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March 17, 2012
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We're big fans of off-grid homes here at Gizmag โ€“ and for good reason: an off-grid home frees the owner from the vagaries of unscrupulous energy giants, can potentially help reduce impact on the environment, and offers a greater self-sufficiency. Join us as we shine a light on 10 of our favorites.

Big, small, expensive, and affordable; the only common trait that the following homes share is their ability to operate without grid-based electricity, water, and gas. So whether you're looking to cut your carbon footprint, or the thought of living more independently appeals, you should hopefully find something to like below.

Soleta zeroEnergy homes

The Soleta zeroEnergy home range, by Romanian non-profit green-tech firm Justin Capra Foundation, comprises a very flexible and affordable series of off-grid homes which offer plenty in the way of sustainable tech โ€“ not to mention some home comforts too.

The range starts at a small unit measuring 48 sq m (516 sq ft), and moves all the way up to a family-friendly model of 100 sq m (1070 sq ft), with the cost of each reflecting its size and features. Each of the houses can be customized to suit need and budget, and options include a geothermal water heating system, wind power, solar power, and water collection.

Exbury Egg

Admittedly, not everyone would wish to live in an egg-shaped floating home, but don't write off the Exbury Egg just yet. It was created by artist Stephen Turner with the help of Perring Architecture and Design, along with SPUD design studio, to support the artist as he carries out observations on the environment in England, and produces his art.

The buoyant waterproof structure sports a desk, hammock and kitchen, plus paraffin stove and sink. Though there's no running water, Turner makes use of a nearby hosepipe back on land, plus solar power for all electricity needs. Needless to say, we think the idea is egg-cellent (sorry).

Minim House

The Minim House by Foundry Architects and Brian Levy is a particularly nice example of the burgeoning tiny house movement, and is able to operate off-grid or fully plugged-in, depending on your preference.

The snug 19.5 sq m (210 sq ft) space sports an open-plan interior with multi-use surfaces, refrigerator, and ample storage space. Off-grid technology such as an optional composting toilet and 960 W roof solar array with integrated battery storage system feature in the home. To further cut the need for grid-based services, LED lighting, rainwater collection and filtration are also optional additions.

Oh, did we mention it also has an integrated LED projector cinema screen?

House Arc

The House Arc, by Bellomo Architects, was created with ease of construction firmly in mind, and the designers harnessed IKEA as a source of inspiration in aiming to make affordable, easily-assembled housing that's attractive too.

Don't expect to be able to swing a cat, as the diminutive dwelling measures just 14 sq m (150 sq ft), and is perhaps therefore better suited as a shelter, backyard retreat or office. Raised slightly on "feet, " the House Arc facilitates air flow underneath to aid cooling, or for those in colder climes, additional insulation can be added. Optional extras for the House Arc include photovoltaic panels.

JF-Kit House

Easily the least practical of our pick of 10 off-grid homes, the JF-Kit House, by Spanish-based Elii Architecture, nonetheless demands our attention. Beneath the amusing premise of a Jane Fonda-inspired home, it offers much food for thought concerning a future without fossil fuel resources.

Source: www.gizmag.com
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