Go Green with Low-Budget Housing

Take advantage of low-budget housing options, such as campers and teepees, for off-grid lifestyles.

  • Camper trailers are designed for off-grid use and make the perfect low-budget housing option if you can find the right one. Many are already equipped with solar power and self-contained water systems.
    Photo by Fotolia/Rafael Ben-Ari
  • In "Creating the Low-Budget Homestead," Steven D. Gregersen provides practical tips and instruction for fulfilling the dream of self-sufficient living.
    Cover courtesy Paladin Press

Creating the Low-Budget Homestead (Paladin Press, 2011), by Steven D. Gregersen, provides practical advice for building the dream homestead. Living an off-grid, independent lifestyle takes a lot of planning, but with Gregersen’s help anyone can save time and money making their dreams come true. In the following excerpt from “Housing and Outbuildings,” see the variety of ways to go green with low-budget, or temporary, housing options.

Purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Creating the Low-Budget Homestead.

Green, Low-Budget Housing

These include campers, tents, teepees, yurts, dugouts, and other low-budget, temporary, or “replaceable” housing options. I’m going to include mobile homes in this section, for reasons I’ll explain next.

Mobile Homes

First off, I have nothing against living in mobile homes. When it’s wet outside, they are dry inside and when it’s cold outside they are warm inside. That’s pretty much the basic requirements of any shelter, so there’s nothing wrong with living in one.

The reason I’ve put them here is that mobile homes are not designed for off-grid life. They are especially not designed for life without running water, if that’s what you’ll be doing. Their windows are small, so they are dependent on artificial light. They have long hallways and remote bedrooms, which make them difficult to heat without a forced air furnace. The small windows and metal sides make them difficult to cool naturally during hot summer days. Many are woefully lacking in insulation. Water pipes are run alongside heating ducts to keep them from freezing in the winter. This means that if you are using radiant wood heat, the water in the pipes is more likely to freeze in cold weather.

3/6/2020 3:44:29 PM

I live off grid low budget and I love it. I learned how via bob wells cheaprvliving. I hope to get land and an rv. There are many who #SUVlife thanks to bob. I save so much money and my day is free way less stress.

3/6/2020 9:46:22 AM

To russell.higgins...thanks for the tip re foam sheeting! I love my manufactured home, though it is definitely a bit on the drafty side! With forced-air oil heat, I consider it "reasonable" in terms of oil cost per season. Windows...all pretty normal sized and quite large; I get tons of sunshine to supplement my furnace!

5/6/2014 10:30:01 PM

Double wide and mobile home folks - Here's an easy one to ck and fix. Is it open under your home? Is there only an alum metal skirt, a row of concrete block, or other equally uninsulating skirt between your home and the ground? I'm betting YES. Good news, close that gap with air tight insulation and you should notice a difference. In short, foam sheeting - but God is in the details. Feel free to email me at info@roughdesigns.com. I did it to my house (100 yr old w/ loose rock foundation around crawl space, real wind tunnel under there, you could feel the breeze! Now, toasty underfoot. Heh, back to the subject, how about a simple garage, single glazed folding panel wall behind an insulated roll up door, some minimal insulation in walls and ceiling. Most of this is easy DIY stuff. Then put your camper / tent (or two) in that. Hmmm, could even try one of those temp. / portable hoop and tarp garage kits. Give you someplace "outside" out of the rain, keep the chilling wind off you, etc..



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