By Mark Cowling | Casa Grande Dispatch
Dieter and Margit Cloes sat on their backyard patio with a couple of visitors who were each enjoying a tall, cool glass of well water and endless views of unspoiled desert. It was a fitting way to spend Earth Day, especially considering the house is “off the grid” from public utilities.
The couple didn’t set out to build an Earth-friendly house, 6 miles as the crow flies from the nearest neighbor, when they bought their 40 acres, 14 miles from Florence off Florence-Kelvin Highway, more than two decades ago. It was just a beautiful property with plenty of space to shoot targets — one of the couple’s favorite hobbies.
But after a few years, when it became apparent that electric service wouldn’t be available to their property anytime soon, they started designing their house with sustainability in mind. They sketched out the plans themselves — as natives of Germany — in meters and centimeters.