Cost of building your own off the grid house

After talking to a contractor building his mansion in 5- acre lot, zoned agriculture in Gilroy, he gave me a breakdown of the initial expenses:

$350k for the land (flat)

$15k for review of Site Plan by the City planners

$27k for the well water

$30k for the sewage

___ $$$ for the pavement for the driveway and road

$30k for solar

and around $100 per sq ft to build his own structure, 3000 sq ft. For the barn, he used 4 containers, $2k each. He can convert them later on for rental place.

In the bay area, the average cost of building your own house with your chosen contractor/builder is around $400 per sq ft.

For my own modular home, you can view the design and layout with pictures at , costs:

$54k for 1100 sqt ft , 3BR, 2BA

$10k for delivery

$10k for install

$30k for foundation and car garage

$$$ for land

There is LOFT CUBE made in Germany ($40k for 400 sq ft), with no official rep in the USA and the made in Berkeley net zero home is still being negotiated with manufacturer to cut cost from $110k to half for a 300 sq ft.  Examine your options. Containers costs only $2k, talk to a dealer of modular home in your city, contractor for the foundation, and arrange for a seller financing for the land or lease option to buy (do get a real estate lawyer).

The best positive cash flow use of any land are: storage, mobile home park, apartment, multi-unit office-commercial-loft residential.

You may email if you want to donate your land to Green Research Institute or Motherhealth, both 501c(3).

Open house architecture for sustainability

open house archi p2 open house archi p1

SUSTAINABILITY, Open House Architecture

An important aspect of the design is sustainability. There are simple solutions incorporated into the design, like the orientation of the house, which provides natural shielding. We try to encourage the usage of local and sustainable materials, as the materials used in the folk architecture of the past were also local materials.

The concrete we use today is produced locally; factories are easily found anywhere in a 50-80 km radius. These factories take up a lot of energy and are responsible for sizable CO2 emissions.  However, the concrete is durable and will last for a century. The wood is a traditional local material, although today it usually does not come from the local forest. Wood is one of the most sustainable materials and has no CO2 emissions; it also gives a warmth and friendliness to the structure.

Finally, we designed up-to-date sustainable heating and cooling systems with HVAC heat pump and solar panels to produce the energy and fulfill energy consumption of the house.


Base: concrete strip foundation with reinforced concrete floor slab

Wall: reinforced concrete wall
First Floor: reinforced concrete structure, with wood walls
Roof: wood construction with thermal insulation in mineral-wool
Exterior: cladding in plywood on lath frame
Also internal walls in wood or drywall construction finished in larch plywood
Steelwork: stainless or galvanized steel

Connie’s comments: I found some vacant lots in the bay area, email me if you want to do this project in Northern California.