Off-grid energy author Rex Ewing pens new self-reliance book

Power blackouts and rising energy costs are increasing concerns for homeowners, but there are many renewable-energy options available to anyone wishing to become more self-reliant. In his new book, “Power With Nature,” author Rex A. Ewing explains how to harness free energy from the sun, wind, water and the earth, whether the goal is to stay tethered to the utility grid or to disconnect and become completely self-sufficient.

“We’ve all grown up with the idea that energy isn’t free, but that’s simply not true. No one owns the sun and no one taxes it. The energy it creates is there for the taking,” says Ewing. “All anyone has to do is buy the equipment and be smart about using it.”

Writing from firsthand experience, Ewing distills the broad topic of renewable energy into manageable technologies. He starts with a look at energy conservation and ways of building smart to keep power consumption low, such as using natural daylighting, thermal mass, good insulation, natural cooling, and efficient appliances.

Grid-tied homeowners wanting solar electricity are often surprised to find that when the grid goes down, so does their solar power, unless they have battery backup. Using down-to-earth terms, Ewing explains this technology along with many others, including wind and microhydro power. System sizing and pricing, choosing and locating the right equipment, net-metering (selling power back to the utilities), safety issues, and backup generators are also discussed.

When it comes to super-efficient home heating and cooling, geothermal heat pumps get the nod, followed by solar thermal (hot water) and biomass (wood) heating. Rounding out the book are chapters on pumping water and preparing an off-grid home before going on vacation.

With current financial incentives still strong—up to 30 percent from the federal government—the time has never been better for homeowners to take charge of their energy future.

Since 1999 Ewing and his wife, LaVonne, have lived and worked from their handcrafted, 100 percent solar- and wind-powered log home in the Colorado Rockies. Rex Ewing’s other books include “Crafting Log Homes Solar Style,” “Hydrogen—Hot Stuff, Cool Science,” and “Got Sun? Go Solar.”

More details about the book can be found at

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