Builders Offering Survivalist Homes to Wary Buyers

What could go wrong? Buyers skittish about climate change or economic upheavals can buy new off-the-grid homes that would be self-sustainable after a disaster.

NEW YORK – The impact from climate change is no longer seasonal, and its pushed home builders to reconsider how they design and power new homes.

Some are even looking at how homes can be taken off the grid, so they can be more environmentally sustainable as well as operational if disaster hits. Many of the amenities associated with green building also work for people who want to be completely self-sufficient. As a result, some traditional homebuyers now think more like survivalists.

But the trend goes beyond just installing solar panels.

“More severe storms each year are going to further and further indicate the needs for resilient development,” says Ben Keys of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “These houses can be built in much more efficient ways, so not just solar, but they can have their own water filters, other sources of electricity generation, and a number of other efficient ways to manage their utilities.”

Small builders like Dvele are building homes with sleek, modern designs and high-end fixtures and finishings that also have solar, battery and construction and insulation elements, as well as smart technology to ensure they use less energy and can operate off the grid for longer periods. These homes monitor their own energy input and output all the time, then tweak the systems to save more.

Dvele is now exploring shared storage on microgrids for whole communities of its homes. The only drawback is that it’s costly to retrofit homes, which means demand is coming from wealthier homebuyers and homeowners.

However, as investments in off-the-grid technology increases, the costs will come down, say experts.

Source: CNBC (05/21/21) Olick, Diana

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