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Aug 032014
Making Your Retreat Energy Efficient - Awnings, Brise Soleils, Shades and Verandas

Many of the preferred locations for prepper retreats are in areas that have substantial swings in temperatures between hot summers (daytime temperatures often in the 90s and sometimes exceeding 100) and cold winters (where temperatures seldom rise above freezing, even in the middle of the day). That’s no big deal when you have unlimited utility power for heating and cooling, limited only by your ability to pay the electricity or gas bill each month.  But […]

May 152014
How Much Power Does Your (eg) 250 watt Solar Panel Actually Produce?

So there you are, thinking about buying some solar panels.  You’ve noticed they come in a range of semi-standard shapes and sizes, and maybe you’ve even noticed that the slightly unusual dimensions (such as 39.4″) actually make sense if converted to metrics (ie 39.4″ = 1 meter). You also notice all sorts of acronyms floating around in the specifications and warranties, and you sort of wonder if, when comparing the power output of Brand X’s […]

May 142014
What is the Most Efficient Form of Cooking?

We recommended either buying or making your own ‘Wonderbag’ type product and using it for an energy-efficient type of slow-cooking yesterday.  But what about cooking items when a slow-cook approach is not practical or possible?  For example, what is the best way of boiling water? If you want to boil water, you probably have various choices – you can boil a kettle (or a pot) on a stove top element, you might have an electric […]

May 132014
An Energy Saving Approach to Cooking

You can never save too much energy when planning for life after TEOTWAWKI. But there is more to saving energy than shivering in the cold, in the dark, in your retreat.  We need to rethink the underlying assumptions that are embodied in many of the everyday things in our lives – things that have been designed for maximum convenience and in the belief that energy will remain freely abundant and wonderfully inexpensive. Trust us – […]

May 122014
Free Solar Energy Spreadsheet/Calculator

One of the most important things for you to get right is balancing your retreat’s energy requirements with its energy production and storage. These three variables – how much energy you use, how much you produce, and how much you store – are all dependent on each other, in a complex series of interlinked relationships, and all you really know for sure is that you never want to run out! But trying to match together […]

May 102014
Designing Your Roof for Best Solar Panel Use

This is a further part of our series on solar energy.  Please also visit our sections on energy in general and solar energy in particular for more related articles. What makes a roof better or less suited for having solar panels mounted on it?  How should you design a new retreat structure, and/or, if looking at buying an existing dwelling, how do you know if it is optimized for solar? Answering these questions is reasonably […]

May 052014
A Small Electricity Generator for Short Term Level 1 Power Outages

(You can see our definition of levels one, two and three type events here.  It is a useful categorization that provides structure to your problem analysis and preparation planning.) When some people – particularly preppers – start thinking about generators, they immediately think of enormous noisy diesel standby generators, in special generator sheds, and capable of providing tens of kilowatts of power for extended periods, drawing off multi-hundred gallon storage tanks.  Don’t get us wrong.  […]

May 042014
A Test/Troubleshooting Multimeter for Preppers

As we imagine and plan for a difficult life in the future, we realize that we will need to learn more skills than we currently have, because when things go wrong, we can’t simply go out and buy a replacement, and might not be able to find anyone conveniently nearby to fix the problem, either. Hopefully you’ll continue to have at least some electricity at your retreat, and will be able to enjoy the extraordinary […]

May 022014
Fuel Cells and Hydrogen for Preppers

This is a further part of our series on solar energy.  Please also visit our sections on energy in general and solar energy in particular for more related articles. Chances are you’ve not even thought about hydrogen powered fuel cells as part of your retreat energy strategies.  For most purposes, fuel cells would indeed not be a good choice, but there’s one special scenario where they might be of relevance – as part of a […]

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