That is why more and more people are taking steps to reduce their dependency on state or corporate supplied energy. Either by building off the grid homes or installing the necessary equipment to produce their own power to their existing home, the trend of people making the switch to the off grid lifestyle is also on the rise.
Building off the grid homes can be a very expensive proposition but there a several ways you can reduce that cost.
Via Off The Grid News
"Are you thinking of building a new house, renovating or expanding an existing one? Looking for ways to dramatically cut costs and leave less footprints in the environment? Consider building “green.” Not only is it the environmentally friendly way to go, but also the socially responsible thing to do.
“Green” homes are dwellings that use resources from the earth in such a way that if you put them back into the surroundings, they wouldn't cause any harm. “Green” building is often associated with “sustainable” architecture, which seeks to minimize the negative impact of buildings on the environment by maximizing energy, space and material efficiency, while minimizing their use so that the needs of future generations won’t be compromised.
The features of a green building are many. One of the most important is energy efficiency – using either solar, wind or geothermal power to operate an edifice. A sustainable home is also well-designed and laid out in such a way that it takes advantage of passive heating and cooling. According to builder and Ecohomes.net editor Mike Reynolds, a house with 60 percent of its windows facing south (passive solar) may have its heating requirements reduced by as much as 25 percent for virtually no cost.
Another is the economical use of water. “Grey-water,” or waste-water from bathing, dish washing, bathroom sinks and washing machines can be used to flush toilets, wash cars or, if treated, to water plants. Collecting rain water from roofs and gutters is also a good way to make a home “green,” as is the use of drought-tolerant, indigenous plants for landscaping.
But another green building feature that I’d like to focus on in this post is the choice of building materials. There’s a wide variety of alternative and highly sustainable resources that we in our modern world are not tapping into, which many of our ancestors across the globe had used for centuries. The advent and popularity of cement in both developed and developing countries has somehow taken over these traditional methods of building. But in times of economic downturn and the rising global outcry for things “eco-friendly” and “sustainable,” it’s high time we took a second look at both traditional methods as well as post-modern, unconventional, even eccentric ways of building our houses.
According to Discovery.com, cement production requires an astounding amount of energy and results in water and air pollution and industrial waste that is usually not recycled.Using natural materials that require minimal processing reduces these environmental impacts. Furthermore, they are non-toxic and don’t pose any harm to human or animal health.
We in the off-grid community have all heard about natural building materials like straw bale, reeds, woodchips, sawdust, sticks, and anything earthy: earth bags, cob, rammed earth, adobe, rocks, sand and stones. But have we heard of papercrete, paper adobe and hemp-crete? These are gaining attention and recognition in the green-building community, and yes, are reported to be just as workable and dependable — yet more versatile — than other building materials are. Bamboo, coconut, cork, sisal and other fast-growing plants are easily renewable and sustainably harvested, and therefore meet the “green” qualification, too.
As you make tentative plans for your building project, check to see what is already available and naturally occurring in the area you are building. What kind of earth is there? Clay? Sand? Lime? Rocks? Even compost or vermiculite will be useful if you’re going to go with cob. All these are renewable and non-toxic. They also require little or no embodied energy – or the energy that goes into producing, transporting, deconstructing and decomposition of materials used in construction. Best of all, they’re dirt-cheap (pun intended), or absolutely free.
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Trash Turned into Treasures
Most of us are also familiar with the use of repurposed materials: old tires, soda cans and PET bottles packed with cement to make sturdy, hard-as-brick walls known as earth-ships. Pallet houses are on the rise as well.
But what I find most interesting is the use of salvaged debris from demolition projects. If you’re renovating or restoring an old structure, you can save and reuse some of the existing materials instead of throwing them away. Old doors, windows, bathtubs, roof tiles and kitchen countertops might still be utilized. This is “reclaiming” — taking materials from one project and reusing them as they are, or modifying them slightly. It’s different from recycling, which completely re-configures items through meltdown and re-processing, which would require even more energy, time and costs.
Full article via Off The Grid News