When you think of downsizing and living off the grid, you might picture a cute tiny home with a couple of solar panels on the roof, a composting toilet, and a garden. But there are many more sustainable technologies available to those looking to get off the grid. This couple in Australia jumped right into the off grid life with no prior experience, and their results are amazing. Living Big in a Tiny House toured the home and interviewed the couple.
Fueled by a passion for renewable energy and a desire to minimize their carbon footprint, Paul and Annett moved from Sydney, Australia to a remote part of New South Wales to set up their off grid homestead. They built a tiny house on wheels that utilizes several sustainable technologies: solar energy, a biogas generator, rainwater collection, and a solar water heater.
The home is completely self-sustaining, as was the building process. The couple used solar energy on site to run all their power tools throughout construction. At 8 meters long, or about 26 feet, this tiny house is actually quite spacious with full-sized furniture and appliances.
White walls and lots of plants bring a bright, clean atmosphere to the interior of the home. The countertops and shelves in the kitchen were built by Paul and Annett to perfectly suit their needs.
An interesting element in this home is the stove, as one half is electric and the other half is gas. The electric stove is powered by the solar panels and is used during the day when the sun is shining. The gas stove, powered by the biogas generator, is used at night and on overcast days.
The steel frame of the home is left exposed in the kitchen, where plenty of pantry drawers and storage spaces have been built in.
The bathroom is equipped with a full-sized shower, a hand-built composting toilet, and a sink made from a grocery store salad bowl.
Two large lofts were built into the home to utilize vertical space. One serves as the bedroom and the other as a storage area, both with plenty of room for clothing and books. And plants, of course!
A 10,000-liter water storage tank collects water from the roof of the home. It provides enough water for drinking, showering, washing, and laundry. The greywater is then used in the gardens. This tank is very large for a home this size, but storing extra water is important for drought-prone areas like this.
A solar water heater supplies hot water to the home and works well on overcast days to keep the hot water flowing. The biogas generator converts food scraps and garden waste into methane gas for cooking. A benefit of using the biogas generator is that it also produces a liquid byproduct that is ideal for use as garden fertilizer.
6 solar panels on the roof provide 1.86 kW of power stored in deep cycle batteries. This is plenty of power to run all the appliances and lights. Combined with the biogas generator, this setup might seem a bit extravagant for a tiny home. However, it has proved to work very well for Paul and Annett to accommodate for weather and seasonal fluctuations.
“When we started this journey we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into. We had never set foot in a tiny house on wheels nor did we have any relevant building skills. We also didn’t know how living off-grid would work out. Everything was pretty much a theory in our heads.”
Living Big in a Tiny House visited the home when Paul and Annett had only been living in it for three weeks, as well as a follow-up interview a year later. See both below for some excellent off grid living inspiration! Stories like these continue to prove that with enough desire and a little elbow grease, going off grid is a dream that can be realized.
In addition to the videos, you can follow Paul and Annett’s off grid journey on their website – Living Tiny and Green