Going off the grid means that you are no longer connected to the electrical power grid and you have to live by producing your own electricity, which could be solar or wind or hydro. Many people today prefer to live on their own, as they do not want to be dependent on established institutions any more. This lifestyle is increasingly popular as people like being independent, and it saves money too. You can live off the grid on your own, or join a few communities which are following the same unconventional off the grid lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look at this lifestyle:
What is off the grid lifestyle?
Living off the grid means you no longer use the grid electricity, and use the electricity generated at your premises, which is usually renewable electricity. People usually step out of the city and into nature to live off the grid, wherein they harvest or collect water, produce their own vegetables and so on.
You can build a self-sufficient building or live in the city, but unconnected to the grid. You can grow your own vegetables, harvest water, be partially off-grid (using grid electricity sometimes). This means you can be off-grid right where you are living.
But if you want to live the off the grid lifestyle, you have to be completely self-sustaining.
How can you achieve off the grid lifestyle?
Going off-grid completely
This means that you give up the comforts of having running water, plumbing and gas. You would not be connected to the septic system as well, so have to build your own septic tank. You must have a well or a rainwater catchment to store water. You, of course, produce your own electricity, and have to be prepared for a little tough lifestyle, as you have to look after every aspect yourself. But if the peace and quiet, away from the hordes is appealing to you, then this is the life for you!
Choose the size of your home
There are many home options for those who choose to live off grid, but most people want to downsize. You may think about tiny homes which are quite trendy now, and they can be easily maintained, and use less resources and energy.
Tiny homes are for those who do not have big families and are fond of minimalist lifestyle, happy to live with the basic necessities and leaving out the junk and clutter. Most tiny homes are outfitted with tiny bathrooms as well, so you don’t have to build one outside. You can choose a portable tiny home as well, of which there are tons of models available. There are high-end and high tech prefab models where you can follow the off the grid lifestyle in style. Or, if you are planning to go off grid with no money, you can construct your own small house or buy bare-boned sheds. You can live in a yurt or Earthship, or purchase one online!
If you have a big family or like to live in a spacious home, then you could build a multiroom farmhouse or a big log cabin. This is preferred by many people who want to live half-on and half-off grid, and off grid energy usually isn’t enough for large houses.
After buying your home, you have to transform it into a self-sufficient building. This means there has to be options to harvest water. You would have to drill a well, set up water system to provide the running water to your home. Or else, if you’re doing this with no money, then you must have huge catchment containers to store water for your family.
Set up septic system
This is another aspect of the off the grid lifestyle which you have to do. You have to set up the septic system or else rough it in an outhouse! There are off grid communities who have certain aspects taken care and you may join one of these to stay with like-minded people and avail of their experience and help.
Producing your own electricity is the major expense in living off grid. Here the three popular options:
Solar panels: This is by far the most popular option and you can harness the sun’s energy with the help of photovoltaic solar panels. You would also need an inverter and the batteries to store this energy. They don’t need much maintenance either. The initial cost is a factor you have to consider, and if you have a big home, then you will need more panels, which increases the cost.
Wind turbines: Another great option is wind turbines if your region has high wind speed. A 400 watt turbine can power some appliances, 900 watt is sufficient for the needs of a small cabin or home and you will need a 10,000 watt turbine to provide the energy for a bigger residence. All you need is constant breeze. Wind turbines have moving parts, so they need more maintenance.
Micro-hydro electricity: For this system, you should have a source such as a small waterfall or running stream. The energy produced by the water falling from a high elevation to lower elevation will create electricity. Micro-hybrid power is a cost-effective solution, as it can generate 10 to 100 times more electricity than wind or solar for the same investment. All you need is 24 hours running water on your property.
Have your own farm
To live the off the grid lifestyle, you also should grow your own food and keep cattle and chicken to meet the meat and egg requirements. How big or small your farm is depends on the amount of land you have. You can have a small vegetable garden and enjoy the vegetable grown without pesticides, and with your love and care!
Buy organic seed and fertilizer, mulch and gardening tools to start off. Later on, composting can provide you with the fertilizer you need.
Lasqueti Island (Vancouver coast), Common Ground (Blount County, Alabama), Earthhaven (Black Mountain, North Carolina) are off grid communities which you might apply to join, so that you do not have to do it all on your own!