how to live off-grid

November 16, 2007

cabin.JPGEver fancied escaping the rat-race, and waking up instead to the sound of bird song over a steaming mug of home-made coffee?
According to author Nick Rosen, that’s now becoming possible.
It’s down to a combination of weakening restrictions on house-building and the falling cost of installing off-grid electricity like wind and solar power, says Rosen, author of “How to live off-grid”.
In addition, flexi-working is now possible even without a phoneline, using wireless 3G technology.
Is it really that easy to sell up and build on a plot out West?
Britain has tight rules on building new homes — which help account for Britian’s high house prices and pretty patchworks of green fields on the outskirts of big British cities.
But the UK’s population is swelling, putting pressure on housing space. Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he wants 3 million more homes by 2020, and all new build to be zero carbon from 2016 on.
Surely that plays into the hands of off-gridders seeking a life closer to Nature, where lunchbreaks entail a stroll in the woods rather than a frantic dash for an over-priced sandwich.
Britain claims it won’t bend the rules and make it easier to build houses on green fields or in woodlands. But that may not square with its planned, massive house-building programme.
Meanwhile, the price of wind and solar power is dropping, although it still involves an outlay of tens of thousands of pounds.
What may clinch an off-grid life is getting lucky, then.
If you can buy a cheap piece of farmland and then get permission to build a house on it, you may save enough money from selling a house in the city to pay for all the green electricity you want.
For that, you only have to hurdle Britain’s convoluted planning system.

2 comments

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These pioneers ought to be applauded. I don’t know if I could do it…but the eccentrics of today are often the pacesetters of tomorrow…so good on em. Brown, perk up your ears.

Posted by shirley | Report as abusive

brown also has signed britain up to providing ~5% biofuels by 2010? Impossible without starvation.

Posted by Mike.E | Report as abusive