We take a look at the top ten sustainable, off-grid homes from around the world, assessing the design and build of each structure, and learning how we can all be more resourceful, and reduce our impact on the planet.
Although living off-grid can be challenging and requires an environmental learning curve, it can have numerous positive benefits like conserving energy, reducing living costs, and helping people feel more connected to nature.
Which is your favourite off-grid home?
Ruin Studio – Scotland
Using the foundations and ruined stonework of an old farmhouse, the house builds upon the architecture already in place with a pitched black rubber roof. Relying on solar power and with the water coming through pipework from a local farm, the building was built to neat passivhaus standards.
Bruny Island Cabin – Tasmania
Off the Southeastern coast of Tasmania, the architects designed the building as if it were a “piece of furniture”, blending minimalist design with the wooden furniture of the building.
Floating Home – Canada
Situated on a lake, and built as a studio for an artist. The home has been continually extended and improved, using nearly all second hand materials, except for ceiling joists. The home uses solar energy to power two 6v batteries, as well using propane for the stove, and filtering its own rain water supply.
Summit Prairie – Oregon, USA
Built in 2009 and designed to look like an observation tower from the US Forest Service. Has 360 degree views of the surrounding Umpqua national forest, the building also features an outdoor shower and wood-fired spring fed hot tub.
Dusky Parakeet Houseboat – London
Built as a fully movable houseboat, the boat is fully off-grid, with a 500 litre water tank, solar panels and a gas-incinerating toilet. The doors and work surfaces of the boat are made from recycled yoghurt pots, yet resemble marble worktops. With hidden storage around the boat it benefits from living and kitchen space, as well as the bedroom and shower room.
The Stamp House – Australia
Located in North Queensland, the architecture of the building is designed to be able to withstand a category 5 hurricane, so the building doubles as a home and hurricane shelter. Drawing power from both a rooftop solar array as well as a backup solar generator, the building also hosts a water harvesting system that can draw up to 250,000 litres of water for home use or for irrigation.
Mountain Home – California
Built by a professional snowboarder in the mountains near Truckee, California. The home is built to the golden ratio and is pentagonal shaped, made from local rock and wood. The running water comes from a nearby creek that runs through the property, and the home is heated by a wood-burning stove.
House of the Big Arch – South Africa
Built within a nature reserve in the Waterberg mountains, the home is designed to blend in with the natural landscape, and was 3D planned to make sure that it could fit between the trees that already sat on the location, so as not to harm them.
Woodman’s Cabin – Scotland
Located in the Cairngorms National Park this wooden cabin is made from 260 year-old Scots Pine, recycled from the location they fell. Featuring rain water collecting barrels, as well as a bush shower, the only modern features the cabin has are solar panels powering two electric lights. With a composting toilet as well as gas powered stove, there is no fridge, only a cooler box located in a nearby stream.
Earthship Ironbank – Australia
This unique building sits about 40 minutes from Adelaide, Australia, and is an ongoing project in sustainability, studying the efficiency of energy and water, and how they work within our climate.
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