Living off-the-grid is still a bit of a part-time project for us. Sure we’d LOVE to cut our power bills in our Blue Mountains home and would enjoy that accomplished feeling of collecting our own water and managing our own waste but so far it’s been too easy not too here as we can and do manage the bills (albeit reluctantly). That’s where Fox Hill Hollow is a great motivator – we have no choice but to be off-the-grid and we are embracing that with both hands but slowly, because we don’t have to rush. So it was with great interest that I found myself at the home of Michael Mobbs, a self-confessed lazy off-the-gridder (if there is such a term) and someone who is doing it all in the centre of Sydney in a terrace house! Now if he can do it surely we all can!!!!
There was much to be excited about in this house, from the lithium ion battery solar inverter system (6 x 2 KWH storage which is enough for three days for this chap although a typical house uses 25-30 KWH/ day – I think we are more like that at our BM home….), the LED lights throughout the house (better lighting, lower power) the home-made camphor laurel table and the simple but effective fridge cooling system (passive ventilation really).
Probably my favourite tip aside from the ventilated fridge was investing in a solar system that can go straight from the inverter to the appliance, bypassing the batteries. Michael mentioned that every time the power goes to the battery then comes out again it reduces the battery life a little and avoiding that as much as possible really does increase the battery life – battery storage is the one expense remaining in the off-the-grid plan although prices are reducing dramatically.
The other part that wowed me was the fact that this chap has a garden that is smaller than my patio at home and yet here he keeps chickens, grows some food, treats his entire sewage AND stores all of the houses water needs! It just proved to me that having heaps of space is so not necessary and that necessity is indeed the mother of all invention, that and laziness 🙂
Michael has written a couple of books on the subject of going off the grid and is a delightful and helpful fellow. I’d love for him to come and have a look at our block and plans when we are up to that stage (which will be soon) but for now we’ve still got much prepping to do.