Here is the shopping list for a beautiful warm, cheap, off-grid home, as built in Scotland recently by software engineer Steve James.
With straw bale walls, a turf roof, and the rest of the building materials pulled from skips, this is never going to appear on Grand Designs. But the end product is �a warm and watertight cottage which gets its water supplies by gathering rainfall and its electricity from a car battery,� according to a BBC report.
�600 snacks and booze for volunteers
�400 pond liner
�150 reclaimed joists
�150 equipment hire
�100 fuel for power tools
�70 water pump
�50 water heater
�50 stove chimney
The project may also help to highlight wider issues of housing space and land availability. Steve believes a three-bedroom family home could be built for �10,000.
“It is something that anybody could easily learn to do most of, with help,” he said.
“The real cost of a house is fairly small. It is always the land that makes about 85% of the cost.
“Adding the compound interest to the final cost of a mortgage reduces the actual house price component of the total to as little as 2%.”
Local forestry like larch, spruce and elm were used to construct much of the property.
Sand, gravel, rock and turf from nearby fields and burns were also a part of the build.
And straight out of other people’s rubbish came a roof velux, shower tray, front window, front door and an oval bedroom window.
The stove chimney for the home cost just �50
Mr James’s favourite pieces of reclamation work include the Tudor-style panelled timber ceiling.
It was made out of solid pine changing cubicle doors salvaged from old Victorian public baths in Govan.
A traditional Belfast sink was constructed out of items from a decommissioned primary school.
And worktops and windowsills came from a Cedar of Lebanon in Pollok Park in Glasgow which was felled by a storm.
They have all been brought together to create a home which aims to be both ecologically and economically friendly.
At last estimate the average house price in Scotland stood at about �158,000.
The Galloway project has taken about 10 man-months of actual building time to complete.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
Leave a Reply