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> The cost of building such a home is little different from that of building any other home, and with a range of energy sipping appliances such as refrigerators, hi-fis and even hairdryers now available, the forced austerity associated with off-grid living is also changing.
> “You can have hot showers and a cold beer,” said Gamble. “You have no water bill, no sewer bill, no power bill and you can harvest something fresh from the greenhouse…why would you ever do anything else?”
It’s interesting to see the spectrum of off-grid advocates, ranging from enviro-conscious folks trying to live out their ideals in renewably powered communities to the die-hard survivalists who see the end of civilization as we know it around the corner. (“People will be unprepared,” says one off-grid grandma. “And we can imagine marauding hordes.”) Of course, both of these groups find their motivation in climate and energy related concerns.
In the developing world I’ve had the chance to see some of these off-grid innovations in action, used primarily out of necessity. Everything from small-scale solar panels on the roof of a mud hut in Tanzania to a micro-scale biodigester powering the satellite internet connection on a friend’s farm in Kenya. But you don’t need to go as far as Africa to see off-grid living in action. Just look at this house in TerraPass’ home town of San Francisco — micro-wind never looked to eco-trendy. On the TerraPass project team we’re always excited to see micro applications of the technologies we work with on a much larger scale. Maybe one of these days we’ll see one at our colleague Erin’s house.