Learn how to Go Off The Grid Successfully
Posted on April 30 2018
The romanticized idea of living independently and sustain-ably is one shared by many.
In 2013, it was estimated that 1.7 billion people were living off the grid. Since then, that number has been steadily increasing.
Are you thinking of joining those people and turning your off-grid fantasies into a reality, but don't know where to start?
Now's the time to start planning.
According to a report by CNN, living off the grid will be much easier in the next 25 years.
This article will tell you all you need to know about how to go off the grid.
How to Go Off the Grid
Build a Nest Egg
You'll need some capital to get you started.
A lot of the things that off-grid living involves requiring a substantial initial investment.
Building a new home and creating your own sources for power and water are considerably expensive projects.
This means you'll need to spend some time saving before starting your new lifestyle.
Get The Location Right
The perfect location is crucial to successful off-grid living.
Whether you want to start anew by building your own home or modify an existing one to suit your needs, you'll have to make sure the location is right.
If you can live somewhere that will provide access to the wind and solar energy, you'll be on the right track.
Contrary to popular belief, living off the grid doesn't have to mean turning into a hermit and completely shutting yourself off from the rest of the world.
You don't have to go it alone.
There are several areas in the United States which are home to entire communities of people committed to living off the grid. In places like these, much of what you need is already set up for you.
One such community is The Rivers Recreation Area in Oregon. Another is Greater World Community in New Mexico, where each home is built entirely from recycled materials.
Some of these communities operate on a shared work and income basis, like Earthhaven in North Carolina and Missouri's Possibility Alliance.
If that's not your thing, don't worry. Read below for more info on how to do it by yourself.
Start by Cutting Energy Usage
Electricity is integral to every aspect of our lives.
That's probably why you're looking into doing without it.
However, you can't just go completely cold turkey and stop using all kinds of electricity in one fell swoop. That's a recipe for disaster.
You need to start small, reducing your energy usage in smaller ways at first, and gradually building a more self-sufficient lifestyle over a period of time.
Start with luxury items like phones, computers, TVs, microwaves washing machines and the like before moving onto the essential items.
You may not need to wave goodbye to electrical appliances altogether. Some of them can be replaced by more energy-efficient alternatives.
Pay extra attention to your water usage, too.
Cutting down on time spent in the shower and washing dishes is essential. Later on, you can start collecting rainwater to subsidize your regular water source.
Choose your Energy Source
Living off the grid means stripping all utilities and producing or harnessing energy in your own ways.
This sounds overwhelming, but there are a number of ways you can do it.
Types of energy you could use include solar, the wind, water and geothermal.
Solar and wind power are both great methods, which are tried, tested and proven to work. However, they both rely on weather conditions, over which you'll have no control. That is, outside of choosing your location.
If you're near a river or stream, you can use micro-hydro electricity. According to Energy Alternatives, this method can produce anywhere between 10 and 100 times more power than wind energy can. Definitely worth considering.
Cooking can be done with a wood stove. However, you'll have to ensure your home is properly ventilated, as there are health hazards. The air pollution associated with this kind of cooking can be dangerous.
You'll need a generator, too. A propane one is ideal. As well as this, you'll need some kind of battery
As well as this, you'll need some kind of battery to store power. Deep cycle batteries are commonly used by people living off the grid and in electric cars.
To learn how to make the most of such a battery, read our article on the best practices to manage off grid deep cycle battery banks.
Once you've worked out how you're going to get your energy, the next step is to conserve it. When you work so hard to produce it, you learn the true value of it and are therefore much more reluctant to let any of it go to waste.
One such way of doing this is equipping your home with sufficient insulation to maintain the perfect temperature.
See our post on how to maintain energy efficiency in an off-grid home for more tips on how to go off the grid and save energy.
If you're trying to find out how to go off the grid, you've probably already considered growing your own crops.
In order to do so, you'll need to make sure you have the right kind of soil, along with sufficient moisture and sunlight. The conditions need to be right in order for your crops to thrive.
If your soil isn't quite good enough, all is not lost. You can alter it by composting.
Compost is great for improving the nutrient content and structure of your soil and is also an excellent way to reuse some of your food waste. It keeps your plants healthy, too. It can even be used to heat water!
Let's Get Started
You can use the tips above to take the first steps of your journey to a sustainable lifestyle.
If you want to learn more about how to go off the grid, read our complete starter guide.
Leave a comment below if you have any further tips or questions for us.