As I mentioned in the last post, our plan is to begin building our dream home in 5 years or so.
Many people build their own homes though; what does this have to do with prepping and modern survivalism?
Building our own home actually involves prepping in two ways: planning for the home and living in the home.
1) Planning for the home
Part of modern survivalism is financial preparedness. By paying off debts and saving money we're moving to a position where we'll eventually be able to afford to build this home.
Secondly the things we're doing now are preparing us to live there. For example, I'm reducing our electrical use because I want our dream home to eventually be off-grid. Getting us used to energy conservation now will help us adapt to our new home.
Currently we use about 1200KW a month, but in our new energy efficient home I estimate that we will use between 5-700KW. Amazingly, despite being a larger home with more gadgets, thanks to energy efficiencies our needs will be less.
My family and friends might think I'm nuts obsessing over things like CFL bulbs, my small vegetable garden and organic lawn care but they don't see the big picture. Each one of those things are little preparedness steps to freedom!
2) Living in the home
Once we build and start living in this dream home I'm hoping to start living the prepper dream!
I don't think I've clearly stated it before but I'm hoping this new house can become a "homestead" that will provide for most of our needs: electricity, heat, food, water.
By being super-energy efficient my goal at first is to greatly reduce utility expenses. Eventually I'll upgrade the system with so we'll be able to comfortably live during a winter power blackout and hopefully eventually reach the point where we can live off-grid.
For budget reasons I plan on starting with a minimum of 5 165W solar panels tied to the grid. Over time I'll add more panels and a battery bank so we can have power during blackouts. We'll also look into if a windmill generator is feasible. Eventually I'd like to be able to live off-grid so we won't cut off the grid totally because in case of emergencies it can be our backup.
Secondly, if we do things right we'll actually be able to make money by selling excess electricity to the grid!
We'll also save a lot of electricity by switching our stove, fridge and dryer to ultra-efficient propane models and cooking when I can with a solar oven. If I can convince my wife, we'll cook with an old-style kitchen woodstove (but with modern technology) to be truly off-grid.
For a number of reasons I want a minimum of 4 acres for our dream homestead. One of these reason is because we want to install geothermal heat exchange to heat our home and water. The pipes used in this system are often installed horizontally beneath the frost-line so we'll need room to do this. The pipes can also be installed vertically but we don't want to limit ourselves to one option.
Geothermal is very energy efficient however it needs electricity to operate the heat pump so we'll include a wood stove as a back up source of heat for on the very cold nights or when the power goes out. Hopefully much of our wood will come from our own property. Another great thing about geothermal is that it can also be used to efficiently cool your house in the summer by just reversing the pump!
Heating our water will be done using an instant-on tankless water heater. Geothermal will also be used to pre-heat the water to further reduce the energy use. I'll also look into solar water heating, especially for the planned indoor pool/sunroom. It's possible that solar heating and geothermal could provide most of our hot water apart from the coldest winter months!
Lastly, we plan on building our home with Insulated Concrete Forms. There are kinda like big styrofoam Lego-blocks that you build a home with. After you make a wall with them they're filled with concrete. This makes a very sturdy and energy efficient structure, (also water/air-tight, bulletproof, fireproof and hurricane/zombie resistant). With an R-Value of 45 ICFs will greatly reduce our energy needs.
I'm currently learning all I can about organic gardening and permaculture. I don't knock those that use fertilizer and weed chemicals, however, to me that seems like a lot of work that you have to do every year. I'd rather do it all naturally and although it might not look as pretty, at least it will be self-sustaining and low-maintenance.
My plan includes, a small orchard, a greenhouse, a number of raised bed squarefoot gardens, a goat to "mow" the grass and possibly milk and maybe chickens and bees.
With enough acres I could also start hunting or allow other to hunt there in exchange for some of their game.
These won't be enough for us to live completely off of but every little bit is less that I have to rely on the grocery store for and less sales taxes to the government. It all equals more money in my pocket!
As I've mentioned before, living in a rural area will allow us to have our own well and avoid paying municipal utilities. However, having and managing your own source of water also means that you must become a conservationist.
We plan on installing dual flush toilets and a grey-water recovery system in our homestead. This will save the water from the sinks and bathtubs to use for things like flushing the toilets or watering the lawn.
We'll also install a rainwater harvesting system to save all the water that falls on our roof.
Not only will this prevent our well from drying out, but it will also save electricity by using the water pump less and it will extend the life of our sceptic system.
Our homestead plan will probably change and it may take longer than expected but one thing is for certain:
When the zombies come; we'll be ready
If I look in a mirror while dreaming this is what I see.