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Couple saves hundreds of dollars a month with sustainable off-grid home

A Canadian couple who built a sustainable home on an abandoned race track for $300,000 has opened up about they are saving money by living off the grid.   

James and Klaudia Bultje spent the past two years building their four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom dream home in Ridgetown, a small town in rural Ontario, after scooping up the 27-acre property for $280,000.

Known as the ‘Constructafam’ on social media, they documented the step-by-step process on TikTok and YouTube, where they continue to give tours of their off-grid home and answer questions about their green lifestyle. 

In an interview with Insider, James, 24, and Klaudia, 25, explained how they installed their own electrical, water, gas, and sewer systems, ensuring they don’t have any other housing bills aside from their mortgage. 

James and Klaudia Bultje spent the past two years building their four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom dream home in Ridgetown, a small town in Ontario

Known as the 'Constructafam' on social media, they documented the process on TikTok and YouTube, where they continue to give tours of their off-grid house

Known as the ‘Constructafam’ on social media, they documented the process on TikTok and YouTube, where they continue to give tours of their off-grid house

They built their first one-bedroom, one-bathroom home together after they got married in 2018 and sold it just two years later in 2020. 

From June to November of that year, they lived in a trailer while they constructed their second home together. 

James, a licensed carpenter and custom home builder, said that one of the appeals of living off the grid saving money on energy and water. 

James, 24, and Klaudia, 25, built their first one-bedroom, one-bathroom home together after they got married in 2018 and sold it just two years later in 2020

James, 24, and Klaudia, 25, built their first one-bedroom, one-bathroom home together after they got married in 2018 and sold it just two years later in 2020

Shortly after they sold their first home, they moved into a trailer and scooped up their 27-acre property, which includes an abandoned racetrack

Shortly after they sold their first home, they moved into a trailer and scooped up their 27-acre property, which includes an abandoned racetrack 

The spent $280,000 on the land and another $20,000 constructing their dream house

The spent $280,000 on the land and another $20,000 constructing their dream house 

Their old home was powered by Hydro One, an electricity transmission and distribution service provider in Ontario.

‘We were paying to have power brought to our house, but we were barely using any of it,’ he recalled. ‘We’d used $20 in power, but we’d pay $80 to bring the power to our house. There was no point. So, on the new house, we wanted to make it so we had no charges.’

The sustainable property comes complete with a solar panel, an inverter to turn the solar power into electricity, a septic system, a propane-powered backup generator, a well, and a water filtration system. They also keep a supply of six-volt batteries. 

One of the highlights of the solar-powered home is the stone fireplace in the living

One of the highlights of the solar-powered home is the stone fireplace in the living 

The house gets plenty of light thanks to its floor to ceiling windows

The house gets plenty of light thanks to its floor to ceiling windows 

The master bathroom has a luxurious bathtub that overlooks the property

The master bathroom has a luxurious bathtub that overlooks the property 

James built the base of the solar panel in the backyard, but he hired a professional to do the wiring in the basement, a process that took about two weeks. 

Klaudia told Insider that the ‘biggest learning curve’ was monitoring their power consumption and knowing when to use it.  

‘When it’s sunny out, that’s when we do everything,’ James explained. ‘When it was sunny out, we would crank the AC cold, then turn it off when it got dark because the air conditioner would just drain the batteries.’

The kitchen boasts a center island, white cabinetry, and a hidden walk-in pantry

The kitchen boasts a center island, white cabinetry, and a hidden walk-in pantry 

The couple keeps their washer and dryer stacked in their guest bathroom

The couple keeps their washer and dryer stacked in their guest bathroom 

James, a licensed carpenter and custom home builder, built almost everything himself

James, a licensed carpenter and custom home builder, built almost everything himself 

Their batteries can also hold them over for two days, and in the event of a power outage, they’re often the only house that still has electricity. 

In the winter, they heat their home with firewood, which they opt to chop themselves. 

They explained in one of their videos that they planted 1,200 new trees on the property to replenish what they cut down. 

The stunning home also features a large back deck with glass railings

The stunning home also features a large back deck with glass railings 

The sustainable property comes complete with a solar panel in the backyard

The sustainable property comes complete with a solar panel in the backyard 

In the basement, they installed an inverter to turn the solar power into electricity

In the basement, they installed an inverter to turn the solar power into electricity

The house also has a septic system, a propane-powered backup generator, a well, a water filtration system, and a supply of six-volt batteries (pictured)

The house also has a septic system, a propane-powered backup generator, a well, a water filtration system, and a supply of six-volt batteries (pictured)

In the winter, they heat their home with firewood, which they opt to chop themselves

In the winter, they heat their home with firewood, which they opt to chop themselves

The couple spent about $20,000 building the off-grid home, and they believe their sustainable, cost-effective additions were well worth it. 

‘Now, we just have a mortgage as opposed to a mortgage, water bills, power bills, or hydro bills,’ Klaudia told Insider. 

The Bultjes went viral on TikTok last November when they shared a detailed tour of their home after a commenter accused them of lying about living off the grid. 

‘Everything can be seen, monitored, and controlled through our phones,’ Klaudia explained in the clip, which has been viewed more than 3.5 million times. 

The Bultjes went viral on TikTok last November when they shared a detailed tour of their home after a commenter accused them of lying about living off the grid

The Bultjes went viral on TikTok last November when they shared a detailed tour of their home after a commenter accused them of lying about living off the grid

'We are not grid-tied. We produce and solely use the power,' Klaudia explained. 'Best part, no monthly house bills. Just minimal maintenance'

'We are not grid-tied. We produce and solely use the power,' Klaudia explained. 'Best part, no monthly house bills. Just minimal maintenance'

‘We are not grid-tied. We produce and solely use the power,’ Klaudia explained. ‘Best part, no monthly house bills. Just minimal maintenance’

In another series of videos, Klaudia detailed how they make logs out of their coffee grinds to burn in the fireplace during the winter

In another series of videos, Klaudia detailed how they make logs out of their coffee grinds to burn in the fireplace during the winter

Klaudia said one log will burn for about two hours, and it 'makes the house smell amazing'

Klaudia said one log will burn for about two hours, and it 'makes the house smell amazing'

Klaudia said one log will burn for about two hours, and it ‘makes the house smell amazing’

‘We even operate off an electric hot water tank,’ she added. ‘We are not grid-tied. We produce and solely use the power. Best part, no monthly house bills. Just minimal maintenance.’

A month later, they welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Nathaniel. 

In another series of videos, Klaudia detailed how they make logs out of their coffee grinds to burn in the fireplace during the winter. 

She shared the recipe with their 86,000 followers, explaining that they can only make about one log a week with their coffee consumption. 

Klaudia said one log will burn for about two hours, and it ‘makes the house smell amazing’ — especially if you use flavored coffee grounds. 

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