Living off the grid was popularized by our editor, Nick Rosen, in the mid-1990s, back before social media took center stage or the pressing environmental issues of our time were fully understood by the everyday person. Though today “living off the grid” might look different
than he initially envisioned it, it is definitely something everyone needs to consider, whether you live rurally or in a city. Living off the grid today does not mean that you need to run off to one of the eco-havens in North America or elsewhere.In the USA, Lasqueti Island, Common Ground, and Earthaven are certainly settlements to look towards when designing future housing developments that promote the environment and health, but you don’t need to get onto their waiting list or uproot your life to start cutting yourself away from the city grid today.
It is also important to remember that “living off of the grid” is not something people always
choose. In the USA it is estimated that 1,300,000 people live off the grid, in 50–75% of cases this is due to poverty. When taking into consideration how much renewable electricity and other renewable options can be (even with government subsidies) it can feel that being eco-friendly and reducing your utilities bill is a pipe dream.
It is not.
There are many different options to help you reduce your reliance to the grid, make your home more eco-friendly, reduce your carbon footprint, and even boost your wellbeing right at home – even in a city.
Why Live Off the Grid
Living off of the grid as much as possible has multiple benefits. Most of these benefits are seen over long periods of time, making your investments now the better choice.
Extreme Utilities Savings
Powering your home predominately with renewable electricity that you have produced is one of the best ways to keep your utilities costs as low as possible, especially if you live in an area that refuses you to disconnect entirely due to health and safety concerns.
Great for the Environment
We need to completely stop our use of coal and other non-renewable resources and instead switch over to renewable alternatives. The benefits are obvious. Currently, we reach Earth Overshoot Day in between July or August, depending on reports. This means that we strip the earth of more than can be replenished in a year, and we still have five months to go.
By investing in renewable energy, we can reduce the carbon impact of coal, which currently is responsible for 30% of CO2 emissions around the world.
By getting off the grid, through renewables, home-grown gardens, and reducing the
number of electrical gadgets, we can actually boost our wellbeing. Humans need nature. When we are connected to it we feel calmer, happier, and healthier. By getting off the grid in many ways, from energy to food production, you can reclaim this connection.
How to Live Off of the Grid
There are many ways to live off the grid. You can do so by removing televisions and other distractions from your home. You can also do it by reducing or completely removing your dedication to the electrical power grid. Whatever you choose, you need to know your realistic options when living in a city, first.
Improve The Insulation of Your Property
Regardless of which option you choose, reducing energy loss in your home is going to help you. It will help you save a lot of money on utilities over time, and, if you are interested in renewable energy, it is essential to maximize your self-sufficiency.
Double or Triple Glazing
Double glazing your windows is essential. Windows are essential for letting natural light in and can be key to improving your mental and emotional health. At the same time, they are also responsible for most of the heat loss in your home. If you don’t currently have double
glazed windows, it is time to invest in them. For large, wall-sized windows, on the other hand, you might want to consider investing in triple glazed windows due to their size.
If redoing your windows is not in your budget at this time, then simply getting blackout curtains can do wonders. These will block out the sun in summer to keep your home cooler and can be used during winter to keep the heat inside.
Rugs and Tapestries
Another budget-friendly way to improve the insulation in your property is to use rugs over hardwood and even tapestries on your outside facing walls.
Spray Foam Insulation
If your home has poor insulation, then one of the best choices post-construction is spray foam. As the spray can be done from afar, there is less hassle and less mess with retrofitting quality insulation than other options.
Renewable Energy Options
There are many options when it comes to renewable energy. You can switch providers, or take the renewable energy process into your own hands.
Switch to a Renewable Energy Provider
Though this likely won’t be the cheapest option right now, switching to an energy provider that only sources electricity from renewable electricity fields can help you do your part now.
It won’t get you off the grid, but it will improve your carbon footprint.
Install Solar Power
Solar energy works by converting the sunlight with the process of photovoltaics into electricity. During the day, you can produce so much electricity that your usage will only
make up an average of 27% of it. 70% will be wasted, which is why investing in a highly efficient battery to store electricity for the nighttime is essential.
With Green Power Technology you can invest in these highly efficient solar panels, as well as other energy-saving tools that will help you reduce your carbon footprint and keep your utilities low. Solar power is best when your home is efficient and sealed, after all, and finding great ways to heat your water without natural gas can make your renewable energy go even further.
If you have enough left over, you can even wait and then sell it back to the grid. It is best to
do this during peak hours when energy demand is at its highest.
Some solar-powered additions you might want to consider to get your home even further off
the grid include:
1. Solar Ovens
2. Solar Water Heating
3. Solar Air ConditioningIt is important to note that solar water heating and solar air conditioning are not the only way
to heat the water or your home. In fact, they may not even be the most efficient green
energy solution, with that title going to the air source heat pump.
Air Source Heat Pump
An air source heat pump works by pulling in air from the outside to heat a liquid that is then
compressed. This liquid produces even more heat that can be then used to heat your water
or even the air in your home.
Reduce At-Home Energy Consumption
Finally, remember to try to reduce your energy consumption. Invest in appliances that are highly efficient.
You should also consider using old school solutions. Instead of drying your clothes in the
machine, hang them up outside. The reverse, however, can also be true. Washing dishes by
hand can use more water and electricity than the dishwasher. Check online and
try to adapt to use the least amount of energy so that you can live self-sufficiently, even in
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