Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

The DIY $20 Rocket Stove

Today we built and fired up our new rocket stove. It took 13 Fire Bricks at $1.35 each, one cement block, and less than a pint of furnace cement. The pictures document the build, and the video shows the operation.




Have Wood Will Travel – Complete Plans for the Keith Gasifier

waynekeithWayne Keith has built 5 trucks that run on wood. Each model is slightly more improved than the last. This V8 truck is the 5th generation. It has a series of vacuum gauges that provide information on performance of each part of the gasifier. This truck gets about 1 mile per pound of wood. Wayne has written his entire gasification experience into this book! Complete plans for the Keith gasifier include photos, diagrams, and detailed explanations of every step of the way.

Wayne Keith has spent a lot of time learning how woodgas works. He can answer all your questions and give detailed advice. We have a detailed video tutorial and some written material supporting it. Wayne documented his latest build in depth with video footage, and we’ve posted instructional videos from start to finish. You can follow along with Wayne, from selecting the materials all the way through firing up the truck the first time. Lots of folks have started building, some have completed trucks already. They are actively discussing their projects on the Premium-only Builders’ Discussion forum. Here you can see what folks like you have done and ask questions about the Keith gasifier. There’s also the Ask Wayne and Beta forums. Plus, all premium members get Wayne’s book FREE!


Trojan Deep Cycle Battery – Cast On Strap

Ever wonder what goes into the construction of a deep cycle battery? See how Trojan Battery assembles it’s batteries in the following video!

Continuing its effort to expand the public’s understanding of deep-cycle battery technology, Trojan Battery has produced a video demonstrating its new cast-on-strap (COS) manufacturing equipment. Because there are two key elements that distinguish Trojan batteries from the competition – the quality of the materials we use and our assembly/fabrication process – Trojan developed this video to illustrate the advanced technology used to manufacture our batteries and earn them the label “Made in the USA.” While most other battery manufacturers use COS machinery originally designed to produce automotive batteries, Trojan Battery commissioned the development of its COS equipment to specifically manufacture only deep-cycle batteries.

More Trojan video’s


Andersen Windows Sustainability Story

by Adam Bearup

This video will give you a sneak peak at one of the segments of the Earth Shelter Documentary. Thank you to Ric Mixter and Airworthy Productions for putting this segment together. This video shows a company and their sustainable track record. Once you view this video, you will have a better idea of why our Team selects the products that we do..

Andersen Windows Sustainability Story from Adam Bearup on Vimeo.


Earth Shelter Project Michigan, Week 2

Here is the video for the second week of construction on the Earth Shelter Project Michigan and here is what the builder Adam Bearup had to say about week two…by the time week two was filmed and we completed that week’s work, I knew that I had gotten myself into another one of those kinds of projects where you have to commit yourself 110%. At this point in the project, we were trying to beat the winter weather that was bearing down on us. We really thought that we were going to be able to shotcrete these domes by January. This weeks video shows you that the possibility of doing that was slipping through our grasp and that the crew was realizing just how large this project really was…

Earth Shelter-Week 2 from Adam Bearup on Vimeo.


The 6v LED Lantern Flashlight

Again we address the LED flash-light topic, because it’s one of our favorite topics. This time we converted a Eveready(R) Utility Lantern. It comes with a pretty weak PR13 bulb, but we will fix that shortly.

Nice features of this flash-light is that it floats, has a shatter-proof lens, and comes with a 6v battery. It comes in a variety of colors, so if you mail order it, you never know what one you might get.

Ok, Why convert to LED? Well, as we have said in previous upgrades of tube type flashlights, a good LED will last pretty much forever, is shock proof, greatly increases brightness, and can extend battery life by 2x or more (unless you go extreme). Over the years you can save well more than the cost of the bulb in reduced battery costs.

Ever have a bulb get dimmer and dimmer till you can hardly see? Not so with LED’s. They stay bright, and then suddenly go out when battery voltage dips below the minimum needed to keep them lit. Ok, so maybe that’s a mixed blessing. Keep a spare battery handy.

So, here’s a couple of proven LED options.

TerraLUX TLE-1F MiniStar1 1-Watt 50 Lumen Replacement Bulb

TerraLUX TLE-6EX MiniStar5 5-Watt 140 Lumen Extreme LED Replacement Bulb

The 1-Watt LED is a nice visual upgrade for the old 2.38 Watt PR-13. It’s brighter, and whiter (a little blueish versus aging yellow on the PR-13). The 5-Watt Extreme LED will make you blind as a bat (without the cool sonar stuff).

Pulling out the old bulb isn’t very easy, so just take your time and gently rock the plastic carrier plug back and forth with firm pulling pressure.

There you have it! Have fun, and happy conversions. It’s a cool upgrade!

PS: There are not 32 AA batteries inside a 6v lantern battery, if you have seen the gag video claiming otherwise. There are four 1.5v “not quite D” (F) cells in series batteries inside.

Want a rechargeable “Lantern Battery”? shows that four “C Cells” will fit nicely inside. A 6v lantern battery is about 11 amp hours, so unless you can get creative, you will lose run time, but at least pick up recharge-ability. The 11amp hour “D” NiMH will also fit (a tiny bit larger in diameter than the “F”), and give you similar ah rating as the 6v Lantern Battery. Use the Dorcy 4D adapter for instant conversion!

Maha Powerex D cell 11,000mAh Rechargeable Batteries- 2 Pack

AA NiMH Precharged Rechargeable Batteries (8-Pack, 2000 mAh)

Remington makes a 6v agm Lantern Battery, but it requires a special charger:



See the following video for ideas.


Rain Barrel Installation Video

Our Rain Barrel Installation video is up and live. We document how quick and easy it is to install a rain barrel and start capturing rain water for irrigation, showering, washing clothes, and much more. With our DIY Berkey Water Purifier, it’s even useable for drinking and cooking. With a Solar Water Heating Kit, this solution will provide hot showers, and the solar collector will provide collection area for the rain water. More on this Rain Water Harvesting Kit and the irrigation options can be found at

The last bit of the video got lost, so I also made a overview video:


Beautiful Islands –The Three Sinking Livings

It was interesting to see the people, culture and environment of these fragile locations. Whether you believe climate change is man made or natural, it’s a good video to watch.


Beautiful Islands –The Three Sinking Livings
This movie looks at three beautiful islands, shaken by climate change: Tuvalu in the South Pacific, Venice in Italy, and Shishmaref in Alaska.

The islands all have different climates and cultures, but the people all love their native lands. The film, which took three years to shoot, focuses on their daily lives. It portrays festivals that foster ties among the people, traditional crafts which have been passed on for generations, and peaceful lives by the water. They are all disappearing by climate change.

When these people lose their homelands, their cultures and histories face “death.” Their lives in the midst of all the changes suggest where our future leads..

Director, Kana Tomoko purposely decided not to put any narration or music in this film. It is a two-hour trip around the world, listening to the sounds of waters and winds, accompanied by the children’s smiles. She wants you to sharpen your minds and feel what we are going to lose as climate change really (threatens) hits our planet.


Clean, Renewable Cow Power

What’s better than a cow that supplies fresh, wholesome milk? Well, how about one that also provides a clean and renewable source of energy? As owners of the Vermont-based Pleasant Valley Farm, Mark and Amanda St. Pierre are supplying one of the oldest sources of energy ever used by humans – sludge. As their family-run farm produces more than 40 million pounds of milk annually, it is also producing enough sludge to generate approximately 3.5 million KWH (kilowatt-hours) of clean, renewable electricity that they then send to Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS), the Vermont utility that set up this award-winning program to assist dairy farmers in turning manure into electricity. So community members can rest assured that their source of electricity is coming from a clean and renewable source. In fact in the United States, biomass energy (energy obtained from plants and animal matter) provides 15 times more energy than wind and solar combined. Now that’s better than any cup of milk…even chocolate milk!

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Composting Humanure with Worms

A few years ago we were composting our food scraps in plastic tubs indoors, as winter in Upstate NY can get as low as -40 degrees. We eventually had eight 52 quart tubs going, and started feeding the worms the output of our Jenkin’s Bucket Toilet. We used coconut coir as our cover material. The worm compost was used in our Square Foot Garden beds, and grew some wonderful crops. We made a video describing the bucket toilet on Youtube. I recently found others who do a similar process as we did. It’s a good read, and an important part of closing the nutrient cycle and eliminating pollution, as well as reducing your water usage. It’s a great complement to rainwater harvesting.