30 November 2012

Clean Energy on the Household Scale

While our families and friends in the northern hemisphere were resting from Thanksgiving festivities, we were out in the early summer heat presenting human-scale technologies at Valdivia┬┤s first-ever Clean Energy fair (Feria de Energias Limpias al Nivel Casero, 24-25 November). Organized by friends of ours active in protecting Patagonia and its people from large-scale energy projects like hydroelectric dams, we were invited to share some of the simple ideas and inventions we use every day in Los Brujos. With comic drawings and diagrams and a lot of conversations with curious passersby we presented our ram pump, bio-construction, rainwater harvest, fuel-efficient artisan stoves, organic compost with worms, and LED lighting from solar energy. By far the most popular topics at our stand were our Rocket stove and Atlas ram pump, as many Valdivians stall have strong ties to the countryside where pumping stream water up a hallow for free and the idea of cooking an entire meal with just a handful of kindling have real appeal. Other participants at the fair presented photovoltaic solar energy designs, bicycle-powered laundry machines and 12V generators, and many creative recycling-reuse ideas like cutting old wine bottles into drinking glasses. Although it was a little strange to publically display and discuss our household experiments like our dry toilet or building with mud, things we just copied from the internet or books or documentaries, we were happy to share ideas with so many different people and were met with much enthusiasm, which made even the sunburn bearable. Just a small contribution in transmitting ideas for the transition toward clean energy use beginning at the household scale.