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Author Topic: Living off the Grid in Terlingua  (Read 8218 times)  

Offline Casa Grande

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Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« on: June 19, 2009, 02:01:57 PM »
Saw a short article in this month's Texas Monthly about this guy in Terlingua.  He has only been living there a short while but he's building his place totally off the grid on 40 acres.

Here's a link to his blog:

http://thefieldlab.blogspot.com/

A subject that I am deeply interested in and pursuing myself someday soon.

Offline dkerr24

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009, 02:15:17 PM »
I check his site everyday looking for updates.  Very interesting what he is attempting to do.

Offline tjavery

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009, 02:49:42 PM »
Yeh! I caught his blog just a little while back here - it was mentioned in a thread about what homes out there look like. I'm following his blog now to see how things go for him. Very interesting...
best regards,
TJ Avery
Big Bend Photo Project: http://www.thomasjavery.com/proj_big_bend
Photo blog: http://www.thomasjavery.com/blog

Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009, 03:53:24 PM »
A subject many here find interesting, here is BIBEARCH Living Off The Grid Thread. Very interesting too.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

Offline SHANEA

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2009, 04:05:41 PM »
Living off the grid might sound great, even romantic, and idealistic - but from first hand experience of having visited "off the gridders" out there in the HOT DESERT - you can't run a chilled air unit AKA air conditioning.  It gets bloody damn hot out there as most can testify and even with insulation, fans, etc. - it's still damn hot.   It is expensive living off the grid and a lot of maintenance - things break - especially when there are wild fluctuations with extreme temperatures.  Off the grid appliances, typically DC units, are expensive.  Batteries, solar panels, water catchment systems, etc.  I for one appreciate the modern conveniences of the 21st century - especially chilled air.  Best invention ever made.  I'd rather live on the grid and consume power that was generated responsibly and greenly from wind, nuke, thermal, hydroelectric, etc. 

Offline bdann

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2009, 05:24:34 PM »
That's a cool dude.  I've been following him for awhile too.  He was/is a professional photographer, I would've guessed engineer.  He's certainly got some MacGyver in him! 
WATER, It does a body good.

Offline dkerr24

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2009, 05:26:03 PM »
I wish there were more details of the technology he has employed there, but I believe he is using some type of water cooler 'swamp cooler' to bring the interior temps of his place down.  He made a mention of getting it down to 80F inside.  That may seem a bit high to most of us, but when you consider how dry the air is out there, it might be comfortable.

When I was a kid, my grandparent's farm out by Fay, OK had nothing but a swamp cooler for summertime.  It had a hose connected to a water line that kept dripping cold well water down the outside radiator of the unit.  Actually was quite cool inside with that thing blowing.

He's not really living completely 'off the grid'.  He makes mention of driving to town to do laundry.  Not like he's washing his clothes on a rock or anything.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2009, 05:51:48 PM by dkerr24 »

Offline mule ears

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2009, 06:06:01 PM »
When I was a kid, my grandparent's farm out by Fay, OK had nothing but a swamp cooler for summertime.  It had a hose connected to a water line that kept dripping cold well water down the outside radiator of the unit.  Actually was quite cool inside with that thing blowing.


When I was living and working in southern Utah, many of the houses and offices had swamp coolers and as dkerr says, it was very comfortable mostly due to the very low humidity to start with.
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2009, 07:35:49 PM »
Living off the grid might sound great, even romantic, and idealistic - but from first hand experience of having visited "off the gridders" out there in the HOT DESERT - you can't run a chilled air unit AKA air conditioning.  It gets bloody damn hot out there as most can testify and even with insulation, fans, etc. - it's still damn hot.   It is expensive living off the grid and a lot of maintenance - things break - especially when there are wild fluctuations with extreme temperatures.  Off the grid appliances, typically DC units, are expensive.  Batteries, solar panels, water catchment systems, etc.  I for one appreciate the modern conveniences of the 21st century - especially chilled air.  Best invention ever made.  I'd rather live on the grid and consume power that was generated responsibly and greenly from wind, nuke, thermal, hydroelectric, etc. 

Depends on how you make the dwelling.  There are many, many ways to naturally cool and heat at home.....Hogans from the Navajo is a perfect example of this.  Been in one myself, 100+ degrees and it was a cool/crisp 72 inside.  It can be done without A/C.


Offline bdann

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2009, 07:59:02 PM »
John designed and constructed a swamp cooler to make his abode livable in the summer:
http://www.thefieldlab.org/fun.html
more pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/texasdesertlife/sets/72157605888462649/

pretty cool if you ask me.  (pun intended)  the last photo in the flickr set says it all...106 outside, 81 inside, not too shabby.

No, not completely off the grid...he has phone and internet service, fedex & UPS to his house... 
WATER, It does a body good.

oldfatman

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 08:39:03 PM »
Many RV folks use solar panels and wind generators for power.  You can find out a lot of the details at www.hitchitch.com and from the escapees.com forum.  LP heating safely without using electricity is also a big thing. I personally only have one 21 volt 100 watt solar panel to cover all my elec except the microwave and a/c.  John's water catchment system is very common in the Hill Country.  I know of one near Pipe Creek that is totally a catchment system for a large home.  All these things are very possible, but very expensive up front.  The exception is the direct fired heating that is cheap to set up.  I do not know how long my 30# bottle of propane will last but I am over a year now for heating and cooking. My water usage runs about 3 gallons a day if I do not try to conserve.  I have done two weeks on just under 2 gallons a day.  That is with hot water showers every day.

Offline dkerr24

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2009, 09:15:26 PM »
John has also mentioned in several posts about purchasing additional water, so he may not have enough rain or a large enough catchment system for obtaining water without supplementing it.

oldfatman

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2009, 11:58:54 PM »
He is still in process of building up his water catchment.  He has another dam to build to capture more water  He recently bought more tanks to hold water.  It is coming together about as fast as one man in terribly hot weather can get it.   Earlier on he had to purchase drinking water for consumption.  He and I have had a few emails and follow each others blog.  It is fun watching him build from in my air conditioned trailer from reading his blog.

Offline homerboy2u

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2009, 12:16:59 AM »
He is still in process of building up his water catchment.  He has another dam to build to capture more water  He recently bought more tanks to hold water.  It is coming together about as fast as one man in terribly hot weather can get it.   Earlier on he had to purchase drinking water for consumption.  He and I have had a few emails and follow each others blog.  It is fun watching him build from in my air conditioned trailer from reading his blog.

 Have you invited him to check and contribute information here?, he might be interested.. :eusa_think:
Stay thirsty, my friends.

oldfatman

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Re: Living off the Grid in Terlingua
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2009, 11:12:02 AM »
John likes email and visitors.  Everyone give him a shout or visit.

 

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