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This Futuristic Off-Grid Home’s Only Connection to the World Is the Starlink Wi-Fi

Off-grid living doesn’t have to mean a rustic dwelling that lacks basic amenities. An ambitious property developer believes that he found the blueprint for the entirely self-sufficient yet equally comfortable homes of the future – everything about the Wattage Cottage is innovative.
The Cuyuna Wattage Cottage is a remarkable self-sufficient small house 12 photos
Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)Wattage Cottage (Cuyuna Project)
Builder Tom Puzak has a very ambitious vision – the houses of the future could look like his proud creation, the incredible Cuyuna Project that won Green Builder’s 2022 Most Innovative Green Home of the Year award. Located on one of the tallest Cuyuna Hills in Minnesota, this self-sufficient, off-grid small house was designed to have no connection to the outside world while being as eco-friendly as possible.

Unfolding over 1,222 square feet (113.5 square meters), it’s slightly bigger than a tiny home, which gives it enough room for up to seven guests. One of the main challenges was to make it able to withstand the freezing temperatures in the area during the winter.

According to Green Builder, the cottage’s insulation properties are roughly three times that of a typical house. The heat comes through the floor, thanks to a Westinghouse combination boiler, while the 5-foot (1.5 meters) roof overhang and the windows provide additional passive heat (plus much-needed shade in the summer).

All of the energy comes from 15 ground-mounted 310-watt solar panels, plus a lithium-ion battery pack of up to 80 kWh, using only upcycled batteries. There’s LED lighting throughout and air conditioning provided by a mini-split and a heat pump. What makes the Wattage Cottage unique is the smart control of its systems, including the solar array, the garage door opener, and the indoor lighting, through the Starlink service provided by SpaceX.

The self-sufficient cottage also has a septic tank and well water. Its construction process was in line with its sustainable character, using 6-inch (15.2 cm) thick SIPs (structural insulated panels) that allowed putting together the wall system in a single step. This meant almost no waste and a much shorter building time.

On the inside, the Wattage Cottage is minimalistic but welcoming, boasting three generous bedrooms, a light-filled living area with a fireplace, and a well-equipped kitchen – even those who want a taste of the off-grid life need an espresso machine.

Tom Puzak’s futuristic off-grid retreat can be enjoyed as a rental house, available at Airbnb. That’s a unique opportunity – after all, it’s not too often that you get to experience living in an award-winning self-sufficient small house.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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