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Home Forums General Discussion Every cost in going off-grid or green (energy efficient)

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    I have to agree with you 100% on this one. Unless you are just loaded with money and able to payoff all debt and still have plenty for land and building costs, you really need to focus on reducing your usage and dependance on electricity and city water supplies, sink every dime you make into paying off debt, and as you start saving money by reducing excess water and electricity usage you can pay off the debt even faster. During this time of debt elimination you can study DIY solutions, building options, power solutions, etc.

    Once the debt is eliminated and you are well informed and full of useful information, the transitions can go MUCH easier.

    Good advice caverdude!!


    That is a nice ideal, but here is how I had to do it.

    I bought the lot and took out a construction loan. I had to pay for where I was living and work on the off grid house after work and on weekend for over a year before I got my Certificate of Occupancy. I then moved in and started on the addition to the small house, and the Earthship outbuilding, all with rammed earth tire retaining walls. I maxed out a credit card for more tools and materials, but got the job done. Then I paid double to quintuple payments on the low mortgage after paying off the credit card. Not having power bills helped! Finally the mortgage was paid off in 8 years. Now we save a lot each month from no mortgage or power bills.

    Using the same type of buying wisdom and belt tightening, that point is when we could have had enough saved to build. I would have been 8 years older and probably couldn’t have done it.

    I had to go into temporary debt, use recycled, re-used, and indigenous materials, do all the trades myself with my wife and son as helpers, and buy on sale sometimes well in advance. The sweat equity and no power bills made the mortgage and debts as low as possible, and affordable to pay totally off in a reasonable time and without paying a huge chunk of interest.

    When I started, I had a full time job and kept my credit card paid off, had good credit, and had to pay rent until I could legally move in to my off grid house. I didn’t want to live in a trailer, or too small a house for long, but the main house was only 600 sq. ft. and the addition added 250 sq. ft. and a 330 sq, ft. garage. The Earthship added 460 sq. ft and 100 sq. ft. of interior gardens with 425 gal. rainwater catchment and a compost toilet. The original solar electric had to be full tracking 600 watts, then the addition 360 fixed watts, and the greenhouse 158 watts fixed. Main water had to be a nice deep well into pure water. Everything is south facing for passive solar even to the driveway that mostly self clears in winter!

    Get good credit and don’t be afraid to DIY, and go temporarily in debt, to get the job done. IMHO


    There is more cost than just the extra cost in going off-grid and energy efficient. I think it may be important that one rid himself of debt first. Then all of your income can go into this investment each month. Not only that with no debt you get the most for your money and best return on investment. I say dump the debt first, then go off-grid and green. (which is what I’m working on now)


    Dustoffer, I commend you for your wonderful work there. I wish we had more photo’s and definitely larger ones.

    Well, I agree if you need to use some credit card debt then fine, its better in my opinion if you can make it without debt somehow as in you happen to be lucky enough to have a high paying career. But I was mainly talking about dumping any non related debt first. Except for possibly land mortgage.


    “When I started, I had a full time job and kept my credit card paid off, had good credit, and had to pay rent until I could legally move in to my off grid house”

    I didn’t have an especially “high paying career”. In fact my wages stagnated (from the effects of the “invasion”)for 14 years before, during and after building in my spare time after work and on holidays, weekends and down time.

    I did “pay as you go”, but used my good credit to go faster. Then after paid off as fast as possible.

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