C++ programming pioneer hacks off-grid, DIY, smart home

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On an off-grid property in Philo, California (Mendocino County), Loren Amelang built a home that would help him generate “free hot water, free power and a decent chunk of free heat”. The entire south side of his home is covered in solar capture devices: 1600 watts of photovoltaic power, solar hot water panels, a sunroom/greenhouse and a solar hot air collector. “The sunroom/greenhouse provides most of the free heat”. Putting his technical skills to use (he’s a pioneer in C++ programming), Amelang wrote over 10000 lines of code so that his home’s water and electric systems could be operated more efficiently and automatically. An added benefit is the ability to control everything remotely, by even just a smartphone. Since he built most of the home himself (the person he hired to do it decades ago, spent all the money and built half the house), Amelang has made it very custom. He avoided using aluminum and plastic (except for the insulation on the wiring) and he wired it for pure DC lighting (which makes sense with solar, but Amelang also likes how “peaceful” DC lighting feels). Original story here: faircompanies.com


steviebboy69 says:

That is an amazing house, everything about it. and its such a nice area with great views.

Monroe Riddle says:

Hey! Thank you for this helpful video. By the way, I hear lots of people keep on talking about Xobotano Home Energy (google it), but I’m not sure if it is good. Have you considered this alternative home energy known as Xobotano Home Energy? I have heard several great things about it.

J.D Truths says:

I think you did a great job, good for you, thank you for sharing.

Marjorie Borders says:

This still surprises me, just how lots of people have no idea about Xobotano Home Energy (search on google), even though many people save large sums of money with this alternative energy. Thanks to my mate who told me about Xobotano Home Energy, I’ve cut my power bill by 75% in under Thirty days

juki0h says:

im studying in similar field as him, i will be doing something like this, making my life easier

zack jones says:

how far along does a company have to be to get a sweet Faircompanies video? I’m 22 years old and around 2 years ago I started Project Wosho LLC in hopes to start a market in my area for small house builds. There is a 12 by 12 by 12 cube design and a roughly 1k square foot design that was put out there about a year ago. I started my business and decided that if it didn’t get its feet on the ground that I would call it quits. Project Wosho is currently in a hiatus but if you are interested… 🙂

yinyangbalance says:

Is he still employed? Or is he retired?
A big hurdle in this country is money. We are in a money system. I wish I could quit my job and go live in the woods somewhere but I just can’t do that without facing dire consequences.

ZeroPermission says:

amazing. I want to live in some place like this.

cheapgeek1 says:

This video is my favorite so far… Thanks. I Really enjoyed this..

NavyJonTheManimal says:

absolutely brilliant

EasternMerchant says:

still…..who are we do decide what people think, what about people that aren’t like that? Open-sourcing is one of the best ways to create a community of sharing and liberate us from having to fight for everything we need to sustain our lives.

Prefex21 says:

I shouldn’t of watched this, now all I want is a house just like his.

1timby says:

Awesome dude…….:>)

You’ve created a stick built Earthship….. Congrats.

CroArtVandelay says:

ha, ha, but he didn’t say bazinga once !

jartaud says:

Your Sir are a genius. I think the dislike button is stupid in that case.

ToXedVirus1 says:

Summer kitchen … genius concept.

Gary Archer says:

I really enjoyed your video and I am looking to get off grid. I grew up in Modesto Ca and I currently live in Nevada, outside of Reno east 30 miles. I envy people such as yourself. I like your ideas and hope to build a home juat as good or compatible as yours.

jackatube says:

thank you for sharing this on yt. its a beautiful house with lots of personality unlike most houses.

riftalope says:

NICE! Even an Onan “fire up and forget”

TheJoeyBarnard says:

i need a scientific background lol

yellowlght says:

He’s corporate Americas #1 enemy – he’s built a house that does not conform to a 2.0 tract design – he has a lot of land – that’s bad news for 7-11 & Walmart & he is building his own home which is a no no & he does not have a mortgage this man to be executed

johhnytrash says:

where does he get the money for all this anyway?

grangersmith says:

He is really a very unpretentious genius, I feel that this man is full of very interesting insights and information. His home is a wonderful work in progress, a lab on off grid solar power water and passive technology wed to digital, code via computers.I feel that he doesn’t want to be rich, although he has more rights to this than the hack thief B Gates. He is a rare human whom it would be a privileged to meet! The normals are mindless bores, curtains?, simple bamboo rolls shades R better! LOL

ThreeSC says:

lol meanwhile people everywhere go to work full time to take care of a house. his house provides everything but food, so of course its a full time job!

pauluminous says:

Why live like this if you don’t have to?

Because you want to? Don’t know about your standards but to me this doesn’t look particularly small. Neither was it implied anywhere that this guy was poor, I’m sure he spents his money different than you. Don’t see how all this makes this vid B.S.

loveuala says:

Gandalf of the computer era…..

transistor311 says:

impressive. looks like it’s a full time job taking care of that house though.

kath209 says:

Sa-weet! We down-sizers are gonna redefine “normal” 🙂 At the very least, should there be a major catastrophe, such as if the grid goes out, those of us who live more simply will be able to help others adjust. That said, not sure I’d be all that happy to share with certain folks who have looked down on me for being poor and making do….

TheGirlFromCRUSH says:

More B.S. This guy obviously has money. Why the tiny home? These tiny homes are only about rich people’s self-indulgence. Why live like this if you don’t have to?

AnnieO100 says:

I’m thinking about how this is going to perform in a EMP situation. Back to nature?

SublimeSati says:

Simply Awesome.

LiveCheapAndProsper says:

Very smart man with great idea’s. People should not be turned off by the computer and its wiring. Thermostats/relays can be used to control vents, solar regulators control solar panels etc so a central microprocessor isn’t required at all. Being a coder, I can understand his mindset, he wanted ultimate control over his environment… his HAL 9000.

Rartrin says:

This house is epic!
It is also great place to be if the economy/society collapses (or a zombie apocalypse).

TheronC2 says:

At first I thought that was Peter Tork, lol.

surfcrawl says:

If anyone is interested in a user-friendly control system, look up Homeseer (software) and for the wireless components, look at ‘z-wave’ products. i have it and it is very easy to use, and it is open to your own programming and scripts. a bit pricey but check out their forum around the holidays (50% off coupon this last christmas). you can also incorporate microcontrollers like an arduino board. HAPPY PROGRAMMING!

polishkid0705 says:

He mentioned the ZigBee network. A nice step forward would be to have it on a wireless network instead of running all those cables. Having all the code would help so one does not have to start from scratch though.

gug1970 says:


kirstendirksen says:

My question: “Being completely off grid, do you have to worry then?”
Loren’s reponse: “Worry about what?”
(Sorry I speak fast and wasn’t on mic).

gug1970 says:

anyone know what the question is at 08:30 – i cant make it out.

ebertmadwoman says:

this guy is one smart fella! I love what he has done. some of what he has done is simple and just common sense things we dont think of.

itsadeadmansparty says:

23 Years? Seriously? This guy is a genius, love that he has everything communicating over ssh. He is pretty cool

yheraluna says:

You are the bomb. People pretend to be the real deal but YOU ARE the real deal.

electrodacus says:

There is no flicker on incandescent light but on florescent there is and if he worked on the time CRT screens where used then I can understand his problem.
His LCD monitor also uses florescent light that flickers.
I can custom build for him a LED back-light LCD that will not flicker without PWM as all LCD on the market.
I will do that to my LCD screen and I will make a video about so he can probably do that himself.
I will move this year offgrid.

vincepod says:

I absolutely love the fact that he has a swing! I salute you Sir.

NzMaze says:

this guy is amazing , central locking doors

NzMaze says:

great idea about having the fridge outside

pahwraith says:

Amazing! This is exactly what I pictured in a future house, but it’s even better because he has worked out a lot of the kinks!

Lyiad says:

This man needs to start a business of automating, and redesigning houses for maximum efficiency.

MrsMika says:

I want a house like this! Love his fan-tube-sock thing that helps redirect the heat to the floor.

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