Go off the grid with a Tesla-powered adventure vehicle by Ready.Set.Van.

July 14, 2020 by  
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After finishing an ambitious, 8-month-long renovation project of a 38-foot school bus for Burning Man, the designers at Ready.Set.Van. realized they had something special on their hands. Fast forward to 2020, and the company has launched a wide range of comfortable and functional off-grid vans that are customizable to any type of adventure. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-2-889×592.jpg" alt="van with side door open parked in a forest" class="wp-image-2274822" Ready.Set.Van. recently revealed its line of converted van models built using Ram Promaster commercial cargo vans. By harnessing the power of Tesla batteries to increase the comfort of off-grid living, the New Jersey-based company has certainly raised the bar for van life . Related: Custom camper van lets nomads immerse themselves in infinite adventures <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-3-889×592.jpg" alt="van parked beside a river with view of van interior with white kitchen with wood counters" class="wp-image-2274821" Thanks to Tesla battery modules, each van layout comes with a highly efficient electricity system that allows you to live off of the grid without the need for an electrical outlet or generator. The company’s 840 AH battery system is designed to take up 57% less space and weigh 140 pounds less than an equally sized 12V lithium battery. That means 12-15 hours worth of battery life along with alternator charging and solar panels . <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-4-889×661.jpg" alt="On the left, white storage drawers in a van. On the right, bike stored in a van." class="wp-image-2274820" The standard “Basecamper” layout starts at $33,750, not including the van itself, with deluxe bathroom “Plus” models starting at $42,250. The base model has enough storage space for at least two downhill mountain bikes in its gear-storage garage below the bed. Ready.Set.Van. has fit up to two bikes, two inflatable stand up paddle boards, two single-wheel skateboards and more inside the garage in the past. The $45,750 “Wanderer” model features a transforming layout complete with a Murphy bed that converts a portion of the van into a dining area with room for up to six people. <img src="//inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2020/07/ready-set-van-5-889×667.jpg" alt="van with wood flooring and white lofted bed" class="wp-image-2274818" Kitchens include commercial-induction cooktops, 80L fridges and stainless sinks, while the rest of the interiors contain a wealth of convenient storage and seating. Clients can also choose additional features such as air conditioning, heating, awnings, roof racks and indoor showers. Buyers can also choose to create a completely custom conversion build. + Ready.Set.Van. Images via Ready.Set.Van .

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Go off the grid with a Tesla-powered adventure vehicle by Ready.Set.Van.

These solar-powered cabins are made of natural materials and shungite plaster

June 29, 2020 by  
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The Karg Cabin provides owners with a cozy opportunity for off-grid living with 100% solar-power capabilities (and that’s not even its most sustainable feature). These honeycombed-shaped micro-homes are also made completely out of natural materials . The solar-powered Karg Cabins come in three different designs: a standard cabin, a micro-home (measuring about 129 to 215 square feet) and a sauna. Karg Cabins can be used year-round and are easily transported via flatbed to a variety of rural or urban locations without a need for environmentally damaging foundations. Solar energy is used to provide 100% of the power needed for everything from lighting to ventilation to electrical sockets. Related: Check out these amazing sustainable cabins by ZeroCabin The compact design, ease of transportation and variety of different model types makes the Karg perfect for a traveling office, guest house, micro-home or just a spot to detox and disconnect from normal, everyday life. When it comes to building materials, the company chooses only those that can be found in nature. The majority of the structure consists of straw panels, cellulose wool for insulation , wood and shungite, a type of carbon-rich mineral found in Russia that is known for its healing properties. The straw panels help ensure proper insulation due to its ability to store heat and provide long-term, stable temperatures indoors. Cellulose wool collects moisture and is breathable enough to maintain a comfortable interior climate yet strong enough to eliminate condensation and keep the construction damage-free during the wet season. Shungite plaster is believed to block electromagnetic waves (EMF), improving the sleep quality of those living inside the home and keeping the interior very quiet. Triple-glazed, reflective windows help bring in natural light and connect the occupant with the outside environment. The Estonian company offers an online feature where those interested can build their own Karg on the website to find out exactly how much their personalized, off-grid cabin or sauna will cost. + Karg Images via Karg

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These solar-powered cabins are made of natural materials and shungite plaster

Prefab, floating waterlilliHaus is completely self-sustaining in Brazil

June 15, 2020 by  
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Brazilian construction company SysHaus has recently installed a new prefab home that generates its own energy as it floats on an idyllic São Paulo lake. Dubbed the waterlilliHaus, the plug-and-play home is the floating version of the lilliHaus, the largest option in SysHaus’ lineup of prefab homes. The waterlilliHaus measures 3.2 meters wide by 12 meters in length and is mounted atop a floating catamaran that can be moored or sailed at speeds of up to 4 knots. Modern, eco-friendly and adaptable, the prefab home series produced by São Paulo-based SysHaus comes in a range of sizes from the compact 9.6-square-meter nanoHaus to the 38.4-square-meter lilliHaus. All homes are prefabricated in a controlled factory environment with automated, computer-controlled machines to ensure quality, traceability and waste minimization. The units can be assembled in less than two days and can even be delivered with all of the furnishings and equipment pre-installed.  Related: This eco-friendly prefab home was built in just 28 days In keeping with the startup’s commitment to sustainability, all Syshaus units can be designed for off-grid use, such as the recently installed waterlilliHaus that was delivered by truck and then craned atop a catamaran at the lake. Topped with rooftop solar panels, the floating home generates all of the energy it needs. Blackwater and graywater is collected and filtered through a three-phase biodigester system; the water is cleaned before it is returned to the environment. Rainwater is also collected and treated for drinking water. To reduce energy demands, the waterlilliHaus is punctuated with operable openings to take advantage of natural ventilation and the stack effect . Energy-efficient lighting, appliances and other electrical systems can be hooked up to a centralized smart home system for remote monitoring. The smart home system can be programmed to adapt to the user’s daily routines for energy-saving automation purposes. + SysHaus Images via SysHaus

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Prefab, floating waterlilliHaus is completely self-sustaining in Brazil

Vibrant office building in India is made of recycled shipping containers

June 15, 2020 by  
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Sustainability and cost-effectiveness were top requirements when a green concrete manufacturing company in Bangalore, India approached Balan and Nambisan Architects. The clients were looking to keep an element of eco-friendliness and recycling at the center of the design. As such, the architects found shipping containers to be the obvious choice for construction. Shipping containers presented a versatile, cost-effective option that still had the potential to make a statement both in the local community and in the sustainable design world. The result was a compact, 1,500-square-foot office space made of four separate recycled containers, aptly named Colorfully Contained Experiences. The building includes a workstation, an experience center, a dining area, an outdoor deck and bathrooms. A ramp connects the separate containers, and a glass-encased staircase interconnects all of the floors. Related: Recycled shipping container cafe utilizes passive cooling in India Bright primary colors intentionally provide a sharp contrast to the uniformed buildings and factories in the surrounding area as a way to draw attention from potential customers. The bright red, blue and yellow colors also contrast the abundance of gray concrete that the company manufactures onsite. Meanwhile, the shipping containers maintain the same industrial style of the other buildings in the area while still boasting individuality. Because some shipping container structures tend to overheat in the summer months, and especially given the extreme temperatures that India experiences, insulation was a main focus for the project. The designers included passive cooling elements and insulation using rock wool and strand board paneling for the ceiling and walls. The containers were arranged around a water feature to provide a cooling effect in the courtyard, while windows and openings were placed strategically to allow for natural ventilation. Balan and Nambisan Architects paid special attention to drainage as well to ensure that the exterior surfaces stayed clear of rust in the event of heavy rain. + Balan and Nambisan Architects Images via Balan and Nambisan Architects

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Vibrant office building in India is made of recycled shipping containers

Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone

June 15, 2020 by  
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This stunning 4,585 square foot home in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico exemplifies sustainable  indoor-outdoor living  at its finest. In 2018, architecture firm FabrikG completed the home, which is located in an off-grid community about five and a half miles from downtown San Jose del Cabo on the East Cape hillside. It was constructed using  rammed earth  with locally-sourced stone and designed with passive solar principles. Paired with unobstructed ocean views and abundant outdoor spaces, Hawk Nest House creates a balanced harmony with the natural surroundings. The home’s east side consists of three rammed earth volumes situated around an outdoor common area, with a walkway leading to the property’s best sea views. A tile vaulted roof covers the living room, and the kitchen’s arched entrance is also made of rammed earth. A small patio off the kitchen offers even more ocean views. In addition to the  solar panels , which provide enough power to sustain the entire property, designers also included a water treatment plant to reuse water for irrigation when needed. Related: Mexican winery built from recycled wood and rammed earth blends into the valley landscape The main living quarters are located in the house’s right wing, connected with a wooden walkway. There are two master bedrooms, plus two bathrooms surrounding a patio with an outdoor shower, tub and local  stone walls. Apart from the main house, there is also a garage, a rammed earth guest house and a small, vaulted meditation room. The owner, an artist, has a studio situated on the northeast end of the property. For the landscaping, native desert plants on the patios and outside property require little to no irrigation.  According to the architects, this type of construction using rammed earth and traditional local stone masonry is advantageous in arid climates. The thermal mass of the thick earth walls regulates temperatures throughout the day and night, while the openness of the house encourages cross-ventilation . Unique elements are found throughout the home, including windows accented with sustainably-sourced and naturally-treated wood, and exterior walls treated with charred wood and coated in natural oil (a Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban).  + FabrikG Via ArchDaily Images via FabrikG

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Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone

Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

April 9, 2020 by  
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Homesteading was a way of life for generations while the world developed industrialization and created cities of infrastructure. Over time, modern conveniences and the fast pace of business encouraged an increasing number of people to move into urban areas and/or reduce self-reliance in favor of easily accessible supermarkets and mail-order food. But in recent years, a resurgence of homesteading has shown that uncertain times have resulted in people returning to the basics of gardening , farming, food preservation and finding ways to be off-grid.  A recent data collection report by HomeAdvisor consolidated information from across Instagram to find out how many people are subscribing to a simpler way of life. Interestingly, the results show clusters of communities seemingly sharing common values in certain areas across the United States. Related: Do people in tiny houses live more sustainably? The information was gathered based on three commonly used hashtags (#homesteading, #tinyliving , and #offgridliving ), and then geolocation data identified the hot spots. Each of these lifestyles focuses on some level of self-sufficiency and cost savings. Homesteading is mainly about self-sufficiency. You’ll find homesteaders growing their own food, generating their own power and making their own clothes. Tiny living is a lifestyle that leaves a smaller footprint on the world. Tiny houses and tiny living are about simplification, a lower cost of living and using fewer resources. Living off-grid is a broad category that includes tiny living and homesteading. It also means disappearing from staples of society like the electric grid, schooling and the internet.  The reasons for heading towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle are varied, ranging from a fear of pandemics, an increase in surveillance infringing on privacy and concern for the environment. Regardless of the exact reasons, freedom,  lowering one’s carbon footprint  and a sense of independence seem to be at the core of the movement.  While there are abundant hashtags for any of these lifestyles, the study targeted these three as the best sources of information on the topic. The data was then consolidated and prepared for visual consumption by converting it into interactive maps and infographics . The method of collection eliminated Instagram posts without a location and those outside the United States. “To create these visualizations, we collected data by “scraping” it. Scraping is a technique that gathers large amounts of data from websites. In this case, we wrote a custom script in Python to get the data for each hashtag. The script collected information including the number of likes, number of comments, location, etc. for posts with each of the three lifestyle hashtags. The python script also collects data that human users can’t see, like specific location information about where the post was published from,” HomeAdvisor said on its website. When it comes to the United States and off-grid living as a whole, the interactive map gives a snapshot of the trend with the larger circles showing clusters. Moving into more specific information, homesteading may not be as rural as one might expect. In fact, large numbers of homesteaders are balancing backyard beehives , chickens and crops with a daily commute. One might also think homesteading is associated with life on the west coast. While that’s partly true, there are communities up and down the east coast squashing the idea that high populace and running your own farm don’t go hand-in-hand. As seen on the Top 10 States for #Homesteading map, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York all have active homesteading communities. Austin, Texas and Livermore, Colorado are Insta-proud of their homesteads too. On the west coast, the Seattle area in Washington and larger cities such as L.A. and San Diego in California top the list in the number of homesteaders posting their fresh eggs and veggies. For off-grid living, the map looks a little different. Here we find that numbers might be a bit skewed, considering off-grid technically means off social media, but the images are still there as a basis to understand the trends. By the Insta-numbers, Kimberly, Alabama comes in at the top of the off-grid areas, but since many of the posts are from the same Airbnb location, HomeAdvisor calculates that California takes the prize for the most off-gridders. This isn’t too surprising for a state that just mandated all new home constructions must include  solar panels . The four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are all in the top 10 for off-grid living, in addition to New York, Florida, Oregon, Hawaii and Alaska. The  tiny home movement  might be a bit hard to track for the mobile types, but on the road or not, Instagram is full of #tinyliving examples. The resulting map shows all three west coast states (California, Oregon and Washington) taking part in the trend. Florida, North Carolina and New York are active on the east coast, and Utah, Colorado and Arizona house the tiny movement too. Texas rounds out the #tinyliving top 10 list.  In conclusion, an increasing number of #homesteading Americans are going back to their roots of growing crops and raising cattle. Meanwhile, the #tinyliving community looks for ways to minimize their impact on the land, and #offgridliving continues to be difficult to accurately track, at least through the likes of Instagram. + HomeAdvisor  Images via HomeAdvisor

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Interactive maps show top 10 states for off-grid lifestyles

Snazzy garden shed doubles as rainwater runoff solution

April 9, 2020 by  
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When most people think of a garden shed, they more than likely conjure up simple images of utilitarian boxes stored with barely-used tools and oodles of clutter. However, when Maryland-based practice  Gardner Architects  was tasked with installing a small garden shed for homeowners in the community of Bethesda, they came up with a gorgeous  100-square-foot shed  that not only blends in harmoniously with the main home, but actively helps manage stormwater runoff to be re-used as irrigation for the native plants found on the property. Although the task of building a garden shed may seem pretty straightforward at first, in reality, the team from Gardner Architects came up against quite a few challenges before they could get to work on the design. First and foremost, the landscape surrounding the main home is comprised of dense woodland, which the homeowners wanted to protect at all costs, meaning that no trees could be removed to make space for the shed. The solution then was to build the shed just mere steps away from the home, preserving all of the trees  found on the property’s .34 acres. Related: Studio Sprout’s backyard greenhouse combines stylish form with fabulous function As part of a recent  renovation of the main house , the shed design would become part of a larger master plan for managing rainwater on the property. Working with  Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture , the resulting shed design was created to be respectful to the ecology of the home’s surroundings. To protect the natural vegetation, for example, the design team hired an arborist to help the construction process avoid damaging any underground tree roots. The structure is set into a small corner just steps away from the main home. Extremely compact at just 100 square feet, the shed is clad in tight-knot board-and-batten siding. Sliding doors made from  cedar boards  were set on metal tracks to open completely, making it easier to access. To embed the design with a proper  rainwater rerouting system , the roof was slightly slanted to allow water to slowly run down the hillside, where it would be re-routed into a drain made out of large stones. The system allows the water to slowly be absorbed into the planting beds located between the shed and the main house. In addition to its rainwater system, the project also centered around protecting the natural setting to attract healthy critters to the area. “Site maintenance is also a component of a natural habitat,” Honeyman said. “We have left tree snags onsite to attract insects and the birds attracted to them. Not clearing the underbrush and leaf litter provides environments for a multitude of insects to overwinter.” Now that the structure is completed, the homeowners will be working with the landscaping team to add a  pollinator garden  to the property. + Gardner Architects + Jordan Honeyman Landscape Architecture Via Houzz Photography by John Cole

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Snazzy garden shed doubles as rainwater runoff solution

Off-grid tiny cabin in Australia is just the place for a digital detox in the new year

January 1, 2020 by  
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Last year, we featured CABN ‘s collection of gorgeous, off-grid cabins that are designed to offer a serene respite away from the stresses of everyday life. Now, the Australian company has just unveiled another beautiful design, the Sadie, which is its first eco-retreat in Victoria. Tucked in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, the solar-powered cabin is the ideal spot for reconnecting with nature in the new year. Like all of CABN’s projects, the Sadie is designed to go completely off the grid while still offering the ultimate in comfort for guests who are looking to immerse themselves in nature. Located on a remote property in Daylesford, the cabin is less than a 1.5 hour drive from Melbourne. Guests staying at the tiny cabin will enjoy the secluded area, which is surrounded by lush forest and unspoiled nature. Related: These Australian tiny cabins are designed to help us disconnect With a master bedroom and a comfy day bed, the cabin can accommodate up to four guests. In addition to the two sleep spaces, there is a main living area complete with the company’s signature, massive window that frames views of the forested landscape. This window is accompanied by a handful more, all of which brighten the space with natural light during the day. Despite its small size, the cabin has more than enough amenities to make guests feel at home. The bathroom sports a simplistic design of unfinished wood and has enough space for a shower and a composting toilet . For meals, there is a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor grill. Guests can also enjoy a nice glass of wine while lounging around the firepit, provided its not bushfire season, of course. Although the cabin, which starts at $200 per night, is located in a remote forest seemingly at the end of the earth, in reality, the cabin retreat is in Daylesford, which has plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. Additionally, there are plenty of local wineries in the area to tour. + CABN Images via CABN

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Matthew McConaughey unveils tiny eco-retreat in Australia

December 23, 2019 by  
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Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is jumping on the tiny cabin movement , and it’s “alright, alright, alright” with us. The famous actor has teamed up with Australian travel company Unyoked and Wild Turkey to build The Reserve — a tiny, off-grid cabin that operates on solar power. We already know that McConaughey is a huge fan of the outdoors, and regularly disconnects from the hustle and bustle in places like his beloved, restored Airstream . His latest tiny cabin venture follows his passion for both simple living and eco-friendly design. Located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, The Reserve is a tiny home that was built entirely with sustainable materials. The off-grid cabin, which runs on solar power , was designed to offer guests a serene retreat to rejuvenate in Australia’s incredible landscape. Related: This off-grid tiny cabin in the Australian wilderness is just what you need for a late summer getaway The dark wood-paneled cabin is a rustic, yet sophisticated retreat that offers an off-grid experience without sacrificing comfort. Here, the typical modern amenities of Wi-Fi and flat-screen televisions are replaced by large windows and a firepit. The cabin still includes the basics, such as a queen-sized bed, a gas stove, plates, linens and even a concealed bourbon bar. Working with the team from Unyoked, McConaughey added several personal touches to the tiny cabin . For those struggling to leave their smartphones behind for entertainment, guests can read some of McConaughey’s favorite authors, such as a collection of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and works by Og Mandino. For music-lovers, there are cassette tapes of Bob Dylan albums that can be listened to on a vintage stereo. As the sun sets, guests can warm up with a nice, toasty glass of Wild Turkey at the bourbon bar. Built as a part of Wild Turkey’s Thanks initiative, the proceeds from cabin bookings and $1 from every bottle of Longbranch sold in November and December will go to the initiative’s charity partner, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife. “I’ve always been in awe of Australia’s natural beauty,” McConaughey said in a statement. “My hope now is that The Reserve by Wild Turkey x Unyoked cabin will inspire Australians to reconnect with nature as an antidote to the frenetic pace of life.” + Unyoked Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Getty Images via Unyoked

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Matthew McConaughey unveils tiny eco-retreat in Australia

Ark tiny home blends off-grid capability with elevated design

December 13, 2019 by  
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These days, designing an off-grid tiny home doesn’t have to mean forgoing attractive design. Built by Willowbee Tiny Homes , the Ark was designed to go completely off the grid thanks to a full solar package, a fresh water holding tank, a gray water holding tank and a composting toilet. Furthermore, all of these incredible sustainable design elements are wrapped up in a breathtakingly gorgeous living space. Built on a 26-foot-long wheeled trailer, the Ark is ready to move into virtually any landscape. Constructed with durable materials, the tiny home is capable of withstanding nearly any type of climate. The cedar-clad home has a tight envelope comprised of high-quality insulation that keeps the interior warm and cozy, even in cold weather. Related: This tiny farmhouse features a quaint reading nook The Ark was also designed to be a powerhouse of off-grid living . The pitched roof is equipped with a solar array on each side, which allows the tiny home to generate all of the clean energy it needs to operate. Additionally, the house is installed with both a fresh water holding tank and a gray water holding tank to reduce water waste. Besides its impressive green design elements, the Ark is one of the most attractive tiny homes that we’ve ever seen. With bright white walls and even brighter blue accents, the interior space is unique and contemporary. There’s also no shortage of natural light streaming in from a bounty of windows and skylights. The off-grid tiny home features a roomy living area with storage built into the L-shaped couch, which can be folded out into various configurations . Just steps away, home cooks can whip up impressive meals in the kitchen that includes full-size appliances and electric-blue cabinetry. There are two sleeping lofts on either side of the small building. The master bedroom is accessible via a floating staircase, while the second loft is reachable by a ladder. Downstairs, the bathroom features an enviable, full-size bathtub, a washer and dryer combo and a composting toilet to round out the list of sustainable amenities. + Willowbee Tiny Homes Images via Willowbee Tiny Homes

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Ark tiny home blends off-grid capability with elevated design

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