(hey, type here for great stuff)

access to tools for the beginning of infinity

Real Goods homestead eco-pioneer shares experience/lifestyle

In 1971, a 22-year-old John Schaeffer, inspired by Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Catalog, moved onto a 300-acre commune in Northern California. For Schaeffer going off-grid didn’t mean sacrificing technology and he began to sell solar and other homesteading tools to his neighbors. In 1978 his “Real Goods” store opened with the sale of the first retail solar panel in the country.

Today Schaeffer runs his Real Goods store out of the country’s largest straw bale retail space in Hopland, California (90 miles north of San Francisco). The 12-acre campus- home to his Solar Living Institute– is littered with tiny shelters (yurts, cob, straw bale, geodesic domes) built as demos and to house the interns who come to learn to build and work with renewable energy and permaculture gardening.

I first interview Schaeffer back in 2000 when he showed me the Porsche Spyder he had converted  into a speedy electric vehicle (with an impressive- for the time- range of up to 70 miles). Today he was eager to show me his plug-and-play solar kit, hooked up to their off-grid tiny house (available for nightly rentals).

In the hills above the store, Schaeffer and his wife built their own off-grid home: a round, 2,900-square-foot house inspired by Native American structures (named “SunHawk”). Rather than using the a cob or straw bale, like their store, they chose a newer material: Rastra Block, or ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms); made from 85% recycled Styrofoam and 15% cement. With an insulating factor of R35, it allows them to live without AC. The home runs off photovoltaic in the summer and hydroelectric in the winter.

The couple used reclaimed materials when possible: the roof shingles are made from recycled tires (poured to resemble slate); much of the wood is salvaged; and the porch sun screen was created with recycled irrigation pipes.

  • Pingback: De agrícola a residencial: establos reconvertidos en vivienda – *faircompanies()

  • Dastgir parwaz

    Hello dear Admin!
    I hope you be fine always and thanks for your videos…
    I am an Afghan immigrant living in Turkey for five years now. Of course, I will never return to my country from which I fled to save my life. I have a bachelor’s degree in educational management and I am more interested in philosophy and psychology. I had to leave my whole life and come to Turkey due to security problems, this fall of life gave me a very bad experience and I am still alive and I am trying to find a way to leave or become legal in Turkey as a permanent citizen. . Because I still live here illegally and in a smuggled way and I am not allowed to live. For this reason, after several suicides and deep depressions, I was able to understand the nature of life and get rid of the feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness or despair by reading more books to study suffering and freedom in the field of existential philosophy. … It all led me to the conclusion that I should create a life away from the city and close to nature in the future. They were exactly like the lifestyle of this man at the end of this video.
    If possible, contact me with that man because my mother tongue is Persian and English with the help of Google Translator. I need a map of that thatched house so I can build it in the future.

    Thank you very much for your attention