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Energy strategies for off-grid plots

Unable to bring mains gas or electricity onto your site? Nigel Griffiths reveals the main options to power your home
Tesla’s Powerwall 2 battery can be floor or wall mounted, and is suitable for installation both indoors and out
Calor has recently introduced BioLPG, which combines renewable and sustainablysourced materials to lower the fuel’s overall environmental impact

It’s rare to find a viable plot or existing house that’s completely off-grid, in that it has access to neither gas nor electricity. However, many self-builders and renovators will have had to do without one or the other. Some even aim to go completely fossil fuel-free and create a home that’s powered entirely by renewables.

If your plot or project can’t be cost-effectively connected to one or both of the mains supplies, but you’re still keen to forge ahead, the most important strategy will be to minimise your demand for energy in the first place.

Space heating is normally the building service that uses the most energy, so begin by designing to reduce or even eliminate the need for it. If you build to Passivhaus principles (see www.self-build.co.uk/passivhaus), for instance, in some cases it is possible to do without space heating completely until the outside temperature drops below zero. That’s because the warmth from solar gain, occupation, cooking and lighting is sufficient to maintain the internal temperature within acceptable comfort levels.

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About Build It

Looking for ideas and practical advice to help you create a tailor-made home that suits your lifestyle perfectly? The July issue of Build It has you covered. Here's a sneak peek at what's inside: - Self-build secrets: 10 things you need to know before you build - How to get planning permission for your extension - PVCu windows: are they the right choice for your project? - The best ways to insulate foundations - Going off-grid: options for heating & electrics - Budgeting basics: how to get an accurate estimate for your build ...and more!