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Solar-Powered Prefab Home Goes Off-Grid on Australian Island

Everything had to be shipped over on a barge

When one decides to build a home on a site with no power, water, or road access, going off-grid becomes not just an eco-conscious choice but a practical necessity. This was precisely the case with this new project on Australia’s French Island, constructed by Aussie prefab builder Ecoliv and designed by architect Lai Cheong Brown (whose parents are actually the clients.)

The finished product, a rectilinear dwelling measuring roughly 2,000 square feet, is made of five modules constructed not only off-site, but off the island entirely. All the building elements were delivered on a barge over water.

The design also responds to another demanding component of the site: harsh coastal winds. Though the clients called for a "farmhouse"—the setting is a working, 100-acre, alpaca-filled farm—the final result is more like a simple courtyard house that creates some protected outdoor space in the center while maximizing ocean views on the interior.

Of course, the project is not all about sleek design and fabulous views. To sustain itself, the house uses wood for heating and most of the cooking, solar panels for electricity, and comes with rainwater harvesting and worm farm sewerage treatment systems. Take a closer look.