Tour of an off-grid house in Australia

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I love these things, but I always ask the same question…does this not fit only specific lifestyles?

Not everyone could work remotely, can this be done in a less remote environment? What if you had kids, how would that impact this space and the home’s capabilities? How do they accommodate visitors? You’re saving money by not having utilities, but how much was the up front cost? How long will these systems last and what is the maintenance costs compare to traditional utility payers?

I could go on. I just ultimately feel that this takes a specific set of lifestyle choices to live this way.

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I doubt they care much about visitors. It’s pretty obvious there’s no extra space. And if they were the type who want to see other people, they’d be in town.
Unless you’re an engineer who is handy at DIY and has lots of spare time, the upfront cost is enormous.
A lot of this stuff could work in a more densely populated area. One of the worst problems doing something like this in a town is building and health codes. Most likely a composting toilet wouldn’t be allowed close to neighbors. Neither would a digester for gas. With that thing, you face a whole slew of potential biological hazards.


Just installed DIY, Mitsubishi 3 AC spilts in the Joshua Tree house, very fuel efficient, and whisper quite too. Will install the Solar when we move in full time, bout 2 years out. A plus has been the rain gutter catch cistern, we have ample water for the garden through to next winter. This 1970 rancher has been easy to refit for energy saving tech.

PS. Last affordable place in Southern California is San Bernardino Cnty. high desert.
Fixers run $140K - $160k, severe fixers can be as little as $40K - $60K. Do your homework, it ain’t for everybody.


I’m thinking of the Mitsubishi air source heat pump; I’m going to have to put in a new heating system at some point, and they have recently developed one that’s effective down to -25 celcius. A neighbour has a couple of older Fujitsu models on his rental property across the street (I’m in Toronto), and the tenants say that except for the very coldest weather, they seem to be just fine. I won’t be going solar quite yet, but I’m also hoping to install a white roof.


They profiled this house as well, and with the solarium space it’s not just cozy, I would say it’s even gracious. Many tiny homes just don’t seem to room to stretch out your arms, but this one is a cut above.


A good friend moved a few years ago to a property about 50 km outside Ararat Australia. They are off-grid by necessity, and have a ton of very efficient systems. I don’t think they have A/C but basically everything else runs off solar, batteries, or if all else fails a generator.


We had several days 10 degrees fahrenheit, with light snow this Winter, they worked very well. The added pleasure of not heating or cooling the entire place. We only use them in the room we are in at the time, saves a lot of energy that way. On a recommendation, we replaced the windows that get the prevailing wind and hard sun [Summer time] with triple thermal windows, it really did the trick too.

"She lives in Mojave in a Winnebago. . . "

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It’s good to know that you’ve had a good experience with them! We rarely get below -20 celcius (-4 fahrenheit), and this winter, even though we got a lot of snow, the temps weren’t that bad, so I’m optimistic that they might work for me. I’d be able to get rid of about 10 sq. ft of cast iron rads, to open up some wall space too, not to mention the space in the basement that now houses the boiler, and (eek!) oil tank. I want to get off fossil fuels within the next year or so.
I replaced my front and rear windows fairly recently and I didn’t go with triple paned, and I’m kicking myself now.

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Very nice, if a little small. However, this is Australia we are talking about and I doubt whether it would work elsewhere that doesn’t have as much sunshine, such as the UK. Probably OK for rainfall catchment though!

Pfffft! Live-aboard yacht owners have been doing this for decades. And travelling the world while they do it!


Also canal boathouses in the U.K. and Holland; this is in Amsterdam;



Yeah a large number of Aussie houses ore off grid because the grid just isn’t there for them. But its a lot easier now that batteries are so good.

A composting (i.e. shit in a bucket full of sawdust) toilet is remarkably free of any odors whatsoever. Don’t confuse an outhouse or latrine (the worst possible design of a toilet in every way) with a composting toilet done properly.

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