I realized that something may not be obvious about the cob house I am currently living in. My home, GOBCOBATRON, is actually electricity-free. I have chosen to live without electricity in my home. There are a couple of reasons for this…
I live at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, and I share common resources with over 50 other people. One of these valuable resources is the Common House, which has shared bathrooms (with humanure systems, or composting toilets) and showers, a computer room, a library, and more. The Common House has its own solar panel array. Right now, I am typing at my computer in the common computer office. So obviously I have access to electricity, but I have chosen not to have it in my house.
I live a fairly simple life, and electricity is not crucial to many of the things that I do. Using my computer is perhaps the most important thing I do that requires electricity. Small things, like charging batteries (usually for my still and video camera), is another small necessity. Beyond that, there really isn’t that much that I do that requires access to electricity. If I ever do need it for something, I “borrow” it.
Thus is one big benefit to living in community!
But besides that, there are other reasons. It’s a goal of mine to live an increasingly simple lifestyle. Electricity just isn’t part of the equation for me. I am greatly interested in human power and alternatives to electric implements. (This is especially interesting to me in the realm of hand tools and electric-free kitchen tools.)
Ultimately, I want to live an electric-free life. Or at least be capable of doing so! (I don’t actually have strong expectations that I will be 100% electric-free in this lifetime, but I want to know that I am not dependent.)
Not only that, I don’t believe that solar and wind power is actually 100% sustainable. Sure, it’s way better than depending on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas (the dependence on which are helping to greatly destroy the environment), but I don’t imagine solar panels will provide us energy in another 150+ years. That’s because they themselves require nonrenewable energy for their production. And anything that cannot be done forever, for all time, is not truly sustainable. (We should all know that oil is not going to last forever.)
Anyway, solar and wind power systems are also very expensive. A power system would have easily exceeded the cost of my house itself.
That’s why I’m choosing to live electricity-free in my house.
And did I mention there’s nothing like candlelight at night? It’s really quite atmospheric. Candles lend a very warm feeling to my home at night that a light bulb could never mimic.
There you have it.