Off grid living is a lifestyle that involves living without the reliance on public utilities such as electricity, water, and gas. This movement is gaining popularity and many people now prefer living off the grid as a way to be in harmony with nature and minimize their environmental footprint. If you are new to the idea of off grid living, here is a beginner’s guide that explores the different ways to live off grid, types of accommodation, sources of power and water, and the pros and cons of this way of life.
Different ways to live off grid
Living off the grid is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are different ways to live off grid depending on your preferences and level of commitment. You can choose to live completely off grid, where you generate all the energy you need and obtain your water from sources around your property. Alternatively, you can choose to live partially off grid where you may rely on some public utilities and still utilize off grid power and water resources. Other ways to live off grid include communal living or homesteading, where you live in a collective with other people and share sustainable resources.
Types of accommodation
When it comes to accommodation, off grid living offers a variety of options. The most common ones are tiny houses, RVs, yurts, and shipping container homes. Tiny houses are small and energy-efficient, usually under 400 square feet, whereas RVs are mobile homes that allow you to be on the move. Yurts provide natural insulation, and shipping container homes repurpose old cargo containers to minimize recycling.
Sources of power
Off grid living requires a reliable and sustainable source of power. The two primary power sources for off grid living are solar and wind power. Solar power systems use photovoltaic technology to convert solar power into electricity, while wind turbines transform wind energy into electrical power. Both options need to be combined with battery storage systems to ensure a consistent supply of electricity even when solar or wind resources are low.
In addition to solar and wind power, there are other alternatives sources of electricity for off grid living. They include hydro and geothermal power sources. Hydro power uses the flow of water to generate electricity, while geothermal energy utilizes the earth’s internal heat to generate power. These two sources of electricity require special environmental conditions to be viable.
Sources of water
Water is a precious resource for off grid living. The most basic way to obtain water is to drill a well in your property and use a pump to extract water. The other alternative is to harvest rainwater. If you want to use rainwater, you will need to set up a rainwater harvesting system with a collection point, storage tanks, filters, and pumps. Another source of water is via a natural stream or nearby lake. Without access to mains water supply, it’s essential to conserve water. Low pressure showers, and low flush toilets are some of the water saving options that you can implement at home.
Pros and Cons of off-grid living
Off-grid living offers several benefits such as energy independence, self-sustenance, and reduced carbon footprint. Off-grid living is harmonized with nature, and it could lead to increased appreciation for natural surroundings. It’s good for people that prefer isolation and living in a peaceful home. On the downside, the initial cost of setting up an off-grid home can be significant, and it requires an adequate understanding of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, which means you may need to rely on expert advice. It could be challenging as well in case of emergencies like medical help or natural disasters because of the lack of access to proper resources.
Off Grid Living Ideas
Here are some off grid living ideas that could make your off-grid lifestyle manageable:
- Start small – As a beginner, you don’t have to purchase costly off-grid systems. Start small and gradually increase your resources and systems.
- Learn new skills – You may need to learn some new skills such as carpentry, diy electrician, plumbing and organic farming to help you improve your off-grid living systems.
- Plan for wastewater treatment – Set up your septic system, grey water recycling systems, composting toilets and drain fields upfront.
- Storage – Keep enough food, water, and other necessary supplies in storage in case of emergency or for long winters.
- Community involvement – Living off grid doesn’t mean you have to live in complete isolation. Join or create an off-grid community of like-minded individuals, and share skillsets to improve the quality of your life.
In conclusion, off grid living is an incredibly sustainable way to live a simple life and protect nature. With the basics covered, one can start small and gradually build up their off-grid living systems. You have enough ideas to embark on off grid living for beginners, start living light, and reduce your environmental impact.