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Designing Homes for Off Grid Living

Living off grid is becoming a more  popular lifestyle. People choose to live off grid for many reasons, the most popular reason is to become more self-reliant and living a life that’s not dictated by consumerism the rules the life of regular people.  Other reasons for living off grid is for privacy—living  away from society and the stress that comes with it.   Off the grid is viewed as cheaper, greener and more peaceful than conventional lifestyle choices.

Off grid housing is also varied, some people choose to move from place to place so they use trailer homes, vans and other transportation.  There are also others who stay put in one place and build a house. Those who choose to build a house can either design one themselves or ask an architect or a designer  before they go and live where they want.

Just because people live off the grid doesn’t mean they can’t own a nice-looking house. Many people who live off the grid have nice comfortable houses perfect for their lifestyle choice. Designing an off grid homes is no different than designing a regular house, except that you have to consider  some important details.

1 . Keep it simple

People live off the grid don’t expect visitors to come often or at all.  For that reason, aesthetics take a back seat in favor of comfort and functionality.  Removing aesthetics mean less space requirement for the house—space that can be used instead for important stuff that makes living quite comfortably.  Extra space can also be used for functional items like batteries for solar panel, storage for drinking water and many more.

Usually, off grid homes are just simple spaces—square or rectangle, divided into rooms and living spaces.  Often there is no need for dividers and other accessories

2. Nature-centric

Off grid houses tend to be simple but functional.  Part of that  functionality is because these houses are designed with nature taken into account. During the day,  they use the light of the sun to illuminate the interior of the house. They also collect rain water for their daily water use.  If you are tasked to design an off grid house, be sure to take nature into account and find ways to use nature as part of the house’s functionality.  This includes power supply.

3. Electricity

Most people who want to live off the grid want to stay away from the overly saturated cities and towns, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to use their phones, their computers,  their TV, refrigerator and oven.  Living off grid, however means not being connected to electrical grids.  That is why they have to generate their own electricity, usually through solar powers.

Solar panels can be placed anywhere where the sun’s light can reach, but that would not take into account the other parts of  a solar power system like the battery, breakers and more.  Batteries, especially lithium ion and acid ones need to have their own spaces because they tend to get hot.  They can be placed in a separate room or a shed outside the house.  When designing an off grid house, electricity should be taken into account.

4. Facilities

In off grid living, care should be given on deciding where to place personal facilities such as toilets. Toilets for example, can be a latrine outside the house or an internal bathroom. Should the toilet bowl flush with water or  should  a compost toilet be used because you don’t want to use much water? How about showers, should homeowners have one or bathe at a nearby pond instead?

5. Protection

Finally,  people living off the grid should have some sort of protection from dangerous animals or  other humans.  Living off the grid means no police will come to you in time in case of home invasion. Adding security cameras and alarms should also be considered.

More and more people choose to live off the grid and therefore  home designers should be ready when a person asks them to design a house for off grid living. Include these elements when you present 3D architectural rendering of your work.

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