We’re way too dependent on electricitythe second it goes out we’re completely vulnerable,” observes Steve Skojeca, on the blog Primal Family Living. This is true for all of us, especially in an age when, everything from our lighting systems, cooling/heating systems and cooking systems; to our water pumps, laptops, phones, eBooks, televisions and gaming devices; are entirely dependent on electricity! How then, do we sustain ourselves, in a world where conventional sources of electricity are reportedly dying out? Experts suggest that we attempt ‘sustainable living,’ and start doing so by building ‘self-sustaining homes!’

What are Self-Sustaining Homes?

Wikipedia defines ‘sustainable living’ as: “a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources.”  The concept of ‘self-sustaining homes,’ is based on the same philosophy. As the name indicates, ‘self-sustaining homes,’ are homes that are capable of supporting their inhabitants almost entirely.

Features of Self-Sustaining Homes  

Also called ‘green homes,’ ‘autonomous homes,’ or ‘self-sufficient homes’ – these are eco-friendly and energy efficient dwellings. Here, the energy requirements and water requirements of the occupants are independently met on-site, through power generation facilities and water storage and purification mechanisms. At the same time, most such homes are also low maintenance, and have in-built, cost effective and efficient systems, for waste-management, heating/cooling, lighting and air circulation.Self sustaining home

Beth Asaff, an experienced writer on the subject, explains:  “These homes rely solely on themselves for heating, cooling, electricity, and more. Each self-sufficient home may be configured differently depending upon its climate, location, and the needs and desires of the homeowner.”  Self-sustaining homes are made, blending varied principles and methodologies together. The aim of all such homes is to have minimum negative impact on the environment and community outside; and maximum positive impact on the occupants inside the house.  The goal is to optimally utilize all the renewable resources available in and around the site of the house.

Such homes “… can make use of several different types of systems. How they are configured is often decided upon based on the site the house is being built on,” informs Asaff.  Temperature controls to heat or cool these homes “… may mean using several different systems combined with one another. For example, geothermal heating and cooling may be combined with solar heating, insulating, passive heating and cooling…”she explains. A similar mixed approach may be applied to the lighting system, electricity generation system and the water management system, in such homes.

Self-Sustaining Homes Provide a More Eco-Friendly, Healthy and Cost-Effective Option

In recent years, self-sustaining homes have gained in popularity, owing to the multifarious rewards they offer home owners. Melissa Rappaport Schifman, who, today works as a Sustainability Expert and Strategy Consultant, has highlighted these benefits on proudgreenhome.com. According to her – ‘lower energy bills, lower water bills, healthier indoor air quality, greater durability and increased value of home,’ qualify as some of the biggest benefits, that self-sustaining homes provide!

self-sufficient-home

On the same online forum, New York based Farah Ahmed, now an architect, explains, why such homes are healthier. “Green homes take advantage of non-toxic materials. During construction, less toxic waste is emitted into the air… There are also purer ventilation systems in green homes — the air is cleaner. Instead of recycling stale indoor air, fresh outdoor air is continuously brought into the home, promoting a healthier indoor environment,” she states.

‘Self-sustaining homes’ or ‘green homes,’ have so much to offer, because, every intricate detail in their construction, has been planned before hand, with the intention of achieving the benefits mentioned above.  The ‘better insulation, efficient heating and cooling and efficient running of appliances, in self-sustaining homes, eventually results in lower gas and electricity bills,’ analyses Schifman. “Your home is typically your biggest asset, so it makes sense to invest in it wisely. Green investments, in my opinion, are some of the best you can make,” she concludes, clarifying, that for her -“green” symbolizes health, money and the well-being of the planet.

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This article was written by Marie Walters, an eco-geek who urges everybody to live in self-sustaining homes and save our planet.

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