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Old 04-05-2004, 14:48   #1
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Island Solution

I need help please.

I am going to build a place on an island that does not have electricity, running water, telephone, etc. I rea[LIST] lly need input and tips as to what kind of water filtration to utilize (I will catch rainwater off the roof and store in 2 400 gallon tanks), and how to generate and store power (ie solar panels with battery storage). Also, what type, fuel (diesel,propane) and size of backup generator would you recommend?

Any/all information and tips are appreciated. When I thought about tackling this project, I thought who would be the hands on experts and of course "those living aboard" came to mind.

Thank you. You can post or feel free to send a response directly to my email at mbenson@terra.com.mx

Mark
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:56   #2
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It seems unlikely the needs of someone living on an island would be satisfied by the equipent of cruisers.
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Old 06-05-2004, 18:50   #3
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For the water business, many people are living off cisterns in the world. I understand that Tortola in the BVI now has a water supply for most of the islands, but has not yet removed the cistern requirement from their building code (again, just heresay).

Building a cistern is not foolproof, as concrete cracks, and it doesn't take much of a crack to cause trouble. Also, liners typically cause taste problems, especially when mixed with chlorination - which I would recommend.

If you can make a good concrete cistern, with extra reinforcement and proper attention to the water to cement ratio, you can avoid the cracks, especially if there are no freeze-thaw cycles and if there is proper compaction. If cracks still show up, epoxy injection grouting can now be used to seal them.

Find a way to run gutters and collectors into the cistern, but with bypasses to get rid of the first wash. I would stick to a gravity system. You might consider a double cistern that would allow skimming, settling, and pumping through a cheap ceramic filter before the potable second half of the system. The second cistern would have rather pure water in it, and would be easy to keep slightly chlorinated. Chlorine would keep it sweet, and with extremely low concentrations of organics, you would have no chlorinous taste or odour. Keep the water above 0.3 parts per million, using appropriate sodium hypochlorite or calcium hypochlorite purchased for the job.

I am unsure about the pH of rainwater. If it is too low, you may have copper and lead leaching. Plastic pipe for plumbing is now in vogue anyway.

As for pumping, marine stores can easily provide you with 12 volt pumping systems and expansion tanks. If you go that route, I would still suggest at least one location in the house be set up with a manual pump system for when these sometimes troublesome little buggers refuse to work.
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:50   #4
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Island Solution

Paul:

I asked the question because I thought this group had a lot of experience with alternative energy (solar, wind) , water treatment (filtering, pumping, storage,etc) and possibly compositing toilets.
If looking for help from the experts is somehow less because the solution is targeted to terrafirma rather then an agua lifestyle, than I am sorry I offended you.

To everyone else, any helpful hints or sources are really appreciated!

Thank you.


G
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Old 09-05-2004, 07:06   #5
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Mark,
Your water solution is right on target. Many years ago, I was stationed on a Light House in Maine and all the water was collected from the roof and stored in a steel cistern in the base of the light. The only purification we had was an occasional addition of bleach. I still use bleach to purify the water in my boat's storage tanks. I use 1/4 cup for 50 gallons and before direct consumption, I use a charcoal filter to remove any unpleasant taste.
Aboard my sailboat, I use four golf cart batteries that are charged by three solar panels with a combined output of 240 watts. This is marginal here in the northeast, but powers all the systems aboard. The main consumption of power is used by the refrigeration system. The system has insufficient insulation and none can be added due to a lack of space. I am sure that on terra firma you would not have that problem.
I don't use wind power because systems for boats are minimal and I can get better bang for the buck from solar. I also don't use a generator because of a space limitation. My vessel is only 34' long and one can have just so much junk. When I get desperate for power and there is no sun, I run the main engine and cut back on consumption.
If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to e-mail me at jentine@hotmail.com.
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Old 10-05-2004, 02:17   #6
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It's not that I was offended by your post at all. What did strike me as unusual is posting a message that made it sound like you woke up and decided you were going to live on an island and had no idea how.

Is this an island you really own or are you just borrowing it for an extended period? Are there other pepole on this island? Does it have a marina or a nice anchorage that we might sail to and visit?

Being on land the options open to you are huge by comparison. Space and weight are not serious issues for you. We don't do much composting on board our boat on purpose<g>. I do a fair amount in the back yard.

On land as on the boat the key is conservation. The power you don't use costs you nothing. The water you save is available later. When you have enough you don't need any more.

On board I use a solar pannel and a 4 Winds Wind Generator. It feeds a battery bank I can also charge with the engine.

Even all that just runs the few basic items I need. The solution balances the needs. Your initial post started the desire for solutions with nothing at all about needs or resources.

In the end you need to set expectations and compute how much you need in real numbers. From a set of numbers that express your requirements you might be able to do this. Coming to realistic expectations of your lifestyle seems more the important issue. Then you can put some numbers on it.

Many people in the world live a whole lifetime with no technology at all. Others demand and consume a lot.
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