Here are six recent off-grid projects we've had the pleasure of working on for the owners.
There are many shades of off-grid projects. By ‘shades of off-grid’, I mean, there is no one off-grid solution, and no particular solution or special place to begin.
Many projects go off-grid in stages. The journey to going off town water, sewer, energy and food systems can start with any one step and continue in any direction at any pace. For example, it may begin with you replacing halogen lights with LEDs, installing a rain tank, buying direct from farmers at a market or by a home box food delivery service. We can start and finish wherever we wish to.
In 1996 I went off-grid for water and sewer and partly off-grid for electricity and fully off-grid for electricity in 2015. I plan to go off-grid for gas later this year so that in 2017 the house runs only on renewable energy. I’ve been buying food direct from farmers since 2008.
Since 1996 water and energy bills for this three bedroom house have been less than $300 a year. By going off-grid I’ve paid up front for my energy and water, and stopped the pollution I caused by using coal, oil and gas to turn the lights on, wash myself and directly pollute the oceans and the fish in them with excreta and indirectly with polluted air.
Only a couple of years ago did I discover that, just as I may choose several times each day to buy and eat healthy food, or not, so, too can I choose to use toilet paper that, as the makers say, is “Saving the world one bum at a time.”
Now, due to Who Gives a Crap’s business ethic, I know that over 1500 kids die each day from dirty water and that the toilet paper I buy from them is saving some of those lives because the company gives half its profits to providing clean water to them.
Now to the examples.
Some of us decide to go off-grid after a project has been approved by council and there is by then limited scope for changing the design. Others of us decide as part of the design process and before approvals. Some off-grid decisions can be made without the need for any approval – like the toilet paper example above.
Perhaps these examples will assist you to go off-grid in your own way, too? I hope so.
After development approved
- priorities: insulation and heating, sustainable materials, less waste during construction and living
- While preparing the development application
Priorities: insulation, integrated building panels, best induction cooktops, best hot water solutions
Lower North Shore, Sydney:
- After the development approval
All options to save water and energy bills and to cut water and air pollution
Sydney, Eastern Suburbs:
- After the development approval and as part of an application to amend it
How to build a large, flat roof to harvest water for the house and the pool, options for achieving most solar and battery storage, options for passively ventilating the fridge; options for keeping stormwater on site
Hawkesbury river, NSW:
- During construction of the approved project
How to cool the fridge, best insulation, recycled materials, energy efficient plumbing
Sydney, eastern suburbs;
- During the development of the development application for a granny flat
How to use rain water, how to future plumb and to achieve energy efficient plumbing, materials, solar design and service providers for water, energy, food
It's our great pleasure to work on off-grid projects. Contact me if you wish to discuss your shade of off-grid project.