cooking in a off grid place



  • henry1henry1 Solar Expert Posts: 51 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: cooking in a off grid place
    russ wrote: »
    Homes where earth covers most except for the front side are a good bet - low energy users.

    I have a maids house like that but with the top & front open to the air. Am now building a greenhouse on top.

    These homes are really tight - not much in the way of air leaks for sure.

    Ventilation & insulation is important - the contractor screwed up and we ended up with constant condensation on the ceiling due to improper installation or lack of insulation.

    We are now installing a HRV unit in a central position to take moist air from the kitchen and the incoming preheated/cooled dry air will go to the bedroom.

    The walls and floor all have external insulation. We are now are placing external insulation on the roof covered with a layer of concrete maybe 75mm thick.

    The architect/contractor has some funny ideas about insulation. Now we do it my way. Since we are paying the bills at least I can blame myself if we have to rework something.

    There you have insulated concrete forms available - they sound easy and good.

    Here we use 50mm of Dow XPS foam on the exterior.


    Your right Russ you people who do the work must know what they are doing when it comes to building underground ..

    Also when the guy did the french drains around the base of the place he did not do the drains right to allow the water to drain off ..

    Most of the drains are 24.inchs wide -x-36.inch deep that goes in a U shape around the house and end up in your yard ..The drain is filled with a base layer of fine pea gravel rocks along with a fine grain sand to help the water to go back into the soil under the dirt bottom .

    The sand is layed down first over the dirt floor then the super small peagrave laid down on top of them for about 4.inchs deep around the drain then the drain is filled with regular sized pea gravel rocks all the way up to the top of the building

    then another layer of super small pea gravel is layed down on the slopping roof to make the water drain away into the french drain ..

    Also on top of the pea gravel rock on the roof and sides a fine layer of sand about 4.inchs deep is put down then the dirt on the top of the sand ..

    this is done for helping with the water drainage of the place is done to help with heavy rains or snow water that the top cover gets ..The sand help slow down the water and allows it to be drained off at a much slower pace into the drains

    Also how you water proof the unit is also really makes a diff in how to deal with moisture inside the place ..

    you can use a few diff things to waterproof the roof and walls to keep out water

    here is a few diff options for water proof idea

    1-Line-X-the truck bed liner that can be sprayed on and it can be applyed up 120 mm as they call it the bomb blast protection level starting protection base coat and it water proof as heck and it works in some of the most amazeing ways ..Also you can coat your floor of the place to look like normal tile floor squares and it can look amazeing in the place ..

    Go check out the line -x-website and see what they can do with this stuff

    2-Sherman Williams tar paint is another it a two part mix that has to bought in 1 gallon or larger can and it can be sprayed on or rolled on for protection

    Also angle the roof to slope to help drain it better in a front to rear slopping style to allow the water to drain off into the french drain around the place,,

    Also a good ventilation set up like a unit called The eXbreathe machine can help with moisture control of the place or useing solar a simple 12.volt automatic ventilation sysem can work also

    the unit set on a simple timer to allow it to run every three hours pulling out the old air and replaceing it with fresh air to keep down the moisture in the place .

    I have done alot of research on the subect of waterproofing and drainage around a underground house or cabin set up and i have gotten about two folders fulls of print outs on the subect of waterproofing and drainage around a underground home ..

    Like i said i do not want to sound crazy when i did the post about whating to live in a underground home ..
  • OldSonneOldSonne Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: cooking in a off grid place


    I wouldn't worry that you lose nutrients with pressure cooking vs. regular cooking. I prefer to eat as much as possible raw foods, but we all love cooked food and need lots of calories so cooking is usually part of our lives. Raw foods contain valuable enzymes, according to some dietitians, but these enzymes are destroyed at temperatures as low as 118 degrees F. Therefore, any cooking at all will destroy the enzymes. From what I have read most of the essential nutrients survive the cooking process in quantities sufficient enough to keep us healthy. Some even say that cooking makes the nutrients more available (sans the enzymes, of course). However, if you boil foods in water some of the nutrient goes into the water which is often not used. When we pressure cook we use very little water, and the cooking time is reduced significantly. With pressure cooking the little water that is used, if any, becomes part of the meal. This is why the food tastes more flavorful and richer even though it is cooked so quickly. Therefore, when pressure cooking we actually may prevent loss of vitamins and minerals and make the food more digestible as well. For example, I had pressure cooked swiss chard last night. The nutrient levels for this vegetable are astounding. We stuffed the pressure cooker full. When the cooking was done in 3 minutes (plus ten minutes to cool a little) we both had a full 1 1/2 cups of chard. There is no way I could have eaten that much raw without getting sick. I know because I have tried. However, with the pressure cooker I received the full benefits of all the protein, calcium and magnesium, Vit. C and most other nutrients described in several food content databases which were based on testing of cooked foods. Since I was able to reduce leaching by using NO added water and then drinking the liquid supplied by cooking I was able to get the full 100% of the nutrients.

    The pressure cooker never comes half way close to the heat used to grill foods or barbecue or roast. So, I would submit that in total the food cooked rapidly with the least dilution in the pressure cooker may be the most nutritious. Restaurants use this method frequently. When I was in food service we used steam pressure cookers for all types of foods which usually yielded very palatable vegetables that were cooked just to the bare threshold needed to make them soft and very tasty. I had a sweet potato yesterday at Outback that was done that way. Great! Of course, I make these statements from memory of past research, and as anybody on this forum knows I am often wrong. Of course, if you overcook something it can only degrade the food, but we have learned to use only the minimal time needed to cook. The results have been great. So has the taste. I appreciate your comment because people should be mindful of nutrient quantity, and your point should be a priority when making decisions about food preparation. Most people just go straight for the empty calories and to heck with the consequences. Thanks for your note. Pardon the long run here, but we are discussing the most energy efficient way to prepare healthy food so I guess we are still on topic. Don't forget too that I cooked that chard with almost zero kwh. I think it registered 500 watts on the meter, then dropped off. The whole process was done in 3 minutes of electrical use. The kil a watt reading for brown rice which took ten times as long was only 0.28 kwh. I didn't check the chard kwh use, but I estimate it was less than a tenth of a kwh. Not bad!
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: cooking in a off grid place

    Russ, Stop what your doing! I know nothing about concrete mixes my self, but know their are great mixtures with high insulating and waterresistant qualities.

    Fly Ash adds to water resistance, and is cheap or free as a waste product of coal plants.

    Vermiculite and / or Perlite will and insulation value.

    Be sure to have a radon barrier!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,616 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: cooking in a off grid place

    pressure cookers work by raising the atmospheric pressure, which increases the boiling point of water. I'll bet they quickly get over 250F before the relief valve goes. Now you are cooking 40 degrees hotter, and the food cooks faster. (15psi over ambient = 252F)
    Most pressure cookers have a working pressure setting of 15 psi (approx. 107 kPa) over the existing atmospheric pressure, the standard determined by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1917. At this pressure boost relative to sea-level atmospheric pressure, water boils at 122 °C (252 °F) (refer to vapor pressure of water).

    The higher temperature causes the food to cook faster; cooking times can typically be reduced to 1/3 of the time of conventional cooking methods. For example, when pressure cooking at 15 psi, cooking times are typically as follows: Shredded cabbage is cooked in one minute, fresh green beans in three minutes, potatoes cut to 1" cook in about six minutes (thicker potatoes will take longer) and a whole chicken takes only twenty minutes. Brown rice, lentils and beans can be cooked in ten minutes, instead of 45 minutes of simmering in an ordinary saucepan.

    Crock pots are at standard atmospheric pressure, and cannot get over 212F if you have water in them.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
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  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: cooking in a off grid place
    BB. wrote: »
    $500/$15,000 worth of taxes = 3.3% tax rate... That does not sound too high (if total taxes)..

    In California, we have a ~1-1.5% tax rate (of course, a similar property in a suburban area would probably sell for >$1,000,000....

    As a point of reference, my small lot with 160 Sq of heated and cooled + 120 Sq of Heated, has a tax bill of $27. My other lot next door runs $16. Unimproved land runs @$4-8 and acre for small acreage.

    We do have a personal property tax as well, my car turns 10 yrs old during this year so the taxes dropped from $130 to @$60, cheap toyota Echo.

    A we have a state(Missouri) income tax, relativly cheap.

    As to California, I went out to help my brother move back From Mountainview(silicon Valley) to Cincy Ohio about 10 years ago, he had friends who had just purchased thier first home, about 800 square feet on a 2400 square foot lot, they were tickled as it had a fenced back yard for a dog, smaller than the garden I'm putting in... $270K, I had just looked at at least as nice a rental for sale near the FAMU (Tallahassee, FL) for $24K. Then again your trees as 10x the size as well.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: cooking in a off grid place

    I got you al beat! My Ontario real estate tax is $22 per year. Of that we get zero general services, no school, no fire, no police, no local roads.

    The great joke is that once every 4-5 years, a boat comes down the lake, (we are on an island). There are 3 private properties on a 30 km lake, (and we are 150 kms from town). It is the tax assessor! He comes out, measures all the buildings, takes a few pictures if anything has changed, and goes down to do the island behind us! It takes them all day to do three properties, all with tax bills much like mine!

    The question is, how much does it cost them to do the assessment, relative to the tax revenue they receive?

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