Futurproofing your house

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slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,236
269
Devon
We're half way along getting things sorted on our smallholding. So we have our own wood, water supply etc and have been trying to establish fruit trees and a decent sized veg patch. If you can grow some basic veg all year round it does help reduce the need to go out.

One thing to consider with livestock is you may end up going out more to stock up on feed etc.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
I think there might to be a way of prepping for future crises that's also entirely beneficial in the present and not remotely mental. To me it might look like river cottage.

Me and my fiance are looking at moving to her home village in the future. The house there has a little land and a well. We'd be free to modify the building. I have an idea for a minimalist fish pond that would be stocked with edible fish, add some raised beds, add insulation and a wood stove. Collect rainwater for some uses. Keep the chickens, ducks, and goats that are there. Maybe put solar on the roof and a heat pump with underfloor heating, or run it off the wood stove. We could possibly plant a little coppice or permaculture stuff.

There's an attraction in becoming a little more self sufficient in ways that connect me (and my future child) with the land, cuts costs and reduces my environmental footprint. That kind of lifestyle would overlap with prepping, but in a way that, to me, is more appealing and smarter than obsessing over possible conflict and wasting time/money in that direction. My fiance's grandparents are most definitely not preppers, but their life in the village has them better prepare for major crises than any actual prepped. Grandpa would catch some crayfish for dinner and then go play cards! Lol

I think prepping can get a bad rep - and sometimes thats deserved , and sometimes its not.

I like to think there is a nexus point , a sort of Venn diagram intersection where one can apply elements from Permaculture, Green Sustainable living , Energy Frugality , Independent Resilience from the National Grid , and just living a healthy ' Good Life' style of Living without it having to get a Prepping label attached to it.

A well designed house I would say should be energy efficient in terms of insulation, low voltage equipment fitted , capable of producing energy ( Solar / Wind / Heat ) , Capable of using the grey water that runs from its roof for flushing Toilets etc.

Just good clever design that implements some joined up thinking .
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,593
700
Vantaa, Finland
low voltage equipment fitted
Not necessarily a good idea, the amount of copper that has to be used is fairly large in comparison to std AC voltages. A few things can be run on 12VDC but not really all that many. Modern converters are fairly efficient if something like 24V batteries are used.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
Not necessarily a good idea, the amount of copper that has to be used is fairly large in comparison to std AC voltages. A few things can be run on 12VDC but not really all that many. Modern converters are fairly efficient if something like 24V batteries are used.

Maybe you could/should start a Thread on it , elsewhere.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,869
1,787
McBride, BC
Unreliable grid electricity will force your hand for alternatives. I have solar panels connected to the charge controller which is connected to the battery bank which is connected to the inverter into which I can plug a variety of appliances. The keystone is the battery bank for storing the juice.

There's no need at all for a "sparky" to put the system together. Red to red, black to black. + to + and - to - and you are finished correctly.

Chains of 6VDC batteries have more plate area than any 12VDC or 24VDC batteries. It is a fact that plate area determines storage capacity. I keep an eye out for deep cycle battery deals. Inverters do not suck you batteries dry. They need juice, too. Mine give up trying to make AC at 11.5 volts, which is typical.

What kind of inverter do you need? Square wave and modified square wave are OK for lights, coffee pots and kettles. I run a pure sine wave inverter because I might need to run small electric motors such as the three of them in a wood pellet stove.

Again? Solar panels don't work at night. When the grid comes back on here, I run a big smart battery charger to reload the batteries as fast as possible. The next failure could be 12 hours away. The inference is that you can consider solar panels another day. Nice idea but wheat are your motives in the first place?
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
I think preppng isn't the same thing as sustainable living. Prepping AIUI is about prepping in a society breakdown situation. What were talking about is sustainably living by reducing your impact on climate and environment such that you've moved into the solution category not problem category of citizen of society. Prepping AIUI is about a divergence from society whether for political or conspiratorial reasons.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,859
1,133
47
Exeter
I think preppng isn't the same thing as sustainable living. Prepping AIUI is about prepping in a society breakdown situation. What were talking about is sustainably living by reducing your impact on climate and environment such that you've moved into the solution category not problem category of citizen of society. Prepping AIUI is about a divergence from society whether for political or conspiratorial reasons.

Don't think the LDS fit into either Political or Conspiracy camp..

But thats the problem with Labels and identity classification.

I think the notion of sustainable living or moving as close to it as one can is indeed a noble and worthwhile goal on many fronts and I wish you the best of luck with it.
 

philaw

Settler
Nov 27, 2004
561
33
39
Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.
I think prepping can get a bad rep - and sometimes thats deserved , and sometimes its not.

I like to think there is a nexus point , a sort of Venn diagram intersection where one can apply elements from Permaculture, Green Sustainable living , Energy Frugality , Independent Resilience from the National Grid , and just living a healthy ' Good Life' style of Living without it having to get a Prepping label attached to it.

A well designed house I would say should be energy efficient in terms of insulation, low voltage equipment fitted , capable of producing energy ( Solar / Wind / Heat ) , Capable of using the grey water that runs from its roof for flushing Toilets etc.

Just good clever design that implements some joined up thinking .
Couldn't agree more! I like your Venn diagram/ Nexus terminology. I recently noticed this intersection between many of the good things in life; how having a low environmental footprint consistently overlaps with spending less money, being closer to nature, escaping the hollowness of every event in life being a financial transaction, teaching a child practical skills, and potentially spending less of our lives working for other people.

Think about this: if you can make a home that's mortgage free, produces its own electricity, has land for growing food and wood fuel, has a fish pond and chicken/ duck run, has water from a well and collects rain water, has outbuildings where you can make and store things, you're also in a position where you will most definitely not be living pay cheque to pay cheque like many Londoners. It could be possible to take time away from paid work.

Preparedness in itself is most definitely not crazy. One woman on a doomsday prepppers program was laughed at for stocking coveralls and masks in case of a pandemic. She looks less stupid now. A life mostly spent obsessing over and preparing for crises that don't come is suboptimal, but applying the pareto principle makes more sense than disregarding everything entirely.
 
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philaw

Settler
Nov 27, 2004
561
33
39
Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.
We're half way along getting things sorted on our smallholding. So we have our own wood, water supply etc and have been trying to establish fruit trees and a decent sized veg patch. If you can grow some basic veg all year round it does help reduce the need to go out.

One thing to consider with livestock is you may end up going out more to stock up on feed etc.
City living for me involves being tempted into eating out and getting things delivered. Living in the countryside could cut costs just because there aren't so many temptations. Also, time spent taking care of plants and animals or a home is time when I'm not bored and spending money on entertainment.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,508
965
Berlin
I am a professional concert and event manager and have to admit that my brothers ducks are the pure entertainment. The geese as well.
That's some kind of great theatre on a micro stage.

:biggrin:
 

Woody girl

Full Member
Mar 31, 2018
3,042
2,165
62
Exmoor
Living in the countryside is not always cheaper, dont be fooled by the idealic idea.
Yes producing your own food veg wise is usualy the cost of seeds, or the purchase of some animals or birds.
But, where do you go toget feed? How far away is it? How do you get it?
You will have to have a car, or some sort of vehicle to be able to get to town , and you will be spending more on petrol to pick up feed for yourselves and the animals. Vets Bill's are not cheap,
Can you walk to a surgery or dentist? What about your nearest hospital?
How long does it take for an ambulance to get to you, or the fire brigade, or police, should you need them.
Are there regular buses, should the car break down?what about schools for the kids? Travel time before and after school eats into chore, play, and homework time. (Our local senior school is 20 miles away over high moorland, snowdays can be a regular occurrence in the winter.)
Kids will want to be able to see friends, go to the pub or cinema as most of their town friends do,are you prepared to be a taxi to your teens, maybe 10 or more miles each way to deliver them to their chosen venue, and then pick them up again... that's 40 miles,!
We still have crime, and it takes longer for police to get there. Same with the ambulance. Police can take days! Ambulance about 20 mins or longer.
I'm not trying to put you off at all, just give you some questions to ask yourself if you decide the grass is greener in the countryside!

We've recently had some monied Londoners move in localy. All the kit, (barbours, tweedie caps, hunter wellies, posh landie,) and no idea! That puts people's backs up when locals cant afford to buy their own homes where they live.

Despite all the problems of living rural, and there are some, I wouldn't live in a town for anything!
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
Saw Ben Fogle types of programmes where a guy was living self sufficiently. However he did have a neighbour popping round with his dinner. Bartering for wood but there's other cases where they rely on friends cars to get things. Or they aspects of the goodwill of others who have not dropped out of modern world. It all makes me suspect that in this modern world it's possibly impossible to get it completely out of your life. There's always a compromise somewhere.

We're not going for self sufficiency or sustainable living. Our goal is reduced impact and reduced costs in the process. If ditching the car to use public transport and bike wasn't cheaper I'm not sure we'd do it, might but might not. Money will be tighter so decisions need the financial head on first I'm afraid. We're obviously looking at what we can do but it's not really sustainable living more real life living. If that makes sense?
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,593
700
Vantaa, Finland
Or they aspects of the goodwill of others who have not dropped out of modern world. It all makes me suspect that in this modern world it's possibly impossible to get it completely out of your life. There's always a compromise somewhere.
If one wants some products of modern industry there becomes the contact. In theory one does not need it but leads to having to master an awful lot of trades. I guess there was a reason trades became apart very early, like thousands of years ago. It is really an art of balancing this to that.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,948
863
Lancashire
Whilst I admire people with the tenacity to flee the modern life and live simply off the land away from populations, I don't see the need for such extremes. It must be possible to have a semblance of modern life but a very low environmental impact. You don't need to run away to a quiet Irish Island and only communicate through letters.

There's super fast broadband even in the remote Islands of Scotland I believe so if you've got the career skills you could work from there and croft for example but still having a fairly modern life. Using wind, solar and various efficient heat sources such as ground or air. Maybe living with the cycles nature. Bed closer to sunset and up by the dawn light working.

Right now it seems every service we've used had involved someone home working who's felt the need to apologise for their dog or child making noise in the background. Solicitors, mortgage advisers, bankers, insurance companies and even removal companies too. IMHO there's a big potential there. From less physical travel to local power generation? I remember 15++years ago IIRC Kentmere valley had a planning notice up at the head for a community hydro generation plant. Knoydart community at the end of the peninsula have a fairly large scale one even back then. Not everywhere would be suitable but there's a lot to be done.

Community heating in towns and cities is more efficient than personal heating I reckon. I heard about Bulgaria's state controlled heating system. Each autumn it was exciting to hear about the first towns to get their heating turned on. Then seeing it travel down the country with the cooling weather. Sounds fun if you ask me.

Personally sustainable doesn't mean living in the sticks away from humanity to me.
 

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