On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a writer, with the help of his daughter, built not only a room but an entire green getaway of his own. The entire cabin, including its refrigerator-freezer, is powered by the rooftop solar system from Solarwinds Northernlights. "I still can't get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun," says resident Bruce Porter.
Entirely off the grid, this home on the Colorado Plateau is powered by four photovoltaic panels that supply electricity to lights, small appliances, and water pumps.
The Watershed is an off-the-grid writer’s retreat that architect Erin Moore designed for her mother, nature writer Kathleen Dean Moore in Wren, Oregon. When she visits, Kathleen limits her writing accoutrements to paper and pencil.
For this rural Ontario home, building sustainably was less about high-tech gizmos than learning to truly love the land. “There’s a presence to that place—it’s vast, and constantly shifting,” says architect Lisa Moffitt. “It was clear that this house should be an observation shed for the changing landscape beyond.”
Completed in fall 2013 for just over $118,000, Jason Gordon’s off-the-grid, 1,157-square-foot house in Arkansas was designed to have as little of an impact on its environment as possible. Green elements include a photovoltaic array, a rainwater catchment system, and a pier footing foundation that elevates the house over the land, minimizing site disturbance.
A prefabricated off-the-grid vacation home in eastern Washington references its rugged surroundings. Its steel cladding has developed a patina similar to the ochre-red color of bedrock found in the area.
Prefab units cluster together in this off-the-grid guesthouse designed by MOS Architects. Multiple sustainable features keep it cool and energy-efficient despite its New Mexico desert surroundings.