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Whatever your reason for living off-grid, your quality of life can be as good, or better than, it would be living connected to the grid. With nearly 200,000 people unplugged from the grid, the movement is still in its infancy (at least in the mainstream), but is gaining in popularity as energy prices rise and the costs of off-grid technologies falls. I really love that my house ('Minim House') contains everything I need to live fully, without feeling compromised or cluttered.
A project 30 years in the making, this tiny off-grid retreat on a coastal island in Maine is almost entirely self-sufficient. Given the remote location of the property and the site’s lack of power, the design made careful use of all materials so that everything is spaced on 24-inch centers.
Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. The Suli is designed for outdoor users, those without access to electricity and anyone that likes the idea of a small, versatile solar light. You’ll have to be more familiar and more involved in the inner workings of you energy system, and planning to use appliances and gadgets that use the electricity you create. Then you might not like living 40 feet off ground, as this couple does year-round in a fire lookout tower, which they now call home.
Designed and built by Alex Porter for her father, the project features a shed roof and is wrapped in a distinctive blue-grey corrugated skin.


The sturdy steel cladding was chosen for a good reason: the northern squall can be relentless.
View gallery (9 images) A simple, versatile light powered by the sun, the Chilean-born Suli brings light to everyone from outdoor lovers to those living off the electrical grid. Rule #1 of living off the grid: the electricity you produce must be greater than the electricity you consume, so being smart and thorough about energy conservation is the key to doing so without really breaking the bank.
Dwell recently profiled the home, which is the only solar-powered retreat on the isolated island – its sustainable power source actually makes life a lot more leisurely, as the family does not need to schlep in fuel to run a noisy generator.
It meets that diversity of needs by screwing onto a bottle to create a simple lamp, mounting to a bicycle to serve as a safety light, hanging from a backpack, suctioning to a window and more. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: when living off the grid, one dollar worth of energy conservation can save three to five dollars in energy generation equipment costs.
But they felt something was missing, and eventually relocated to a smaller home in Portland, Oregon.
They didn’t give anything up, as they have all the conveniences of a regular home — but with a view you don’t get in an everyday residence. When the sun shines, a small solar-electric panel mounted to the southern facing roof feeds 12v DC to the batteries, which in turn powers lights, a super efficient Sunfrost Refrigerator, and a small water pump.
A large rainwater catchment tank provides more than enough water for the home, and a small on-demand water heater supplies an outdoor shower and the sink.


While none of the systems are ground-breaking, the design is a transparent example of how well off-grid living can work, and how we can live in nature without polluting it. If you want all the latest bells and whistles (like an off-grid home with its own climate-controlled wine cellar, which actually does exist) and aren’t in to being an energy miser, then you can expect to pay more for a larger energy system (but that’s another post).
Forest Service's fire lookout stations from a book that "magically" fell on them during a ferry ride.
But eventually they decided to custom-build one for themselves, located on a parcel of 160-acres near Tiller, Oregon:About a year and half ago, we decided to be totally irresponsible and quit our jobs and move here,” Tompkins explains. But for the couple, this is part of the charm of living so close to nature, says Tompkins:My favorite time to take a shower is when we have snow outside and you have to walk barefoot through the snow on the deck.
Having overcome what social expectations of what 'good living' looks like, this couple is redefining their own lives in unexpected but fulfilling ways, making this one of the more unique examples of tiny living we've seen.



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