Protecting the environment is a major concern for the current and future generations. Our carbon footprint has been a heavy one, stamped around Mother Nature recklessly and without pause. In response to the fear of global warming, the concept of off-the-grid or green living has grown in popularity, and to show that you don’t have to give up style to have a decreased impact on nature, we’ve found these Top 10 Amazing Off-the-Grid Homes!
The Stamp House
There was a bit of confusion when it came to including The Stamp House as we weren’t sure whether or not to save it for a “Top 10 Most Zombie-Proofed Homes,” but after consideration of both stylish, modern design and sustainability, it belonged here. Located in Far North Queensland, Australia, The Stamp House was built and designed by Charles Wright Architects with the intention of withstanding a Category 5 tornado. A sturdy structure built from new and used concrete, the Stamp House is not only strong, it’s self-sustaining. Solar paneling along the length of the roof and a solar-powered generator power this fortress while a 66,043-gallon or 250,000-litre filtration tank recycles and provides the home and nearby vegetation with water. Completing this incredible structure is its own sewage treatment plant.
The Hobbit House
Well slap my behind and call me Frodo, we’re in the Shire! Designed and constructed by the self-taught environment-friendly builder Simon Dale, this rather familiar looking abode was built in Wales to house Dale’s family of four. Over the course of four months, Dale, his father-in-law, and anyone that passed by threw together this environmentally friendly home using lime plaster, reclaimed wood, straw bale, and solar panels, which cost less than $5,000 in total. Water is fed to the home from a nearby spring, solar panels provide power for lighting, and the fridge is cooled through underground foundations, making every inch of the home naturally driven. The structure is even built into a hillside to reduce visual impact of the area.
As the name implies, the Soleta zeroEnergy home relies heavily on renewable resources. What the name doesn’t indicate is the intricate design and unique architectural work that gives the structure a life of its own. We could go on and on about the minimal ecological impact of this solar-powered, naturally lit home - but we’re so drawn to the design that it’s hard to focus. The “no walls” concept not only serves to increase natural lighting, it’s a cost saver during construction of the home. From the zero energy cooling system to the option for rainwater recovery, there are few things to not like about this stylish home.
Green living isn’t really a “new” concept, so what builders find themselves having to do is appeal not just to the “green living” aspect but also to the desire for visual uniqueness. We have to assume that came to mind at least once during Scott Specth’s design of the ZeroHouse. This quick-build prefab home has a look that’s appealing, intriguing, and caters to modern tastes. Offering a multi-story living space, the ZeroHouse has everything you could ask for in a home – and all of it is run strictly on solar energy and collected rain water. A large photovoltaic array, a rainwater cistern, multiple methods of effective insulation, and the dependency on gravity all come together for a completely self-sufficient structure that has no need for external hook-ups of any sort.
When it comes to sustainable living, no home is believed to match the Lighthouse, designed by the UK-based company, Potton. Its look is incredibly unique, but even that is overshadowed by the advancements made in sustainability for this net-zero carbon home – the first of its kind when it was built in the mid-2000’s. Living in this sort of… half a home, residents don’t have to sacrifice comfort to save the environment. The 40° roof isn’t just for looks as it also serves to capture wind for cooling and is constructed with photovoltaic panels built in to power the home. Also providing the house with renewable energy is a biomass boiler for heating in the winter and a rainwater harvesting system.
Though it may look similar to artist Stephen Turner’s temporary Exbury Egg sustainable floating home, the Ecocapsule is better equipped for long-term living. The aerodynamic structure, designed by Nice Architects, is a low-energy, compact home that utilizes three natural energies to power every aspect of it. Equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and small living space, the tiny metallic structure uses built-in solar panels, an attached wind turbine, and a water reservoir to provide the residents with everything they may need. It’s a sleek design, proving that being green doesn’t have to sacrifice style.
The Stoltz Bluff Home
Sometimes, it’s not just the functionality and look of the home that catches the eye, but also the view when you look out any of its many windows. The Stoltz Bluff Home overlooks the picturesque Cowichan Valley where visitors can watch the sun set over Bald Mountain and rise again over Salt Spring Island. The home itself is a one-story Cob house built on 40 acres with all of the fixins needed to take the inhabitant completely off-the-grid. Built from only green materials like straw, clay, sand, and reclaimed wood, the Stoltz Bluff Home is also completely self-reliant when it comes to water, power, and waste removal. Solar panels fuel electricity, an on-site well and rainwater collection covers any liquid needs, and all waste is filtered into a nearby wetland to provide for nearby flora.
Earthship's Packaged Model
When it comes to sustainable design and completely off-the-grid living, the Earthship is affordable, customizable, and downright funky looking! Earthship offers a variety of models, but it's the Packaged Model that we’re interested in. Combining a mix of sleek modernism with a more adobe look, the Packaged Model is adaptable to any climate and can be customized to fit any family size. Most importantly – it’s entirely green. Features of this concept include a thermal wrap to maximize insulation, solar electricity with an option for wind back-up, water or thermal heating, and a water reclamation storage system. The row of windows that lines one entire wall of this Earthship doubles as a provider of natural light and beautiful views.
The Ekinoid Project
This sustainable living project is about more than just providing an off-the-grid housing structure for one family. The spherical home, which is part of an initiative to provide quick, functioning, and sustainable living in clusters, is constructed as an elevated structure with enough space for a family of four. At the top of the home, a wind turbine, solar paneling, and rainwater collection completely pull the Ekinoid Home off-the-grid. The Ekinoid is a prefab concept that is intended for rapid building so that a town of these rounded homes can be built for 10,000 people within 12 months to better distribute the growing populace.
A simple design of four walls, a floor, and a ceiling is sometimes all you need for your home, and while Freedomky is a practical design for off-the-grid living, this prefab is more versatile than it may seem. The concept comes from architect Marek Stepan and earned popularity after being presented at 2010’s Architectural Week in Prague. The construction of Freedomky emphasizes clean living through effective insulation and construction and the option for complete solar energy. Stepan’s design is durable, transportable, available in a variety of sizes, and can be expanded upon should the family happen to grow.