To get Better Farm off its fuel-oil furnace, we're now sporting a wood stove (utilizing standing-dead trees on the property and logs from a woodlot three miles away) and pellet stove. We of course realize these options aren't available to everyone. So depending on where you live and what's available to you, consider looking into one of these options for producing heat in your home this year.
|Image from Canadian Geothermal.|
Solar-Powered Heat Pump
|Image from Accent Comfort Services.|
Simultaneously, they provide air conditioning using half the energy as traditional window or central air conditioning systems. Best yet—by installing a solar electric array to power the electric consumption of the heat pumps, you effectively have a solar space-heating system. Your solar array will generate credits in the summertime (when it is sunniest) which allow you to run the heat pumps in the wintertime (when it is coldest). Your system will effortlessly generate all the 'fuel' it ever needs from clean, abundant sunshine! (From ReVision Energy)
|The new pellet stove coming soon to Better Farm's library.|
Wood is a totally renewable resource. If you live on a lot of property, there are seemingly endless reserves of standing-dead trees that can be harvested in a responsible way. We scored more than eight cords this year by doing responsible tree-felling in the woods at Better Farm alone, and there is plenty more where that came from. A few wood heat facts:
- Wood-burning stoves are better in environmental terms as the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is the same as that absorbed by the tree during growth.
- Trees are a renewable resource (particularly when derived from plantations and cultivated woodland; or in our case, when you plant new trees and only cut down standing-dead ones).
- Wood ashes can be used very successfully in the vegetable garden (except in the area where you plan to grow potatoes). Mix the ash thoroughly with your soil. Tomatoes seem to benefit especially from soil that has been mixed with a small quantity of wood ash.
- Nothing is cozier than sitting around inside on a frigid day in front of a toasty-warm wood stove. Nothing.
Care to share your methods of alternative heat? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.