Off Grid Community

2880sqft 25k Shipping Container Home
A shipping container home could be implemented in lieu of a traditional stick built house.


Pilot Project: The “Off Grid Community Project” is the first stage of a multi-stage project which if successful could expand into a small self-sustaining community.

Concept: Build a sustainable living self sufficient off-the-grid home system, which anyone can build for less than $100k, and open source the plans to the world. An “affordable” 1500-2500sq ft Open Sourced natural material home, greenhouse, 5kw wind turbine, and a 5kw solar array, for less than $100k (Crowdsourced Home & Community Building)


Off Grid Community

THE PROBLEM: All over the world people cannot afford to live  sustainably much less comfortably. They cannot afford to buy a home, land, and the needed technology to make themselves and their families self-sufficient. Most people, if they are able to find employment, spend most of their time working just to pay bills, and can barely keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.

THE SOLUTION: The idea is simple.

The idea isn’t just to build a house on a piece of land, but rather a whole system whereby a reasonable sized family can live comfortably, producing their own food and energy enabling them to become self-sufficient.  This also has the added benefit of contributing food and energy to the community as well. The energy efficient system is designed to combine current off the shelf technology which is proven and affordable, creating a hybrid system of living which provides the necessities comforts and some of the luxuries of traditional homes.

By combining proven technologies the learning curve isn’t as great a hurdle, and you remove the troublesome burden of “reinventing the wheel”. Innovation can come “after” the system is built and there is time to think and ponder on how to improve the system. People need a place to live and call home. Once they have that, they can think about the future. Securing themselves and their families first, making sure things are provided for their loved ones and themselves. The greatest part about this “off-the-shelf- hybrid system, is it will work. ALL technologies have been proven, tested, and people use them every day. The only difference is this idea is combining current technologies to form a completely self sufficient and extensive living system.

  • 100% Natural and Recycled materials
  • 100% Off The Grid sustainable living
  • 100% “Green” Ecofriendly Construction
  • Either earthen structure, strawbale, cob, rammed earth, bamboo, compressed earth block, etc.
  • Equip with 5-10kw wind turbine
  • Equip with 5-10kw solar array
  • Greenhouse: 1000-1500 square foot greenhouse for growing organic food year round, regardless of climate, or location.
  • Materials & Design – Strawbales, Mud Plaster, CEB (compressed earth brick) and/or, Soy and Corn based building materials, Recycled materials, Bamboo, etc.
  • Open Source Technologies: House will be built using 100% Open Source technology
  • BUILD IT FOR LESS THAN $100k – Including land, time, labor, equipment, permitting, and materials.
  • Create a design that can be implemented for $50k complete with land and materials.
  • Brainstorm about ways to do it for $25k or less
  • Perhaps use Cargo Containers and Strawbale for the building. This really lowers costs and provides insulation in cold or hot environments.
UPDATE: Recycled Shipping Containers make great homes, are safe and secure, and are readily available very inexpensively.

HOME: 320-2500 square foot home. Depending on material costs.

GREENHOUSE: For growing produce for consumption and for sale at local community farmers market.


  • 5kw Wind Turbine: Produces enough electricity to power a small home
  • 5kw Solar Panel Array: Produces enough electricity to power a small home

Participants & Building: The home will be built using mostly volunteer time, labor, equipment.

Partner with Manufacturers for discounted/free Building Materials: 

Materials could be purchased at cost (or free)  from ECOFRIENDLY MATERIAL MANUFACTURERS in exchange for their “partnership”. Benefits include, becoming part of the “Open Source Home Project Team”, recognition of their giving on their own product page on this website, promoting their business, free publicity/advertising/exposure for their company, their participation helps to create a new kind of sustainable home system.

  • Increase their company’s visibility
  • Creates interest in their products and services
  • Investment in the betterment of humanity, education, lifestyle, and progress
  • Enhancement of business image
  • Increased advertising opportunity
  • Demonstrates concern for community issues

Open Sourced!

House(s) would be built using as much open sourced labor, equipment, technology and software as possible.

  • Open Source Home System
  • Open Source Architecture
  • Open Source Design
  • Open Source Agriculture

Model Sold: When complete the house would be placed on the market and sold at near market value.

Profit Sharing: Profits (if any) would be split with the whole team.


Phase I: Green Architecture Design Contest ($ prize)
Phase II: Design Selection & Modification
Phase III: Recruitment & Planning
Phase IV: Permitting
Phase V: The Build
Phase VI: The Sale
Phase VII: The Share (profit share or forming of residential/agricultural co-op)


  • Shipping Container Homes
  • Geodesic Domes Houses
  • Compressed Earth Brick
  • Rammed Earth
  • Straw Bale
  • Cob
  • Bamboo


Stage 2: After the pilot “Open Source Home Project”


Off Grid Community

This is a simple 3D model of the concept of the open community project. This is a agriculture co-op community, using the above Open Source Home Projectsystem, and expanding it into a full community farm project where residents are also owners in the farm and share in the proceeds of the farm revenue. It also doubles as a farmers market on weekends to provide revenue for community families.

2880sqft 25k Shipping Container Home
A shipping container home could be implemented in lieu of a traditional stick built house.

Off Grid Cabin

Since this is a co-op business, those families would be part owners in the residential/agriculture co-op which will function similarly to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm.

A Hybrid Cooperative Farm/Community: The entire project is designed with community in mind. From residential, to agricultural, to business the entire concept is an energy efficient and all “units” function as a whole. Each home system acts as energy/food producers.

Cooperative Machine: It’s basically a bioecomachine generator, powering the farm through the cooperative sharing of energy produced by the home “units” which produce about 5-7 kilowatts of electricity per hour through the wind/solar 10kw power system. The average home in the United States uses about 1500 kilowatts of power each month.

SOLAR POWER SYSTEM: There are 32 home systems. This equates to a whole system which will generate (at peak) approximately 160 kilowatts per hour at 50% efficiency. The community will be built in Southern California which has an average of 6 hours of good sunlight per day. On less sunny days, winds pick up, and the 5kw Wind Turbine will supplement energy generation.

  • 32 home systems x 5kw = 160 kw per hour
  • 6 hours x 160 kw per hour (at peak) = 960 kilowatts of electricity generation per day
  • 960 kilowatts per day x 30 days = 28,800 kilowatts of electricity generation per month

If you want to take it further, or think this isn’t enough power for 32 homes, keep in mind 33% of the time homes will probably be vacant because families will be out and about. That is 9504 kilowatts of electricity per month that can run the farm while houses are not in use.

This system (at roughly 50% efficiency) should produce ~960kw per day for the entire farm/community during daylight hours.

WIND POWER SYSTEM: Wind blows approximately 50% of the time in Southern California.

  • 24 hours per day x 30 days = 720 hours per month / 2 = 360 hours of run time
  • Figure 50% efficiency which cuts that number down to 180 hours of wind/generation time.
  • 180 hours x 5kw = 900 kilowatts of power per month per unit
  • 32 home systems x 900 kilowatts = 27,000 kilowatts per month

GREENHOUSE SYSTEM: There are 32 greenhouses on 32 lots. Each greenhouse is at least 1000-1200 square feet. This means there is 32,000-38,400 square feet of grow space to produce organic food crops, and specialty herbs, spices, and even include a small aquaponics system if homeowner chooses.

The idea of course is a completely modular system which allows home owner/community member to become 100% self-sufficient, as well as produce food. Excesses can be sold at market.

WATER SYSTEM: Water could be produced by a community well, and/or a combination of water collection system, lake/pond and individual water collection.

ATMOSPHERIC WATER GENERATOR: Water production can also be supplemented by individual atmospheric water generators.

A water generator is a simple system which combines off the shelf technology (refrigerator) some copper tubing, vegetable oil, a charcoal filter, and two small DC water pumps to produce water through a condensation method, and collects the water in sterilized water tanks. All parts should cost less than $1000 to build the unit. We’ll also store water in large tanks and/or reservoirs located throughout the community.

Atmospheric Water Generator


Off Grid Community Project


Stage 3: After the pilot “Open Source Community Farm Project”





Here is a list of resource links relating to green technology and open source information.

Open Source:



Sustainable Living:

Open Source Ecology:

Global Village Construction Set:



Shipping Container Architecture:


Shelter Forums – Natural Building Forum:

Strawbale Construction:

Shipping Container Seller #1:

Shipping Container Seller #2:

Green Wiki:

Removing Institutional Barriers to Sustainability:

Community Supported Agriculture:

Natural Building:


Off The Grid:

Self Sufficiency:

In-Situ Resource Utilization:

DIY Ethic:


Build Out:

Open Source Home Design Competition:

Green Power Science:

Open Structures:

How to build an Open Source Community:

Design Ideas Daily:


Bio Plastics:

Bio Plastic Products:

Algae Biofuel VIDEO:

Algae Biofuel:

Algae fuel:


Vertical Farming:

Solar Bottle Lights:

Compressed Earth Block:





Factor e Farm Infrastructure Buildout 2011:

Factor e Farm: