Alternative Energy At Northern Tool

Living an Eco-Friendly life of Luxury

Alternative Living Spaces, Organic Gardening, and Energy Conservation

Copyright © James Harper; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Posted July 8, 2012

Gas metal arc welding; photo courtesy US Air Force


Decreasing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to mean giving up all of your favorite home comforts. It is possible to enjoy a luxurious lifestyle without damaging the planet.

Finding ways to enjoy a hot tub, heated swimming pool, or other luxuries might be difficult, but if you’re handy with welding equipment and willing to get your hands dirty, it is possible.

Alternative Minimalist Housing Units

A tiny house; photo courtesy Tammy
One new trend is sometimes called the small house movement. The general idea is to build a home as small as possible, by doing things like making furniture and fixtures nulti-purpose.

This is really a modern extension of the way mid-size yacht and very small campers have been designed in the past, but giving the exterior all the charm of a country cottage. In fact, many of these tiny homes have wheels so they can be moved from one area to another.

Repurposing Shipping Containers

Ross Stevens demonstrated this when he built an “off the grid” house out of shipping containers. Spaces between the containers and the hill that they’re built against have been used to expand the living space.

Stevens has managed to turn the containers into a cosy and comfortable home. There’s a nice deck to sit out on, a small but cosy bedroom, a living room furnished via up-cycling (the dining room table is made out of an old door!) and all the home comforts that you’d expect of a modern build.

Stevens is interested in being green, but he doesn’t want to give up the things he enjoys, so he focuses on “sustainable decadence”.

He knows his way around a welding positioner, and is quite happy to spend his weekends revamping objects that have concluded their first lives, so he put his skills to use to build a wind-powered hot tub, and an up-cycled spa.

The area where Stevens built his shipping container home is very windy, and he decided that it made sense to work with the wind, rather than fight it. Now he can enjoy the same facilities as a five star hotel, without having to worry about their impact on the environment.

Sustainable Doesn’t Have to Mean Boring

When people hear about sustainable living, the assumption is usually that it means giving something up. Turn down your heating, walk instead of drive, take showers rather than baths — but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Instead of looking at things to stop doing, think about things that you can do to reduce the impact that your favorite activities have on the environment.

Some people have converted their cars to run on cooking oil. Some people recycle their bath water. Foodies that simply can’t give up certain products try to source them locally — enjoying fresher produce as a result.

Some take their culinary dedication even further, by taking the time to build a raised bed vegetable garden to grow their own organic veggies and herbs.

If you use a lot of electricity, why not invest in solar panels for your home, and luggage with solar panels so that you can charge your mobile phone while you’re on holiday?

Even if you don’t know how to use welding equipment, and are confident that attempting to build a wind turbine DIY style would end in disaster, there are still things that you can do to make your existing way of life have a lower impact on the environment.

Sustainable living can be about substitution, instead of sacrifice. Simple lifestyle alterations can have a big impact on your energy consumption, and if your friends and colleagues see you making those changes, they may be inspired to follow suit. One by one, we can make a difference.

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About the Author:

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Westermans International who refurbish welding equipment including welding positioners. Please visit their site for further info.

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