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Living off the grid in the hills of Greece

I’m at the end of a long dirt track, at an off-grid eco-community in the hills of Greece. I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now. Let me show you around…

off-grid-greece-overview

Like living in a van, this is another tie cut from what you may call ‘normal life’. It’s independence – doing things yourself, stripping things down with a few less things to rely on.

This is low impact, self-sustainable living. It’s quality, happy living. It’s a whole different world to the city, yet Athens only about 40Km away.

Power

There are two turbines and an array of solar panels charging. This setup runs everything: fridge, lights and even power tools. Most of the time there is too much power and one turbine has to be turned off.

The workshop, kitchen and office are based around two shipping containers. It’s nearly all recycled materials.
The workshop, kitchen and office are based around two shipping containers. It’s nearly all recycled materials. Even the wind generators are homemade
The charging setup is nice; efficient MPPT solar charging and remotely operated turbines fed into about 1ton of lead acid batteries with a big inverter
The charging setup is nice; efficient MPPT solar charging and remotely operated turbines fed into about 1ton of lead acid batteries with a big inverter

Projects

There’s a lot of work to do here, but it’s up to you to do it. If you have an idea for a project, then go for it. One project at the moment is to design an efficient heat exchanger to heat a caravan using the heat from the compost.

The workshop is fully equipped with everything, to build anything
The workshop is fully equipped with everything, to build anything
We’ve been building the path for the past week.
We’ve been making the stone path for the past week.

Food

This is a world away from having no time to eat properly. My whole attitude to food has changed since travelling – I cannot believe that I used to think it wasted my time. See an off-grid lunch

This fridge doesn’t have food, but it has seeds to grow food.
This fridge doesn’t have food, but it has seeds to grow food
It’s so nice spending 20 minutes picking leaves from the garden to make a big salad.
It’s so nice spending 20 minutes picking leaves and herbs from the garden to make a big salad – a daily joy
This is the clay oven.
This is the clay oven. Anything cooks in here

Play

Launching the kite that kasha made
It was windy, so Kasha made a kite.
Raph (Jedi academy) waking us up with the saxaphone
Raph (Jedi academy) waking us up with the saxaphone

Learn

Learn it and apply it. There’re loads of interesting books here.
Learn it and apply it. There’re loads of interesting books here

Keep warm

The homemade rocket stove. It has a big heat exchanger, which warms things up really quickly, including water.
The homemade rocket stove. It has a big heat exchanger, which warms things up really quickly, including water.

And dogs… of course

This one’s called white dog. “hey white dog”
This one’s called white dog. “hey white dog”
This one’s called black dog. “hey black dog”
This one’s called black dog. “hey black dog” – favourite

My Eco-community conclusion

I’m not really a serious environmentalist kind of person, but I do think there is something hugely satisfying about being responsible for generating your own electricity, dealing with your own waste and growing your own food. Doing this in a communal environment with a dynamic pool of talent and knowledge is a pretty powerful setup.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments

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