Last week I explained why I believe that using propane will not make you off-grid and self-sufficient. Today I will show you something similar.

Many people think they can live off-grid and be self-sufficient on a boat. To some extent it’s true, but is very much dependent on where this houseboat is to be located.

In european climate, where you need a lot of energy to heat your house in winter, it’s not possible to keep your houseboat warm without using some external heat source, like electric heater, heat pump or gas furnace. Even if the boat is built to fulfill all the passive-house standard’s requirements.

If you own a homestead and a piece of land, you can produce your own biomass (like coppice willow) to heat your home. You can’t produce biomass on your boat, as it would have to be really huge so that you could have arable land there. If you live in tropical areas, you can build your own floating island using recycled plastic bottles, but I can’t imagine the number of bottles you would have to use if you wanted to have even a small garden there.

Such a houseboat may produce it's own electricity, but probably it won't be enough to heat it in winter. It even has an air conditioner!

There’s another concern — water and waste. The only water sources you can use on a boat is water from the lake, river or sea on which the boat is located (and you would have to clean it thoroughly) and rainwater harvesting. In the latter case in cold season you probably would have to melt the snow or use water harvested earlier in the year. And what to do with waste? Septic tank would have to be emptied from time to time, and a sustainable solution like a full sewage treatment system is not possible to be installed. And you can easily have one in your land home. 😉