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From what i know of Texas, it is a great off-grid state. Lots of low cost land and very generous land use laws. But, in the summertime the heat & humidity can be unbearable. Living underground is probably best for many parts of the state. Developing systems for underground living would be appropriate in my un-professional opinion.

  1. FieldLab
    THE FIELD LAB   This is something a lot of people don't know. But you can build a low cost small cabin using galvanized sheet metal and 2x4 lumber, insulation and sheetrock. The picture on the right is just such a project located in the West Texas desert. John Wells is the owner of this project and is kind of a famous man living out there in the Terlingua desert. This particular area of West Texas has a lot of low cost land, plus the added benefit of liberal land use rules. So, a number of people move out to here and truly live the off-grid lifestyle. But, please keep in mind that living life the way John Wells does requires a dependable vehicle like a truck or car for frequent trips to the grocery store. Living out there on the desert just simply lowers your housing costs, does not make you self-sufficient. Plus, the long distances to town and the steep hills make transportation by bicycle very difficult. You can access the website which has lists of low cost land for sale in the Terlingua desert by clicking here. I think this is the same organization through which John Wells purchased his land.

    » I bought my 40 acres of Texas desert in October '07. Then I took a couple of weeks off to visit family in Arizona and plan my new empire. I contemplated several natural building methods but have no experience in this area. The landscape out here is dotted with failed attempts at building this way - folks trying these methods and discovering how difficult and labor intensive they can be. I also wanted to avoid the horrendous metal shade structures that are popping up out here to shade the dreaded double wide trailer. I knew I wanted to get cozy quickly and cheaply (and with some style) so I designed a structure that could be zipped together using my old NYC set building skills. Inspiration for my house was this design by University of Utah Architecture grad students at: DesignBuildBLUFF. In 8 days and for a cost of about $1600, I built and moved into my little building. On my own, construction was accomplished using simple hand tools and a cordless skill saw and drill charged by my solar panels. It took about 5 months and another $800 to finish all the details. For a complete set of construction photos of my home, check out my sets at: Flickr. Come back there often as I add new photos monthly. Until the greenhouse building is built, I have subsided mostly on canned food with some occasional store bought fresh meat and vegetables. (did you know there are 5 different flavors of SPAM?) My refrigeration comes from my homemade ice box which relies on an 8 lb. bag of ice every other day. I cook on a propane camping stove for now - but a solar oven is in the works. «
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Webpage Last Updated:   June 6, 2013