Originally published September 10 2011
New Hampshire family builds off-grid house and farm powered by solar, proves self-sufficiency enhances quality of life
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Living off the grid does not have to mean trading modern amenities and convenient living for an uncomfortable experiment in survivalism. A recent Natural Home & Garden piece tells the story of Chris and Anna Von Mertens, a New Hampshire couple that decided to build a modern, fully-functional, and wholly self-sufficient house and farm for their family -- and the best part about this story is the home's complete ability to power itself using solar energy.
After living in San Francisco for many years, the Von Mertens decided they wanted to have children and start their own family. And since both Chris and Anna's families live in the New England area, they decided to return to the Peterborough, NH, area where Anna's family lives.
But instead of going the conventional route and purchasing a typical home powered by the local energy company, the couple decided to build their own home powered independently by their own solar energy system. They even decided to hand-build the house themselves with the help of family members familiar with the process.
The building team, which was composed of the Von Mertens' family and friends, successfully poured the home's foundation, used pine trees from the lot to build stairs, flooring and furniture, and even framed the house with the help of Anna's dad. In the end, the Von Mertens constructed a beautiful, self-sustaining home, complete with a vegetable garden and chicken coup -- and thanks to their innovative solar design, they never have to pay a single energy bill ever again.
"Green living used to be associated with sacrifice," said Anna to Natural Home & Garden. "But modern green living actually improves the quality of life."
Husband Chris agrees, noting that the initial investment made to purchase a renewable solar power system is well worth the cost in the long run. With fixed energy costs and a home designed to take advantage of natural sunlight in every way, the Von Mertens are free to live their normal lives without worrying about rising energy costs like most other Americans do.
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