My original idea and goal was to build an autonomous house (or to be more precise — an autonomous homestead) on the property we bought in 2007. But for the last year my wife and I we visited several buildings for sale, and even once or twice wanted to buy the house we saw. Every time I am wondering if it’s better to build your own autonomous house from the scratch, or to build a typical house and to upgrade it and retrofit to the autonomous house standard.

And I am still confused.

In the terms of energy efficiency, it’s much better to build a new house. The buildings we saw for sale this year were mostly built in 1970s, during the time when Poland was a communist country and it was very difficult to get cement, concrete, bricks, windows and roofing materials. Back then people built their houses with what they could get their hands on, and since the coal was very cheap and plentiful, noone cared to insulate walls or install airtight windows. People simply used a lot of energy to keep their houses warm. They didn’t care about getting maximum amount of sunlight for passive solar heating, nor they did care about having efficient ventillation systems. (more…)