OFF GRID LIVING In a Smart House! ZERO Utility Bills. How Did They Do It?

So today, we're going to go find out what it's like to live 100% off the grid in the mountains of Colorado. It's also charging our
batteries during the day. We're on our bathroom 2.0 right now. Okay, so this was bathroom 1.0. This was bathroom 1.0. This was bathroom 1.0. And this was on the property. Now we have not opened this for a while. Yeah. Only after we bought it did we discover it had a couple of hidden gems. Our cost of ownership
now is really nothing. Now we have met a couple that has a 100% passive off-grid house in the mountains. Now I'm not exactly your off-grid type of person. We don't do a ton of boondocking, we don't have a big solar setup, we don't have enlarged tanks. We like our campground
and our full hookups and all of the comforts of home and that's why we've
chosen the rig that we have and we do the type of
camping style that we do, 'cause we're not really the
off-grid type of people.

But that's the wonderful thing about this particular lifestyle is you get a chance to meet new people and to explore new things and just kind of expand the realm of maybe what you thought was possible. So we're going to go check
out what it's really like to live off the grid in
the mountains of Colorado. (energetic music) ♪ Colors explode like the 4th of July ♪ ♪ Summertime glow got me feeling alright ♪ ♪ We know ♪ ♪ Let's go ♪ ♪ The sun is calling and
we're out in the street ♪ – So this is definitely one
of those breathtaking views but this road is so rough, and we're on the side of a cliff to where I feel like we're going to bounce right off the side of the cliffs. I'm just taking it super
slow and then coming around. (shrieks) There's another car. Around these corners, and there's another car, scary.

(laughs) Breathtaking view but I don't know if it's worth the fear. (laughs) It's like quite the view, but I would not want to be up here in the winter where there's snow. Cause if you slide off the road, sayonara, like goodness gracious. That's a long way down there. (laughs) (energetic music) Lord Jesus, I am glad we have a Jeep. And that we just keep going
and going and going and going. And this is like, wow, quite the road getting back to this off-grid house back in here. Goodness gracious. (energetic music) ♪ Yeah this is the good life ♪ ♪ Let the world slow down,
the wonder's here and now ♪ – [Charity] After we arrived,
Brian and Jodi showed us around the property where they
built this off-grid house.

I was shocked that this house was not some little rustic cabin in the woods, but rather a fully
functional and modern house. It just goes to show you that anything can be
achieved when you choose to expand your realm of
what you think is possible. We have two 1,750 gallon water cisterns under these planks. [Charity] 1,750 gallons. Two of 'em. [Charity] Two. Yep. [Charity] Wow. So we have like 3,300 gallons of water but we don't have a well. [Charity] Wow. So it fills up through magic. [Charity] Magic water! Magic water. This morning, blue sky all day yesterday, blue sky this morning, I walked out to let the dog out and I hear water pouring
down into our catch tank. It's the dew. [Ben] Oh yeah. [Charity] Wow. So it's that efficient
at capturing water.

So you have a ladder, built-in ladder. Yes, so this, one of the things I've discovered is we do have to get off all
the snow on our solar panels because we put them on the
roof and for the wind speeds and the snow loads that we have up here, we couldn't have them at a normal angle. So I think at, 10 degrees, is the max. And so they do accumulate snow. Especially when you get six feet. [Charity] Oh my goodness. So we have to get up
there and clean them off [Charity] In six feet of snow.

Yeah. Well periodically during
the six feet of snow. Yeah, so we don't try
and do it all at once. [Charity] So how do you decide
who's going to go up there, like a rock paper scissors? (laughs) Alright whose turn is
it, rock paper scissors. He does, I help when he needs it. Yeah, so I've got it
down to a science now but I didn't want to continue
to get the ladder out. And so we just bolted this to the side and I can get all the way up to the roof without having to get the ladder up. [Charity] Ingenuity at
its finest right there. That's right. So yeah, imagine being up here when it's covered with snow and ice. This is called Eden Valley. [Ben] I just can't believe
how quiet it is out here. Just you can hear every little thing. Yeah, It's like nothing. [Ben] Yep. Yeah, you go all day, I'll hike all day or whatever and I will not hear another human voice.

You've got water, you've got solar for the electric. Are you using a composting toilet? No. Not inside. (laughs) So do you have septic or
what do you guys have? We have a septic. So you have the septic? We have our own septic, yeah. Okay. So we have a septic and so we treat all of
our own wastewater onsite. So show us what was the bathroom. (laughs) I've noticed a lot of people
that do the off-grid thing. Do you like the composting toilets? So we're on our bathroom 2.0 right now. Okay, so this was bathroom 1.0.

This was bathroom 1.0. This was bathroom 1.0. And this was on the property when we- Now we have not opened this for a while. [Jodi] Yeah, so I'm
gonna stand back here. (laughs) As long as there's not snakes. Nothings jumping out at me. So this was bathroom 1.0. Oh so see, you did have
the composting toilet. Yeah. Got it. Which actually it came
complete with magazines, popular science and stuff like that. – So there's no light in here. – Oh yeah, there's a light. If I take my knife and
pull the cobwebs out. (Charity shrieks) Here's the light right here. [Charity] What? Still works! [Ben] Oh my God. [Charity] That's your light? [Ben] That's hilarious. – Yeah I mean, by this age, I pretty much know where everything is. (laughs) It's not like I'm looking for something. (laughs) But yeah that's the light and this is all ash from the fire.

We haven't been in here in a while. But this used to be located where our kitchen island is in the house. So this was all forested or is that the word? It had trees, which we cut down and we wanted the house to be there. But we wanted this to be close by. We put our camper over
here during the build. And so we moved to this because
Jodi didn't want to be out in the dark very far between
the camper and the toilet. And we didn't want to use
the black tank on the RV because we didn't have a way to empty it. And this was composting. So this was bathroom 1.0. [Ben] So tell me about this cork siding that you have going on here. [Charity] It's like a giant cork board. [Ben] It's like a huge cork board. It actually is like a huge cork board. So this is one inch thick cork. It came in sheets. It used to be this really
dark chocolate brown color which we loved.

But obviously this is the
south side of the house. So it gets bleached out. We've been told, cause they
use this a lot in Portugal, that it will go blonde
for what, five years. And then it will go back to
this nice chocolate brown, which I can't wait for cause I do not like the
way it looks right now. But this is cork, which
does not produce a flame. And I tried, I've tried
to set this on fire. (laughs) It doesn't produce a flame, so obviously in a wildfire
area, this is great.

So fire could come up here and
it it won't produce a flame. So the house is really,
pretty much fireproof. So it's the cork siding here, and the metal siding there. Everything else is metal. And the roof is metal as well. So there's not really
any exposed wood or siding. We've got beetle kill underneath, but it's over top of
our aluminum planking. And we've got triple pane windows. Most of the time, if a
fire breaches a house, it's through the windows that have broken. And so we've got triple pane windows. That'll give us another
45 minutes I think. And we've done the fire mitigation. So the trees are far enough away that, I mean it could burn, but it's not likely. [Jodi] Scratch and sniff. Oh it does actually smell like, (laughs) [Jodi] It smells like cork.

It does. [Jodi] It's like your
bedroom when you're 13 and you put your boyfriend's
picture on your corkboard. Now it's coming out. Boyfriend's picture, who is that? (laughs) And this, Jodi can actually just pin my little to-do list. So I can't come in the house
until I get everything done. Alright, I'm going to fire the grill up. [Ben] What do you think Mollie? Are you a happy dog? I'll plug my grill in, off-grid.

pexels photo 5256184

I mean. [Charity] You're plugging
in a grill off-grid. This is off-grid cooking right here. We were so impressed with how high tech this
off-grid house really is. We always pictured
off-grid as being rustic, but this house was anything but. So we wanted to ask Brian
and Jodi some more questions about the house and their thoughts on off-grid living. Okay, we're roughing it now.

One of the things that
really has impressed me is that I've done a lot of research
about off-grid living and it's such a big topic. And a lot of what you find is rustic, you know, primitive cabin, and this is anything
but a primitive cabin. (laughs) – [Jodi] Right. – [Brian] Yeah we control the
whole thing, via our iPad. So this is the display of
our water monitoring system. And so right now I'm looking at, we have two tanks, tank one is our clean tank. And so we're at 98% of capacity. And then if I tap that, this is our catch tank and we're at 77%. So I can hit that and
actually see the history.

It's a rolling 30 day
of, 30 days of history. So you can see we've pretty much been
in near a hundred percent – Which is crazy. (laughs) It's a smart house where you know, like you said, you've got the Alexa, or the Echo, you can control the lights. And that was one of the
things that was important to us. I think maybe some
people approach off-grid out of, you know, maybe
cost-effectiveness or whatever. Our driving principles were cost of ownership and comfort. And so we don't have any bills besides our internet and our trash, which I'm still working on trying to figure out a
way to eliminate those. So we looked at cost
of ownership of systems that would not have an ongoing cost. And so a lot of those were maybe a little bit more expensive upfront than you would pay for a normal home but then it's one and done. [Ben] So how many panels
do you have up here? We've got 18. So we've got three strings of six. And we're able to
monitor each panel inside and actually optimize.

They're in pairs. And so if a shadow gets on one it actually takes down
the efficiency of the two. But we've got software
that compensates for that and recovers that energy. So we're able to actually see
what each panel is producing. And at this time of year actually our system spins
down about lunchtime. We've topped off our batteries and it doesn't need to produce
that electricity anymore. Batteries are charged and
the load of the house. Our running load, baseline
load of the house is actually about 85 Watts for the whole house. Communication, ventilation, everything. And so it doesn't take a lot of power. And this produces just under 7,000 Watts. (laughs) So you're using a little bit of it.

One of the things we did look into, what would it cost to bring electricity to our site from the last pole? That's about half a mile down the road. [Brian] It's about
three quarters of a mile. For that amount of money, that was almost the same amount of money as our whole entire solar system. Well then once we have our solar system, we don't have that electricity bill that we're going to
have to pay every month. Where if we did bring the electricity, we'd still have that upfront cost and a bill every month. Right. Plus another benefit which we've learned
since we've been up here is mountain power goes out a lot. – It's like Florida power. (laughs) – We've been with power since we started. And especially, it became
kind of obvious to us during the fire, because they cut power to the
valley and to the mountain to prevent any kind of fire damage or a spread of that.

And so when the fire was
contained, they said, "Hey everybody can go back to your houses. Oh, but you don't have power." Well, we were up here in the house within an hour of that announcement. We also find that we run our schedule versus when we lived in town, that was kind of determined for us. We're also a lot more resourceful. Being this far away from town, you just kind of have to make things work. If something needs fixed, you
don't have the right tool, you maybe make one (laughs) or find something else
that works just as good. You just become more mindful,
I guess as what you said, of what you have versus what you use. And I think that's kind of spilled over into other areas of our life, you know, finances, energy, I mean like, physical energy. I can't spend more energy than I have which I probably did a lot of when, you know, we were in the corporate world.

– What opportunities has this provided for you guys being in this
type of an environment? You know, the quietness of the outdoors, just the sounds the smells of, you know, being in the mountains. How has that impacted just
your overall daily lives? Hmm, I really enjoy mornings. I mean, I'll get up and I'll look out the window and I don't think there
has yet been a morning where I haven't spent
a good amount of time just appreciating. Kind of, man look at where we're at. You know, and just be
grateful for where we're at. Well and I think we've also become more tight knit in our community. We've always been people
that like to be friends with our neighbors and
get together with them.

But being up here, it's
more than just having dinner or getting together occasionally. They've become an extended family. And I really liked that. We really like to hang
out with our neighbors. And you rely on each other. I mean, more than, gosh, I need a stick of butter. (laughs) It's, I can't get out of my house. We had good neighbors and we
had good relationships in town, but it's a different level. I mean, you depend on these people. I've got an emergency and I need somebody, and they're there. So if people want to find
out more about you guys where can they do that? Well on Facebook, they can
search My Mountain Living.

We've documented our whole journey really from when we bought the land and we're trying to figure
out what we're gonna do, all the way till present day. We've documented that journey on Facebook. We're also on YouTube. We we've had a few projects going. Just a few? (laughs) So we have not been able to get the content out that we like to but we're going to do that. Because what we found is there's not a lot of
information on how to do this. [Charity] Right. And so we've looked for
it and haven't found it. And so I was like, well, okay. Hey we made all the mistakes for you. Don't go and make them
yourself, let us help you. Thank you guys again. Alright thanks. It was a fun. It's good to see ya. Now we have the adventure
of going down in the dark. (laughs) There's no streetlights. No, I noticed that. I noticed on your truck
you've got like these little spot light things and I'm like, we don't have those.

(laughs) Push button start if you need to start
your generator or like everything is extremely- Oh, Alexa's listening. And Alexa's listening. (laughs) She heard her name. I said Alexa. (laughs) Guys, I owe you a toilet seat. (laughs) On the top and it's fragile. [Jodi] Is your butt okay? – No, my butt's fine. (laughs) [Brian] Hope you don't have any pinches. You didn't get pinched in there did you? Nope.

(laughs) That didn't work out like I planned. [Charity] That's okay. Oh, hey. How's it going. (laughs) Just in the bathroom out in the woods. (energetic music) ♪ Under open skies, we all come alive ♪ ♪ Let the world slow down,
the wonder's here and now ♪ ♪ Under open skies, we all come alive ♪ – So that was so amazing. And this house and where Brian and Jodi are at is anything but rustic when it comes to off-grid living, so. Super fun night and just amazing, amazing couple and amazing
things that they've done up here. And I cause kind of can't wait to see what they come up with next..

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