David Hoffman, 67, has spent the last 40 years transforming his three-bedroom Lagunitas, Calif. home into a self-sustainable habitat, reports NBC.The epic renovation resulted in 30 new structures, including a hand dug well that uses a solar powered pump to refill itself; a solar powered shower; and an outdoor toilet that uses earthworms to digest leftover food, cleanse water and decompose human waste.
“I guess you could say I had a vision,” Hoffman said. “I had a dream,”
There was just one problem with that dream: Hoffman never got the proper building permits.
For 20 years, city officials warned him to apply for the permits and each time he refused. In total, they’ve fined him $200,000 and finally ordered him to tear the lot down by Aug. 1, according to NBC.
As more homeowners search for budget- and energy-saving means to retrofit their homes, it’s crucial to follow the proper protocol for renovations. No one’s going to bust you for installing solar panels, but chances are you’ll need a permit if you want to start messing with your plumbing system, like Hoffman.
Still, there are plenty of ways that someone can lead a more efficient lifestyle without the effort and commitment that Hoffman has given.
According to YM contributor Moises Velasquez-Manoff, a high school science teacher reduced his energy bill by two-thirds by using compact fluorescent light bulbs, buying energy efficient appliances and using surge protectors.
These types of non-glamorous improvements can often times have a bigger impact on your bill than some of the bigger changes, like solar panels or a “green roof”, reports to Velasquez-Manoff.