In the land of the free, living comfortably without being dependent upon utility companies and government services is an ideal scenario. Buying a nice piece of land far from any utility services is still affordable because most people don’t see the potential in it. Once you’ve got the right land, housing will be your next step. This article presents the existing standards for off-grid housing and at least one of it will be perfect for your needs.
Going off the grid is starting to become a trend and this mostly because people want to be independent and provide for themselves. I don’t know about you, but being able to provide food, water and all the comfort you might think of for your family, is something that makes you feel complete. There is just something about it that nurtures the American spirit. Living off the grid in a remote area provides you with a feeling of security that you just can’t have in the city. You don’t have to worry about your neighbors and you don’t have to live with that insecurity feeling you get when you think about what might happen in the city (natural disaster, civil unrest, terrorist attack, etc.).
Whatever your personal reasons are, you are not alone. Living off the grid provides freedom and you shouldn’t think about doing it, you should go ahead and do it.
As I said before, buying a piece of land ideal for an off the grid living is not as complicated as it sounds, you just need a little bit of determination. You have to search for an affordable plot of land which won’t have any zoning issues or restrictions such as building a windmill, digging wells or installing septic tanks. Climate is a factor that should be considered as well and the same goes for the soil quality. Also, keep in mind that our government has made off-grid living illegal in some states. Talking about serving the people…
Related reading: How to select the land for an off-grid location
Once you’ve found the land suited for you, the research for housing begins. Most people prefer to park a trailer on it as a start. It’s a good idea because it provides a temporary housing and it will let people in the area know the spot is taken. When it comes to building your house, you have two options: you build it yourself or you do a search on the internet for hardcore off-grid builders. If you plan to build it yourself you will have to start by building a shelter to house all the materials you will use. Even so, make sure to get in touch with people that have experience in building off-grid locations. Some of them are very “eccentric” and they can provide you with ideas you won’t believe. You will definitely like what they have to offer.
Off-grid housing options you should look into:
This is also called eco-housing and you can find a variety of techniques available which can be used for your new lifestyle. You can buy these types of homes as kits, already built or you can design your own. You will need the help of a green architect because no matter how much research you will do, you will miss something. Green housing can be complex or simple, it all depends on how you want it to be and what budget you have for the project. Although it might seem like a big investment at first, you have to keep in mind that these kinds of homes are built with conservation in mind. They will exploit a number of green techniques that will prove profitable in time.
Rammed earth housing
This method of building is used where rock, dirt and naturally occurring minerals in the earth are constructed together to create the outer layer of the home. These types of homes are very reliable in different climates and they can withstand the test of time if built correctly. Rammed earth homes are very sturdy, long lasting constructions. When building a rammed earth home, you should pay attention to the outer coating. If the external shell it’s not sealed properly you will have to deal with mold infestation along the way. This type of housing can be designed to meet the needs of even large families and it won’t have a big impact on your budget. The construction costs are lower and you can find the materials you need on your land. Building a rammed earth home takes quite some time and it’s labor-intensive. Not to mention that if you want it to be constructed properly you should hire an experienced professional.
This is similar to rammed earth housing and it’s a technique widely used in Europe. Cob is a mixture of soil or sand, clay and hay or straw to build a residential structure. When one hears about what type of materials are used, one can be skeptic about this type of housing. I can assure you that you can create stunning results. You might think it is impossible for a structure made of straws to be efficient for long-term living, but this technique has been used for centuries and it works. These types of homes are extremely sturdy and they can last for a hundred years with no maintenance. Not to mention that these homes are fireproof as well. If cob housing sounds like a good option for you, make sure you have enough patience when attempting for this form of construction. Time is of the essence here and you must let the materials to dry into a hard enough structure.
Earthships are 100% sustainable homes that are cheap to build and provide a living experience that brings you closer to nature. They offer all facilities of a regular home and they are designed to outlast regular homes. This type of housing uses natural materials, renewable energy sources, and eco-design to create a living space that is thermally regulated and comfortable. Each Earthship is designed to have a reliable food source and this is why most of them have one or two greenhouses that grow crops year-round, no matter the climate. Some Earthships, which are built near water streams have even a micro hydro plant installed to harness the power of water and have a surplus of energy. The possibilities are endless and you can find on the internet many ideas on building your own, but also prebuilt units. An Earthship is a cheap and reliable solution for a home, it is designed to be self-sustainable and it will teach you how you can live with nature and be part of it.
Related reading: 10 reasons why Earthships are a perfect off the grid location
Cabins are probably one of the most popular solutions for off-gridders and to some, nothing compares with a good old-fashioned cabin. These are versatile constructions and can be constructed from logs, logs that you can harvest from your propriety. You can buy cabins pre-made, you can hire homebuilders to build it for you or you can even make it a DIY project. It all depends on the knowledge and budget you have. If you design you cabin properly and if you plan your construction steps carefully, you will have a small startup cost.
Custom made Homes and Trailers
These are probably the most modern answers to kit homes and many decide to go with it as it doesn’t require anything from their side. It’s a stress free option for many. They are built from lightweight materials compared to traditional housing and they can be moved to your location with a truck. If you want mobility and if you want to take your home with you, simply pick it up and have it moved. Even if those housing types are not generally suited for non-traditional energy sources, they can be modified without much trouble. They will require some plumbing or the sinks and toilets, but it shouldn’t be something difficult to achieve as long as your land supports it. Before choosing this type of housing, make sure you plan your budget to include plumbing, septic systems and additional energy systems set up.
This is a trend that has skyrocketed in the last 10 years and it’s the option preferred by many young families. Smaller home structures are much more popular for both cost and practicality reasons. The size of your tiny home depends on your particular needs, but with all the available technology, you can have everything you need in a 16’ X 16’ cabin. In the end, the size of your house will depend on the size of your family and the needs of each individual. You can build multiple tiny houses on the same piece of land if you want to start a community or if your family will increase. Living off the grid means also to live simple, without being chained to the consumerism society and without valuing things. Living off the grid will also bring some limitations that you have to get used to and having a smaller house might be one of these limitations. If you are the type of person that treasures experiences rather than material possessions, having a tiny house will work for you.
Related article: Off the grid limitations no one tells you about
Regardless of what type of housing you chose for your land, make sure you have built the proper foundation beneath the building. You should build one which is beneficial to energy and water acquisition.
There might be other options when choosing the housing for an off the grid life, but the ones listed in this article are the most approachable ones. They don’t require a high-maintenance and you don’t need an advanced knowledge on how everything works.
There might be other options when choosing the housing for an off the grid life, but the ones listed in this article are the
Stay safe and God Bless!
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