Becoming Off-Grid in an Urban Environment

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Becoming Off-Grid in an Urban Environment

Homeowners are rapidly transitioning to solar power as climate change causes more severe weather conditions. Solar keeps homes safe and powered during outages and unsafe conditions. But it also offers financial benefits and environmental improvements that are desperately needed these days. 

For these reasons, architect Trey Farmer of Forgecraft Architecture and Design chose Freedom Solar Power as his trusted solar provider. Farmer was looking to incorporate solar panels and a Tesla Powerwall into the renovation of his century-old Craftsman home in Austin, Texas.

With everything combined, Farmer’s home can now function off-grid in an urban environment. 

Forgecraft Architecture Helps Build a Passive House 

Farmer knew that he wanted to use his recently-renovated home as a playground for sustainable innovation. Right in the heart of the city, he created a Passive House Source Zero project with Forgecraft Architecture that doubles as a haven for his family.

Forgecraft Architecture builds homes of all types and sizes, including special projects such as multi-family homes. They make a point to focus on sustainability and energy independence in their projects. And in due time with current trends, their architecture leans toward high-performance homes and passive houses. 

Most of the house projects Farmer has in the works with Forgecraft Architecture use solar panels. The aim is to become net-positive. And Farmers home is a great example of this. It’s one of only three Certified Passive houses in Texas, and one of 20 Passive House Source Zero projects in the country. 

A Craftsman Home Becomes Efficient and Sustainable

Passive houses create a safe, resilient, comfortable and energy-efficient structure for homeowners. With this in mind, Farmer included efficient appliances that won’t overpower a Tesla Powerwall backup battery

He can operate his home appliances normally due to the infinite loop of power from the small backup batteries, even during a grid outage. Backup batteries are similar to whole-home backup generators. They can power critical appliances such as a refrigerator, phone charger, HVAC, or even the entire home with lighting and the rest. 

Since Trey’s home has a battery and is built for maximum energy efficiency, his solar will support him in a range of events. This includes extreme weather or power outages. For example, his home will still have electricity through hurricanes, winter storms, wildfires and more thanks to his backup power.

“[Solar] is great from a resiliency standpoint, especially with rolling blackouts or power outages from big snowstorms in Texas. Just having the peace of mind to know that my family will be comfortable here with whatever the weather throws at us or what the grid failure throws at us; we’re going to be able to hunker down and live life here,” says Farmer.

Choosing a Trusted Solar Installer for Your Home

Farmer chose the locally-owned Freedom Solar Power as his trusted solar installer. We’re also the most widely used installer in Texas for Tesla Powerwalls. Farmer was able to complete a quick and cost-effective panel and Powerwall installation to ensure his family’s comfort.

“We reached out to a number of solar providers and Zach with Freedom Solar was easily the best one that we reached out to and was responsive and super helpful,” Trey said. “We had used Freedom Solar on a couple jobs professionally so we knew the brand and the tech, but honestly it was the customer service that won us over.”

His focus was primarily on inner air quality, durability, and reducing his carbon footprint to create a showpiece for the Austin market. Farmer wanted to prove that you can live sustainably even in the middle of a big city.

Being an Example for Off-Grid Sustainability

Homeowners are given panel monitoring capabilities that are easy to check right from your mobile phone. Trey’s home is used as an information hub for energy labs and researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. They track his home’s energy usage and indoor air quality to come up with improved solutions in the future. 

Trey’s house has low loads, which means he can offset his unused solar production back to the grid making his home net-zero thanks to his Powerwall. Trey also replaced his insulation and windows, paired with an extensive air purifying system, to create an air-tight structure for offsetting emissions from the nearby highway. 

He is aiming to make his home and his architecture projects more sustainable with a smaller carbon footprint.

[Related: Tips to Save on Energy Costs]

Contact Freedom Solar to Join the Solar Revolution

Freedom Solar’s customer service and high-quality products won Trey over. His Craftsman house is durable and resilient, much like the SunPower solar panels and backup battery running it. It’s also essentially off-grid, all while being tucked away in the middle of an urban environment. 

If you’re ready to make the transition to solar power, contact Freedom Solar today. We’ll work with you to add cost-effective solar panels and a battery to your home or business. Look forward to living safely and sustainably — no matter the weather.


Call (800) 503-2337 or complete our inquiry form to begin your free consultation.

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