Super-Rich land-grab for remote real estate

In times of crisis wealthy buyers look for luxury bunkers, isolated compounds, hotel takeovers and other high-end features for doomsday scenarios.

People like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sell billions of their shares and place it into cash and highly collectible items like rare artefacts – but mostly its real estate that fits the bill in these pandemic times. And if they are not buying then they will rent.

Survivalist prepping is not a new for many high-net-worth individuals. Wealthy homeowners have long been outfitting their apartments and houses with panic rooms, complete with bars, TVs, and upscale furnishings to have an opulent retreat in the event of a break-in or other crisis.

But now there is a new urgency, and upscale hotels which were thinking to shutter for the crisis, are being approached with offers they cannot refuse.

The buyout

Loungueville House, set in picturesque countryside a three-hour drive from Dublin, Ireland, will be occupied by a single party in May. Francis Lynch, his wife and their two young adult sons will have the nine-bedroom house to themselves, reports CNN.

Lynch and his family, who live in Dublin, almost always travel internationally for holiday, including to Italy, the United States and India. They’ve altered their plans this year, thanks to coronavirus.
“We want to stay in the country and feel safe by being secluded,” he says. The 10-day Loungueville House buyout (for over 25,000 euros) to the rescue.
“When you stay in a hotel with other people, it’s hard not to have social interaction,” says Lynch. “The best way to get close to total privacy and to control your environment is to have the whole place to yourself.”
Siobhan Byrne Learat, the owner of the Dublin-based travel company Adams & Butler, says she has had numerous requests for hotels buyouts in Ireland from her Irish clientele since coronavirus intensified in the country during the second week of March. Several of these requests have led to confirmed bookings (Lynch rented Loungueville House through her).
“The interest in exclusive-use properties has suddenly shot up,” she says. “But people don’t want a full staff and daily housekeeping like they typically would if it weren’t for the virus. They want to keep services to a minimum to avoid interaction with others.”
In the United States, several hotels have started to offer takeovers in the wake of the virus.
Cape Arundel Inn, in Kennebunkport, Maine, is one example.
“This is a new offering we’re implementing for the month of April. We have seen so many of the seasonal summer homes in the area become a respite for folks who live in highly populated urban areas since the virus hit,” says the hotel’s managing director, Justin Grimes.
“We wanted to help offer additional accommodation options for those trying to distance themselves from dense, multifamily urban settings.”
The ocean view upscale hotel has 14

Read More »

Battery storage will transform society

A remarkable series of predictions about the future of the grid is emerging from NREL – the National Renewable Energy Lab in the US. Because batteries can now store far more energy, renewable energy, and specifically solar power, is becoming a disruptive technology for the fossil-fuel industry.
In the past few years, this vision has grown from a theory on whiteboards to real-power experiments on lab hardware. It’s called “Autonomous Energy Grids” (AEG), an effort to ensure the grid of the future can manage a growing base of intelligent energy devices, variable renewable energy, and advanced controls. The AEG effort envisions a self-driving power system—a very “aware” network of technologies and distributed controls that work together to efficiently match bi-directional energy supply to energy demand. This is a hard pivot from today’s system, in which centralized control is used to manage one-way electricity flows to consumers along power lines that spoke out from central generators.

Outside of the labs, where real business serves ordinary people, the same trends are being seen. In Florida, it is hard for state and federal officials to ignore the coalesced voices of regional business, government, academic, nonprofit and neighborhood leaders. Rob Kornaherns, owner of Fort Lauderdale’s Advanced Roofing, the state’s largest solar contractor, called battery storage a “real game-changer.” By 2050, he sees everyone “off the grid around the world.”

Read More »
A Tyalgum resident poses with his electric bike

Australia Decentralises

When folks first hear about Tyalgum, in East Australia they picture Mad Max.

Steampunk locals power this dieselpunk outpost with renewable, ethanol-based Guzzolene. Tyalgum has free Wi-Fi and a day spa.

Tyalgum is also going off the grid.

And for the people in this bohemian town in Australia’s east coast hinterland, the stakes are high.

A tourist may be forgiven for ignoring the harsh realities of climate change in such a picturesque spot, but the locals are serious. They’re concerned about carbon emissions and rising temperatures. They’re sick of relying on coal-fired power stations for their electricity.

They’re not the only ones. As the existential threat of climate change grows, people and communities across the world are growing frustrated with governments dragging their feet on environmental policy and investment in renewable energy.

Australia is deeply dependent on fossil fuels, with around 90 percent of the country’s energy generation coming from oil, coal and gas. Australia’s federal government is unabashedly pro-coal. While other nations turn to renewables, Australia contemplates building a massive coal mine in the northeast of the country. When debates about volatile power prices hit the news, Australian politicians call for the construction of more coal-burning power plants. In 2017, the deputy prime minister at the time said he would support clean energy targets — if they included coal.

But climate change is real, and Eastern Australia is feeling the effects. With unstable energy prices, statewide blackouts and a fierce debate over fossil fuels, more Australians than ever want to take action on electricity.

For the people of Tyalgum, solar is the future.

That’s where the Tyalgum Energy Project comes in. The ambitious project wants to power the entire town with 100 percent renewable energy and, one day, begin selling excess power to the wider local area, turning Tyalgum into a community-owned energy retailer in its own right.

Tyalgum isn’t alone. Far from it. Just down the road, the town of Lismore switched on Australia’s first community-owned solar project back in January. The 99kW solar farm floats on the overflow pond at the town’s sewage treatment plant.

From homeowners installing a few solar panels on the roof to entire community-owned solar projects, Australians are starting to take back their power.

There’s a reason Australia is called the “sunburnt country.” The continent has the highest solar radiation per square meter in the world, according to Geoscience Australia. Despite its sunny disposition, the country is 15th on the World Bank’s ranking for sustainable energy use.

Australian communities and businesses are beginning to switch to renewables, though. Elon Musk’s Tesla, best known for electric cars, just installed the “world’s biggest” lithium-ion battery farm in South Australia. AGL, one of the country’s biggest energy providers, has plans to convert one of its ageing coal-fired power stations into a clean energy hub. And the country’s biggest beer maker, Carlton United Breweries, is moving toward …

Read More »
The Star Wranglerstars sad to be on the grid

YouTube’s off-grid stars….. go on the grid

Working almost non-stop as young professionals, they knew something was missing.

“We were both working a lot of hours – 80 hours per week — eating out three meals a day, coming home to a dark house,” says Cody, one of the stars of the Wranglerstar You Tube channel. “Everyone you meet says, ‘Oh, you guys have it made. You’re making so much money. You’re building these careers.’ But we didn’t really like it. We didn’t get to spend any time together.”

That’s when his wife, Jessica, learned through a Bible study about a couple who had moved to Montana, dropped off the electrical grid and created a new life.

“It was just happen-chance they were speaking in town,” Cody says. “We met them and they invited us to spend a weekend with them in Montana. On the drive home, we decided to do this. We put our house up for sale when we got home.”

What has followed is the creation of the You Tube channel where the couple and their son, Jack, share their story about modern homesteading. Despite putting a part of their lives out on the Internet, the couple prefers to maintain their privacy and asked that their last name not be used in this story.

Jessica also has written a book. They’ll hold a book signing from 4-6 p.m. Friday at Yankee Peddler West in downtown Fremont.

The You Tube channel started out as a hobby. But it’s grown into much more. It now has nearly 271,000 subscribers and the videos have been several million times.

And it has become a way to help support their lives.

“When we made that decision, no one was making money on You Tube. It was done as a hobby,” Cody says. “I remember when we got our first check from You Tube. It was $100 or something. I thought, ‘This isn’t real. This is never going to cash.’ … That really changed my way to thinking.

“I think she was really annoyed from my You Tube videos. I think probably she thought it was taking away from a real job. But I really started to realize we could do this, we could make a living at this.”

It is more than they anticipated, Jessica says.

“The subscribers want to watch daily,” she says. “It’s definitely more work than we anticipated.”

Still, they are able to keep some privacy.

“When we do apple pressing (the subject of recent video), that’s half an hour of our life,” says Jessica, who grew up in Fremont – a fact not mentioned in the videos. “The rest of our life is not shown on camera.”

All those videos – and the connection to their subscribers – led to the new book.

“There’s this publishers and his wife is a viewer of ours,” Jessica says. “She went to him and said, ‘I think you …

Read More »

Do you work for a Zombie Company?

The slow-walking mindless undead of many a horror film may figure in our nightmares, but increasingly we experience the zombie walk in our working lives as well. Maybe you are one of the millions working in businesses that have accrued so much debt since the recession began, that they have little prospect of ever being able to repay it.

The directors of these businesses, and their employees, continue working each day with no end to the misery in sight – thanks to government help, ultra-loose monetary policy and, often, the reluctance of lenders to write down bad loans since the crisis.

The belief is spreading that these firms – which spend their cash servicing interest payments are unable to invest in new equipment or future growth areas – are to blame for the weak recovery,

Read More »

Living on a school bus

With a $12,000 budget, a San Fransisco couple decided to turn a 39-foot school bus into a dream home – that sleeps ten people.

To create their totally off-grid dwelling, Richard and Rachel, who run a blog, mounted six solar panels on the roof of the bus, installed a compost toilet, solar fridge and freezer and a propane-fed catalytic heater, stove and oven.

Rachel, who says they live rent-free, paying just $100 per month for maintenance, admitted that family and friends were ‘confused’ by their decision. ‘My mom’s reaction was “this isn’t the sixties.”

But as the duo explain on their blog, their dream was ‘to own our home, produce all of our necessities of living, and have the option to go where we wanted.’

Read More »

Solar Energy on Dragons Den

The  BBC’s top-rated TV show Dragons’ Den gave a cautious thumbs-up to Solar in the first show of its new series.  But the valuation they placed on the solar panel company in question was disappointing.
Chris Hopkins, owner of Ploughcroft Solar gave his sales speech to convince the panel as to the benefits ofsolar energy, and the financial rewards that can be reaped from the Government’s feed-in-tariff (Fit) scheme.Seeking £100,000 for a 10% equity share in his company, the entrepreneur received offers from all but one of the Dragons. But the eventual deal was so low as to be almost derisory. (See the pitch here)

Read More »

Heat your space

Choosing the right heater for your van, boat or tent

Read More »

How to fit a skylight on an RV

Step by step guide to fitting a skylight in your RV that will reduce damp and increase ventilation

Read More »

Insulating your vehicle

Building materials work differently in a van than in a home – learn which is the best insulating material for your live-in vehicle.

Read More »

Join the global off-grid community

Register for a better experiencE on this site!

Available for Amazon Prime