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I'm Building An Off-Grid Community (update 1): Tiny-Home Living

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posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 09:08 AM
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originally posted by: InTheLight
a reply to: Ghost147

They need not buy stuff, but rather travel, continuous education, donate, ... enrichment of life.



Ah yes, I see what you mean. Non-materialistic expenses. It would be interesting to find out the average minimalists spending on an annual basis.




posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 09:22 AM
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originally posted by: Ghost147

originally posted by: InTheLight
a reply to: Ghost147

They need not buy stuff, but rather travel, continuous education, donate, ... enrichment of life.



Ah yes, I see what you mean. Non-materialistic expenses. It would be interesting to find out the average minimalists spending on an annual basis.


Yes, it is an interesting thought as well these life enrichment pursuits also stimulate economic growth in varying sectors of society.



posted on Oct, 22 2015 @ 03:07 PM
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I live in Finland and the winters get pretty harsh here at times (down to -30F). I live in 500sq foot house alone and have implemented most of the following in my house and garden. I don't know how cold it gets where you are at there in Canada, but you could consider the following if you have not already.

1) Heating. Get a proper fireplace, not a standard one, the heavier the better (4000lbs is good). Materials like soapstone retain a lot of heat and release it slowly. Here is an example. The said fireplaces can be had with an oven for baking or making pot roast.

Build a massive chimney, it will help retain the heat. Have double dampers installed to avoid waste heat escaping via the chimney once the fire has burnt down. Learn to use the dampers, so as not to kill yourself with carbon monoxide poisoning. :-)

2) insulation. Like someone mentioned earlier in the thread, a log cabin is good but not perfect. Fiberglass or similar with thickness of minimum 8" for walls will do the trick. You need up to 2 feet for the roof. Better materials, like polyurethane and you can go with smaller thickness.

3) Windows. Triple glass windows, if sealed and gas filled, the better.

4) Digging the house into a hillside will help with cooling and heating. Just make sure the groundwork is sound with proper drainage and insulation from moisture.

5) For additional heating and cooling, invest in an air-source heat pump or even better, a geothermal one. The geothermal ones can be installed in drilled wells vertically or horizontally underground (perform best in clay based soil with depths up to 6 feet) or even laid at the bottom of a lake (cheapest option).

6) For hot water, invest in a fireplace with an integrated heat exchanger that can be connected to the same circuit with the geothermal heat pump and a rooftop solar collector. It is a good idea to have a valves installed to disable parts of the heating circuit when not in use (rooftop solar does not work in winter, geothermal might be cooling in summer and fireplace not in use).

7) Build a proper cellar to preserve your food. Build on the north face of hill or any other cool and shady spot to store your food in summer and over the winter. Learn to conserve food by sealing hermetically, smoking, fermenting and preserving in salt.

8) As mentioned earlier as well, a rock well is a must if living off grid. I have two, a rock well and a bore well.

9) Ventilation. Wind assisted ( a turbine looking thing atop a chimney ) through a separate channel in your chimney for proper draft. The taller the chimney the better.

10) Forget modern luxuries like dishwashers etc.

I hope this helps a little with planning.
edit on 22-10-2015 by TatTvamAsi because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 12:26 PM
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a reply to: TatTvamAsi

Thanks for the tips! We've already took into consideration much of what you listed. Here is what we have planned so far (subject to change)

1) Where I live now it can get to -50c a few times per winter, and then +35c in the summers. Where we will be making the community it shouldn't get more than -25c in the winters as an extreme, and +30c in the summers. Either way, we were going to implement main heating systems, and several back up systems.

I don't quite remember if i go into detail on the matter in the original topic (linked in the OP), but essentially we're going to be mainly running off of compost heating designs; which run through the floors of the houses. With the first additional heating being a wood-burning boiler, and a third emergency heating system being a simple wood burner in each home.

2) We're still trying to find out what we want to do for insulation, but we want to stay away from fiberglass for various reasons. We'll likely go with denim insulation or the poly spray foam insulation.

3) I'm pretty sure (but not totally sure) that all new buildings in Canada need triple pane glass. Even if they didn't, we're definitely going to be using them to save energy.

4) At first we considered this, but I'm fairly certain that in Canada you need a lot of permits/engineers/architects to allow the house to be insurable. Our Ideal location would have rolling hills in it, and we aren't opposed to making further structures along these concepts in the future. For cost matters at this time, we'll be stuck with above-ground buildings.

5) I really like the idea of geothermal heating, but last time I checked it was quite expensive. something like $50,000 or so. That, evidently, is also a thing we cannot do ourselves (to our knowledge). So it is out of the budget for now, but again, something we can look more closely at in the future, or if the cost changes dramatically by the time we build.

6) Water heating is still up in the air for us. We are trying to figure out exactly how much power we are going to run off, and honestly, our best option may simply be to have a electric, tankless water heater. Of course, those are all great suggestions, so we may eventually consider one of those an an alternative.

7) This is something I'm very interested, but don't really know where to get great sources to both share all the information as well as keep it very cost-effective. This is definitely something we'd like to implement in the community as soon as possible.

8) This is something I haven't done much research on yet, but I completely agree. We are going to build in an area with a lot of rain, so fortunately we can get much of our water simply from that. But, yes, this is definitely something we'll have to put more research in to.

9) Ventilation will be a big part of the house design we will eventually go with, and also the location of the houses as well. It's definitely a matter we're taking into great consideration when building

10) Hah, dishwashers. Yes, when building tiny, those things are going to be one of the things to get hit by the biggest impact. We actually don't have a dishwasher now, so I'm not too concerned about that. This aspect about going tiny is very subjective to the individual. some people aren't big on cooking, so they likely won't have that big of a kitchen, some are the opposite, some have a lot of stuff they feel they simply can't live without, so they'll need more storage space, some are the opposite.

For us, we don't need much sleeping space at all, but the kitchen is an important part of what our end design will incorporate. We'll likely have a full sized fridge and stove, but the sink and obviously dishwasher aren't too important to us.

Again, thanks for the suggestions! We're definitely going to look more into many of them.



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 02:57 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Here you can also get a type of shredded newspaper insulation that is really cheap and good, I've got 2 feet in my attic atop the original sawdust.

Geothermal is really expensive with a bore well. If you dig the trenches for the pipes yourselves you can get it probably under half price. Still expensive, but worth it.

I cast my cellar from concrete, collected the inside stone lining from neighbors and a couple of farmers. They were really happy to get rid of the stones!



posted on Oct, 23 2015 @ 03:55 PM
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originally posted by: TatTvamAsi
a reply to: Ghost147

Here you can also get a type of shredded newspaper insulation that is really cheap and good, I've got 2 feet in my attic atop the original sawdust.

Geothermal is really expensive with a bore well. If you dig the trenches for the pipes yourselves you can get it probably under half price. Still expensive, but worth it.

I cast my cellar from concrete, collected the inside stone lining from neighbors and a couple of farmers. They were really happy to get rid of the stones!


I've seen the shredded newspaper insulation before, but every time someone is renovating and they have had that insulation, it seems like it's just piled up and sunken down covering only maybe 1/10 of the wall



posted on Oct, 26 2015 @ 08:49 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

Hey totally cool! Glad I decided to check out this forum. I'm thinking of doing the same thing with a container home, looking at some land in deep BC. Where are you located? er../ I guess that info is probably in the thread you linked



posted on Oct, 26 2015 @ 08:51 PM
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a reply to: FlySolo

It is in the thread I linked in the OP. Thanks for the best wishes!



posted on Oct, 26 2015 @ 09:26 PM
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a reply to: Ghost147

yeah, central bc eh? I'll be reading through your threads



posted on Oct, 26 2015 @ 09:34 PM
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I just have to share this



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 12:17 PM
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originally posted by: Ghost147
I've seen the shredded newspaper insulation before, but every time someone is renovating and they have had that insulation, it seems like it's just piled up and sunken down covering only maybe 1/10 of the wall


This insulation is new, you won't find it ( here at least ) in houses being renovated. It's really finely shredded (recycled cellulose fiber to be exact), you can make 'snowballs' out of it. It can even be sprayed on walls Link (Sorry, only finnish). Of course it also sinks somewhat with time but you are supposed to make 'cassettes' in the walls that are open to the attic (1) and pile some on top the open end for sinkage replacement. Just like they did when sawdust was used for the same purpose back in the years. My house is from the fifties and made with sawdust insulation. It had sunk especially wallside, so I sprayed this new stuff myself on top of it,. You can rent the blower machine at the local hardware shop.

I also checked the geothermal systems over here. Not that costly anymore, typical system 15-25 thousand euros with a bore hole and heating systems installed, tested and old stuff dismantled and taken away. They say the system pays itself back in saved heating costs in 7 years.

1) BTW, link video does not have such cassettes, why would they spray, when you could drop it in from the attic once the interior walls were completed. I don't agree with this building style.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 12:56 PM
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originally posted by: TatTvamAsi
Just like they did when sawdust was used for the same purpose back in the years.


Hmmm, maybe it was sawdust that I was thinking of. I'm not quite sure what has a better R-Value though, the Denim or the newspaper insulation


originally posted by: TatTvamAsi
I also checked the geothermal systems over here. Not that costly anymore, typical system 15-25 thousand euros with a bore hole and heating systems installed, tested and old stuff dismantled and taken away. They say the system pays itself back in saved heating costs in 7 years.


Yes, But that's paying off if you were to instead use conventional heating systems. We are already going to be using 3 renewable heating systems. And 15-25 thousand euro's is still extremely expensive for the budget we want to try to maintain.



posted on Oct, 29 2015 @ 08:10 AM
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This is awesome! I love tiny homes. My dream is to live on the land some day, in a home built by me.



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