The phrase "off the grid" is quite literal: It means these buildings are not connected to the power grid or sewer systems. There is no need for trash collection and removal, and building materials are often harvested locally—making it beneficial for the environment and your wallet.
Off-the-grid architecture originally had mixed connotations, but off-the-grid living has moved beyond the typical remote shack with no lighting systems. New chemical-free stains and finishes transform reclaimed wood into rich materials for façades, while sustained rammed-earth and recycled steel lend a certain rugged appeal. It has also allowed architects to be more inventive in terms of space, creating structures that provide the privacy of typical homes—without the carbon footprint.
The future of off-the-grid looks promising—perhaps in 2014 we'll see the trend implemented in pre-existing structures in urban areas. Until then, check out the best (and most sustainable) off-the-grid buildings from 2013...
Via Lauren Moss