Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Archive for August, 2013

Arduino your off grid home and farm

amp_hour_meterWe have used Arduino microcontrollers in irrigation, aquaponics, solar and wind power systems, and for monitoring energy consumption of appliances, as well as energy efficient lighting systems and load shedding. These units are easy and fun to use, and teach basic principles of programming and electronics, with easy to follow and duplicate projects available. Learn how on our INSTRUCTABLES page, and you can get a free Arduino kit (mention in order notes) with the purchase of any of our ebook ensembles at


A Vertical Drive Axis Machine

Sustainable Renewable Energy
Wind and Water Power Generation Concepts

Another article by Robert Saunders, this one refers to Vertical Axis Wind Applications

Wind Panel Power Gen


Making Electricity From Steam – Part 5

Slotted Disc Turbine for Small Turbines
Junk Yard Mechanics at its Best Series – Part 5

We continue the series on slotted disk turbines with this final Article.

Previous artices by Robert Saunders can be found at

Slotted Disc Turbine – Part 5


Dragon Heaters Vs. Rocket Mass Heaters

dragon heaterDragon heaters offer more efficient heating, in a smaller footprint, with more flexible design options. Our goal with Dragon Heaters is to bring Rocket Heater concepts to everyone, by simplifying the build, improving aesthetic choices, offering a range of heat storage approaches and reducing its footprint.

The traditional rocket heater was developed and described by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson in their book Rocket Mass Heaters. Dragon Heaters differ from this approach in 2 key areas: the combustion area and heat capture options.

The Dragon Burner is made with optimized materials and a complex shape that is more efficient and has fewer emissions than a burn tunnel built with bricks.

Flexible heat capture is the other main difference. The traditional rocket heater uses a steel barrel for immediate heat and a clay bench with an embedded flue for heat storage. Using the same J-tube style combustion system, Dragon Heaters facilitate more options for utilizing the heat. Users can select to release it all immediately, only some, or put all the heat into thermal storage as in a masonry heater.

Having a pre-built combustion system frees up many of the design constraints associated with traditional rocket heaters. For example, it is possible to build a heater which radiates a portion of the heat into a space and puts the rest into thermal mass, without either the barrel or a cob bench.