Every passion has a beginning: Part 1
I was born in the mid 60's in a small central African country called Rhodesia. It is now know as Zimbabwe. The city of Bulawayo is the 2nd largest city in the country and the largest in the south of the country
My grand parents lived outside of town on a small farm compound surrounded with our family homes. Looking back I believe this is where the passion started. Life in Africa was simple and exciting in those days for a young boy. My grand parents home was a typical African farm house, with all the features to make them self sustainable. I never thought much about it at the time. It was not enjoyable to go to the out house, especially after dark, but there was no utilities in the bush of Africa. You had to provide for yourself. I remember going out with a little kerosene lamp at 10 pm at night to go and turn of the big old diesel generator. As you pushed the button the big old engine would stop suddenly, but the lights would take a a few seconds to go out. There would be a flicker of light from the homes I could see and then suddenly it was dark.
When I say dark, I mean pitch black and all I had was the small kerosene lamp to guide me the 50 yards or to the back porch of the home. My eyes had to adjust to the darkness and on a clear sky night the moon and the stars had way more light than my little lamp.
We all had to be bathed and dishes washed by 7pm as the boiler was heated by a wood fire and was only heated once a day, so you had better get it together while the water was hot. If not it was a cold bath. The water came from rain water collected and stored in big tanks around the house with even bigger tanks filled by the windmill. We knew water was a precious resource and we did not waste water. We were all taught to respect and preserve our resources. The generator only ran for a few hours and we used water sparingly. When I was a little older my parent who lived in town installed a solar powered hot-water heater. So the questions were asked "how does it work", can it work on rainy days" etc all the same questions we ask and depending on who you ask, you get the truth or the lies. I am glad I got to see this over 50yrs ago for myself.
I did not realize at the time that the conveniences of being in town and plugged into the utility grid would be the beginning of the the search for a better mouse trap. If our solar heater worked 50 years ago in the middle of southern Africa, why will solar not work in Florida with almost 300 days of sun a year. The energy companies have tried to insult our intelligence by saying for years it wont work. Instead they have gleefully become the local (drug) dealer. Every home is filled with junkies looking for everything that plugs into the power grid for their creature comforts(fix) like a junkie with a needle in the vein. As we became hooked on energy from power companies that flowed freely into out veins, we bought more and more appliances and items that helped us become more addicted to the energy flowing from our dealer.
As our demand for our fix increased our dealers, like all drug dealers figured out the cheaper we can the product to our junkies the more money we can make. Like all dealers they could not care less about how they get the product to the junkie, they don't care about the content or the environment or the effect their methods to fulfill the addiction of their customers. Its all about the almighty dollar. I am not a scientist or an engineer. All i am is a concerned citizen of the planet who gives a hoot about my home, Planet Earth. This blog is to free my ideas and hopefully start a discussion about energy ideas that can inspire everyone. I will show you how we do our remodels with energy efficiency in mind. We believe we can beat the drug dealers(energy companies) one house at a time. Part 2 to follow........