The energy prices are going through the roof. Many worry they will not be able to keep warm this winter. Unlike Walter Pepers from Uden and Ad Vlems from Boekel. They decided a few years ago to live off-grid, so they can rest easy.
Zero energy bill
“I don’t pay anything at all,” says Walter Pepers. “But that feels a bit unfair when you hear that other people now have to pay so much.” As an environmentalist he is very busy with nature and climate. That is why he lives with his wife and children in a prefabricated bungalow on the outskirts of Uden. They have hot water thanks to a heat pump and 40 solar panels on the roof provide electricity.
His mission is accomplished. Ad has been living in the green mini-village for almost two years now, which consists of 36 social housing units. The houses are supplied with electricity and heat thanks to 600 solar panels. “They are connected to a large container that reaches 450 degrees in the summer. It retains the warm air all year round. When we turn on the heating, the water in the boilers is heated and distributed in our underfloor heating system,” explains Ad.
There are no batteries yet that can store electricity for the whole year. Ad still has to knock on the door of an energy company in the winter. Walter has come up with another solution for this. He has an arrangement with his neighbours, an adjacent hotel. He supplies them with a lot of power in the summer, and in the winter he gets it back. “As a neighborhood, you should chat more often with a company to which you can deliver, because they often have more favourable energy contracts,” he explains.
The only thing the two still have to worry about are the rising food prices. But that is also arranged in the Ecovillage. “We have a food forest with hundreds of crops, where we can get sixty per cent of our food from,” says Ad. “Everyone in the village works one or two days a week in the garden and so the food is free for everyone.”
Walter is not considering this. “I don’t have the time,” he laughs. “We do not eat meat for the sake of the environment, not because we cannot afford it.”
Source: Omroep Brabant
Translated by: Shanthi Ramani