We try to conserve as many resources as possible in order to save money, improve efficiency and protect the environment. We also like to buy local and to support local businesses and artisans. We hate to send hard earned dollars overseas when we can put them to much better use here at home. This is no huge socio-political statement, it's just common sense. To that end we try to reuse everything that we can and we try to produce as many items on the farm as we can. So in addition to meat, eggs, wool, vegetables and fruit; we also harvest hay, wood and the energy from the sun and the wind.
We have 500 watts worth of solar panels and we also have a 1,500 watt wind turbine. These additions supply approximately 15 - 20 % of our electricity. Any surplus power goes out to the electric grid and we receive a credit from the power company. We also use the system to provide light electrical loads in case of long duration power outages. Unfortunately, these technologies presently have very high "payback" periods the better part of 40 years.
We also employ an outside wood burning furnace. This device taps into our existing forced hot water heat system. The burning of any type of wood, even "scrap" wood allows us to use less then 300 gallons of oil to heat our large colonial farmhouse all year.