North Shore Maui Realtor Caravan features many off-grid homes today
The monthly event showcasing new listings on Maui's north shore was this morning and I was quite surprised to see that 5 out of 8 homes were off-grid properties. Off-grid homes are common in Huelo Maui, a part of Haiku, and for me it's a normal way of life. It's great that other Realtors are also taking an interest in this type of lifestyle as i think there will be a growing demand as the cost of utilitites keeps going up.
What does off the grid mean to a buyer? It means that once your water system and power system are up and running, you won't have a montly bill from those services, as you'll be supplying your own. It means that you're responsible for your own source of water and electricity, and you control it. While it might not be suitable for everyone, it can be quite simple and rewarding.
If you're not connected to the Maui County water mains you have basically 2 choices... drill a well or catch the rainwater. Well water contains minerals and possibly salt, making it hard water. It has to be pumped up from the source, which uses a lot of energy especially if the well is deep. A catchment water system uses rainwater from the roof which is piped into a holding tank. It's lovely soft water which doesn't need any treatment. With well water you will probably also have a holding tank for storage. From the tank you will filter the water to clean out any sediment, and pressurize the water before running it to the home. If you choose to filter it again that's your choice and there are many options.
When you live off-grid you will probably have some kind of photo-voltaic system comprised of an array of solar panels, an inverter and a charge controller, and a bank of storage batteries. PV is a great way to harvest energy from the sun and a well maintained system will provide free solar energy for years or decades with very little effort. Batteries do need to be checked monthly, and they are really the weak link in the chain.
Another source of renewable power is the wind. Once you have the batteries and other equipment, it doesn't cost that much to add a small wind turbine for those days when it's cloudy and for generating power at night. In combination you can produce enough power for a normal home and you may not ever have to run a back-up generator.
Today's off-grid Haiku homes were:
- 632 Honopou Rd. - 11.5 acres with a house and cottage, ocean views. $1,600,000.
- 800 Door of Faith Rd. - 2.6 acres with a house and cottage, ocean views. $1,100,000.
- 802 Door of Faith Rd. - 2.8 acres with a house and guest suite, ocean views. $899,000.
- 33 Hoolawa Rd. - 13 acres with a large barn and 2 other buildings, ocean views. $699,000.
- 7953 Hana Hwy - oceanfront 2+ acres with a home. $565,000.