Soon it will be two years since I started this blog. I am still living on-grid, using electrical power supplied by coal-burning power plants (most of which is probably produced in Bełchatów Power Plant — the largest thermal power plant in Europe and the second largest in the world, also the largest single carbon dioxide emitter). I only use alternative energy sources when on camping holidays, but my plans for future are vast, and I want to share those plans with you today.

This year I wanted to build a small strawbale shack. It is going to be built with straw bales and clay, using wooden posts to support the roof. I took part of a workshop this July, when we built a small strawbale building. The one we built had loadbearing walls and was a bit more difficult to build than the one I wanted on my piece of land. I wanted to build a wood frame first and then add strawbale walls and clay finish. Because of some misunderstandings, I wasn’t able to build it yet. But I can show you the one we built this summer:

Skończony prawie domek ze straw bale

Not entirely finished, door and window missing, roof needs to be covered.

I hope I will be able to finish this building next year.

I also want to start building a house for me and my family the next spring. The idea is to build using the cheapest available techniques, i.e. infill walls with wooden studs, mineral wool fill and OSB board siding. I will add external insulation (styrofoam) in future. I want to use slab-on-grade foundation (as it provides probably the best thermal insulation and virtually no thermal bridges (cold bridges). The idea is to build this house as energy efficient as possible, I hope to make it close to passive house standards… Large solar heat gains, good thermal insulation, forced air ventillation with heat recovery, etc.

If everything goes right, this time next year I will be living in my own house. Probably it won’t have everything finished, but it’s better to live in the country and need to work on your own house, than to live in an apartment in city. For me, at least, it’s better. 😉

The next year I will be adding some extra off-grid stuff. I want my house to be heated with a wood furnace and large water tank to store heat. I hope to get a tank of at least 3 cubic meter (almost 800 gal) capacity, that will be able to store almost 200 kWh of heat, more than my house will use in a day in the coldest winter (when the temperature drops to -20°C /-4°F). I will also build a small (or maybe not so small) vertical axis wind turbine. Then I will start to work on my solar photovoltaic power source. I want to have at least 6 kWp of photovoltaic panels, but that will require at least $20,000 I don’t have at the moment. 😉

Besides that, I will have my own water source (drilled well and pump, probably also rainwater harvesting system), septic tank, maybe composting toilets, and a large garden that will supply me with food. I also want to harvest my own wood for the furnace.

What do you think about my ideas?