We are entirely off grid here at Singdean but there is electricity here. That's because we produce our own electricity.
We do this through solar panels on both Singdean and Alpnhaus and a really large battery backup.
We also have a generator to help out from time to time.
We are currently looking at installing a small wind turbine to help us during the Winter months.
When we first moved here, we were advised to do ground source or air source heat pump. But, it used up too much electricity for us to even contemplate. Being off grid really makes you think of every watt!
So we installed an enormous log boiler which did all the heating and hot water. But it was just too hungry and we had to feed it all day.
So then we got a biomass boiler. Which is great when it works, so we also have a backup.
Actually, when we first came her, one of the best bits of advice was to 'Always have a back up. Have more than one way of doing things'. Which we do : )
Not only are we off grid, we are also 350m above sea level. This means that we get Weather. All sorts of Weather! With a capital W. And it's Wonderful : )
Because we are off grid we are highly aware of electricity usage. This means that we have nothing with a heating element eg kettle, hairdryer etc.
We do however have all the luxury items such as fridge, washing machine, TV, light bulbs etc. It just means that when the sun is shining we do as much of the washing and ironing using the solar panels. And we also make sure we turn things off when not in use.
When we found Singdean, we had to learn how to live and run a business being off grid. And yes, sometimes that is very difficult. But we manage.
We recycle what we can. We use local where we can. We make when we can. We use natural and organic when we can.
Our complimentary organic vegan friendly natural toiletries are in full size bottles. This way we don't have any single use plastics.
Our champagne glasses for hot tub use are in enamel mugs, no single use plastic.
Our cleaning liquids are all eco, so friendly for our septic tank.
Any packaging materials used in our shop is either re-used from deliveries or paper based.
We leave plenty of wilderness in our 4 acres so the little creatures can nest, meadow flowers thrive so all the insects can live. This all helps bring wildlife to us, which gives us and our guests so much pleasure.
Up until spring 2019 we have planted 2,000 trees. Trees of oak, ash, hawthorn, hazel, maple, alder, eucalyptus, beech, birch, chestnut, walnut, willow, larch and pine to name just a few. It will be a while before we see them fully grown!
All of our water comes from our private spring on the hill behind us. It is pure and utterly delicious. It has totally spoiled us so that we really can't drink other tap water now!
Even the hot tubs are filled fresh for each guest with this amazing Scottish Spring water.
During the summer months, before we empty and clean the hot tub for the next guest, we use the old water for watering the plants.
The hot tub and sauna are wood fired. This takes a large part of the day, constantly tending and feeding the fire so that it is the perfect temperature for use at around 6pm. Being off grid means that there is no thermostatic temperature controls heating it all the time. It's one of us and some wood!
And when you live in a remote location, you really use what you have creatively. Need a door lock - I know, we'll make one out of wood and leather.
And you also learn how to fix things well.
As one of our guests said,
The fact that Singdean is off grid is just the icing on the cake as it does your soul good to know that whilst staying here, you're part of the solution - not the problem!
A and D, Gateshead, June 2019