Living off the power grid in energy independent home

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHARLOTTE COURTHOUSE, VA (WWBT) - A house in the country is a dream for many people but one Richmond family is taking it to the extreme -- a "green" house and a green business at the same time.

Copeland Casati has a mission, build a home from kit, that's off the power grid and water lines. Imagine no utility bills ever again!

"It's all about being as energy efficient as possible," said Copeland.

This home is far from complete, but the basics are here. And even without A/C installed they can handle the midsummer heat.

"It's in the mid 80s now outside and now that we are in the kit, it's comfortable," Copeland said.

The cool concrete floor keeps the temperature down and the large overhang on the roof stops the sun's direct rays from entering. And when it's warm, Copeland opens special windows to get a cross breeze.

It's called passive solar. Just one way this family takes conservation to the extreme. It'll be a big change from their current home in the West End of Henrico County.

"We have chosen to install a composting toilet... it's like one big science project to me -- I want to take everything as far as I can," she said.

This Charlotte County property in Southside Virginia is the prototype of a kit home that will be for sale to others who want to live off the grid.

"I was so frustrated by the lack of cool, beautiful design that was affordable to the average person. That it became my mission," Copeland said.

And that mission includes solar electricity, hot water, and rainwater collection -- and building materials too.

The house also includes part of VMI's old basketball court, bought at a government auction, and it will soon be transformed into wall paneling.

"It'll be cool to see little flashes of yellow and red on the walls of these historical maple floorboards," said Copeland.

In a home that's as green as it gets.

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