My partner John Corcoran and I recently built a small light-filled adobe home near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The home was designed to be beautiful, efficient and easy to run. Ironically, many visitors to our home announce that they don't have the skills to live the life we live. To this I say, " Wow, what skills?" By making everything simple we somehow have communicated a complicated household. To live in our house the skills needed are: the ability to wash dishes by hand(a treat in the desert where any contact with water is a pleasure); the ability to bring wood inside, light a fire in a woodstove and to sit still in front of a fireplace with a book or a game on long winter nights; the ability to hang clothes on the line to dry; the ability to once or twice a year add water to the batteries that store our solar energy; the ability to start a generator on rare cloud filled weeks (for us,this has happened once.) That's it, no furnace and air conditioner filters to change, no waiting for countless repairmen. No dark smelly basement to clean and bait with mouse poison. The life we have made for ourselves off the grid is like the life we lived on the grid, only its easier and cheaper. I will grant that learning to live a simpler life did take a lot of homework, research and independent thinking. As a thank you, I thank all the human ingenuity that has come before us, that solved centuries ago what we see as today's problems. A great little book with countless solutions concerning energy efficiency and efficiency in general: John S. Taylor A Shelter Sketchbook: Timeless Building Solutions.