Solutions for Self-Reliance

Video Tour: Off-Grid Shipping Container Home “Down Under”


Here’s another great off-grid house tour by Kirsten Dirksen. This time she’s out in the Australian bush visiting Paul Chambers and his wife Sarah, who are now living in a home built out of two shipping containers.

From living in Scotland they packed up and moved to the Australian suburbs. But after only a few months they got tired of spending so much of their income on their home. “They also felt they’d lost touch with nature and a more active lifestyle” says Kirsten.

So they sold their home and moved with Paul’s “project”: two shipping containers he’d been transforming into a kitchen/bathroom + bedroom/living room.

They found someone willing to let them park their new home on their rural property in exchange for making improvements to the land.

This goes to show you don’t need to buy or own land to make your rural dream come true.

Now here’s the part that gets me going:

Their home is completely off the electric and water grids. When they first moved to the bush they used a 3kw Honda generator, but they’ve since installed 2Kw of photovoltaic panels and a bank of batteries and phased out the generator. They have enough energy to power their home with all its conventional appliances, including a standard fridge/freezer. For heating, they rely on firewood (collected from fallen trees on the property; they have “not cut down a single tree”). For air conditioning, they use fans and AC “during really hot days”.

From relying on water deliveries they now have an extensive rainwater capture system that provides them with all the water they need: 65 square metres of rain water collection in 10,000 liters of storage.

If you’d like to learn more about how Paul built his home, he has published an ebook explaining how he built the home including a step-by-step guide: buying and moving shipping containers, a wiring diagram and schematics, installing solar panels and a breakdown of costs.

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