The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “solar energy”

Passive Solar Earthship Homes

This video (in English, despite the title in Russian which translates as ‘house build from tires’) takes a look at “Earthship” houses in New Mexico. The houses are designed to be stand-alone, self-sufficient, off-grid units.

In this case, the “Earthships” have thick walls that allow for passive solar heating formed from rammed earth in recycled automobile tires. Empty aluminum cans and glass bottles also provide filler for the walls.

The thick walls can store so much solar heat that the inside temperature is easily a stable 70 F without additional heating, even on freezing days.

So, heating = solar passive via thick walls and window siting, energy via solar panels and wind turbines, water and waste = special filtration and septic systems.


Cooking with the Sun on the Navajo Reservation in Utah

This was a really interesting entry. Here several Navajo students from Paul McCarl’s class at the Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek, Utah present their solar cooker projects.

Especially interesting is a Fresnel lens cooker the students built in order to be able to fry the popular Southwest fry bread.

As one of the student notes, you don’t see too many solar cookers that will fry.

The students introduce themselves in Navajo and then go on and explain their projects.

Dead Simple, Cheap, Solar Food Dehydration

These methods probably wouldn’t work in Seattle or Vancouver, but if you have a sunny, dry climate these look like great, inexpensive ways to dry food.

Intro to the box style solar oven/cooker

This is a video produced by the manufacturer (or a distributor) of a brand of solar ovens/cookers (both terms seem to get used). As this is a commercial item it’s been realized to a really high standard but as the overall technology is simple and solar ovens in general aren’t hard to make, I like to think of the SunOven displayed here as inspiration.

If you don’t want to DIY, you can of course buy a SunOven. They retail for upwards of $200. Neat features it has: it’s parts fold up to make it portable, a cooking shelf that adjusts to how you’ve angled the oven and an adjustable foot to let you change the angle (to face the sun as it moves in the sky) more easily.

The presenter here does a really good job of explaining the features of a solar oven and how it works.

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