Thursday, 31 December 2015

Tiny Houses for the Homeless: An Affordable Solution Catches On

A growing number of towns and cities have found a practical solution to homelessness through the construction of tiny-house villages—and housing officials are taking notice. More ...

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Off-grid galvanized Shower Tub

Looking for an inexpensive shower/bath tub we stumbled upon these wonderful images with 35 gallon galvanized steel tubs.

We found one on Amazon with Free Shipping: Behrens 35-Gallon Round Steel Tub by Behrens for $48.97

There are some other sizes and shapes out there ....

Friday, 13 November 2015

Affordable Housing in Vancouver and the Olympic Village Model.

We have all read the News about the difficult Housing situation in places like Vancouver. 

As prices climb,  more and more people are unable to afford to buy a house, condo or anything else in and around Vancouver.  

Obviously something needs to be done.  An affordable and sustainable housing strategy needs to be developed: an Architecture  that can house low income families and young people entering the housing Market.

Something like a new Low cost, Affordable housing Village ..... Similar to the Olympic Village but "Affordable". Is it possible to build a large scale village where 2 and 3  bedroom apartments can be purchased for less than $100,000 ?   If done with low cost, recycled, and re-used materials the answer is YES !

The Tiny House and Offgrid Community are experts at creating spaces from almost nothing. Working with recycled, reused and repurposed materials, it is possible to build  low cost housing on a massive scale. Unfinished ceilings, floors, walls, small spaces, multi-function rooms and furniture. This is the Sustainable Architecture we have been waiting for.

Located in Southeast False Creek, the Olympic Village was built for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, to house athletes and Olympic officials coming from across the world.
After the Olympics, the Olympic accommodation became residential housing. The development aligns with the City's goals, addressing environmental, economic, and social issues.

The Olympic Village, developed by the Millennium Development Group, is one of the greenest communities in the world, making Vancouver a leader in sustainable development.
In keeping with Vancouver's Greenest City targets, the Olympic Village uses innovative energy efficiency and sustainability systems like solar heating and green roofs.
The Olympic Village is a mixed-use community, with approximately 1,100 residential units, area parks, and a growing number of retail and service outlets.
The Village, which is North America’s first LEED Platinum community, was designed, developed and constructed by the Millennium Development Group led by Peter and Sharam Malek. The project was achieved in a record 30 months from commencement of construction to the opening of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Situated on a former industrial site, it has been a catalyst for the revitalization of the surrounding neighbourhood and has recently been awarded the 2013 Urban Land Institute award for urban open spaces.

International builders soak up the Vancouver model: 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

OffGrid-Living in Beautiful British Columbia !

Imagine .... Offgrid-Living on 3.22 acres. Breathtaking ocean & mountain VIEWS. Cozy 1,200 square ft 2 bedroom cottage with workshop and covered deck resting right at the water's edge. Desirable south-west exposure & all day sunshine to relax and enjoy everything waterfront living has to offer.  

The zoning, gentle sloping topography and spacious 200' of waterfrontage allow for second residence, perfect for shared investment. 20 minutes by boat from Deep Cove. No road access. Great investment! Only $600 k

Monday, 2 November 2015

Hydro Rates across Canada. And Ontario is set to Increase !

The average monthly electricity bill by province for 1,000 kWh of electricity consumption (which is typically about what most households use) as of May 1, 2013.

Current Rates are actually much higher and set to Increase?

Time to go Off-Grid, or move to Quebec or BC....

More Information here :

In the News :

"Average energy bills in Ontario are set to increase by as much as $137 a year starting in 2016 due to program changes announced by the Liberal government Thursday, including a new rebate to help low-income families."

Sunday, 1 November 2015

What is your Carbon Footprint ? Do you know ?

Worldwide, 82% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion

The Global Average CO2 Emission per person is about 4 Tonnes per year.  (20 Tonnes for the US)

The cost to fly one person from Washington DC to Paris Economy Class is 1.6 Tonnes of CO2 in 1 day.

Hundreds of government officials and Scientists plan to fly to Paris this month to discuss how to reduce CO2 Emissions.

Creating hundreds of Tonnes of CO2… 
Equivalent to hundred's of years of CO2 Emissions in 1 day !  

Maybe some of these people should not fly and rather Skype in to these meetings.... This would save thousands of dollars and hundreds of Tonnes of CO2 Emissions.

What do you think ?

You can Calculate your own Carbon Footprint here:  

A carbon footprint is the measure of the amount of greenhouse gases, measured in units of carbon dioxide, produced by human activities. A carbon footprint can be measured for an individual or an organization, and is typically given in tons of CO2-equivalent (CO2-eq) per year. For example, the average North American generates about 20 tons of CO2-eq each year. The global average carbon footprint is about 4 tons of CO2-eq per year (Figure 1).

Monday, 26 October 2015

Improving Your Survival Garden With Mulching

Relying less on commercial food products means growing more in your own garden. Part of ensuring a healthy, productive garden is proper mulching. In fact, mulch in your garden has a number of beneficial effects that anyone trying to live off the grid should be taking advantage of.

1. Weed control. Having a two to four inch layer of mulch will help prevent the growth of weeds by reducing germination. Fewer weeds mean more resources for the garden and more bountiful crops. When you're working hard to provide your own food as an off the grid family, this can make a real difference.

2. Moisture conservation. With a layer of mulch, evaporation of soil moisture is reduced, which lessens the need for watering of the garden. Especially when living off the grid where you provide your own water supply, this is a big benefit.

3. Soil fertility. Use the right mulch and you can significantly improve the fertility of your garden's soil. Mulch can provide nutrients that your garden needs which may be lacking in the soil on your property.

4. Insulation. Mulch acts as a blanket for your garden, insulating it. Mulch keeps the soil warmer during the winter and cooler during the heat of summer. All of this results in increased production.

5. Many mulches improve soil aeration and drainage over time. Especially for plants that do poorly where water pools, proper aeration and drainage can be the difference between a great crop and an anemic one.

6. A layer of mulch can prevent a number of diseases, and also provides a barrier against damage from weed whackers and lawn mowers.

Now that you're aware of the benefits of mulching your garden, it's time to make a decision on what kind of mulch you're going to use. There are many choices, each offering their own benefits.

1. Pine bark mulch is very long lasting, and when it finally does start to break down it infuses the soil with rich organic material. This mulch shouldn't be used in areas that tend to have flowing water or heavy rains, though, as the mulch nuggets can float and spread.

2. Shredded hardwood mulch is similar to pine bark, but because it's heavier it's less likely to flow away under heavy rain. However, hardwood mulch will make the soil more alkaline when it breaks down. If you have plants that require a more acidic environment, keep that in mind. Also, because hardwood can get compacted over time, you'll want to spread it out periodically to prevent blocking rain or nutrients.

3. Colored wood mulch looks nice, but unfortunately the colors often come from additives in the wood that isn't good for your plants. Be careful if you're going to use this kind of mulch that the dyes used are safe. Sometimes mulches made from recycled wood contain arsenic from the pressure-treatment the wood may have received before it was recycled.

4. Using compost and manure for mulch can add huge amounts of beneficial organic material to the soil -- and quickly at that. This improves soil structure, nutrition and the soil's ability to store water. The disadvantage of this kind of mulch is that it doesn't prevent the growth of weeds nearly as well as mulches made from wood or needles.

When living off the grid, you need to produce as much as possible with the least amount of output. When it comes to your garden, that means you need to mulch for optimum garden performance. Many of the materials used for mulching are a natural by-product of your property (wood, compost, manure), which prevents you from having to buy any commercial products -- another plus for the off-the-grid family.

About the Author :  Jonathan Leger is a gardening enthusiast. He runs a small site on the education, history and care of a variety of roses at

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Living almost off the grid in Huttopia, Lac Monroe Mont Tremblant, Quebec.

We stayed 2 nights (2 adults and 2 kids) in one of these wonderful Huttopia's at Lac Monroe, Quebec Provincial Park near Mont Tremblant, about 3 hours east of  Ottawa Ontario, Canada.

These huts are provided with everything you need to experience life in a Hut ; you only need to bring sleeping bags, food and drinks. You can buy a bundle of Firewood for $7.50 at the Service Centre.

Cost was about $100 per night but well worth it for the adventures and experience of living (almost) off the Grid for 3 days.

They had an outlet with one light and a small fridge. Cooking was on the fire or small propane stove....

I'd love to find one of these Canvas Huts for Sale, so far no luck. Anyone know where I could buy one ?

Beautiful and clean Lake Monroe is perfect for kayak or canoe.

I caught a 3 lb pickerel in the 1st 1/2 hour of fishing.  You can also rent Kayaks, Canoes, and Stand Up Paddle Boards at the Service Centre.

More Information here :

Video from the Lake:

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Could you live in a 6' x 5' Cedar Barrel Sauna ?

This wonderful structure is available for $3999 ...

We'll see if we can make some modifications to sleep 4.  Think removable Bunk beds.  You could seat 4 indoors for meals or during inclement weather, convert to Sauna then sleeping quarters at night.

This Western Red Cedar Barrel Sauna seats 4 people comfortably (or 2 people lying down). Each kit comes complete with a sauna bucket and ladle and easy to follow instructions for assembly. Upgrade your backyard today with a Dundalk cedar barrel sauna. Clear cedar benches on the inside can be used for a lying down or sitting up position. Automatic timer and temperature control built into the heater make operating this sauna a breeze.

  • 4-person capacity  
  • Made in Canada  
  • 4.4 kW electric heater with built-in timer and temperature controls  
  • 3.8 cm (1.5 in.) thick walls  
  • Western red cedar construction
  • Marine grade aluminium bands  
  • Rust-resistant stainless-steel hardware  
  • Full-sized door with bronze-tempered window for easy access  
  • Clear cedar benches  
  • Automatic timers and temperature controls built into the heater  
  • Heats up in 20 minutes  
  • 2 persons required to assemble (allow 8 hours for assembly)  
  • 22.68 kg (50 lb.) of sauna rocks included  
Electrical Requirements:  
  • 240 V/30 A GFCI breaker required 
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 152 cm x 182 cm x 198 cm (60 in. x 72 in. x 78 in.); 
  • Weight: 255 kg (562 lb.)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Visit Nature's Harmony Eco-Village, Mattawa, Ontario

Nature's Harmony Eco-Village near Mattawa Ontario is a wonderful place to get back to Nature and learn how to live a more sustainable, off the grid lifestyle.  Accommodations include, Log cabin, chalet, yurt, glamping tent structure, camping, special Group Rates and more  ....

‘Off-the-grid’ simply means living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on the public utility system. ..... municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas or the hydro grid. Energy supply is provided by eight 120-watt solar panels and a 1000-watt wind turbine

The water source is drawn from a spring-fed well; there is a septic system and heating is provided by woodstoves. There is also a propane furnace that is programmed to come on if the temperature drops below a certain level. Energy is provided by eight 120-watt solar panels and a 1000-watt wind turbine, mounted on a 65-foot tower. The solar and wind energy pass through separate charge controllers which then charge a 24-volt battery system. The energy then passes through an inverter which converts the energy from DC (battery voltage) into 110 watts AC (home power). If the energy demand exceeds the supply from the sun and/or wind, a propane generator automatically kicks in to charge the batteries.

During 2008, Nature’s Harmony received funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation under the Northern Energy Program. Nature’s Harmony was grateful to receive this funding as it allowed us to upgrade the existing energy system to be able to accommodate the increased demands by operating a B&B in our home an to substantially reduce our reliance on the propane generator. In addition, the funding was used to install a basic solar system in one of our cabins. Connection to the outside world is through a satellite internet system. High speed internet and the phone operates using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) through the satellite internet.

"Living off-the-grid isn’t all that much different than living in the city except that we have become much more conscious about our energy consumption. Through this awareness we have discovered many simple ways to conserve on energy and lessen our impact on the environment. Living off-the-grid continually challenges us to think outside the box to find new ways to live more sustainably. You don’t need to live off-the-grid to make a difference. Many of these simple changes can be implemented whether you are off the grid or in the city." - Jen & Tzach Elnekave

Saturday, 20 June 2015

$2 Dollarama Power Bank to charge my phone and tablet

This is how I power my tablet when I'm not near any power Source. 

I charge this $2.00 Dollarama Powerbank (with separate solar panels) and have Free Power all week long!

I charge the Power Bank with a Voltaic Solar back pack I won in a Tiny house design Contest a few years ago.... 

I charge the Solar panels all day then charge the Power Bank and  I have a nice small mobile Charger I can carry with me all day long to charge my phone, tablet, whatever .... Now I need a larger Tesla Version for the house. Same idea. 

I couldn't find the same Dollarama Model online but I found this one on for $9.99  :

iXCC 3200mAH Power Bank - Portable External Battery Charger for Apple, Samsung, Android devices and More 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The perfect Off-grid Washing machine

Manual powered washing machine is perfect for those who live in remote areas, off-the-grid or in places. The Drumi is reminiscent of the GiraDora, the foot-pedal washing machine prototype that never came to market in the U.S. 

To use it, you first load six or seven pieces of clothing (or 5 lb/2.3 kg by weight) into its spherical drum, add detergent to the hopper on top, and then pour in 5 liters (1.3 US gal) of wash water. After spinning the drum back and forth for five minutes by pressing on the pedal, you drain out the water using a push-button, add five more liters of rinse water, then spin it for another five minutes before draining it again.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

VW Camper Van to be revived as a battery-electric vehicle

Oh I hope this is True. This will be my next car, and home ! Read this on Inhabitat :  "Since its launch in the early 1950s, the Volkswagen Westfalia Camper has been an enduring classic, an icon of cross-country adventures and the traveling lifestyle. Production ceased in 2003, but speaking to Autocar at last week’s New York Auto Show, board member Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser revealed that the company is soon to unveil a concept Camper that would revive the classic van as an electric vehicle."

Volkswagen is planning to reveal an updated version of its Microbus camper van concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January prior to an official announcement by its chairman, Martin Winterkorn, confirming the iconic van’s return to the German car maker’s line-up.
Described as a close preview to a planned production version of the Microbus to be produced at Volkswagen’s Puebla factory in Mexico from 2017, the updated concept is set to showcase a newly developed electric drive system among other contemporary connectivity technologies.
The zero local emission driveline, which relies on the Volkswagen Group’s latest lithium-ion battery technology as used by the Audi R8 E-Tron and upcoming Audi E-Tron Quattro concept, is claimed to provide a range of between 400 and 500km (250-310 miles) depending on the driving conditions. It is planned to be offered alongside more conventional turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants on the production Microbus, which senior Wolfsburg sources describe as being smaller than the latest Multivan.
Volkswagen’s plans to resurrect the Microbus form part of a broader commercial vehicle strategy aimed at significantly bolstering its sales performance in the US market.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Investing in Gold ? Win $100 nugget + from Gold Rush

Click here: 

... to enter the latest Gold Rush Contest for chance to win $100 Gold Nugget, Signed Pan, and 4 lb Premium Paydirt with more gold.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Prospector's Log Cabin on wheels and Off the Grid

Gino Del-Ciotto is this really interesting Carpenter / Prospector living out in beautiful British Columbia, Canada where he pans for gold along the Tulameen River with his long time Gold Prospecting Partner Maurice.
Gino and Maurice have a Prospecting Adventure Company called  "Nugget Valley Gold Prospecting Adventures" where they take people out on day trips or overnight adventures to pan for gold and platinum along the River.

To make things interesting this year Gino decided to buy a Trailer and convert it into a good old fashioned Prospector's Log Cabin.... on wheels !
This way they can travel between their claims and like a Prospecting Turtle take their "Off-Grid" home with them.

This is the exterior painted black. He could probably use this to heat the water, or some other solar gain purpose.

The Company Logo will be added to the side and be a good draw whenever he's driving through any town in the Okanagan Valley.

This is a photo from one of Gino's Claims along the Tulameen River in British Columbia.

It doesn't get much better than this !

Gino and Maurice also sell the gold, platinum and other gems, including garnets and diamonds they find on their Web Site:  We have bought some of their Gold Pay dirt to practice our panning technique and let me tell you they are filled with Gold ! 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Zero-Mile Diet : A Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food

This definitive month-by-month guide brings gardeners into the delicious world of edible landscaping and helps take a load off the planet as we achieve greater food security. Full of illustrative colour photos and step-by-step instructions, The Zero-Mile Diet shares wisdom gleaned from 30 years of food growing and seed saving with comprehensive advice on:
* Growing organic food year-round
* The small fruit orchard and backyard berries
* Superb yet simple seasonal recipes
* Preserving your harvest
* Seed saving and plant propagation
* Dirt-cheap ways to nourish your soil
* Backyard poultry--it's less time-consuming than you
* Growing vegetables in the easiest way possible
* A-z guide to growing the best vegetables and herbs

Put organic home-grown fruits and vegetables on your table throughout the year, using the time-saving, economical and sustainable methods of gardening outlined in The Zero-Mile Diet. This book is about REAL food and how eating it will change our lives for the better.  Available at Zero-Mile Diet