Planning to turn your house into an environment friendly, self-sustainable, off- grid haven? Here’s what to do to a perfect off-grid house:

Recycle: renovate an old farm or build your house using recycled materials like bricks, tyres or wood

Innovate: try unconventional building materials such as straw bale, sand-filled bags or mud. For inspiration visit Brithdir Mawr Community in Wales.

Think: plan your house so that it is as energy-efficient as possible. This means effective insulation , under-floor heating and double-glazing to cut down on energy consumption.

Go solar: solar panels can be used domestically to provide heating and hot water, and produce electricity . You can also install solar lights and a solar-powered fountain in your garden, and charge your mobile phone and car battery with solar battery chargers.

Install a wind turbine: miniature silent wind turbines are now available to set up on the roof of your house.

Build a micro dam: if you have a stream on your land, set up a micro hydro turbine to produce inexpensive green energy .

Switch to reed bed sewage systems: waste water is filtered and cleaned as it flows through 3 reed- planted ponds.

And remember: think globally, act locally contribute to the local economy and cut down on transport and pollution by buying materials nearby

If you need general information these are good websites to visit: www.encraft.co.uk and
www.energyalternatives.ca

For help and advice from fellow off gridders try forums like Fieldlines or Off the grid Living

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

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