This Tool Can Plant Over 200 Seeds In A Matter Of Minutes!

If you’re living, or planning to live, off grid, then you know you’re in for a lot of work. If you are going to try to grow most of your own food, well then you’re in for even more work. Providing enough food for yourself and your family is more than just having a small garden, you are essentially going to be a small scale farmer, or more if you are part of a community that is trying to grow most of its own food on site. Of course, there are a number of ways to save some time and labor when it comes to the various aspects of running your family sized farm.

One gadget that can help you plant your seedlings faster is called the Paperpot, and it can plant over 260 seeds per load in a matter of minutes, and without the need for you to spend most of your days bent over or on  your knees transplanting and prepping. It uses a special paper belt feed system that you fill with soil, then use their system to fill with your seeds for whatever crop(s) you’ll be planting. After it is loaded up, you simply walk up and down your field with the Paperpot in tow, and it does all the work for you. It could be especially useful if you are planning on planting a surplus to sell at the local farmers markets. The time it saves can mean either more time working on other areas of your homestead, the option to expand your fields, or just more downtime with the family (or fishing, hiking, etc).

Going off grid is hard work, so there is nothing wrong in finding ways to lessen the workload and strain. Just as with anything, you should do your own research, and make sure that the product will work for you for any variety of reasons. Most of these types of gadgets work best under certain conditions and with certain crops, but can certainly be a huge advantage in the right circumstances.

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Where Do You Want to Live Off Grid?

Where Do You Want to Live Off Grid? Well…that depends. Do you have an idea of where you can live off grid? What are your requirements? Land, obviously? But where? Where in the USA do you want to live off grid? what are you going to do for water? Are you going to haul water? Do you want a well, a creek, a pond, lake, river, stream, mountains, desert, waterfront, oceanfront, semi-arid, arid, humid, north, south, midwest, east coast, west coast? Are you in Australia? The UK? Canada? South Africa? New Zealand? Where do you want to be? Do you want solar power? Wind power? Combination of solar and wind power? Battery backup and energy storage system?

Do you want to grow your own food? How? Row cropping, hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, vertical gardening, raised beds, in a greenhouse? How many greenhouses do you need? Do you want meat to eat or are you vegan? How about cows, pigs chickens? How many? Where will you put them? What about property taxes? How do you need your property zoned? Agricultural, residential, combination, forest, commercial? Do you want to run a full-blown farm and farmers market, a CSA (community supported agriculture) or food/produce co-op?

What kind of cabin do you want? Single room simple Dick Proenneke kind of cabin? Or do you want something more comfortable like a big log home? How about a tiny house or shipping container home? Travel trailer or camper, or maybe a mobile home? Or maybe you want a house made from hemp? Do you want a large piece of land 100 acres or more, or would you be content with a smaller parcel 1-5 acres?

Would you like to live in an off grid community, or do you like your privacy and want to be as far away from civilization as possible? Or could you do something in between and live in a sustainable living development community where everyone works together to help one another out? Do you want to build your own cabin or do you want to do it like the Amish and have an old fashioned barn raising house building party that lasts days and gets the whole community involved?

Would you want to help your neighbor help build their cabin? What kind of skills do you bring to the table? Have you thought of all these things? What about local building codes and ordinances? Covenants and restrictions that may or may not prevent you from building the kind of cabin you want or may prevent you from raising livestock for food? Do the property have legal access and year round access? Is it easy to get in and out of? Did you think about how you’ll get heavy equipment onto your property that you’ll need to construct your home?

What about testing the land for chemicals and making sure the water is safe to drink? Did you think about checking your neighbors and making sure they’re good people, people you can get along with? No one likes a bad or nosey neighbor. Have you thought about your septic system and how you plan to have clean drinking water? What about power and cable and internet? Will you go with satellite or cable internet? Do you have a business you can run from your off grid homestead from home? Do you have children? Where will they go to school, or will you homeschool them?

How will you make a living off grid while you build your cabin and homestead? Will you move close to a big city, medium sized city or a small town? Having access to important supplies and schools and entertainment is important, not to mention your commute back and forth to work. Where will you work?

This is a BIG reason why people stay where they are. They get all excited about living off grid, and then after looking at land and cabins, and solar systems and planning their garden and how they’ll grow their own food they realize they need access to work. People need to be able to work. How will you live off the land if you have no income?

These and more are all questions that need to be answered before you decide to move off grid? Where do you want to live off grid and what do you want to do? Why? Why do you want to live off grid? Is it for self reliance and independence? Or is it just to live a simpler lifestyle? Are you just tired of the BS in the so-called “real world”? Do you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the rat race and society which claims to be civilized but it far from it?

I think if you can answer the why, I think it will help you answer the where. I think the where will come naturally once you figure out the why. If you know your reason why then it’s easier I think you’re a step ahead and one step closer to living off grid.

Don’t worry though! Plenty of people live very happy lives off grid and they have made a success of it. They have their own cabin that they built with their own hands. They grow their own food to eat and produce their own energy through sustainable ways with solar and wind power systems and battery backups to store energy for later use.

You can still have your healthy food and big screen TV and nice home and you can even make a living off grid from you home. You can sell your own products and services, do consulting, take pictures, be an artist, a writer, a farmer or rancher. You can build furniture, cabins, or make your own soaps and hand made crafts to sell online. You can start your own farmers market selling your own preserves and produce, create a national brand and sell it online. You can work construction in the local town or if you know a trade you can do that. Just find a place close enough to your work. You can work from home. You can do it.

You can live off grid and be happy. It’s very possible and millions of people do it. It takes 3 things to live off grid. The will to do it, hard work, and money. If you have those 3 things you’re good to go.

There are properties you can buy for very little cash down and small payments. You can sell off everything you own and move off grid, pay cash for a place and not have to worry about bills because once the land, cabin, garden/farm, water and power system is in place, you could essentially live on your off grid homestead indefinitely and independently.

That’s all you need.

  1. Shelter
  2. Food
  3. Utilities

It’s really that simple. Now all you need it to find the right piece of land to build it on.

Fortunately we have that covered for you!

Get on our list and find out where your off grid land is.

You can build your off grid living dream.

Join our list and find out how!

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Awesome $33k Tiny House Can Be Ready To Move Into In 2 Days!

There are all sorts of tiny homes on the market these days, some of which can still cost you almost six figures, which in some markets, can be equal to or even more than traditional housing. There are also a large number of ideas that aim to make tiny homes more affordable, either by using cheaper materials, making the space as small as possible yet livable, or by reducing the time it takes to construct the home in the first place. One idea that is more towards the end of that spectrum, is the MADI HOME , which can be constructed and fully livable in about 2 days. (The entire house can be erected in as little as 6 to 7 hours with a crew of 3). 

MADI homes are small, A frame structures, that are prefabricated modular units that are require no foundations in order to be constructed. This along with a folding design feature, helps to keep the construction time to a minimum. This ability to be folded and unfolded also means that the home can be set up as a temporary, or as a permanent tiny home for you and your family. A base model will cost you about $33,000 plus the cost of the land you intend to place it on, but because they are modular, you can select bigger options that can give you more than enough room for a family without feeling too cramped.


MADI HOME
MADI HOME

MADI HOME

They have little impact on the environment or surrounding soil, especially since they do not require a traditional foundation, and with the addition of solar panels, these tiny homes can be taken off the grid and made self sufficient in terms of energy. They are also tested and rated to be stable in areas prone to earthquakes. Visit their website for more information.

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Check out their website here MADI HOME

Shipping Containers Make AWESOME AFFORDABLE Off Grid Homes!

When it comes to off grid homes, there are a lot of different designs and ideas floating around these days. Some are high end, and high priced, luxury off grid cabins, others are based on the tiny home model and can vary in both the technology and the cost. We are always looking to highlight the different options out there at any price point, and one option that comes up often, is the container home.

Here is an awesome design for a container home that you can put on your off grid land. The beauty of a shipping container home is that it’s modular. The frame is already built for you. You simply need to add aesthetics. There are endless possibilities, designs, and configurations. You’re only limited by your imagination!

Introduction to Custom Container Living from Custom Container Living on Vimeo.

http://customcontainerliving.com/
http://customcontainerliving.com/ http://customcontainerliving.com/ http://customcontainerliving.com/

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Custom Container Living

Shipping containers are easy to get your hands on, they are relatively simple to use as modular housing, which means you can connect and stack them to make a home of virtually any size you would want. A single container makes a great tiny house option, and with some modification, you can do something similar to this one here. The 40 foot container has been converted into a great little house with a built in front porch, sloping roof, and a double upstairs loft area. Of course, you are only limited by your imagination (and of course your budget), and the shipping container home can be a great way to get started with your off grid living.

Visit the Custom Container Living website to see the awesome things they’re building over there!

Simple River Turbine Systems Could Power Your Off Grid Lifestyle.

Solar and wind get most of the attention when it comes to renewable energy these days. After all, we can see huge turbines and solar farms popping up in more and more areas, so of course they tend to be the ones that get our attention. Still, when it comes to generating power from nature, there is another great source for those who live near rivers and streams. Water power is often thought of in terms of huge projects and dams that change the course of rivers, create huge reservoirs behind them, and are used mainly to create power on a large scale, but there are companies out there who are aiming for a much smaller market share with ideas to create electricity from rivers and streams on a smaller scale with little to no environmental impact or flooding risks that can be created by larger endeavors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA-llCWO_8w

A company called Turbulent, produces smaller scale turbines that sit to the side of a river or stream, instead of the standard practice of constructing a large dam to house large turbines. These smaller turbines won’t be powering entire cities, but they can supply power to smaller towns, or an off grid community. They rotate at slower speeds which allows for fish to pass through the system without being harmed, and because they don’t require huge structures to house them, they don’t disturb the flow of the river which means there is no impact to those living downstream. Not only that, but they are low maintenance, designed to last up to 20 years without needing significant service, and because of their smaller size, you can place several along the path of the river if you need more power down the road. Used in conjunction with other renewable options, these would be a great option for a community or family homestead to go entirely off the grid.

Earthships Are Beautiful Off Grid Homes.

An Earthship is a type of off grid home that is made from natural and recycled materials. This means that they can be a combination of discarded items, reclaimed materials, and natural materials like mud bricks, straw, or any number of nature based sources. They have been around since the 1970’s and due to the increasing interest in off grid living, and finding ways to minimize our own impact on the environment, there has been a renewed interest in the concept. Due to the use of reclaimed, recycled, and resourced materials, many Earthships can take on an artistic look to them.

Traditionally an Earthship has 6 primary features in their construction, which include being designed to use thermal/solar for heating and cooling (which includes cross ventilation designs to maximize natural air flow), having solar or wind based electricity, self contained sewage treatment (composting toilets or other systems), using natural and recycled materials, utilizing water harvesting and storage, and having some sort of food production capacity. These attributes allow Earthships to be entirely off grid ready with little to no reliance on local utilities.

Just outside of Taos, New Mexico, there is an Earthship community which sits on over 600 acres. The Greater World Community has private lots, and plenty of communal space as well as rentals and tours.

How To Make a Living Off Grid & Online

Do you want to earn some extra money each month? Have you ever wanted to make a living from home? You can make a living online while living off the grid. Making a living off grid and online is much different from making money while living off the grid. It’s not the same thing. Sure, making money is about making a living, and vice versa. But making a living while you’re actually living off the grid on your homestead is much different. If you could live off the grid and work from home at the same time while making a good living how much is that worth to you?

This article is the beginning of an ongoing premium content members only “how-to” series all about “How To Make a Living Off Grid & Online“. (Don’t worry, we’ll continue to create awesome off grid content, and bring you the latest off grid news and information for you in the magazine as well. We’re simply adding this as a bonus because so many people have wanted to know how to make a living online while they’re also living off grid. It kind of goes hand in hand and frees you up to spend more time with family or travel or do what you love.)

Set your own schedule, make your own hours, work when you wanted to work, spend time with your family when you want to and not have to schedule your family them around work time. We always say “Family comes first” but then we put work before them and spend more time working AWAY from them rather than spending that time with them.

Some folks will argue that they are working FOR FAMILY and that justifies the time spent away from them. But is that true? Is that how it’s supposed to work? I don’t think so anymore. I think we’ve lost our focus. I think work and bills have made us focus on the wrong things. If family comes first, then why are we spending so much of our time working? To “Provide for our family!”? Maybe, but I think that idea is gone. I think people have forgotten why they’re working and have fallen into the “work first” trap.

Family should be our priority. When’s the last time you sat down and had dinner with your family? No, I’m not talking about McDonalds on the couch while watching a movie and the kids are pecking away on their smartphones texting their friends. I’m talking about quality family time. Where’d the “suppertime” go? If you’re still doing that with your family then good for you! That’s awesome. But too many families want to get that time back with their family and they don’t know how to do it.

Imagine being able to spend more time with family, and make more money than you’re making now. What’s that worth to you?

It’s possible. Online. With the internet.

YES! Before you start yelling at me about how it’s not possible to be off grid and online. You ABSOLUTELY can still be OFF-GRID and “online” at the same time. It seems counterintuitive but it’s really not when you realize that being off grid simply means you’re disconnected from the electric grid, you make your own electrical power through solar and wind power systems and you store that power in a battery bank. Simple really.

You can still have communication (which is the internet and your smart phone).

See how that works?

Some folks (purists) will continue to argue the point and they will insist that if you’re online you’re not off grid. They also usually completely miss the point that they are arguing against being online and off grid WHILE THEY ARE ONLINE AND NOT OFF GRID! The irony of that is lost on them of course. They’re not even realizing they are purists and they’re pushing their own PERSONAL opinion and idea what THEY think off grid should be. They literally are making up their own definition of off grid living and trying to make everyone think the way they do.

So, yes! You can be off grid and online at the same time.

You could do a number of things to make a living off grid like my article 17 Ways To Make Money While Living Off Grid which gives you a list ideas on how to make money while living off grid.

This ongoing How To Make a Living Off Grid & Online series will go into detail about how to do it online. The series is ongoing and will continue to teach you how to make a living online from the comfort of your off grid home.

To make a living online and off grid, not just some extra cash, you need enough money to pay the bills, all the bills and ideally have some left over to have fun with. You also want to have enough money to not have to work 40, 50, 60 to 80 hours per week.

The goal here is to have the TIME to spend with your family and the money to be financially independent.

That’s what off grid living is about!

So lets get started.

First and foremost you need an internet connection, a smartphone, and a laptop or desktop computer. These are requirements to start. High speed internet is better and will allow you to get to work faster and is more efficient.

Find your niche! This is probably the most important part. Choosing the right niche (market industry) is vital to your success. If you choose a niche that’s too competitive it’ll be difficult to get started and break into that market and you may get discouraged. Choose your niche based on what you know and what you love.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s your passion? Find your passion. What is it you LOVE to do? Find something you love to do, something you’re good at. Something you know more about than most people. Then ask the next most important question.
    NOTE: Some business consultants will tell you NOT to pursue your passion. They’ll tell you not to pursue a business in your passion because your passion may not be marketable and you might get burned out and turn your passion into a bad thing. Don’t listen to these people because they do not have your best interests in mind. They failed. That’s why they say that. They are projecting their own failure on you. So realize that you MUST be passionate about what you do to stick with it. There is a point at which you must choose to stop if it’s not working of course…but that is a personal choice and if you recognize that time when it happens, that is a positive, not a negative. Don’t listen to people who would tell you otherwise.
  • Is it marketable? In other words. Do people want or need what you’re passionate about and can you sell it? You need to be able to sell your product or service whatever it is.
    NOTE: Don’t worry about selling if you’re scared of it or don’t want to be “pushy” or push your product or service on people. Instead, realize that there are MILLIONS of people out there that you can HELP find your product or service you offer. You are HELPING PEOPLE find what you have to offer. You’re not selling…you’re solving their problem. You’re helping them find what they need.
  • Next. You will need a domain name (this will be your brand) and a blog or website. This is not imperative but it helps. You can make a living online without actually having a website.

You need to figure out what you want to sell. Is it a product or service? Will you ship physical products or will you create downloadable content for your customers? Do you like arts and crafts? Do you make soap, bath and body or home and garden products? Do you have a recipe you’d like to share?

Do you want to make money online? In my years as an internet entrepreneur I’ve built and owned multiple successful eCommerce websites, blogs and online businesses.  I’ll go into brief detail about each one to give you some ideas on how you can do it too. These are in no particular order of importance, only the order at which they come to mind.

Let’s get started.

#1 Google Adsense(advertising) Work Level = 4 out of 5 stars – This method takes a good amount of time and effort to build your audience and drive traffic to your site unless you use Facebook and Google PPC advertising to drive traffic. You can also use social media to drive “free” traffic to your site.

You can make good money online with Google Adsense. If you don’t know what Adsense is it’s advertisements you can place on your blog or website. Google will then pay you each month. You’re paid money each month based on how many ad impressions and clicks you get on the ads. This means that the more traffic you get to your website or blog the more money you will make potentially. This is a great way to make a passive income. You can build a very nice monthly passive income with Google Adsense. It takes some work upfront and time building your blog, creating content, and driving traffic. If you focus on the long term and not just quick easy money then you can build a site or multiple blogs in multiple niches that will continue to generate a passive income for you every month. To do this focus on SEO (search engine optimization) for long term traffic. Write high quality content and create search engine friendly articles and news item and you’ll be rewarded with higher rank in search engines. This equates to more traffic long term and that translates to money in your bank account.

If you’re new to blogging you’ll need a way to get traffic to your blog. To start out getting free traffic to your blog

PRO TIP: Technically speaking there’s no such thing as “free” traffic because you either have to spend time or money to get it.

Adsense is more of a passive income than the other ways to make money listed here. It’s also more long term and niche specific. You’ll need to pick a niche, build your blog, create quality content, drive traffic, and have your ad placement setup to maximize your monthly revenue. In the long term this can make you a good passive income each and every month.

If you’re more of a risk taker you can drive traffic to your blog with PPC advertising through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and other social networks. In the beginning though I’d suggest just making posts, make videos on Youtube and put a link to your site in the description. Your primary goal is traffic because the more traffic you can drive to your site the more money your will make.

#2 Shopify & Amazon(eCommerce) Work Level = 3 out of 5 stars – This requires a significant amount of work to get up and running and to manage. You have to have good customer support, fast shipping times and be able to choose products that are sellable and profitable. eCommerce has the potential to make you a millionaire if you do it right. Follow those who are already successful, copy what they do, emulate them, sell and make sure your profit margins are high.

Shopify is an awesome eCommerce platform to generate income and you can do it without stocking inventory or shipping products if you use some of the drop shipping programs out there. Drop shipping is when an order fulfillment company ships your customers orders to them rather than you buying and stocking inventory yourself. There are some drawbacks to this model, but many online entrepreneurs are using drop shipping to make $10k, $100k, and $1 million dollars per month in sales. Oberlo is a drop shipping service that works with Shopify as a plugin App. It allows you to choose products that are drop shipped direct from China to your customer. You don’t have to order or stock inventory yourself. You simply pick the products you want to sell, click a few buttons and the product is automatically added to your Shopify store. This frees you up to advertise and drive traffic to your store allowing you to focus your effort on sales.

You can also order product yourself from Alibaba.com. You can ship it yourself and handle all the orders yourself. But why would you do that unless you just want to control everything? This does make sense as you scale your eCommerce biz because there’s only so much you can outsource to other businesses to get the job done. Outsourcing the work can get expensive though and that cuts into your bottom line, but it’s much cheaper and more cost efficient than warehousing and shipping the products yourself.

There is a 3rd option. Starting an Amazon store and using Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). I haven’t used this service yet but have 2 websites (businesses) that I will be switching over to Amazon FBA service. Amazon has perfected eCommerce, namely the logistics involved in getting product to the customer. They are the best in the world in my opinion. Jeff Bezoz, the founder of Amazon, is the richest man in the world so it’s clear that Amazon knows what they’re doing when it comes to logistics. Amazon has it’s own eCommerce platform and will ship products for you. It’s an all in one service. All you have to do is source the products from China, manufacture them yourself, ship them to Amazon and focus your efforts on driving traffic and customers to your store.

I’ve made over $300 a day in sales using Shopify and I love it. But what most people won’t tell you is that that $300 though isn’t $300 in profit. It’s $300 in gross sales. This is the number that most Shopify store owners won’t tell you. You can make good money on Shopify. People have become millionaires by selling products on Shopify that they sources from Alibaba and AliExpress. These are like China’s version of Amazon and Ebay. Oberlo is a drop shipping App that works seamlessly with Shopify to help you add and manage products in your store. When you sell a product you simply process the order through Oberlo and it ships from China to your customer.

A word of advice. If you’re using Shopify and Oberlo just know that you really need to pay attention to shipping costs, fees, and methods. To make a profit you ideally need to pick products with a 3X to 10X markup. Otherwise you may lose money. I’m not saying this to discourage you, I’m just being real. be smart. Make sure your profits are high enough to make the work and effort you put it worth it.

Check out Tanner J Fox on Youtube….he does an awesome job selling on both Shopify and Amazon. He’s a 21 year old millionaire! He knows what he’s doing when it comes to eCommerce. He’s proof that it’s possible to become a millionaire by setting up your own eCommerce store.

I’d like to tell you I’m a millionaire from selling on Amazon and Shopify. I’m not. Yet. I’m on my way to becoming a multimillionaire this year however.

I’m at 6 figures now and on my way to multi 7 figure income in the coming year.

You can start for very little money upfront and the rewards are high.

PRO TIP: Choose products with a 3X to 10X markup! Don’t pick products with low margins. You need enough room to make it profitable. 3X is good, 10X is better!

PRO TIP:
Choose Passion Products – Make sure you choose products that OTHER PEOPLE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT! Don’t choose products you like. This is probably one of the single biggest mistakes new eCommerce store owners make. They choose products based on their likes and they wonder why they have no sales. Always choose products based on the market and what other people are passionate about.

#3 Digital Products (i.e. eBooks and digital magazines, members only content) Work Level = 3 out of 5 stars 

This is how I make a large portion of my income. By creating digital products and selling them, either downloads or selling access to the content. It’s not a passive income but the profit margin on a digital product makes it well worth the time and effort to create quality digital products to sell.

You can also create your own affiliate program so other affiliate marketers can sell your digital products as well by publishing your digital content on Amazon and Clickbank. Both platforms allow marketers to sign up and sell your content and you pay the marketer a commission on each sale. This helps free you up to create more content and focus on sales.

BONUS #1 – Membership Sites

This is similar to the digital content income stream but content is behind a paywall rather than a download and it’s published on a members only site or within a members only area on your blog. You can have a public blog with free content which is optimized for high ranking in the search engines with a way to capture email addresses and build your email list, and then you can have a members only area which you charge a monthly subscription fee to access.

BONUS #2 – Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is simply when you sell other people’s products and services and get paid a commission for each sale, lead, or email list sign up etc. Amazon and Clickbank and the largest and most notable affiliate programs and affiliate services online.

Thanks for reading. If you like this article, sign up for my newsletter for notifications when I publish new content.

Urban Farming Takes To The Rooftops

With more focus being put on nutrition, fresh food, and supplying food to urban areas that often have large areas that qualify as “food deserts”(an area where grocery stores and access to fresh produce and meat is limited or otherwise restricted, often leaving convenience stores as the main source for grocery shopping), there has been a lot of effort put into the idea of urban farming. Often times one of the problems with urban farming is simply finding the space in which to plant to the crops to begin with.  Aside from empty lots, which may or may not be tied up in tax issues, or have owners who have other plans, one of the few spaces available in urban areas are the rooftops.



Urban gardens have been turning up on rooftops all over. Companies, hospitals, and other groups who have an interest in giving back to their communities have started to turn their roofs into gardens and greenhouses to try and provide at least some nutritional support to these in need. In Cities across the U.S. there are some rather impressive rooftop urban farms, the largest of which is in Chicago, covering an impressive 75,000 sq feet and producing around 10 million heads of greens and herbs per year. In Boston, another urban farm on the roof of the Boston Medical Center, not only produces fresh vegetables, but also has 2 beehives that produce honey.

Other urban farming techniques have a more direct benefit to those who want to go off grid. Methods like vertical farming can be applied almost anywhere and can still produce food even with fewer resources, light, and have faster turnarounds than traditional farming methods.

Amazing Real Life “Hobbit Holes”, Can Be Built In As Little As 3 Days!

Given the amount of money they made, it is safe to say that many of you reading this probably have seen either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings movies, or read the books on which they were based. One of the more memorable visuals is actually something that can be built in the real world, and with today’s technology, it can be done in a few days with just a handful of people without the need for specialized skills or training. I’m talking about the “Hobbit Holes” of course, the little homes of the Hobbits on the Shire. These homes are typically buried, at least partially, underground and blend in and compliment their natural surroundings.

Image Credit: <a href="https://compassgreen.com/">Compass Green</a> https://compassgreen.com/
Image Credit: Compass Green https://compassgreen.com/

While the movies are fictional, the style of homes we’re discussing are very much real, and have been around for ages. One company that is bringing them into the real world is Green Magic Homes, or Compass Green in the U.S. and Canada, and they utilize modular designs that can be assembled into fully functional housing in about 3 days depending on the size and layout you choose. Once constructed, they are then covered with soil, which then acts to insulate the structure, keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This also gives you the ability to have a living roof, which you can leave as basic grass, or turn into a garden that you can use to help provide fresh vegetables, even if you don’t have much more property outside of your housing footprint.

Their designs can save up to 80% on the typical heating and cooling bills, and because they are built with nature in mind, they are also beautiful in their design and practical in their use. By using a modular construction method, they can even be expanded on in the future if you find that you need more space, just as you might build an addition to a more traditional style house. Also, because they are essentially dome structures, they are extremely strong and can hold up to almost any environment, which makes them ideal for those who are thinking of going off grid and away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Compass Green has a variety of designs, and they even design and manufacture underground shelters as well. These can be a necessity if you live in an area of the country that is prone to violent weather events, like tornadoes or as piece of mind as a shelter in uncertain times. For more information you can check out their webpage (linked above) or their Facebook page here. 

Awesome 800sqft 3D Printed Home Can Be Constructed For Only $4k

How do you build a 2 bedroom, 800 square-foot, energy efficient house that can withstand severe storms and that costs only $4,000? That’s a tough one, oh, and you only have 24 hours to do it! Say what? That’s impossible! Well, my friend, welcome to the 21st century: the age of the 3D printer.

Image Courtesy of FastCompany

Just imagine: a home in a day, a neighborhood in a week, a community in a month, and entire city in a year! These homes may not look like much, but with this technology, a fresh design in every lot is just a print-file away. For the people of El Salvador, who live on less than $2 a day and where a strong gust of wind can leave you homeless, this technology is literally a life saver. But these homes could be used by everyone, and for $100,000 per printer and $4,000 per home, a rich Silicon Valley mogul could sell his extra two Tesla Roadsters and take a bite out of the homeless problems of his area that he likes to complain about over $25 lattes.

Image Courtesy of FastCompany

Additive manufacturing, or 3D-printing, has made great in-roads over the last decade, and this isn’t the first 3D-printed house that has made the rounds on-line, but the more of these projects we see, the closer the technology comes to becoming mainstream. Additive manufacturing allows you to get into places that are difficult to reach with large quantities of bricks and lumber and allows you to diversify your building materials to include what is available on-site. A clever enough design might even be able to build homes inside caves or into the side of a cliff

Image Courtest of IFLScience.

Imagine even having a portable system that you could carry into the wilderness and print a temporary-yet-comfortable shelter out of mud. You pack it in, set it up, mix up some mud and make a little mud-igloo that will eventually erode and wash away after you are long-gone.

Amazing Off Grid Tiny House Has Everything You Need

In the beginning…

Paul and Annet lived the big city life in Sydney before deciding to say “See ya Sydney!” and move on up to Byron Shire. They stayed with friends at first, but eventually found a small studio cabin that they used as a home base for starting their off-grid adventure. They didn’t start with much, a trailer, a frame, and a dream, but they ended up living a healthier, happier, zero-emission lifestyle. Paul works from home as a remote IT contractor and Annett found work in-town, so the two get to live their quiet off-grid lifestyle without much worry about their bank account.

Image Courtesy of LivingTinyandGreen.Com

Location

At the tip of New South Wales, Australia, about 100 miles south of Brisbane on the M1 along the Gold Coast lies the town of Byron Bay in the Byron Shire.

Image Courtesy of WikiMedia.

Space

Just inland from this coastal paradise, you’ll find Paul and Annett living tiny and green in their 206sqft tiny home built on a trailer so that it’s portable and meets NSW regulations for towable trailers, thus keeping it mobile when needed.

Image Courtesy of LivingTinyandGreen.Com

Energy

Image Courtesy of LivingTinyAndGreen.Com
Image Courtesy of LivingTinyandGreen.Com

 

 

 

 

 

This tiny home uses a 1.86kW solar panel and battery array for electrical appliances from Aussie Batteries, and a biogas digester by Homebiogas unit to generate biogas for use in cooking in their tiny modern kitchen.

Image Courtesy of LivingTinyandGreen.Com

Water

For water, Paul and Annett went with a 10,000L water tank attached to their rain gutters for rain capture.

Image Courtesy of LivingTinyandGreen.Com

Comfort

Image Courtesy of LivingBigInATinyHouse.com

You’ll find just about every creature comfort in this tiny trailer home. From a home office to a bedroom loft, all the comforts of a 1500sqft home have been condensed into a 200sqft space. Sound a bit cramped? Well, step outside…

Room enough for ya? (Image Courtesy of LivingTinyandGreen.Com)

Plenty of space for you and the sky.

 

How to Go Solar with your Off Grid Cabin

So you’ve built a tidy little 250sqft Cabin in the woods and now you’re stuck indoors, in the dark, because it’d cold, and rainy and man you could kill for some Game of Thrones right about now. Well, welcome to the 21st century where you can not only have cake, but you are fully expected to eat it. And with solar panels sitting right around $1 per watt, you can stack up the wattage without sacrificing that 85″, 4k, 240hz, curved, OLED TV that you figure would look great covering your north wall.

But how do you do it? It’d be nice if you could just have a couple of solar panels delivered by drone from Amazon and then screw them into your roof and plug in your TV, but there is some planning involved and we’re going to help you get started. First, you need to know how much juice you’re going to need. This can be tricky, because you’re probably used to all the power hungry appliances that you use in your On-Grid House and you might want to take a step back and think about what you really need or which appliances come in more more efficient options.

Don’t worry, TVs these days tend to draw very little power related to other things you’ll need, so we don’t have to downsize your boob-tube just yet.

The most power hungry appliances in your house are going to revolve around heating and cooling. Generating heat and taking heat away requires a lot of energy, but they’re also the easiest places to save energy or use other forms of energy to produce. If you have a propane tank, you can handle most of your heating and cooking needs outside your solar installation, but if you’d rather not deal with gas, you’ll need to figure out how to cook, heat water, and warm your house all with the minimal amount of electricity. If you live somewhere cold, then heating is going to be your big issue. A 250 to 300 sqft cabin is going to take about 1500W or 5200BTUs to heat using your average, run of the mill space heater on 110v. That’s like 15, 100W solar panels just to keep your toes warm let alone while you’re watching TV!

Rinnai Boiler: https://amzn.to/2HQ84SS

There are some 400W options in the form of smaller heaters or wall mounted ceramic panels that promise to warm up a 200 sqft room, but truth be told, you’re probably better off finding a non-electric way to heat your cabin unless you have a lot of room for solar panels. Probably the best thing to do would be to invest in a propane condensing boiler. This will not only heat your water, but you can run the water lines under your floor-boards and keep the entire cabin warm and toasty. Ceramic Wall Heater: https://amzn.to/2JUfAIY

If you live somewhere with hot summers, you really need to solve your cooling issues. Hopefully you’ve built some passive cooling into your cabin design, but you’ll probably still need an AC system for those high triple digits. With a 250 sqft cabin, you’ll need a 8,000 to 10,000 BTU AC unit and this will run you about 1000 to 1500 watts much like your heater. If you live in a relatively dry environment, an evaporative cooler can provide comfort while reducing energy usage. If your dewpoint is over 60-70 degreed Fahrenheit and your humidity is high, then evaporative cooling isn’t for you.

Now, the fun stuff, cooking! Here, you really need to think about what kind of chef you are. A single hotplate runs anywhere from 750W to 1800W for induction cooking. A dinky 7″ electric skillet will suck down 600W of electricity. A Toaster or a toaster oven will draw from 900W to 1000W of electricity and even your humble Microwave runs at 600W to 1000W. The one cooking device, however, that seems to provide the lowest amount of concurrent energy usage while providing tasty meals is the slow cooker. Small slow cookers (.7L) can use small 70W heating elements and provide stew for two but even those monster 6quart units only use an upwards of 250W at one time and even less if you use the low setting, which is great for tender roasts. Slow cookers can cook meatloaf, bread, tamales, anything that you can be patient for, and, let’s face it, you didn’t build that Off Grid cabin for the busy lifestyle. Now, obviously, in the long run, a slow cooker tends to take more electricity overall because you’re running it longer, but you’re not worried about TOTAL electricity used, you’re worried about how much you can run at one time. And, as a bonus, the heat from the slow cooker will warm up your cabin in the colder months, though that’s not so good for the warm months. In that case, you should be cooking outdoors more often, or eating cold meals. Poké bowls in the summertime are great!

The next thing we have to worry about is keeping our food fresh. Large refrigerators suck a lot of energy but there are refrigerator/freezer combos that use as little as 80 watts! They are small though, only about 3.1cuft, but if you can reduce what you actually need to keep cool, then you’ll be fine. Vegetables and eggs generally don’t need to be refrigerated (just ask the brits!) and keeping an overall low stock of perishables will reduce your need for cold storage. If you gotta have meat though and you buy it in bulk or need to keep it fresh on the hunt, save your watts for a decent deep freeze freezer which usually runs about 500W.

And, of course, you gotta be able to see. Fortunately, lighting has become so energy efficient that you won’t even waste half a solar panel on this subject. However, it’s time we start talking about 12v DC vs 110V AC. The things you plug in around your house are generally 110V AC, the things you plug into your car are generally 12V DC. DC has an advantage over AC when you start talking about solar panels because solar panels operate on DC power. AC requires an inverter, and a good one at that. All of your typical home solar installations involve the use of a hefty inverter to provide the proper conversion, but there are drawbacks. Inverters use up some of that precious energy that you’re trying to save with energy efficiency and, chances are, most of the electronics you use (laptop, cell phone, personal massager) run on DC electricty. DC has drawbacks too though. The voltage drop is higher for DC the longer your wires are, which is why AC was the electrical delivery system of choice a hundred years ago. However, most off grid solar aficionados tend to agree that a split system is the way to go. They run 12V for their lighting and small electronics and run an inverter for the big appliances and devices that don’t have affordable DC options.

One nice thing about 12v systems is that RVs run mostly on 12v, so there are a lot of decorative lighting and appliance options for RVs that would work great on 12v in your cabin. They aren’t cheap though, and most of the lighting solutions, while decorative, are overpriced and use garish 6000k temperature LEDs. I recommend figuring out a lighting solution that’s closer to 2700K or 3000k, or more “warm” as this reduces your exposure to blue light and provides a more cozy environment. LED lighting has come a long way in the last ten years and LED bulbs these days are magnificent. The “vintage” or “Edison” style bulbs are the most attractive on the market and they make several varieties for 12v systems. The catch here is though that these use standard light bulb bases and most standard bases (A.k.a. medium bases) don’t exist in a 12v fixture. Worry not however! It’s easy to convert a 110v lamp into a 12v lamp! All you do is ignore the ground wire and wire your black and white wires into your 12v system! Now, if you do this, your fixture will only work with 12v bulbs, but the selection available is immense. Now, if you need to convert a torchiere or desk lamp with a dual prong plug then you’ll need to either cut the end off and wire it directly, or wire yourself a NEMA-5-15R outlet in a special color so that you can tell the difference between your systems

Reference Links:

http://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html
Newpowa 100w 12v Panel: https://amzn.to/2JPsdF5
Newpowa 150w 12v Panel: https://amzn.to/2KBtd0Q
ALLPOWERS 20A Solar Charge Controller: https://amzn.to/2HSxiA9
Standard Base A19 12v LEDs: https://amzn.to/2JUt738

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