Today, a lot of people have begun downsizing in terms of their living conditions.
For some, it is simply a temporary escape, and with others it is a permanent switch. In order to escape, people often acquire cabins in the woods, far away from every form of noise and disturbance.
Due to the distance between these cabins and the civilized world, they are often off-grid.
However, cabins offer a different level of peace and quiet. A typical cabin is hidden far away from the noise of busy roads, and highways.
The peace and tranquility that these cabins offer can’t be found in any hotel – cabins guarantee a good night sleep.
Cabin dwellers do not have to worry about thin walls, or the foot-steps of fellow guests. Furthermore, cabins offer a great deal of space, access to pet-friendly animals, and a wonderful view of mountains, and hills.
The fact that cabins are located off-grid enhances the peace, and quiet, cabin dwellers enjoy.
However, it comes at a cost. The lack of electricity means that in order to light up any cabin, cabin dwellers will have to find a means of creating their own electricity.
There are numerous ways through which cabin dwellers light up their space.
Within the pages of this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of some of these methods.
Off Grid lighting options
There are multiple ways with which you can generate electricity for your cabin.
Solar energy is the most effective means of power generation, but it is very expensive.
The other methods of energy generation either generate toxic substances during operation, or generate low amounts of energy. However, any method of energy creation will easily light up your cabin.
The benefits of LED lighting are widely recognized: They create a much more comfortable cabin ambiance than fluorescent lighting and are far less prone to equipment problems and bulb burnout, lasting some 15 to 20 times longer among other advantages.
Furthermore, the lighting in the aircraft actually affects your mental state and your stress level.
It’s proven: the light coming through the eyes in different colors affects the way you feel.”
The downside? LED lighting is relatively expensive. Other means of light creation within cabins include;
- Wind and solar energy
- Hand held light sources
- Candles, flash lights, and lamps.
By employing any of these means, you can easily light up an entire cabin. The major differences that exist between the options listed above are related to the cost, convenience, and the impact they have on the environment.
However, any of the power sources listed above will easily light up any off-grid cabin. We will be considering each of the options below.
The first generator was created by Michael Faraday in 1831. The purpose and design with which this generator was made differs significantly from what we have today.
However, every generator we have today has the basic principles of Michael Faraday’s design at its foundation.
Michael combined a magnet, and a tube together using a coiled wire. When he connected his creation to a galvanometer, he discovered that electric current was constantly moving through the coil.
Today, we have gasoline generators, diesel generators, standby generators, natural gas generators, portable generators, solar generators, inverter generators, and hydrogen generators. It is important to note that each generator has its pros and cons.
These generators are probably the most popular generators we have today. They are comparatively cheap and they run on gasoline which is easy to purchase.
Life in a cabin requires only necessities, and the portable size of these generators make them particularly suited to the needs of cabin dwellers.
An example of a gasoline generator that is well suited for lighting up cabins is the Yamaha EF1000IS.
This machine weighs only 27.9 pounds, and generates as much as 900 Watts of electricity. 900 watts of electricity is capable of powering thirty 6 – watt LED bulbs.
A single 6 – watt LED bulb produces 450 lumens of light. Despite how great the numbers sound, the Yamaha EF1000IS also has its downside. For starters, it emits a lot of toxins. As a result, it has to be operated outside.
Generators are known to produce a lot of noise, but the EF1000IS does not produce as much noise as it’s larger counterparts. The Yamaha EF1000IS produces about 47 decibels of noise during its operation.
This is equivalent to the noise level of a quiet suburb. However, the main reason why people embrace the cabin lifestyle is it offers a lot of peace and quiet. With that in mind, a noise production level of 47 decibels can be considered as too much noise.
With the exception of solar generators, and hydrogen generators, all other generator types run on some form of fossil fuel. In other words, all other generator types are harmful to the environment.
If your goal is simple to light up your cabin, a small gasoline generator will do just that, and perhaps more. Larger generators cost a lot more, but they generate more power.
The noise produced by generators is a deal breaker for most cabin dwellers, for some it is the toxins they produce. If you fit into any of these categories, there are multiple eco-friendly options for you to choose from, these power sources will be discussed below.
Wind and Solar energy
The ultimate silent energy source wind or / and solar power cells. Both energy sources are eco-friendly. They do not emit poisonous gases into the atmosphere.
Solar energy is very efficient, and it will not emit toxins into the environment. With solar energy, you can easily light up an entire cabin.
Sunlight is a very dependable energy source. As long as your cabin needs revolve around simple things such as lighting, solar energy will continuously meet your needs.
The major drawback of solar power systems is the cost. Although the system pays for itself overtime, the initial cost is huge. The system is made up of four basic parts.
- The solar panels
- The charge controller
- The DC to AC inverter
- The batteries
Besides the associated cost, the use of solar energy is an excellent way to light up any cabin.
Hand- held light sources
The term hand held variant refers to the multiple light sources which can be easily held by the human hand. These light sources include:
- Kerosene lanterns
- Battery powered lanterns
- Propane lamps
This is an ancient method of lighting, but it is still a fairly effective method of lighting. Kerosene lanterns were invented in the 1800s by a polish pharmacists.
The reduction in use of kerosene lanterns was initiated by the fact that it emitted toxins which caused its users to experience health problems.
Furthermore,these lamps do not produce bright lights. Hence, they are often used as night lights.
Battery powered lamps and flashlights
People love this lighting option for two reasons:
- It does not emit any poisonous gas, so it is a safe option.
- It has a very low flammability risk.
The low flammability risk of this lighting option, makes it particularly suitable for cabin dwellers with kids.
The only downside of this lighting option is that it is a temporary source of energy. The batteries will have to be replaced intermittently if lighting is to be maintained within the cabin.
Propane is not as poisonous as carbon monoxide. Hence, this lighting option is relatively safer. It emits a measurable amount of heat and light, which will be sufficient for any cabin.
However, these lamps produce a lot of noise which will interrupt the peace and quiet cabin dwellers love so much.
Furthermore, propane is expensive. You will incur a huge sum if you use them off grid for more than a week.
A combination of Solar Panels and LEDs
In years past, sunset at an off-the-grid cabin meant relying on candlelight, firelight or lanterns.
And while propane lanterns and lights are still a great option without electricity, the advancement of LED lights and solar technology means you can light up your cabin without relying on propane cylinders or a noisy generator.
One of the best options is to couple a solar panel with a deep-cycle battery, and then hook up the battery to DC wiring that runs to DC-powered LED lights.
Although it may be tempting to simply install a DC-to-AC inverter and then plug the battery into existing AC wiring (which is commonly used if you have a generator), don’t do it.
Inverters use energy to transform the current from DC to AC, wasting precious battery life.
Stick with DC wiring and fixtures throughout the system for the best performance.
Today, there are multiple ways with which you can light up your cabin, all of which come with their pros and cons.
The most efficient method of lighting involves the use of LEDs and solar panels. But, these methods cost a ton of cash.
Other methods are cheaper, but they either produce a lot of noise during operation, or are hazardous to the environment.