Words of Wisdom from a Permaculture Guru



Koreen Brennan, director of Grow Permaculture, is a sought after public speaker who has taught hundreds of hours of permaculture classes in all corners of the world. She is an expert permaculture designer, offering the full gamut of design services from short consultations to extensive full-scale design projects where she creatively incorporates sustainable food, water, energy, shelter, economic plan, land tenure and community elements. She was also an early adopter of the HomeBiogas technology and today she shares her thoughts…

“When we first heard that there was a company making home biogas units, we were excited. We are permaculture designers using an ecological and holistic approach to designing homes, farms and other projects. Permaculture works with nature to heal the land while creating quality of life for humans. We do that through growing food, producing energy, building community and generally living life in a regenerative or healing way.

Helping our clients become energy self-sufficient is an important part of our design goals. Biogas is a highly useful part of that equation. Heating elements for cooking use a lot of energy, and if that can be reduced, fewer solar panels are needed to make the home run smoothly. A core part of permaculture is to integrate systems whenever possible, for more efficiency. This means finding more than one use for most elements in the system. For instance, food waste might go straight to the compost pile but by putting it in a biogas unit instead, we’re able to capture both fuel energy for a stovetop, and compost material. We have just doubled our yield!

We are stewarding a demonstration permaculture farm in Central Florida, and having a biogas unit on site is an important part of the overall picture. Not everybody has the skill to create a homemade biogas cooker nor does everybody want to do so. HomeBiogas solves this problem. We felt a ready made unit would help spread the use of biogas more rapidly and broadly, and would like to see that happen because of the environmental advantages to using it. It is easy to assemble and simple to use, making it real for an average person to learn to incorporate biogas into their life.

Last year, we had a hurricane that shut the power down for most of Florida. Think about how much food you have in your house you would either need to cook or would prefer to cook. If you are not on a raw food diet, chances are there is a lot of food in your house that needs heating. A biogas unit runs without electricity and is “off grid” meaning you are not dependent on anybody but yourself to produce the energy you need to cook. It creates resilience, and it is cost free.

We use our biogas unit outdoors. We like having part of our kitchen outdoors, especially the stove top in Central Florida. It keeps the heat out of the house during our hot summers and it encourages us to spend more time outside, which we love.

The fact that the HomeBiogas unit is small and fairly portable (we’ve moved it twice), and yet provides as much cooking gas as most households would need is a big plus. It’s easy to use, even for beginners, once you get the hang of finding the right temperature balance in colder weather.

We feel biogas is an important component of demonstrating the integrative systems of permaculture design and that everybody should have a biogas cooker, or at least know someone who does.”

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