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Living off grid and the English houses where you can

image source, Fish funnel

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The nearest public road is approximately 2.5 km from Crina Bottom

Are you looking to avoid high energy bills, extended mortgages and others? Off-grid living could be for you.

Last week we reported on a 400-year-old house in one of North Yorkshire’s Three Peaks that was not connected to mains electricity and was only accessible by 4X4. Crina Bottom is for sale and could be yours for £750,000.

But what does it actually mean to go off the grid? BBC News spoke to those who have taken the leap and found some options currently on the market.

‘My children are a bit embarrassed’

image source, Jim Stephenson

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Architect Piers Taylor’s house on the outskirts of Bath

In 2005, architect Piers Taylor and his wife Sue Philips took their first steps toward energy independence when they built their own house in a remote forest with no car access. .

The project involved extending an 18th Century stone schoolhouse on the outskirts of Bath to create a modern family home with an off-grid heating system.

The new house is connected to mains electricity rather than gas, so Mr Taylor installed a wood-burning boiler to provide hot water and heating.

Not only is getting wood from the surrounding forest “extremely labor-intensive,” he said, but burning wood also releases carbon.

“Normally, I’m the one doing all the chain sawing, and then, as my kids get older, they help divide and stack,” he said.

“The kids are fed up. They’re a bit embarrassed, all their friends live in regular houses.”

Now the home’s energy efficiency is in line with current standards after Mr Taylor’s company Invisible Studio upgraded the walls and windows for better insulation and installed underfloor heating. electric floor.

“The insulation and airtightness are as good as a passive house,” he said, referring to the standard of the house maintaining a comfortable temperature and using less energy than most.

This has halved their need for wood and the house is now also self-powered through solar panels and batteries.

But if you’re thinking about building or retrofitting an off-grid home yourself, his biggest advice is to “reduce your needs.”

“We design buildings that require virtually no heating, that’s the first thing. Second, you want to reduce your lighting needs.”

Eco house built by students

image source, Andreas Billman

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Nest House in Herefordshire was built at a cost of £280,000 by architects Studio Bark

Nest House, an eco-home in Herefordshire, is an example of off-grid technology on a budget.

Designed by architects Studio Bark and built for retired couple Francine and Stephen Burns at a total cost of £280,000, the property is made from a prefabricated structure of tape rolls wood.

Students built the house as part of an educational program, installing used solar panels from an old solar farm to create a power porch and a test system that combined the Infrared panels with sensors for energy-saving heating.

Mr and Mrs Burns can only live off the grid for part of the year because their current system cannot fully meet their power needs, so they still need some mains power in the winter .

But with batteries storing energy from solar panels, in the event of a power outage, Francine and Stephen will have four days of electricity to use most of their devices.

“Buy more solar panels than you think you need,” she advises those going off the grid. “It’s not going to be easy for the construction design to install anything else at this point.”

The house was designed with accessibility in mind due to Francine’s mobility issues. For example, it takes no steps to make it “future-proof” for their potential needs in the coming years.

Since the project began, Stephen was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, but the house’s design made his life easier “because of the way it flows,” Francine said.

“From the kitchen, through the living room, straight to the bedroom, I can easily see or hear what he is doing… he is not isolated, he will not get lost anywhere.”

If you fancy the off-grid experience but aren’t planning on building your own home, here are some homes currently on the market in the UK.

Halstock is higher – £850,000

image source, Godfrey Short & Squire

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Lower Halstock lies on high moorland within the northern boundary of Dartmoor National Park

Higher Halstock in Dartmoor National Park is described by estate agents Godfrey Short and Squire as a “Grade II listed example of a late Devon longhouse”.

Estimated to have been built around 1700 of granite, it is a two-bedroom cottage with an attached barn.

The £850,000 property has a bespoke wind turbine electrical system, its own spring hot water supply, a wood stove for non-fossil fuel heating as well as a service oil burner Hot water and central heating.

Situated in the center of a plot of more than half an acre, the house is approached from rough paths across the moor and through two field gates.

Autumn Wood – £600,000

image source, Marcus Wrey

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The autumn wood is made of wood that is said to have been manufactured in a workshop in London and then sold by Harrods

Autumn Wood has been on the market for over two years and is currently listed at £600,000.

Situated on a third of an acre on the edge of Dartmoor, famous for its hundreds of square miles of unspoilt scenery, its residents will have no close neighbours.

With power from solar panels, a generator and its own water supply, the home’s only main services are telephone and broadband.

image source, Marcus Wrey

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Not a bad view: Autumn Wood sits on a third of an acre on the edge of Dartmoor

The house is built from timber believed to have been made in a London workshop and later sold by Harrods, and is located on the edge of a Saxon settlement that was formerly part of the Luxmoore Estate.

Crina Bottom – £750,000

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Crina Bottom, near Ingleton, has been put on the market for £750,000

Crina Bottom, near Ingleton, is a “one-of-a-kind” house halfway up one of North Yorkshire’s famous Three Peaks.

Now on the market for £750,000, this 400-year-old house is only accessible by 4×4 as it is located on the side of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales, with the nearest public road around 1.5 miles away .

Estate agent Darren Spratt, who is marketing Crina Bottom, said there was a “reasonable amount of interest” in the property.

The four-bedroom house is not connected to any main power source, electricity is generated through wind turbines and water sourced from the mountainside.

A biomass boiler, fueled by wood pellets, is used to heat the property.


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