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Author Topic: Solar powered silo home  (Read 3507 times)

Offline Dakotaslim

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Solar powered silo home
« on: May 29, 2011, 09:58:07 AM »
I have a concrete silo and have been contemplating what to do with it. Grain storage is out, I don't grow grain. I was thinking of putting solar panels on the side and lining the bottom with a water proof liner to act as a thermal storage for heat. Then insulate and build a multi-floor living space above the water storage. Solar panels and 12v lighting with an inverter for limited 120v outlets. I even thought I might take the domed top off and build a rain collection setup above an observation level. Anybody got any other thoughts on ways to improve on the idea? Around here there are a lot of abandoned farms with similar silos. They might make cheap bugout sites.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 05:24:45 PM »
you could get some nice garden beds on top....
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Offline Dakotaslim

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 10:55:40 PM »
Great idea, but I have 300 acres of farmland for gardening :)
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2011, 08:14:35 AM »
 :-[
"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program" - Spencer W. Kimball
"Life isn't about trying to survive the storm; but about learning to dance in the rain" - unknown
Luck is what happens when Preparation meets Opportunity

Prepping makes even a hurricane just an inconvenience.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 04:21:06 PM »
I see your point about 300 acres to garden, but a garden atop the silos wouldn't be noticed by hungry mobs that swarm the farm land.  It just seemed like a good option for a hidden garden, if you think things could ever come to that.

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 06:20:36 PM »
Or - how about some herbs and other items that you need often?  Maybe a greenhouse on top - lots of ideas...200 gal water container for gravity feed water supply...black water tank to pre-heat the water.

I have seen some designs for smaller homes and the Silo would work, esp if you have more than one floor.
Brad(bn4) - In Colorado

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 06:31:56 PM »
Dakotaslim, rent your silo to BradBn4. ;)

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2011, 02:36:52 PM »
If the intent it to truly make a home of it you can expant it with a steel silo with a breezeway/walkway between the two and make the concrete one your "safe" portion.

Here's how some people have converted silo's to housing:

http://tinyhouseblog.com/tiny-house-concept/gruene-homestead-silo/

http://thecoopercabin.blogspot.com/2009/04/grain-silo-home.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Hands-On-How-To/Grain-Bin-Building.aspx

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Offline d0j0w0

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2011, 03:07:16 PM »
Cool idea, I want one.  Nice links Bonnieblue2A!  How wide is a silo across?
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Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2011, 06:47:28 PM »
d0 -

Silos and grain bins vary in their width. I have seen some seriously wide diameter bins, like 30-40' across.

Technically, the homes shown in the links are based on grain bins, not silos. They often go under the name of "Butler bins" based on one of the larger manufacturers of such bins.

Silos are often/usually used for storing silage (from whence comes the name - silage from silos), although some of the older ones have been used for temporary grain storage as well.

If you notice, most old fashioned silos are either standing empty, in ruins or have been torn down on a lot of farms. They have been replaced with metal bins for grain storage and plastic tarps/sleeves for silage production. They are much cheaper than the big Harvestor silage silos that were popular over the past 30 years or so.
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Offline d0j0w0

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2011, 07:42:59 PM »
Thanks for the info.
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Offline nurumkin

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2011, 05:52:06 PM »
I've always wanted to do this with an old silo, I think if you made a few levels inside it and build a spiral staircase around the outside you could make a pretty cool guest house/BOL. You could always turn the top into a greenhouse that would be heated by the rising heat in the winter.

Offline d0j0w0

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2011, 07:00:25 PM »
The wife and kids and I went for a ride out in the country this weekend.  There is no shortage of silos and grain bins.  The only problem I saw was they were rather close to the road.  I could see moving a grain bin to different location.  Are grain bins modular where you could drill out some rivits or screws and disassemble them?
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Offline Dakotaslim

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2011, 01:02:35 PM »
Yes they can be moved. I have 2 of those as well, but I might use them for grain storage and bullets go though tin. I have been giving this a lot of thought and am getting excited.

They are 20' in diameter and I could put about 7 or 8 levels in them. I'm thinking I could put water tanks in the bottom for a thermal mass storage from the solar water collectors. The heat could then rise up the silo and heat the levels. I would probably have a vent on each level to allow some temp control on each level. Then build the living space above that. There are 24" square access holes going up the south side which can be converted to windows so each level will have natural light. Solar panels can be mounted high enough to prevent theft and provide electricity. At the top, replace the tin dome with a glass lid (geodesic dome would be really cool, but might be a challenge to build) and rain barrels around the perimeter to collect rain water. Just below that I would have 2 or 3 levels of buckets in a ring with the floor removed in the middle to allow light to reach the buckets below. This would make a deck on the outside of the bucket ring to access the bucket ring on that level. From the top, it would look like the whole silo was filled with buckets but each level would only have a couple of buckets in the ring making easy access to them. Gravity would provide the drip irrigation. In the other silo I can build a methane digester and put a big poly bag hanging from the top to store the excess methane. Then pipe the gas into the building for cooking and auxiliary heat if needed. I wonder if I can store dried plant matter and cow chips to feed the digester in the winter. With the wind out here, I should try wind power as well. I can't wait to start but money is tight so it may take a while to get it going. If it turns out as nice as it sound, I'll move into it and rent out the house!
If I had known I couldn't do that, I wouldn't have done it.

Offline readyforshtf

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2011, 06:51:07 PM »
Dancing Rabbit eco village has a solar powered silo.  I saw it on 30 Days.  Very cool I liked the idea.

Offline readyforshtf

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Re: Solar powered silo home
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2011, 06:51:43 PM »
forgot to add that Dancing Rabbit is in MO.