Swedish couple learn to live off the power grid - Metro US

Swedish couple learn to live off the power grid

What energy crisis?

Niklas and Louise Scott run their dishwasher daily, watch movies on a 72-inch screen and walk on heated floors. But soaring energy prices are no concern for them. In fact, they are not even connected to the grid.

After years of planning and experimenting with solar panels in their previous home, the Swedish couple decided to go all the way last year.

“When we told our friends about it, most of them thought we would fail miserably,” Niklas said.

But the self-sufficient house stood ready in September last year. It is built with super insulated, rodent-repellent foam glass from recycled bottles.

Later that year, Sweden’s coldest winter in 50 years arrived.

Niklas said it was a perfect test and added, “We made it through and we didn’t even have the wind power station up.”

The money the couple saved from not connecting to the grid was invested in more than 400 square feet of rooftop solar panels. In the unlikely event of a total solar eclipse combined with a total lack of wind, a room full of batteries will keep everything running for two weeks.

Niklas said: “On a sunny summer day the house will produce 10 times more energy than it needs. I’m thinking of installing air conditioning this summer.”

Now he measures every watt that leaves or comes into the house (the family cats Hampus and Razmus each generate 20 watts of energy per hour with their body heat) and plans to harvest water coming down the waterspout with a mini-powerplant that can charge a laptop during a downpour. Niklas is the inventor, but today they are both enthusiasts.

“I fell in love with Niklas because he is just a little bit crazy,” Louise said.

The secret to sustainability is to not only produce green electricity, but to keep consumption at a minimum. LED lighting and smart ventilation keeps it at one fifth of that of an average house.

“They say we have an energy crisis, but it’s really just a matter of energy waste. We wanted to show that you can live eco-friendly and still have the same level of comfort.”

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