“Sustainable Living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the earth’s natural resources, and of one’s personal resources. Its practitioners often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering their methods of transportation, energy consumption, and/or diet.”
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. We’ve recently had the pleasure of sitting down with an “environmentally savvy” homeowner, who explains to us how he and his partner have decided to build a home off the grid, and live an environmentally conscious life.
The driveway, contracted by the homeowner and utilizing crushed stone dug out of his own property, guides you towards this stunning home set amongst the trees, wildlife, birds, and of course, their two beautiful dogs. I couldn’t help but notice that as I parked my car, our homeowner’s electric car was quietly “charging” in the spot next to mine. Another visual giveaway showcasing this home’s focus on function, were the array of solar panels silently adorning the roof.
The home is still a work in progress, with the homeowner completing all of the finishes himself, but is impressive still even with its unfinished bits. “This has been a labour of love for myself and my partner,” explains our homeowner. “We purchased this land and cleared it ourselves, using that same wood as fuel for the fireplace, which provides some of the heating here. We also own a forested acreage, where we balance removal and planting.”
Our home owner comes by this mindset naturally, as he grew up living and attending school in amongst nature, eventually working for The Ministry of Natural Resources.
The heart of this home is actually located in the basement, and it is impressive. Our homeowners consulted Paul Downey Electric, who provided professional guidance, installation, and ongoing support of the power system, and these clients couldn’t be happier. “We would have been lost without Paul, he made the transition to solar energy, complete with battery generators, so easy. They’re truly the experts in off-grid power,” explains the homeowner.
As you can see from the pictures it is truly a state of the art installation, one that allows our homeowners to monitor the entire system right from their phones.
When it comes to looks, this home is missing absolutely nothing from a decor perspective. From the kitchen to the bathrooms to the flooring; the high-end finishes, completed by the homeowner himself, are simply gorgeous, proving you do not have to sacrifice beauty for practical living solutions.
Here are just a few of the items these homeowners, and homeowners like them, have chosen to add to their new lifestyle:
- Insulate walls, ceilings, and under floor, to aid in heating and save on energy costs.
- Install double-glazed windows, or thermal-backed curtains if double-glazing is too expensive.
- Select appliances with high energy efficiency ratings. Swap regular light bulbs for Eco bulbs.
- Design for maximum natural light to reduce artificial lighting.
- Install a rainwater collection tank.
- Choose water efficient appliances and low-flow sanitary fittings.
While some people may think that living this type of lifestyle is high maintenance, they would be wrong. “It’s a new way of thinking,” explains the homeowner. “It’s not that it’s high maintenance, it just requires more thought. When you’re looking for products and solutions for everyday experiences, think about how it can be done differently. Once you begin developing new practices, it just becomes part of your regular routine.”
One last important thing to consider when utilizing environmentally friendly solutions within your home or business, is to look into what various government programs, rebates, or promotions may be available to you as a consumer.
Written by: Kelli M Maddocks | Photography: Paul Spears