Off-Grid in Northern BC
In this video, we meet Jeff, Rose, and their five girls who are living completely off-grid on a 40-acre piece of land in northern BC.
They built their own off-grid house for less than $25,000 with cedar posts sunk into the ground like a pole barn, log rafters, plywood, foam insulation, and a living roof. The house was affordable to build because they didn’t have to excavate or pour a concrete foundation, dig a well, or install a septic system.
They have two solar power systems to power everything they need. The first is a single solar panel that generates 12-Volt power for their lights, cell phones, and music player. The larger system is a 2.5 Kilowatt solar power system installed on their shop roof with a lithium ion battery bank that powers their full-sized fridge, a chest freezer, washing machine, as well as a mixer, blender, and a toaster. They have a backup generator but they only use it for about 40 hours per year during prolonged cloudy or snowy periods.
All the water the family uses is rainwater collected from their shop roof and stored in a tank under the shop floor to keep it cool. They carry buckets of water into the house for cooking, dishes, and showers. To produce clean drinking water, they filter their rainwater in a passive water filter called a Burkey (check them out here: http://www.berkeyfilters.com). The grey water from their kitchen sink and shower drains into a shallow grey water field in the backyard. They have two composting bucket toilets — they sprinkle sawdust into the buckets after each use to absorb moisture and prevent smells.
For heat, they cut their own firewood for their Blaze King catalytic wood stove, and for their antique cookstove in the kitchen that they use for cooking and baking. Jeff and Rose homeschool their five girls for a few hours each day, and also ensure their kids are learning diverse life skills, like growing their own food, caring for horses, raising bees, and more.
If you’d like to learn more about this inspiring family, check out their blog.