Off-Grid Living with HomeBiogas
When it comes to sustainable living, HomeBiogas co-founder and chief scientist Yair Teller not only ‘talks the talk’, but he also ‘walks the walk’…
Yair, along with his wife and two young children, have been living in an off-grid community named Adamah for the last year. I recently had the pleasure of visiting their current home, situated amongst the lush green hills of northern Israel. Here they live surrounded by other like-minded, free-spirited and eco-conscious people in a traditional Mongolian yurt which they built themselves.
The cozy wooden yurt is complete with an eco-toilet that is connected to the HomeBiogas appliance, solar panels, and of course, a biogas stove powered by their HomeBiogas appliance. As Yair gave me the grand tour, he explained that his family used to use a composting toilet, but they found it “not so comfortable.” That’s why they recently installed a toilet that can be integrated with HomeBiogas. In this way, HomeBiogas supplies the off-grid family with biogas for cooking, fertilizer for growing food and also, a sustainable way to recycle their food scraps and human waste.
Yair also built a treehouse close enough to his yurt so that his children, Emma and Mayim, could access it from their bedroom window. The two played in the tree house, dashing in and out of their room throughout my visit. I could tell that the addition to their room helped expand their creative world.
After Yair’s home, we visited Yair’s next door neighbor who was meditating beneath the shade of a tree outside her home. We greeted her and she invited us to have a look around back where her all-natural garden was flourishing. She had been growing organic cucumbers using her family’s compost and the fertilizer from Yair’s HomeBiogas system. Mayim, Yair’s youngest, went ahead and chopped a big, juicy cucumber off of its vine and took a big bite out of it. Members of the community here grow what food they can in their gardens and also receive a weekly delivery of organic food from a local, small-scale farm.
Next, we visited a nearby couple who had carefully built their home nestled up against a large rock formation so that even when you are inside, you still feel connected to nature. They gave us a tour of their magical little place, including the latest addition, a small bedroom for their son on the way. Last but not least, they showed us how they cooked all of their meals on biogas generated by their HomeBiogas system located right outside the window. Many members of the off-grid community use biogas to suit their cooking needs.
We ended the day by watching the sunset from a secluded little ledge that hung just above the community. It was scattered with fresh herbs like za’atar, rosemary, and oregano which Yair said he liked to come pick from time to time. We all watched in silence as the big orange sun melted into the low-hanging clouds, witnessing the light which shone on the trees slowly fade darker and darker, appreciating the awe-inspiring natural beauty of our planet. It was truly the perfect way to end the day, reminding us all exactly why these wonderful people choose to live in an off-grid community in the compassionate manner which they do.
Written by: Rebecca Farhi
Rebecca is a passionate environmentalist studying the overlap of social and environmental issues at the University of California, Berkeley.