrition and found some exciting results. Here is the short version from WebMD.
We bought our seeds in bulk from a Canadian seed supplier that sells only organic, non-GMO seeds. Here is part of our first indoor crop!
If anyone else is experimenting with microgreens, please let us know. We are thinking of starting a local ‘MicroGreens Club’ next year if all goes well, where we could have affordable monthly subscriptions. Let us know if there is anything along those lines in your area.