Posts Tagged ‘rain water’

14 June

Aussie Couple Living Soulfully Off The Grid

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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I’ve been busy with some projects recently. Now that I have returned to Sun Is The Future, let’s resume by easing into several lay-back topics. Namely, did  you know that there’s been a Tiny House Movement in recent years? It’s a perfect outcome for our new age of 4R’s (Recycle-Reuse-Repair-Reduce). Above is a video of an Aussie couple (Mr. & Mrs. Paul Chambers….sorry, don’t know wife’s name) who had begun building a home out of two shipping containers as a project. But when Mrs. Chambers got tired of suburbia and utility bills, they put their four-bedroom home on the market and his project became the couple’s full-time home. Check out Paul’s ebook: www.buildshippingcontainerhouse.com)

Chambers’ choice of shipping container was motivated by the fact that they did not own any land and need for easy mobility. His background as an engineer-teacher-adventurer enabled him to take on this project without having had any background in formal building training. His forte is in the fact that he believes that any one can do anything that he/she puts his/her mind into it. He’s picked up the skill of welding, building, etc. along the way. Without an initial fixed design, Paul simply started with a concept and learned and adapt along the way. The Chambers have built an off-grid mobile home with 2 shipping containers using 12-250 watt solar panels and 2 storage battery packs normally used in golf carts. They are able to run normal household appliances (such as refrigerator, chest freezer, washer (with both hot and cold water), bread machine, 3 computers. The main difference is that they use electricity during the day time when electricity is being created. Careful monitoring and back-up generator brings greater assurance even on rainy or cloudy days. Australian sunshine produces some very high temperature days. There is more than enough sunshine to help power the air conditioning needed for a pleasant environment. However the couple’s preferred cooling method is better ventilation through opened windows and cargo door. Couple of 12 v car outlets are placed in their container home to charge cell phones and to power their modem for internet. To increase the strength of the signal for their modem, they’ve installed an external area on the roof for directional antenna to increase the signal strength. Their sunroof has multiple functions: protecting the couple from radiant heat, harvesting for electricity from solar panels, and harvesting water from the rain via pipe into a collection tank at the side of the house, side of the firewood shed, and added catchment by the kitchen. Their water is then filtered through a 20 micron sediment filter for washing and showering, and additional filtrations for drinking water (down to 0.5 microns, removing germs, pathogens, and heavy metals). Living with natural water from the rain is much more pleasant than the town water with much chlorine in it. There are also detailed description on composting for growing plants.

Fundamentally, the Chambers use the electrical energy generated from the Australian sunshine, using it when the sun is shining and not at night. “It is ridiculously easy,” Paul commented. Batteries are fully charged between 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. By 4:00 pm, they’d stop using the non-essential items to avoid draining the batteries. By 6:00 pm, they’d only be using their computers (which takes up very little power). They’ve gotten to the point that they no longer need to worry about power while others in the area have been experiencing power cut and are having a difficult time.

I invite you to view what this couple have done to live naturally in the Australian Bush country, with wild life of abundance around them. I hope you will enjoy this video as much as I had.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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24 April

Agora Garden Tower of Taipei Taiwan, Helical Force of Life, by Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams!”

“Le futur appartient a ceux qui croient a la beaute de leurs reves!”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

If such were the case, then people from Taiwan are simply some of the most beautiful dreamers on this planet. During the month of February of 2015,  I had the opportunity to visit Taiwan. Its neighboring states include the People’s Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east and northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Its former name Formosa dates back to 1542 when Portuguese sailors sighted the main island of Taiwan and named it Ilha Formosa, meaning “beautiful island“.

Taipei is the seat of the central government. New Taipei City, encompassing the metropolitan area surrounding Taipei proper, is the most populous city.


During the latter half of the 20th century, Taiwan experienced rapid economic growth and  industrialization and is now an advanced industrial economy. Taiwan is one of the Four Asian Tigers and a member of the WTO and APEC. Its high-tech industry plays a key role in the global economy, enabling its status of being the 21st-largest economy in the world. Considering the fact that Taiwan only has a total area of 36,193 sq km (or 13,974 sq mi), its residents/citizens must be magical.

Taiwain, Taipei, Taiwan Strait (Public Domain)

Taiwain, Taipei, Taiwan Strait (Public Domain)

Upon closer examination, one realizes some of the significant contributing factors to Taiwan’s success story: it is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, health care, public education, economic freedom, and human development.

To summarize my overall impression of  Taipei, Taiwan: it is one of the most civilized 21st century cities in the world! It is a city where people are polite, orderly, and considerate, with the cleanest subway system I’ve ever seen where not a single piece of trash could be found !

It is not surprising that one would be able to find some of the most progressive and aesthetically intriguing architectural designs in Taiwan, as seen above and below  in the Agora Garden Tower design by Vincent Callebaut Architectures SARL  and various projects. It is a new sustainable residential tower in Taipei currently under construction to be completed in 2016. In the center of Xinyin District of Taipei, the Agora Garden project (as the name suggests,  Agora, in ancient Greece, means a public open space used for assemblies and markets) aims at limiting its inhabitants’ ecologic footprints by building a vertical landscape with low energetic consumption on this last and only biggest parcel of land for residential use. It integrates the recycling of organic waste, used water, renewable energies, and various state-of-the-art nanotechnologies (BIPV solar PV, rain water recycling/harevesting, composts, etc.). The BIPV’s are placed in the pair of giant horizontal shades atop the building. Its trademark spiral is inspired by the double helix of the DNA molecule, suggestive of the life force it  brings to the city. Utilizing its helical twist through a 90 degree angle (at 4.5 degrees per level in this 20- level building), it is creating a series of “suspended open-air gardens”, superimposing vertically wide planted balconies of suspended orchards, organic vegetable gardens, aromatic gardens, and other medicinal gardens. Contrary to our historical perception of “buildings”, Vincent Callebaut has created a living organism in Agora, overpassing the passive role of most buildings as passive energy-consumers.  Agora is designed not only to be self-sufficient in terms of energy (electric, thermal, and alimentary), but has gone a step beyond to produce its own organic food while taking a dynamically fluid geometry!  I never thought I would see a building that would be able to project our human relationship to nature and our environment so musically! It is truly a Helical Force of Life!

Agora has answered the four main ecologic objectives:

  1. reduction of the climatic global warming
  2. protection of the nature and the biodiversity
  3. protection of the environment and the quality of life
  4. management of the natural resources and waste

I will look forward to the date of its completion. Until 2016, I invite you to visit Tao-Zhu Gardon or Agora Garden of Taipei, Taiwan by Vincent Callebaut Architectures and hope these dreamers in Taiwan will be bringing this Helical Force of Life into reality.

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

~have a bright and sunny day~

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics: www.sunisthefuture.net

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