What is Off-Grid Living? Reasons for going Off-Grid
What is Off-grid living?
Off grid living is the act of living independently and self-sustaining in terms of energy, water, food, etc. It can also refer to a way of life in which people interact with nature.
Off grid living means that you are dependent on alternative energy sources like solar panels or bio gas systems rather than the common electricity source which is not readily available at all places in India.
It implies that you don’t need to pay costly bills for electricity and other utilities that come with conventional lifestyles.
Off grid living in India
The definition of off grid living can vary from country to country. For example, in India off grid living implies to live away from the urban areas, where there is no access to electricity or water.
Off grid living can be practiced in various ways. It doesn’t involve just building an isolated house or a hut remotely, but it involves creating a whole environment that is sustainable and self-sufficient.
Present scenario the term off grid was first introduced by Tim Molloy about 3 years ago when he started living off the grid at his home in New Hampshire which is the United States of America.
Off grid living is still little known in India. People prefer to live in big cities where everything is available on the dot.
Off grid living doesn’t mean that one must isolate himself from the world. You can still lead an active social life, but you don’t need to be dependent on conventional sources of energy, that cost a bomb to run the house with electricity and water bills.
Off grid living is not just about building a straw or mud hut and living inside it. It also involves putting up solar panels, wind turbines and using geothermal or bio gas as the alternative source of energy.
What is the term?
Off-grid is a short form of off-grid. Off means, you are isolated from conventional sources of energy like electricity grids, oil deposits or fossil fuels, and the grid is the abbreviation of Electricity Grid.
Off-grid living is also associated with being self-sustaining since you are not dependent on electric or diesel-powered machines.
Reasons for going Off-Grid
There are certain reasons why people prefer to go off-grid. Here are a few:
You can live life freely. There is no need to be tied down by conventional sources of energy like electricity or oil/gas deposits.
It is also a good way to save money that you would otherwise pay for things like electricity bills, water connection charges and other utilities.
You can have a satisfying experience in terms of living with nature. You will be closer to the natural environment which doesn’t pollute the air, water and land.
You can also grow your own food in off grid living. There is a sense of freedom associated with off-grid living.
Off grid living techniques
Off grid techniques can vary from case to case depending on the landscape, setting and location. Here are ways how you can go off-grid:
Using solar power as an alternative source of energy is one of the best ways to go off grid. There are various types of solar panels which can be used.
Some common options are roof top type, which provide power on a roof, and ground mounted solar panels that are widespread around the world.
You can also go for DIY kits like the Sun sense Solar powered system kit from Amazon. It comes with a 1 KW inverter and a solar panel that is rated at 5000 watts. It has two outlets and a socket which can be connected to battery banks.
Wind turbines are another great source of alternative energy. You can place this turbine in an isolated area where wind is available all the time. This will prevent the movement of air thus leading to more energy produced by the wind turbine.
Geothermal energy is a great alternative source of energy. This can be generated from volcanoes, hot springs, lake or river beds and even from the ocean floor.
Biogas are a form of methane found underground gas deposits which can be converted into power that is required for daily use. Biogas is among the best off-grid options from nature because it doesn’t pollute the environment at all.
Biofuel is a very efficient alternative that can be used as a power source for generators. It produces fuel using different forms of energy like sun, wind, and rain. Biofuel is a very good way to save money by using the fuel produced by nature itself.
Geothermal heat floor
Another great way to go off-grid is by installing geothermal heat floors in your house or home. This helps in controlling temperature and temperature fluctuations in rooms according to the requirement of the place.
Solar powered security light
It is a good option to install solar-powered lighting on the exterior of your home. This helps the homeowner to save money on electricity bills and also gives a safe environment.
Water purification techniques
Water purifiers are also helpful in going off grid. This can be achieved by filtering water through various filters like activated charcoal, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light and many more.
These water purifiers will ensure that water is safe for drinking and other purposes in your off-grid house.
Semi Off Grid Living
SOL is a term that has been coined by the Off Grid Living community.
SOL refers to something off the grid, but not completely off.
It’s also sometimes referred to as Partial Solar Off Grid Living or PV Off Grid Living.
In practice it is about living a minimally energy-dependent life, but not totally so.
SOL is also known as semi-off grid living and it is popular amongst those who want the best of both worlds. It’s that perfect balance between the traditional grid world, with all the good things of conventional power sources, and the benefits of going off-grid altogether.
The term semi-off grid living is derived from the idea that many people find it difficult to give up things like electricity and access to clean water and sewerage.
The truth, however, is that even if you have a solar power system or wind turbine, but your internet provider isn’t connected and your phone doesn’t work, then it isn’t true off-grid living.
States to live Off Grid
25 U.S. States are currently off-grid or partially off-grid with some states having no power at all.
Most states that have no power at all are in New England and in the western parts of the country such as Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona.
These areas have some of the highest amounts of natural wind resources as well as ideal terrain for geothermal or solar power plants to be sited.
Other states have significant amounts of solar and wind resources such as New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Maine.
The most recent state to go off grid was Maine which went completely off the grid on June 1st, 2015.
Worst States to go Off Grid
New Jersey is one of the worst states to go off-grid, for instance.
Leaving power outages and other problems to deal with on your own is incredibly frustrating.
Some states have even more complicated electrical systems than others, so it’s always great to research specific areas before you relocate.
Florida and Hawaii are some of the most difficult places to move into off grid living because they have such a complex electrical network.
You need to learn about things like sub-metering and voltage stabilizers before you even consider moving there.
Where to live Off Grid
The main idea when it comes to going off grid is to be somewhere that you can’t be reached by the power lines.
The best areas for semi off grid living are generally in the middle of large wilderness areas like the Southwest or in rugged mountainous regions.
In general, the more distance you place between civilization, the better off grid places will be! This means you may need to move further out of state.
Advantages of Off Grid Living
- It’s a lifestyle choice
It is a lifestyle choice which many people enjoy. You can be totally off grid by living completely off the grid, or you can live in an area where the grids are connected, with power coming from solar power and wind turbines.
- Self Sufficiency
If you have enough land to put photovoltaic (PV) panels on, you’ll be able to become entirely self-sufficient.
This means you won’t have to pay your energy bills and there won’t be an environmental cost either.
- Renewable Energy
Having solar panels or wind turbines will mean that you’ll never be affected by rising energy costs again.
These renewable energy sources are free and the more you use, the less likely you are to have to rely on energy companies.
- No Problems with Energy Companies
Off grid living means that no one will come knocking on your door for unpaid bills. It will be you who is knocking on their door to tell them that they are not welcome.
Another one of the best things about off grid living is that you will finally be in charge of your own destiny.
You won’t have to worry about the government or anyone else interfering with your life or property. You’ll be self-sufficient and able to make your own decisions about how you live.
- Freedom from Conventional Power
Getting rid of the need for oil, gas and electricity will mean that there are no further worries about pollution or global warming. You’ll be free to simply enjoy living a healthy life and this can be done by living completely off the grid.
- No Electricity Bills
If you live in an area where there is a lot of wind or solar energy and are able to build your own power system, then you won’t have any bills at all.
- Easier to Live Quietly
Powerlines and cables can be intrusive and are hard to conceal. With no power lines you will be free to live quietly and make your own lifestyle choices.
- Less Obtrusive Power Sources
There’s a lot of noise associated with power plants, whether they are nuclear, coal or oil burning facilities that sit on the edge of the mountains or in national parks.
It is hard to get away from their destructive sound and it can disturb you whenever it is on.
Disadvantages of Off Grid Living
Some major disadvantages are:
- Expensive to Make
Building a solar or wind power system is not cheap and you’ll need to put in a lot of research before you can install it.
- You’ll Need to Research the Locations
There are some states that are better for living off the grid than others, so you will need to do your homework before making any decisions.
- Poor Weather Conditions
Some areas experience poor weather conditions all year round, so it can be harder to find good off grid living locations in countries with seasons like these.
- Travel Time
Wherever you decide to move, it will likely take between 4-6 hours for you to reach the place that you want to live!
Living off the grid means that people will be on their own, but there are other critters living in these areas that can make life difficult.
For instance, if you live in Boulder, CO, and have a dog or cat and they go outside, they may not survive the harsh weather because of what is called micro-pollution.
Micro-pollution can be caused by tiny particles that are harmful to wildlife, such as feces and urine, which is also spread by pests.
- Higher Maintenance Costs
The energy sources that you use on a daily basis are expensive and because they are used on a small scale, they can be very susceptible to breakdowns or breakages.
- Environmental Impact
Because you will be living off the grid, many of your water systems will need to be deep wells for water storage which can affect their quality. You will also use water from rivers and the ocean, which can affect their quality as well.
- You Have to Do the Work Yourself
If you are living off the grid, you will have to do everything yourself. You won’t be able to call an energy company and they won’t send someone out to fix your problem. All you can do is find out how best to fix it.
Off Grid Living Ideas
Some of the ideas are;
- Get a campsite
A camping site will give you a great start in the right direction. You can do your research and then purchase the necessary equipment to build your own solar power system.
- Build a Solar Power System on a Budget
If you want to build your own solar power system, then building one yourself on budget is possible. Once you’ve decided that you want to live off the grid, you’ll have some ideas about what type of solar power system would be best for your needs.
- Build Your Own Off Grid Water System
You can build your own off grid water system by finding a well-built structure that will withstand weathering, and then you’ll be able to start collecting rainwater.
- Find a location
If you want to live off the grid, you need to think about where this will happen. Finding a location is easy if you live in an area that has an abundance of natural resources.
- Smart Living
Although you will be living off the grid, it doesn’t mean that you have to live in a cave. You can have all the mod cons that you want.
- Get a Forest or Wooded Lot
If you’re looking to live off the grid, there are millions of forests and wooded lots available all over the country.
- Get a Farm
If you’re living in an area with a large amount of land, you can rent out or purchase the land you need and make money on the side using the land to grow crops. There are many people who are making money in this way, so it’s an easy option to consider.
- Group Homes
If you want to live off the grid, then getting a group home is a great idea. You could get together with other people who want to do this and even share your infrastructure costs.
- Consider a Tiny House
You could build a tiny house for your off-grid living. These are built by many people and are great for getting you started in the right direction.
Off-Grid Living Products
These products include but are not limited to:
- Solar Panels
If you’re interested in living off the grid, then investigating solar panels is a great idea. By finding the perfect system for you, you’ll be able to cut down your energy costs.
- Portable Solar Power System
If you’re thinking about starting up your own off grid power system from scratch, then go for a portable solar power system as this will help to reduce your bills and give you more freedom.
- Vehicle Solar Charger
A vehicle solar charger is a great solution for those who want to live off the grid, and you can easily get one for your vehicle by finding the best product for you.
- LED Lights
A great way to light your home is with LED lights as they are extremely energy efficient and easy to install on any structure that you have. That’s why they’re so popular in modern day homes.
Living off the grid is about having a self-sufficient system and with aquaponics you can use waste water to grow plants in a hydroponic system. This will provide your plants with all the nutrients they need, but it also means that they can produce some of their own waste as food too!
- Solar Water Heater
Having a solar water heater for your home is the best way to reduce your energy bills and make sure that you have enough hot water all year round.
- Water System
The right water system is essential when you’re living off the grid. Make sure to find one that won’t break down and will be able to handle all of your needs.
Off-Grid Living FAQs
What is Off-Grid Living?
Off grid living is the process of opting out of the electrical grid and relying on alternative means of energy and power.
Why Choose to Live Off the Grid?
There are many reasons why you should choose to live off the grid, including:
- You won’t have to rely on anyone else for anything. You will be in complete control of your own destiny and this is a great way for complete freedom.
- You will save a lot of money on your bills by not having to pay for potential electricity that you won’t need.
- You can make money by receiving payments from the grid and selling power to it.
- Homes are becoming smaller and more efficient, which makes them perfect for off grid living.
- You’ll have a good time away from the normal lifestyle that most people have because it’s new and exciting.
What are the best locations to live off the grid?
You should check on the net, research, and meet other people who have a similar lifestyle and have experience in sticking it through. Since the internet is a great resource, you’ll find that there are several people who are doing what you’re thinking of doing right now.
Is it possible to live a normal life while living off the grid?
If you can act as if nothing has changed and continued with your usual way of living, then yes. You will just have to learn how to use your resources more efficiently and make the most of what you have.
What do you need to live off the grid?
You’ll need a lot of things, which is why you should try and find out as much information as possible before buying anything. You should also try and network with other people who are already living off the grid. They’ll have valuable information for you!
Is it possible to live off the grid during a crisis?
Yes, it is. In fact, it’s the best way! You’ll be able to feed yourself and your family easily, as well as be able to protect yourself.
Will I be able to get running water when I live off the grid?
You need to either have a well or access to a river or stream.
What states allow off-grid living?
There is no state at the moment which explicitly allows off-grid living, but there are several that you can get away with it, like Texas.
Do you need permission to live off-grid?
You will need an EPA permit to gain access to certain areas with large amounts of water like wetlands.
Are there any words of warning when living off the grid?
Medium-sized storms are more apt to knock out power, so you should be prepared for this. You’ll also need an emergency backup plan in case your main system fails.
What are the rewards of living off the grid?
There are many rewards of living off the grid. One of which is that you’ll be able to protect yourself against disasters and other issues that can occur during a crisis like earthquakes or hurricanes.
How do Beginners live off the grid?
There are several ways that beginners can start living off the grid. One of which is to grow your own food, another is to reduce your waste and another is to use renewable energy sources.
What resources should you have when living off-grid?
You’ll need a water supply, a water storage system, a solar power system, batteries, and the right number of solar panels.