St. Helens couple goes off the grid in eco dome

St. Helens couple goes off the grid in eco dome

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 16 at 10:03 AM

ST. HELENS, Ore. -- A St. Helens couple is going off the grid with a unique home called an "eco dome" and hope to be an example for others.

Hidden among the trees of a St. Helens farm, Joseph Ensign and his fiancee Bela Layman are laying the groundwork for their new home.

“This is going to be the spot for the eco dome,” said Layman as he pointed to an area on the ground.

The eco dome will allow the couple to live totally off the grid.

Last year they built a similar "eco-home" in Mexico. But now that the couple is expecting their first child they decided to move north to a more permanent home.

“The average price of a home is over $200 thousand in America and we were able to build an entire foundation with a standing structure completely off grid for less than $11 thousand,” said Ensign.

The eco dome should take only a few months to build. The couple, yoga instructors by profession, plans to build four or five more domes and open an "eco-school" for kids.

The students will be brought in from Portland on a vegetable oil-powered bus.

Instructors will teach youth organic gardening and sustainable building along with the core subjects, all in natural setting.

The domes the couple will be building are called "Pacific Domes." The company that manufactures them is based in Ashland.

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