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Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens


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Permaculture Techniques - Energy Harvesting


Determining energy flows within the system as a whole, and utilising efficiently all energy available; also creating and recycling energy in the system. Energy flows include those generated by the sun (solar, wind, plant systems), water (flowing or stored), gravity (slope planning), and people (social interactions, imagination). Energy harvesting considers zones (energy needs and yields determined by frequency of use or visits) and sectors (utilisation and management of off-site energy sources), relative location of elements in systems (energy harvesting from symbiotic relationships due to mutually beneficial positioning of elements), energy available due to edge effect, and both passive and active solar systems.


  • Reduction of costs in establishing system by using energy elements already present in system.
  • Reduction of imported energy (eg firewood, oil, gas, electricity).
  • Good feeling (not responsible for polluting systems such as power stations, oil slicks, etc)!
  • Increased independence for energy needs, self-reliance and self-responsibility.
  • Efficient function of elements with minimal energy input required.
  • Greater yields.
  • Ability to use elements more than once (recycling).
  • Efficient energy planning results in conservation of human energy.
  • Ability to turn disadvantages into advantages - by working with rather than against energy flows within and over the system.


  • Plan site according to observation of climatic conditions, soil type and structure with respect to existing energy flows.
  • Determine contours and natural drainage patterns.
  • Determine zones and sectors.
  • Do necessary terra forming; especially energy collecting, storage and conservation systems.
  • Plan location of elements according to functions and yields, maximising the number of functions and yield for each element by careful placement based on the relationships between elements.
  • Plan intensive systems on minimal amount of land, using all available space, including vertical.
  • Start small and work out from centre as energy yields build as systems build.
  • Start with what is there, using imagination and creativity, instead of bringing in materials and resources from off-site.
  • Where-ever possible reduce consumption and recycle rather than use new (reduction of energy needs in total human system).




photos of the ever changing view of the coast from our living room window
Our ever-changing view!
Moonset ~ Roll Cloud ~ Sunset

permaculture ethics
care for earth,
care for people,
return surplus,
reduce consumption

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.