Household sustainability Sustainable

Solar shades

Before we built our off-grid shipping container homes, I must admit, my idea of off-grid was not what we have experienced.  I expected it to be so hard, to feel like we would have to make a lot of changes and sacrifices to our lifestyle.  And I was ready for the journey.  But it’s not at all what I expected.

Being off-grid is really like being your own EPA because you have to manage your own resources.  Our bread and butter is the sun and the rain; Solar has been running pretty much everything for us, from the refrigerator to the lights.  And we don’t have a big power system; you can really call us power poor, so we definitely monitor our power usage.  This also means temperature control is a priority.  And since we haven’t installed an AC unit yet, we utilize the sun to heat up our container. 

One of the things that has made a huge difference is our window coverings.  We had temporary paper blinds up for about 2 years, and they were great for privacy but didn’t do enough for controlling the temperature.

We had all sorts of consequences from hot and cold temperatures — motors freezing, leaks, things melting including my favorite candle and the list goes on.  So, we replaced our temporary paper blinds with solar-powered, motorized shades from Somfy and Eclipse Luxury Shades and I couldn’t be more grateful because the energy savings and convenience were immediate and gave us so much more control.  We measured the temperature change, and the shades made the containers 8 degrees cooler… huuuuuge difference.

So let me share with you some of the reasons we chose these specific shades.

When we first discovered Somfy and Eclipse Luxury Shades, I was immediately impressed with their eco-friendly options.  They even had shades made from recycled water bottles, and they were gorgeous.  I didn’t think we would really be able to use the motorized option because again, being off-grid, we are counting our energy.  But these motorized shades don’t suck up our energy.  In fact, we don’t have to think about charging the batteries for at least two years. And even that process is convenient… you just plug them in.

And for the shades that are facing the south, they don’t need charging at all because they are solar-powered, perfect for being off-grid. 

So our off-grid home feels like a smart Jetsons home because with a touch of a button, the shades go up at down at our request.  And they’re so quiet.  We have the shades programmed in sections… so we can press a button to control all of the shades at once or just a few at a time.  We wake up in the mornings, press a button and the shades on one side of the container goes up to let the sun in to start heating things up.  We press another button, and the shades in the bedroom open up without us having to get out of bed.  It’s priceless.

One of the features we haven’t used is with Wi-Fi; you can control the shades from anywhere using their app.  You can even talk to the shades through Alexa and Google Assistant. 

I could go on and on about this experience, which is why I had to share it. 

Experiencing this off-grid lifestyle has been a win-win… we are getting closer to zero waste every day, we are not affected as much by inflation, we are learning so much and having fun doing it and we are building a legacy for generations to come.

So join us on our journey!

View the entire journey in more detail here.


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