26 May

Going Rural

Every place you plan to build will have resources, regulations constraints and opportunities.An urban or township block is likely to have power, water, sewage, easy access, rubbish collection, NBN and possibly gas. A more rural block may have only some, or none of these. Having lived off the grid for more than 20 years I can assure you it is not ‘off the planet’ challenging to collect and store water, generate electricity, stoke a wood fire, oversee a septic system and maintain access tracks.

Fire: Friend or foe?

Bushfire risks are not excluded from townships as we now well know. But most rural blocks will require specific building design and construction to meet the local risk level.

(See Insight: Bush fire planning)

Some watery things to think about:
  • How much drinkable (potable) water will I need for washing, cooking eating?
  • How much water will I need for garden irrigation, the kids pony, the chooks and for firefighting?

The amount of water you can collect limits the amount or storage tanks that it's worth installing. You can’t store more than falls!

  • Is there access to a dam or a spring?

Should you think gas?

Gas is steadily becoming ‘uncool’, with some authorities planning to end any new gas connections. All electric is the new cool.

But if you want gas, remember that LPG and natural gas fixtures etc have different jets. And for LPG a place will have to be found for gas bottles. My family culture is that you have to have a gas cook top and no argument please.

Our new house cooktop will be induction but don’t tell the rest of the family.

Rural living might mean poo consciousness.

Every household must dispose of waste, and out of town you will have to install, love and maintain your own system. Not all that complicated, and we have built many, but each block will require fairly complex planning and approval based on its unique features

(See Insight: Sewage and Land Capacity Assessment)

As for “I see the light”

You can live with kerosene lanterns and a camp oven for awhile but sooner or later……

Power from the grid is fabulous but may cost a lot to bring to your house. $30,000 is not uncommon.

Stand alone power (where you say, goodbye cruel world) and ignore the grid is also less difficult that you might think. My previous house was in a cluster of five families on what was once a dairy farm and we were all off grid.

Almost all of us will have solar panels, and affordable batteries are coming. Plan for flexibility.

Do you have more questions?

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