Going off the grid can mean a lot of things, but for most people, it means getting off of the electrical grid, and the other conventional grids homes are connected to. This home is a great example of a passive house combined with a permaculture garden to create the perfect off-grid haven. Graham Whiting of Whiting Design created this great Passive House design for a family of permaculture farmers just outside of Guelph, Ontario. Permaculture gardening uses the natural cycles of plants, soil, water and sun to create productive landscapes which do pretty much all of the work. So with permaculture gardening, there is not a lot of weeding to be done or a lot of maintenance. You don't even have to replant your crops each year in many cases which is very cool. So the practice of permaculture goes very well with Passive House designs since with passive housing the home does a lot of the work for you in the way of keeping it cool or warm. The combination of the two practices makes for a super eco-friendly and efficient homestead which could be fully sustainable.
The home on the family parm is kept very simple, a classic farmhouse style of home that you'd expect to see on a farm. The simplicity of the build made the project more affordable, and the family was actually able to do a lot of the work themselves. They didn't get fancy with the design because then they would need specialized contractors to come out and build it. This way the family not only saves money on their build, but they also have had a hand in building their own home which will last them a lifetime. They kept the windows to a minimum because they can be way more expensive than walls. While it's nice to have a lot of light in the home, it's also nice to keep the home as airtight as possible to reduce heat loss and heat gain. It also gives the home more opportunities for storage. All of the windows they did implement into the home are triple glazed and placed in regards to solar orientation to maximize or minimize the effects of the sun. In the building of the home, they used a lot of local materials like the dense pack cellulose which is the insulation for the home. The building fabric also limits air exchange which helps regulate the temperature of the interior of the home. It's estimated that this type of passive house can use 87% less energy than a house of the same size that has been built to code.
You can also see the incredible solar array they've installed on the roof which will bring the cost-effective family energy for their home. They also install batteries in the basement of the home to store the energy, and in many cases, these homes use less energy that the solar panels produce meaning they can usually sell extra energy back to the grid. As you can see, this also isn't a small house by any means and will have more than enough space for the family. But because it's designed and built smart, it will operate wonderfully and won't use as much energy as a home of the same size that's been built conventionally. You can also see that the principles of permaculture are very applicable to home design. So maybe we'll see more of this in the years to come, more people living intentionally, sustainable and eco-friendly. What do you think of this off-grid property? Would you like to live in a passive house?
More about this story can be found at: Evolve Builders