[before_listing id=175 images= youtube=null] I design power systems for off grid situations and I have lived on a boat and in an RV; both of which are off grid. My wife grew up on an off grid homestead. She was 14 before she saw her first light bulb in a home.
There is more to living off-grid than knowing how to make electricity. [landbuddy_listing id=175 youtube=null]

Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site

12 Responses to “Off-Grid Assistance”

  1. corine

    Hello,
    My boyfriend and I are wanting to sell our house and live off of the grid. We want to live somewhere warm; we live in michigan now and always have. Where would the best place be to live that has water, ect.
    Please email me at corine2newman@aol.com
    thanks

    Reply
  2. elnav

    TO admin.
    How can I reply in a timely manner to the people who ask me questiosn. The software does not seem to have a consistent way to notify list posters of a reply to their questions.

    Reply
  3. elnav

    Lesa for some reason this website does not seem to forward motifications as it should. If you are still interested the answer is yes you can assemble a wind turbine to charge your battery for various portable devices. Sorry I did not see your post sooner.

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  4. elnav

    Hello Travis
    Yes I am interested contact me by email directly
    2elnav(at) netbistro.com so we cam discuss it further.

    Reply
  5. Travis

    Elnav, My wife and I are moving to Prince George in may of this year, and yesterday we found a house that is on 160 acres and is off grid… Neither of us have lived off grid but have been thinking about it for many years and would like a “consultant” to inspect the current system (generators 11kw house)+(23kw shop) and advise us in regards to whether or not to proceed…And we don’t know anyone in the area ;) Please email me when you have a chance if your interested!

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  6. Lesa

    elnav,
    We just built a rancho on a piece of land in Costa Rica. We have support from the owner who plans to retire here one day, in the mean time we are preparing our home as well as a ‘snowbird’ style rustic retreat for this owner. I have worked hard to create a simple, minamalistic and frugal lifestyle for myself and prefer off-grid living. The property has a spring and many different possible building sites. Our power needs are minimal as we all choose a generally living (raw) foods diet, composting toilets, composted hot water system for showers, and candles (carefully using candle lanterns) for ambient lighting. Living in a rustic, open style rancho with a thatched roof (palm leaves) we have plenty of ventilation and natural daylight, we do need to be careful with candles as the rancho is flamable (smile). Our only wants, which for us are needs, are our cell phones and mini netbook computers which we use for communicating with family and friends around the world. We have a small inexpensive solar cell phone charger that keeps a cell going, we do have good service in our area. Very soon we will have mobil internet service which was just made available here with a pre-paid service (which I prefer). We are fairly high up on a ridge in the mountains and the neighbors say that generally there is a gentle breeze each day. Do you think it would be possible for us to charge our laptop batteries or battery charger for small things like cameras or flashlights (yes soon we will pick up solar ones – sun is plentiful in CR) with a small or mini wind turbine? I just think it’s a cool idea that might work.

    I’m a 52 year old intelligent woman, tho I’ve never been much into electronics – think I could figure out how to build one? Maybe a friend or my Tico friends who are really into self-sufficiency (many in our town actually have bio-digesters and buy very little for daily life) might be more electronically inclined and could help if this idea is possible?

    thanks in advance for your time and assistance, oh yeah and your ideas.

    Reply
  7. elnav

    To eric and serena
    You asked what do I do I design off grid power systems for clients wanting a totally self sufficient home . Mostly this consist of a large live aboard yacht cruising to Alaska in summer and Mexico in winter. I used to work for Xantrex but now work independently as a designer.

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  8. elnav

    Going off grid is as much a frame of mind as it is a physical way of living. Here in BC we only pay 8 cents per kilowatt thanks largely to vast hydro-electric power generators. The low cost of grid electricity is a strong disincentive when the cost of totally off grid alternatives is so much more expensive. However many other energy consumptions are still expensive such heating . If you really live far from power utility lines then you live in an off-grid location. Suddenly cost of generated electricity jumps tp around 50 cents per kilowatt if you have to run a generator.
    Whether you own land rent land or even rent a structure to live in the important thing is to make it insulated and illuminated with the least energy expenditure. Wall insulation and window glazing improvementns are not sexy subjects but they pay the biggest dividends in energy saving.
    In the BC interior we have such huge tracts of beetle killed pine trees just about anyone can get free firewood for the trouble of fetching it and the expense of fuel for a truck and chainsaw to reduce a whole tree into fire box sized chunks.
    If your shelter has those low cost aluminum frames, single glaze windows you can improve matters by double and even triple sealing it with plastic film.

    Kerosene and propane lights or heating devices are not recommended due to poor air quality resulting from combustion of a fuel indoors. Ventilating enough to freshen the air negates the efforts in sealing against drafts.
    A battery bank and inverter will give better results in terms of converting fuel into watts than running a generator non stop and driving apppliances directly. The full explanation is long, technical, and for most people very boring. LED lighting is most energy conserving but cost per fixture is probably the most expensive. Halogen bulbs save some power compared to tungsten filament but only about 10%. CCF bulbs are much better for efficiecny. They should work on most inverters.
    Flourescent lights intended for running directly on DC are often built so cheaply they fail after only a short while.
    In terms of energy saving m any kitchen devices can be had in non electric version and some newer electric appliances are more energy efficient than others. It pays to read the power capacity plates on each device you intend to use off grid powered from an inverter.

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  9. Patrick McGlaughlin

    I have been looking into OFF GRID living as well and feel exactly the same way as the first comment post.
    I know how to “rough it” so to say.
    But I also do not want to live in a tent exactly.
    I know how to hunt a little and fish. I know that solar power is not as affordable as it seems.
    I E-mailed to a “want ad” of an owner looking for a caretaker for a OFF GRID cottage in Bridge Lake BC. No answer. I had no idea what they need to hear from me. It may alreay be gone.
    Anywhoos. Would love to hear from any of you who have done this . Or anyone who is going to do this on how to prepare. Good luck Berry’s Hope to do the same in the next year.

    Reply
  10. ericserenaknutson

    ELNAV i would like to know more about what you do , i my self work with elecrtonics and electrical system , water purification systems and plumbing at times and computers etc , but i too like many wish to get out of the usa and off grid , but to not alot of cast to eather move or build a house or buy land , do you have any need for help there , some sort of job until i could get a small home built and out fitted , too i would need help in knowing the best ways to grow foods . email ericknutson@yahoo

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  11. Jackie

    To ELNAV with regards to assistance on setting up a power system, I would like to talk to you more. Please e-mail me directly at jttranscripts@xplornet.ca. Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Michele Berry

    Any suggestions on how to get off grid? My husband and I have been looking into this for about a year and can’t figure out how exactly to get there. It seems we would have to purchase land and have enough money to even get started (build housing, purchase solar panel). We can’t even find descent jobs to be able to save up the money to do this. I work at a bank (and hate every second but I had to take any job I could find when we moved back to Indiana and that all goes back to the way we feelbout society in general. Even working at a bank I still don’t make enough to survive. We’re sick of common society and fell there is a better way to live for the environment and our own personal beliefs & sanity :) ). There seem to be many people around us who feel we’re crazy for wanting to get away from the rat race but we both feel this has never been the right course for our lives but can’t seem to figure out the best way to get out of it. We’re not looking to join some sort of cult or anything we just want to live near people who have the same natural beliefs we have. Any helpful tips are very much appreciated. Sincerly The Berries4Earth

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