Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Archive for September, 2010

Upgrade your bicycle to electric

We have had an eZip electric bike for 2 years. We have been very pleased with our solar charged electric transportation, and a kit is available for you to upgrade your bike.

This new Currie Electro-Drive Conversion Kit easily transforms a standard bicycle and converts it into a modern electric powered ride. The Currie Electro Drive conversion kit is designed to fit on bicycles that use a standard 7-speed freewheel which is quite common today. If the bike that you are planning on converting has something other then a 7-speed freewheel, the kit may still be fitted however we strongly recommend that the conversion be made by an authorized Currie Dealer.


* Powerful 450 Watt Rear Wheel Drive System
* Stylish Rack Mount Battery System
* Thumb Actuated Throttle with Battery Guage
* Complete with all the Necessities to Convert your Bike
* Easily Add an Optional Second Battery Pack to Double the Range


LED Lighting from the UK

We are big proponents of LED lighting, as spot lighting a task area with a low wattage device makes much more sense than filling unused areas with a high wattage bulb. We use LED lights ourselves, and are proud to showcase the following from our friends in the UK. – Steve Spence

AVR Lighting have pioneered traditional track lighting systems by introducing clearly intense, ultra efficient LED track lighting products that connect directly to 240v mains track systems such as global track. By offering an easy to install, long lasting solution we have led the way with a range of low energy track lights that deliver powerful yet defining light output.

Here are the benefits of using commercial grade led track lights such as an AVR LED track light system:

Low energy usage – Up to 80% energy saving compared to traditional track lights. This can be as little as 4.8W for a 50W halogen replacement to just 28.8W for a CDM70 replacement.

Intensely Powerful – Using Cree MCE LED’s has enabled us to deliver outstanding intensity whilst being ultra efficient.

Defining – Proven LEDs like Cree MCE’s offer beautiful defining effect that brings objects to life. There is also a variety of source colour temperatures available. These include warm (3K), soft (3.5K), neutral (4k) & cool (5K). These temperatures can also be split further offering warmer/cooler temperatures if needed.

Thermal – LED’s are much cooler than traditional lighting products therefore offering less heat. It is common myth that LED’s offer no heat. This is not the case as LED’s can get very hot and are very delicate. Therefore there is a need for thermal management systems that take away the heat from the LED’s and direct it to the heat sync (body of the fitting) which is often made from aluminium.

Life Expectancy – Proven LED track lighting systems that use quality LEDs combined with excellent thermal management will last upto 70,000 hours with minimal drop in light quality.

Instant – LED track lighting products offer instant illumination without the need to warm up.

AVR LED track lights are extremely robust as they are manufactured in the heart of the UK at our Leicestershire lighting manufacturing facilities. We design, develop and deliver quality commercial grade track lighting products that last upto 70,000 hours. All our products include a three year warranty. AVR use only the best components such as Cree MCE diodes, Italian optics & AVR thermal heat sinking & drive systems. Even the best components require expertise. AVR has the experience and knowledge to design & assemble revolutionary products that deliver cutting edge performance every time.

AVR are currently looking for trade partners who share our passion and vision of delivering an LED track light to every major store globally. AVR products are already supporting many leading retailers within the UK by delivering diamond standard illumination whilst saving up to 80% in energy savings compared to traditional track lights.

AVR systems are the perfect fit for commercial & industrial applications. Our LED track products are both aesthetically & visually pleasing to the eye, which offers a refreshing outlook. AVR lights are contemporary in design, bringing us to forefront not just in technical ability but in how the physical product is perceived.

AVR have started a revolution and will now be pushing to introduce many innovative LED products over the course of 2010/2011.

For more information feel free to visit our led track lights lighting page.


Solar Powered DIY Weather Station

Our instructable is finished, and the instructions for building are are listed at

The video describing the project is uploading to as I type this.

Further info on the Arduino and our projects can be found at

The Arduino Weather Station / ThermostatMore DIY How To Projects

eBook and tutorial package available at


Raising Rabbits to Survive Video

After writing this newsletter for such a long time, I’ve come to believe that I’m a lot like you. Like me, you are passionate about helping your family live healthier and want to know where the food you are eating is coming from. You don’t want to constantly be looking over your shoulder and wondering where the next outbreak of salmonella or other disease is going to come from, and if it’s going to involve something your family just ate. You and I strive to live a healthy life and want our families to do the same.

Tiffany Savage


Setback Survival Guide

How to keep going when life kicks you in the teeth!

By Brenda Curtiss (

This way underpriced $10 eBook was written by a good friend of ours. She has gone through some tough times, and wrote a book (180+ pages) on how to not only survive, but excel, and come out the other side a better, stronger person. Everything from dealing with job and home loss, to budgeting, living on the cheap, and working for yourself. Even inexpensive home recipes for food and cleaning solutions. Good chapters on housing, energy,transportation, and low or no budget entertainment area all included. This was one of the best eBooks I’ve read this year, as some of the topics really resonated and hit home with our situation (we full time in an RV). Please visit the site and see if any of the topics hit a chord with you.


What is a GSHP, and How can it save you money?

GSHP stands for Ground Source Heat Pump. It’s much like an air conditioner, but, it pumps heat to and from the house using the ground as the source instead of the air (much more efficient). Powered by photovoltaics (PV), it’s free heating, cooling, and hot water.

According to Wikipedia:

A geothermal heat pump or ground source heat pump (GSHP) is a central heating and/or cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth as a heat source (in the winter) or a heat sink (in the summer). This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems, and may be combined with solar heating to form a geosolar system with even greater efficiency. Geothermal heat pumps are also known by a variety of other names, including geoexchange, earth-coupled, earth energy or water-source heat pumps. The engineering and scientific communities prefer the terms “geoexchange” or “ground source heat pumps” to avoid confusion with traditional geothermal power, which uses a high temperature heat source to generate electricity.[1] Ground source heat pumps harvest a combination of geothermal power and heat from the sun when heating, but work against these heat sources when used for air conditioning.[2]

Get all the details on this exciting heating, cooling, and hot water solution at


Environmentally Friendly Personal Transportation

Growing concern for the environment and our dependence on petroleum have left many searching for solutions to the unsustainable nature of personal transportation in this country and around the globe.

Riding a crest of new urbanism spurred on by the realization that the sprawling suburban growth patterns of the last fifty years can no longer continue, small electric vehicles have come in to their own. Street legal golf carts, often referred to as LSVs (Low Speed Vehicles) or NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) are becoming more and more popular in urban areas and smaller communities where the need for daily long distance driving is less pronounced.

As LSVs continue to gain acceptance globally, Garia, a small Danish company, is proud to announce availability of what is certainly the most advanced and luxurious production LSV to date – a high quality, street-legal “golf car” which is less costly to keep on the road and that creates far less pollution at the same time. Combining environmentally sound electrical efforts, the ease and accessibility of the golf cart and automotive quality, they far surpass the current generation of LSVs that are built on 30 year-old technology and fail to capture the imagination.

Garia understands that comfort, convenience, and refinement are crucial aspects in helping this trend reach its full potential and has kept this in mind in every stage of development. The Garia is manufactured at the same factory as the Porsche Cayman and Boxster and features an F1 inspired front end, a drive train built by an Italian company that produces Ducati gearboxes, and components built by companies that supply Volvo, Jaguar, and Aston Martin.

According to Mr. Anders Lynge, designer of the Garia and creative director of Garia Inc. ”The reason why so few very small electrical vehicles have become a success is that they try to copy regular cars. People do not want to be boxed into a small confined plastic box traveling at a mere 25-35mph, at that speed they want to feel free”. Extensive research by Garia has shown that the open sides create a much more socially interactive experience, allowing the driver to feel more a part of the environment as opposed to being enclosed in a separate space. The wheelbase is longer than in traditional golf carts, which creates a more comfortable driving position and the driver interface features a digital instrument panel providing relevant information such as speed, battery status and pertinent warning symbols.

Truly unlike anything else on the road, the Garia is poised to revolutionize local transportation and in some cases does represent a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine. While there is still a long way to go, Garia vehicles may serve as a first step that many can take to alleviate the burden that their personal local transportation has on our our environment.

For more information, please visit:


Solar Photovoltaic (PV) String Calculator

Many folks have asked us how to wire their solar panels, and what size charge controller to use. Morningstar has just released a new array calculator to help determine how to wire the PV array, and what size controller to use with it. It includes technical info on a wide variety of commonly used solar panels. If you have questions on how to use the calculator, suggested wire sizes, or for a quote on a particular charge controller, drop us a line at


Cooler Planet & Green-Trust Collaboration

Cooler Planet is excited to be partnering with Green and helping spread the word out about Solar Energy. Cooler Planet is a Seattle based company that helps home and business owners around the country learn about solar power, get questions answered, and ultimately find local solar professionals that are an ideal fit for their solar projects.

If you have every though about installing a solar panel system for your home or business, Cooler Planet can help you in the process. We provide free phone consultations, online tools, cost calculators, and educational resources for solar shoppers. We can provide information about the costs of solar and what rebates and incentives are available in your area – and it’s all totally free!

In many areas of the country, going solar can immediately save you money on your utility bills while reducing your carbon footprint and helping stop climate change. Fill out the form below if you’re curious about the details and our team will contact you shortly to help! Thanks, and Go Solar!


The Art of Renewable Energy and Organic Gardening

Wordle: Organic ArtWho says Renewable Energy has to be boring. Let’s turn it into Art with a cool utility from Wordle. You can either fill it with the words you want, or feed it the web address of your blog, and it will pick up the keywords, and size them by frequency of use.