The Independent Home : Living Well With Power from the Sun, Wind, and Water

Cover, The Independent Home : Living Well With Power from the Sun, Wind, and WaterAuthor(s): Michael Potts

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

ISBN: 0930031652

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Paperback, 224 pages
Publication date: October 1993

How-To Editor’s Recommended Book, 11/01/97:
Whether you already own a home or plan to build one, The Independent Home will show you how to transform it into an energy-efficient, comfortable, self-sustainable home of the future– right now. Michael Potts’s home has been featured on the ABC evening news as an example of the sane approach to simple living; he demonstrates how one can live well, save money, save resources, and still retain modern conveniences and comfort. The Independent Home proves that it is not necessary to live in mud-floored huts and cook brown rice over a campfire to go back to the land.

From Booklist , 10/15/93: An instructive guide to living without the electric and gas companies, by Potts and interviewees who have broken from the power grid. The homes of people interviewed are far from primitive, containing all the conveniences of modern life, though there is the occasional cold shower. Potts advocates a return not to nature, but to a more independent time, and that’s accomplished here mostly by college-educated people who like doing things for themselves. Their experiences are as instructive from a social point of view (a sort of enviro-ethic meets Yankee pragmatism) as for the many possible ways of converting your house to energy independence. Potts also suggests home improvements for energy savings in existing homes, as well as explanations of how our appliances, heating, and air-conditioning systems do–and don’t–work from an energy point of view. A commonsense approach to energy self-reliance. Copyright© 1993, American Library Association. All rights reserved

The author, Michael Potts: , 08/31/96:
We can all learn from renewable energy pioneers It took me 20 years to get ready to write my book — tinkering, visiting, figuring arcane technology out — it is SO much easier now! But independent homesteaders offer us all lessons on using our energy better. We waste half the energy we buy, while they, who carefully harvest every electron, teaspoon of water, and therm of heat, strive to waste as little as possible. This work reconnects them with the planet in ways we all need to emulate as the last fossil fuel energy crisis takes us over. There are important lessons in my book about phantom loads, free energy sources, and small habit changes that have helped many on-the-gridders reduce their energy bills by 30% – 60% — enough to buy a new copy of my book (and give it to a friend) every month! I am continuing the work and planning a new book for the rest of us, who in the next 20 years will have to reform our own domestic energy use. Please visit my web page: for ideas and to help me gather the best energy tips.

Customer Comments , 10/09/96, rating=9:
Required reading for all homosapiens! Because of my total infatuation with the first book (I’m assuming, first) I would get the next without question. Occasionally, this is a mistake, but I don’t think it will be a disappointment. Please quote anything from me regarding how great I think this work is. I find the book an escape on the line of the old, big Sears catalogs that we called the wish book when I was a kid. An often somewhat dry subject spiced with real people living the life. I have read and re-read it many times. I hope for for a sequel that dipicts the continuing state of the art and the folks he interviewd 5 years later. A style with the technical interspersed with the personalities is very refreshing. It’s like learning while reading People Magazine. I felt myself wanting to read more about the people and their feelings. Where Potts injected his opinions, this made me want to read more of what he thought about the life styles and conditions he visited. His opinions about the building departments and reglatory agencies were right on! I wanted to go storm the local building Department with his book in hand as ammunition.

Table of Contents
Foreword By John Schaeffer
Ch. 1. Declaring Independence vCh. 2. Homework: Outgrowing Dependence
Ch. 3. Harvesting Our Own Power
Ch. 4. Home Utilities
Ch. 5. The Tree Game: Reckoning Our Footprints On the Planet
Ch. 6. Choosing a Site for Energy
Ch. 7. Planning a New Independent Home
Ch. 8. Building the Home Energy Machine
Ch. 9. Pioneering and Settling the New Energy Frontier
Ch. 10. Home Entropy: Improvements and Repairs
Ch. 11. Growing With the Land
Ch. 12. Generalists and Specialists
Ch. 13. Living With Constant Change
Ch. 14. Solar Neighborhoods
Ch. 15. Independent Futures
Resource List

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