by LINDAM on FEBRUARY 11, 2012 - 3 Comments in off-grid-101
The literal definition of living off-grid (or offgrid or living off the grid) is living without Utility power or water or waste disposal.
It can go further than this, to include being disconnected from the infrastructures that make life convenient, including roads, banks, schooling, doctors and so on. Even the Internet is a grid of sorts. Wikipedia has an extended discussion
In the absence of Utility electricity, energy needs are often supplied by solar, water or wind energy.
An important strategy when unplugging from the grid is to have more than one source of energy.
Why do people go off-grid?
Many make this change because they have run out of other options- due to foreclosure, job loss, or natural disaster
Others fear societal breakdown
Many are anxious about the future of energy and look to renewable resources as a widespread solution.
Other reasons for going off-grid include self-sufficiency, not having to pay pesky energy bills, developing a sustainable lifestyle, moving towards a more relaxed lifestyle pace, as well as obstacles to being hooked up to the electrical system.
If you buy on a remote property, it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to get hooked up. You could instead use this money to invest in your own renewable system, and have lower energy costs in the future.
Heating options for off-grid homes include:
Wood-burners in the home
External wood-burners – which funnel the heat from huge logs into the building – the bigger the log, the cheaper the heat.
Wind turbines and solar panels to generate energy
Batteries for energy storage.
Geothermal heat, using the warmth stored in the earth.
Specialist building techniques which can be five to fifteen times as energy efficient as the average home, and therefore require less energy to heat the building.