The Self Sufficiency Pages
Home food production, renewable energy, alternative technologies, sustainable agriculture
with an emphasis on Brisbane and Queensland

Home Energy Production

When most people think alternative energy they think about electricity generation, or perhaps biofuels. Even if you don't have the ability to explore such options in your current circumstances, however, don't forget that there are other ways to use "alternative energy", such as:

- Dry the washing on a clothsline instead of in a tumble drier
- Manage windows, doors and blinds to make the most of natural heating and cooling
- Take advantage of natural lighting (windows, light reflective paint colours, waking hours)

By composting organic waste at home and growing some fruit or vegetables in your own backyard, you're using your own physical energy to replace energy used in the commercial equivalent of these products/services (which you would pay for in one way or another if you had to purchase them.)

Simple energy-saving tricks, like turning off unnecessary lights or planning ahead so fewer trips to the shops are needed, could also be considered a form of alternative energy. You're using "brain power" to replace some of the conventional energy you previously consumed.


There's a huge amount of information available on the internet about alternative energy. Here are a few selected links to get you started. They've been provided for general information - check with appropriate authorities for advice on regulations which may apply in your area to the installation of solar panel or wind turbines, associated electrical connections etc.

See also on this site:
Building page for links about energy-efficient design
Lifestyle page for multi-topic websites and websites about saving money (for tips on reducing energy consumption including motor vehicle fuel consumption)

Other websites covering various alternative energy topics: Australian website including "Homegrown Power" (DIY renewable energy projects, information and forum)
Bureau of Meteorology Australia (get data about weather in your region)
Research Institute for Sustainable Energy (RISE) Murdoch University, Western Australia. (A lot of information in the "ResFiles" )
Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy a partnership between the Sustainable Energy Industry Association (Aust) Ltd and the Australian EcoGeneration Association
Renewable energy Australian Greenhouse Office, Australian Government
Energy Smart The Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS) NSW
The Energy Start Home The Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS) NSW
Renewable Energy Policy Project US based. News, articles, discussion groups etc. is an online e-magazine and web library for the alternative energy industry

Make the Switch to Renewable Energy Targeted at remote power users, promoting the Renewable Energy Rebate Program. Northern Territory Government, Australia
Bob's Solar Project Follow the progress of a real-life solar-power installation in 2005 at a home in Michigan, USA.
California Solar Center includes interesting news items
For solar ovens, see cooking section below

Bio Fuels:
IEA Bioenergy International Energy Agency
Unasylva - No. 211 - Wood Energy Forestry Dept, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
For more on ovens and cooking, see Cooking section below

New Zealand Wind Energy Association Includes some background on the principles of wind energy and electricity generation

Manual generation (cranks, pedals etc):
David Butcher, California, USA. Read about his Pedal Powered Generator and other adventures in alternative energy

Landscape effects on energy efficiency:
Using trees to save energy College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources free publication, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA (PDF)
Reduce Your Utility Bill With Landscape Choices Office of Agricultural Communications Mississippi State University
Shading for Comfort and Energy Savings Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information, University of Arizona

The Solar Cooking Archive Masses of information about making and using solar ovens. Fantastic resource.
Boiling Point Some issues of this journal, dealing with stoves and household energy in the developing world, are available online at Intermediate Technology Development Group website

Do you sell solar panels or other forms of home energy generation? To find out how to advertise, click here


Waste heat from computers used to grow plants
The University of Notre Dame's Center for Research Computing and the City of South Bend, Indiana (USA) both have a problem. One has big cooling costs, the other big heating costs. In an innovative scheme, a cluster of the University's servers will be moved and used in a grid heating sytem. This will provide the city with a more economical source of heat for its greenhouses, such as the Arizona Desert Dome, while lowering the cost of cooling the computers. The city was facing the prospect of closing its greenhouses because of high energy bills. More from the The University of Notre Dame here: Greenhouses and "green" computing

Treechanger / Treechangee

A page intended for Australians looking for opportunities to move to the country and for communities that are actively seeking people to move to their district. View here:

A page for the mortage-stressed & others hoping to use their yards to produce food in an emergency:

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