Solar? Wind? 

What about rainwater collection?

I've got a a rain barrel in place this year. 

We are on city power, water and gas. I also have a wood burning stove that hasn't got any use this year. The cord we ordered last winter was delivered wet. It was such a horrible experience, we didn't bother this time around. 

Tips, tricks or suggestions? 

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I live in an area called Eco-Village in Cleveland. Rain barrels everywhere and often put to good use, but just as often installed incorrectly. Solar around, but most of those I know about invest heavily in insulation. this being Cleveland after all, with occasionally harsh winters. Make sure you elevate them or you won't get enough pressure to water anything.

My house was eco-built in 2005 (not by me, we bought it a couple of years ago) and uses some of the green building techniques that make the most sense. Love it, and the savings is so significant it pays a fair portion of the mortgage. No solar or wind though, but maybe in the future. More likely solar.

 Wild-crafters!

If you have wet wood: Try to cut some into much smaller pieces for starter, and have several larger pieces drying near by the stove or on top, with fire brick underneath. Always use some of the waste heat from the fire place as a dryer. If you have a front porch, always make a small pile of wood with lots of open space between the logs to allow them to air dry.

If it is available, always be looking for free waste wood, from local lumber operations, building sites, neighborhood projects, old fencing, shingles, etc. This material will often be seasoned or dry easily for starter. Make sure to not burn treated lumber. This material can have copper, chromium, or toxic organic  compounds as preservatives which might volitilize.

At our place, I installed a 125 gal rain capture tank. We used this for house plant watering and the occasional toilet flush when we lost power to run our pumps. Just find a good spot, like in your green house, and re-channel a section of roof guttering from a downspout so it will drain into the tank. A simple bypass valve to divert from the gutter and drain is a good idea to prevent a tank overfill.

We kept our egg shells for a garden calcium source, all our kitchen trimmings for a mulch pile, diverted all our seasonal leaves to our garden spot, and used heavy plywood under the leaves to kill down our weeds. Once your garden is established, we noticed that nature will start looking out for you, with frogs and snakes taking care of some of our bugs. Just get over the snakes, say 'good day' to them, and greet the frogs with due respect.   Once we got used to our snakes they just became new members of the family. And our native frogs sometimes meet us at ur back door, seeming to want it! Sorry no chance. ;p)

 

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