“It’s not that I wanted to be real green, though I like being green,” Axness said one recent morning as the sun beat down on a layer of snow blanketing his neighborhood four miles northeast of Intel’s Sandoval County computer chip plant. Behind him, solar panels tapped into the morning sun’s energy while the steady drips from the metal roof slowly filled the cisterns that surround the spacious home.
The cisterns are Axness’ practical solution to a quintessentially Rio Rancho problem. The lot is located in that sprawling, platted part of the city’s suburban edge that did not have water lines. Axness bought years ago, and expected a water line would be extended past the property by the time he was ready to build on it. When that did not happen, he realized he was faced with a cost of more than $50,000 to install pipe to get city water to his house, so he began exploring the alternatives.
A article on off-grid.net describes Rio Rancho, New Mexico as a sort of shanty-town and if your foreclosed you should move here.
Here in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, residents are beyond the reach of power lines and piped water. A few have solar panels or small wind turbines. For others, like a shanty built by Liz Owens, 57, the cost of renewable power sources and drilling a water well is prohibitive. Generators and plastic water tanks are common yard features.
I know no one that lives like this but I have been out on the mesa and seen these sort of buildings. I would not encourage people who have have had their house foreclosed on to come to Rio Rancho and build similar buildings (actually maybe a shanty-town on the Rio Rancho mesa would be interesting).
The problem is the city of Rio Rancho is growing quickly, or at least it was. As it grows these buildings are finding themselves in the middle of developments. These sort of shanty buildings don’t fit within modern developments.
An Extreme Makeover house in Pinon Arizona didn’t turn out too well. The house is too big and it takes too much energy to heat despite having technology like solar panels. The house has some surprising quality issues like only having two-thirds of the insulation it should have. The owner of the house has moved in with in-laws.
Extreme Makeover Home’s has some problems with lawsuits and foreclosures. Although they appear to be building houses for the needy they are ultimately producing the show for ratings. That’s not an entirely bad thing but it influences how the houses are constructed.
In 15 square miles of abandoned land, about 400 misfits—aging hippies, disillusioned veterans, teenage runaways—have built a community where no one cares if you smoke pot, fire your rifle all day, let your kids drive your car, or walk around naked in the desert heat. It’s a landscape of beat-up old trailers, shacks jerry-rigged from recycled materials, solar panels, little farms, greenhouses, and at least one tipi. “Where I live is the last remaining land of America that is left,” says Dreadie Jeff, another Mesa resident. “You can do what you fucking want there.”