Ben & Ciara
Our Top 10 Eco, Off-Grid Homes from Around the World
From a floating home in Canada to a cabin in Tasmania, learn how these off-grid homes are designed to reduce their impact on the environment, while providing a comfortable and self-sufficient lifestyle.
Off-grid living has grown in popularity in recent years, with more and more people choosing to move away from cities and suburban areas to live a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle. Off-grid living requires a different mindset, as well as a willingness to learn and adapt to new ways of living; however, the benefits of living off-grid are plentiful, including reduced living costs, a closer connection to nature, and a reduced impact on the environment.
Below, we will be exploring our top 10 sustainable off-grid homes and stays from around the world! These homes are unique in their design, materials, and construction, and provide inspiration for those looking to live life in harmony with our planet.
#10 Ruin Studio - Scotland
Ruin Studio is a perfect example of utilising old structures to create new ones. Built within the ruins of an 18th-century farmhouse, the home blends modern design with the existing stonework to create a visually stunning building! The interior of the home is designed with curved corridors made from recycled polystyrene blocks, providing insulation while also serving as built-in shelving. The home is powered by solar energy and water is sourced from a local farm.
The choice of materials, including the use of a black, waterproof EPDM rubber cladding (making the home super weather-resistant!), was made to preserve the historical aspects of the site while also creating a contrast with the existing stone ruins. The design of the home also incorporates skylights, which provide natural light, and "undulating walls", inspired by the surrounding landscape. The result is a bright and spacious home that takes advantage of the existing ruins and natural resources, all while reducing its impact on the environment. Ruin Studio is a great example of how buildings can be repurposed and preserved, rather than being entirely destroyed, to create something new!
#9 Bruny Island Hideaway - Tasmania
Bruny Island Hideaway is a beautiful off-grid home located off the southeastern coast of Tasmania. It was designed to be a minimalist retreat, blending in with the surrounding landscape.
Designed by architecture studio Maguire + Devin, the cabin features built-in furniture, including a mattress and a low table, making every element in the cabin a part of the frame. With the client born in Taiwan and raised in traditional Japanese houses, they developed a love for highly crafted minimalist design, which was the main inspiration behind the cabin.
Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in hidden, underground tanks to supply the cabin's water needs, while electricity is generated through solar panels. This cabin is a great example of how we can live with less clutter, savour the beauty of our surroundings, and make use of renewable resources to construct a self-sustaining and eco-friendly home!
#8 The Stamp House - Australia
The Stamp House is an off-grid home located in Queensland, Australia that features bold and striking architecture that’s designed to withstand natural disasters along the coast.
The home is carbon neutral in operation and is powered by huge solar panels and battery storage. All energy is renewable, offsetting the use of air-conditioning and LED lighting. The entire roof collects rain into a 250,000-litre in-ground water tank, and includes an on-site Advanced Tertiary Sewage treatment plant.
The concrete structure is ideal for the location due to its long life cycle efficiency and ability to withstand the harsh, corrosive tropical environment. The centrepiece of the green area is a pool and landscaped courtyard, accentuated by waterfalls that give off a cooling effect due to evaporation. The bedrooms are each unique, while the basement houses utility areas for equipment. The Stamp House offers an example of how to construct strong and creative structures that are not only sustainable, but also work to benefit the surrounding environment.
#7 Dusky Parakeet Houseboat - England
The Dusky Parakeet Houseboat is a beautiful example of living off-grid while staying mobile. Designed by award-winning 31/44 Architects, this 60-ft-long canal boat is located in London’s St. Katherine’s Docks, and was designed with sustainability in mind. It is fitted with custom, practically-minded upholstery and furniture, cabinets and workspaces made from recycled yoghourt pots, and upcycled, lightweight flooring that not only looks contemporary, but serves to brighten up the vessel.
The Dusky Parakeet can run 100% off-grid, thanks to its 500-litre water storage tank, solar panels, and fully insulated hull. While creating the space, the designers knew that it had to work for someone who might just stay there occasionally, but also work for someone who would live there full-time. Thanks to the attention to detail and storage options, this little houseboat can do both! The Dusky Parakeet Houseboat is a true example of how we can live comfortably in a minimalist way, while still having the ability to be mobile.
#6 Woodman's Eco Hut - Scotland
Woodman's Eco Hut is a rustic retreat that provides the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature! The cabin has been constructed using 260-year-old Scottish pine that was recovered from the same land where it had originally fallen, and is part of the Lazy Duck collection of eco-friendly stays and camping sites.
This secluded cabin features a number of environmentally friendly amenities, including rainwater harvesting and solar power. In addition to Woodman's Eco Hut, Lazy Duck provides a variety of off-grid accommodation options, including other distinctive eco huts, a collective bunkhouse, and seasonal tents. After a day of nature-filled activities, visitors can relax in the on-site wood-fired hot tub or infrared sauna and indulge in a massage in the well-being studio.
This six-acre off-grid hideaway situated in the heart of Cairngorms National Park is the ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil green getaway! Learn more about how you can book a stay in any of Lazy Duck's stays here!
#5 House of the Big Arch - South Africa
House of the Big Arch is a stunning, eco-friendly home located in the Waterberg Mountains of South Africa. Designed by Frankie Pappas, the house is designed to blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. The house is powered by 16 square metres of solar panels and features a rainwater collection and filtration system, making it completely off-the-grid!
The architecture of the house is designed to work with the environment and is only 3.3 metres wide, making it an incredibly thin building that blends into the landscape without harming the existing trees or wildlife. The house is described as "a home that disappears into the trees," offering equal opportunity to animals, plants, and humans to find shelter.
House of the Big Arch is a beautiful example of eco-friendly architecture that provides a complementary living experience for both humans and the surrounding natural environment!
#4 Summit Prairie - Oregon, United States
Summit Prairie is a unique retreat located in Oregon, USA. Formerly a U.S. Forest Service observation tower, this 45-foot tall off-grid converted home offers a stunning view of the Umpqua National Forest. With limited modern conveniences, Summit Prairie encourages self-sufficiency and minimal impact on the environment. The home features a gas stove, an outdoor shower, and a wood-fired hot tub that is fed by nearby spring water.
At Summit Prairie, guests have the unique opportunity to disconnect from the modern world and immerse themselves in a truly off-grid lifestyle. The retreat helps you learn to reduce our reliance on modern conveniences and fosters a deeper appreciation for the surrounding forests. The luxurious wood-fired hot tub and outdoor shower, powered by natural spring water, add to the unforgettable experience of staying at Summit Prairie. This one-of-a-kind retreat not only provides a unique and immersive stay, but also serves as another great model for minimalist living. Learn more about how to book your stay at Summit Prairie here.
#3 The Floating Off-Grid Home
This floating off-grid home located in the middle of a lake in Tofino, Canada is a truly unique and sustainable dwelling. It was originally built as a personal studio by Mark Hobson, an artist with the intention of fostering a deeper connection to his surroundings and to his own artwork. Over time, Hobson has continued to expand and improve upon the home, using nearly all second-hand materials.
The home is powered by solar energy, which charges two six-volt batteries and also provides energy to fuel the stove. In addition, the home features a composting toilet and a rainwater filtration system that recycles old dishwater in the garden, helping to conserve fresh water.
This floating home is a fantastic example of how living sustainably can take on many different forms and how making small or large changes to one's lifestyle can help reduce the impact on the environment. By sourcing materials second-hand, using solar power, and filtering its own water supply, this home is a shining example of how it is possible to build a home without contributing to overconsumption and waste.
#2 Mountain Home - California, United States
This mountain home, located near Donner Summit in California, was constructed by a professional snowboarder who wanted to live in harmony with the surrounding environment while withstanding extreme weather conditions. Before building the home, the owner lived in a teepee on the property for a period of time so that he could learn about the weather patterns and make informed decisions about the construction of the home.
The pentagonal-shaped home is made from local rock and wood and is heated by a wood-burning stove, which acts as the central hub for cooking and heating water within the home. The running water supply for the home is sourced from a nearby creek that runs through the property. The home is wired for direct current electricity, which means that in order to conserve the energy generated by the house's solar panels, the electrical current flows directly from the panels to the appliances or fixtures that require it, reducing the amount of electricity needed. To further conserve energy, the home features a large glass window facing away from the mountain that lets in an abundance of natural light. This beautiful mountain home demonstrates how we can build homes that can withstand local weather conditions while still utilising the nearby natural materials to construct an earth-friendly place to live.
#1 Earthship Ironbank - Australia
The Earthship Ironbank, located in Australia, is an innovative off-grid home that provides green living with style. Designed by Martin Freney, the home was inspired by Michael Reynolds of Earthship Biotecture and was built with the help of numerous volunteers who came from far and wide to learn about natural building practices. The home was built with the aim of proving that an Earthship could be built in Australia, and was endorsed by Reynolds himself. Today, Earthship Ironbank is an Airbnb property that anyone can visit and experience the sustainable living concept first-hand!
The home features earth floors, solar panels, 60,000-litre rainwater tanks, and a central greenhouse that serves as both a wastewater treatment area and a temperature regulator. The design was inspired by Reynolds' Simple Survival Model Earthship, but with several modifications including a gravel roof for bushfire resistance and water filtration, hempcrete insulated entry, operable skylights in the greenhouse, a north-facing roof for additional solar panels and hot water, indoor battery storage, and more.
The home is also equipped with numerous sensors to monitor air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, and air speed in the earth tubes, in order to learn more about how Earthship's work and to quantify its energy efficiency. With its unique design and use of resources, Earthship Ironbank is a great example of how to live with as little impact as possible on the planet!
Living off-grid is an advantageous solution to reducing our environmental impact, cutting down on costs and enjoying a stronger bond with nature. The homes featured here demonstrate how we can live self-sufficiently and responsibly, making use of resources in an environmentally conscious manner. Whether through repurposing existing buildings, using recycled materials, or incorporating sustainable energy and water systems, there are many ways that we can all take inspiration from these homes to live more sustainably, no matter where we may call home!
For more green projects, inspiring people, and innovations working to save our planet, be sure to follow us on Instagram @goinggreenmedia or check out the Going Green YouTube Channel.