Today, Sam Coffman talks with Tim Bennett, a man who has gone off the grid for his family's home, creating a totally self-sustained home within an intentional community experiment. After Tim and his family experienced an economic downturn in 2007, they made the decision to create a home environment that could sustain them even if society could not. They have spent the last 3 years working on this home using green building techniques.
Sam and Tim discuss:
- what inspired Tim and where he got some of his off-the-grid building ideas
- the friend that encouraged Tim's family to build the home as part of an intentional community
- what does this community have built so far and what are they planning?
- what is a recipricol roof
- challenges to working with the cob method of green building
- how the family needed to change their energy usage after installing the solar energy system
- which appliances drain the most energy
- the cost of doing a home like this and the time involved
- how Tim learned to balance family, job, time and other resources to make this project happen
- some valuable skills and lessons his kids got out of this experience
- how to integrate children and family into a project like this and have it give long-lasting benefits
We will continue the 2nd part of this podcast tomorrow!
Tim Bennett and Rebecca Nantz and their three children were headed for success as house flippers. Then the bubble popped. They became a paycheck to paycheck family. They knew they could push themselves, continue treading the stress of the monthly bills, and make it another 20 years. But they decided "Instead of struggling, Let's have an adventure!" So they sold or gave away most of their material "stuff" and set up a camp in the North Georgia mountains where they began to build an off grid, reciprocal roof, earth bermed home. They used round wood timbers, cob, local stone, recycled materials, and alternative building techniques.
Their EarthinMind website
Recommended reading resources:
The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book by Mike Ohler
Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemingway
The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour