This month’s permaculture principle is “Capture and store energy.” Since we’re looking at permaculture broadly, the conversation encompassed many different types of energy.
One type of energy we think a lot about in Minnesota in the winter is heat. At the last preparedness meeting, C. had mentioned heat loss from windows. Although I have triple pane windows that are only 10 years old, I’ve been told that windows are still a big source of heat loss. For some time now I’ve been thinking of making insulated roman blinds (in other words, to store heat IN the house). I’ve put it on the to-do list for this year. (Look at the cool way these insulated roman shade edges are covered for maximum value.)
At the group meeting we talked about the importance of capturing our own heat with appropriate clothing, afghans and blankets, and small, targeted heating sources. If you keep key areas of your body warm (head, feet, hands), the rest of your body will feel warmer. That could mean wearing a cap, putting a hot water bottle under your feet, and carrying a cup of tea.
A few people talked about water (translates into plant energy). EL said she was going to melt snow to use later for plants. Wow, so obvious, why hadn’t I thought of doing that to water all my houseplants. No need to worry about flouride and chlorine hurting the delicate plants. In the meantime, Peter is working on developing our new rain barrel system for water collection this spring.
EB talked about personal energy and how her use of coffee/caffeine may actually be reducing her energy. I found this interesting. Now that I’m not working 60 hours a week or more, I’m not drinking coffee all day to keep myself awake. When I do have a tight deadline and I’m pushing myself to get it done quickly, I fall back on coffee and I notice that I pay the price. I quickly get out of sync – awake too late, falling asleep during the day.
Then there’s electricity: The solar electric panels are struggling to capture energy right now. We’ve had a lot of snow this month and just as it melts, we get hit again. We need a way to clean snow from them (2-story house and no easy way to get to the roof). Time to do some research.