As the world faces up to the difficult challenges that climate change is bringing to it, there are now many types of people looking to change the way they live, some in quite drastic measures. Not only should architects, town and city planners, and designers be searching for ways in which the industry can be at the forefront of sustainable living through the materials chosen to build traditional dwellings, but they should also be responsible for helping design and build new types of buildings for those who wish to live off the grid.
There have been plenty of examples of off the grid living over the years of course, and it is interesting what shape these architectural designs take as people aim to liberate from the reliance the human population has on fossil fuels in order to power how we live. As we all should be looking at ways in which to reduce our carbon footprint, it is more important than ever before to have the assistance of architects in helping to devise a coherent and efficient plan for off the grid living, whether the aim is to make a nod to living with nature or just to find a complete alternative to the traditional power set up but use them within a traditional design and façade of the build itself.
The main idea about living off the grid therefore should always be down to how the building, structure, and inhabitants live in terms of power. To truly live off the grid you must be completely self-sufficient in at least the energy and power consumed, the water used, and in some cases there is even a desire to live sustainably and completely self sufficiently when it comes to the food cooked with and consumed in a household.
Energy sources for off the grid living have to work, of course, but they also have to be designed and incorporated into the household structure in such as way that they are simple and easy to utilise. Renewable energy sources for off the grid living can include solar panel energy, domestic battery storage, heat pumps, small wind and hydroelectric turbines, rainwater harvesting, wood burning stoves, and private wells, to name just a few options.
It is possible to live without reliance on traditional fossil fuels, but it can be difficult to make that shift in mind-set and actually take the steps to do so. That’s why more and more people are taking to holidays at locations where this is already a reality, and quite often they are stunning examples of architecture in nature, including beautiful cottages in the Scottish Highlands, or Alpine retreats in some of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges.
As the world embraces renewable energy and living off the grid it is important that there is already a process and workable design framework in place to help the population scale to this way of life. With innovative and responsible architecture practice and design solutions can be found for practical off the grid living.