Living off the grid may have a romantic appeal, but in practice it takes a lot of planning. Self-sustaining housing maintained in small villages is the vision of a startup residential development company in the Netherlands. ReGen Villages expects to complete its first community in Almere, Netherlands in 2018 and is looking to sign a letter of understanding for land in Lund, Sweden soon, as reported by Business Insider.
The ReGen Village self-sustaining community concept houses 100 families on approximately 50 acres, as Digital Trends reported in May. Each village will have aquaponic gardens for fish farming and hydroponic agriculture to grow produce for residents. All food waste will be composted and consumed by flies that will then be food for the fish. The village will harvest rainwater for the farm and for individual gardens. Solar panels will produce electricity for the community.
Company founder James Ehrlich explained to Business Insider the reason for ReGen’s company name, which is short for regenerative.” “Regenerative means systems where the output of one system can actually be the input of another,” said Ehrlich.
In this closed loop food supply system, you might get your salad makings from your personal greenhouse and eggs from a community chicken coop. Every home will have its own greenhouse and the larger community farms and livestock will be cared for by village staff. Homeowners who wish to contribute labor can get credit on monthly community fees. In the first village in the Netherlands Ehrlich pegs the monthly fee at about $560.
Ehrlich calls the ReGen communities “the Tesla of eco-villages” because they will be designed for people who want to live “elegantly” off the grid. They won’t live off the internet, however: ReGen plans to employ technology to monitor community energy, farming, and living data, and store it in the cloud for the benefit of villages in similar geographic areas. He relates the concept of using shared experience and learning to benefit the communities to the way Tesla gathers information from its cars.
ReGen is planning to build additional villages in Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Belgium.