My Dad and I have decided to build ourselves a little hunting place and we are thinking about ways to make the place pretty much energy efficient to the max. I am looking at this site http://www.energyproviderstexas.com/tips-saving-energy.html and a lot of others, but we are really thinking about some radical ideas. My Dad came up with a really strange idea. He found this web page and they were talking about earth ships, which is a really radical idea for building house with lot of geothermal concepts. In essence you can dig down to a certain level and you are going to maintain a constant temperature of around 56 degree. It varies according to the climate, as to how far under the ground you need to be. Of course the smart thing is to face the house South and have a big enclosed area facing the Southern sky to gather solar energy and then have the rest of the house dug into the side of a hill.
Of course there is not a need for us to go to the same extremes that these people do, because we are talking about building a house about the size of an old log cabin, but Dad is talking about building a dug out type of structure. Of course the power has to come from some where and we are thinking that perhaps we will be able to go completely off the grid if we are so meticulous that we do not really use much power. I figure that we are going to be about five miles from the nearest residential power lines and so the power company is not going to be really eager to run a power line that far for one little cabin that is going to be occupied about two months out of the year.