Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Useful Tips for Building an Off-Grid House


Best Practices for Off-Grid Home Building 

Whether it's a full-time residence, weekend getaway, or summer vacation home, building an off-grid house gives you more flexibility and independence. And as you start to dream and plan, it's helpful to have a little direction. In this article, we'll discuss a few tips that will ensure your off-grid home is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

What is Off-Grid Living?

Off-grid living is best described as living in a self-sufficient manner that is not dependent on one or more public utilities. In most cases, off-grid homes are located in remote areas and draw their resources from solar panels, rainwater catchment systems, and other useful systems.

Because off-grid homes don't usually have access to public sewer systems and trash services, these homes must use things like composting toilets, autonomous septic systems, and/or food compost systems.

Off-grid living isn't for everyone, but it certainly provides a number of benefits. It can be especially powerful if you have children. There's something about teaching kids to work with their hands and rely on their own ingenuity that promotes good life skills.

5 Tips for an Amazing Off-Grid House

Building an off-grid house is an experience. Whether you choose to go with a prefab option like a shipping container or decide to build one from scratch, there are endless options for creativity. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Plan for Multiple Power Sources
Off-grid living doesn't mean you have to revert to the times of Colonial America and operate by candlelight. Solar power systems make it possible to enjoy electricity without being wired into a public utility system. The key is to have multiple power sources so that you're never without.

A solar panel system with a power bank is usually the first option. However, you may also want a gasoline-powered generator to serve as a backup if the solar panel system is having issues. There are also ways to temporarily power/charge different systems in your home using your car's battery. This is a short-term option when everything else fails on you.

2. Use a Wood Stove for Heating
In terms of heating your off-grid house, there's no better option than a wood stove. Not only do they look great, but they're incredibly beautiful and functional.

In addition to heating your home in a very energy-efficient manner, wood stoves can also be used as cooktop surfaces. During the winter, this allows you to maximize your energy usage and minimize waste.

The type of wood stove you need depends on a variety of factors (including square footage, venting system, efficiency ratings, etc.). This wood stove buyer's guide can help you make an informed decision.

3. Collect Rainwater
Never underestimate the importance of having water on an off-grid property. If you're able to build a well, you should do it. Otherwise, rainwater is your best friend. But collecting rainwater requires more than a few buckets placed on a porch. You'll want to be smart about how you collect, where you collect, and what you do with it (to prevent bacteria buildup and encourage proper preservation).

4. Be Resourceful With Food
Being off-grid doesn't mean you have to completely live off the land. Most people who choose this lifestyle are still within driving distance of a supermarket. But the more resourceful you can be, the less dependent you'll be on others.

A couple of vegetable gardens can give you ample produce for several meals per week. Likewise, chickens are extremely easy to keep and provide an indefinite supply of eggs. Rabbits are also a good option, as they breed quickly and provide meat.

5. Think Practically About Your Lifestyle

At the end of the day, you need to be practical about your lifestyle. There's no rulebook that says you have to be 100 percent off the grid. You can pick and choose which areas you want to be self-sufficient in and which ones you'd rather not be. You're the one making the rules – choose wisely!

Adding It All Up

Whether your version of off-grid living is purchasing a half-acre of land on the edge of town and building a traditional house with solar panels and a few eco-friendly upgrades, or going all-out and building a utility-free homestead on 50 acres of wilderness land, there are plenty of ways to build a place you're proud to call home. 

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
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Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames