Kelly Mead |

A survey done by Autodesk and the American Institue of Architects (AIA) showed that by 2012 90% of their architects expect to incorporate some sustainable elements in their designs. This is said to be due to client demand, not government regulation. This shows that if we as consumers demand better options in building/remodeling our homes, we will get it. 88% of those who responded to the survey also stated they are or have had training on focused on green building.

This is definitely a plus or those of us who need to build or remodel our dream off-grid home,as finding a qualified architect versed in sustainable building will be easier. No one said having a off-grid home means you have to sacrifice your needs, just fulfill them with renewable sources.

By increasing our demand we are lowering the cost. Just look at the cost of solar modules in 1982 it was about $27/per watt peak now down to $4/per watt peak. So that in 2003 a residential solar system cost about $8,00- $12,00 per kilowatt peak installed. (according to solarbuzz). If we can do this in design and solar, then all alternative energy sources will be effected as demand for them go up. Each renewable energy source works better for different environments. In South Dakota wind is the power of choice, in California it’s solar, while in Indiana biomass and geothermal are being highlighted.

So each renewable source has someplace/community that is interested in it more then others because of the environment inherit there. Making decisions not only on what’s popular now, but works best in your own backyard is important. Solar seems to be the forerunner right now, but that doesn’t make it right for you. Do research about what is being used in your location, and then look to other locations with an environment close to yours, doing the first round of research will save you not only money later, but you’ll be able to evaluate which experts can truly help you.

Going off-grid/green isn’t something that should be done without research and a desire to do it. It’s fraught with errors to be made, lessons to be learned, money to be lost, and schedules to be lengthened. The only way to make the learning curve go in your direction is to learn as much as you can before embarking on this adventure. If you have already embarked, then keep learning, and learn from as many resources as you can from mainstream to fringe, or even completely off topic, because you never know where the next big idea will come from.

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the web site

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