Since 2013, research shows that over 1.7 billion people across the globe are living off the grid. In fact, nearly 180,000 families in the United States are choosing the holistic lifestyle with the number increasing each year. So, what exactly does living off the grid entail and do you have what it takes? To truly live off the grid means a home without the use of public utility services such as water pipes and sourced electricity. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to forego these necessities entirely.
To achieve homestead independence, one’s living needs must be on-site and self-powered by solar, wind, or geothermal energy sources. While it is hard work for new homesteads, here are the biggest challenges to expect and how to survive them.
Finding land outside city limits
While it would be great if you could simply choose a spot to settle down, some municipalities make it illegal to inhabit. This is partly due to their regulations where homeowners must be hooked up to the municipal power system. Meanwhile, other towns allow off-grid sources to supply power but not to completely replace electricity.
Settling on your own land will likely require you to build a cabin based on your needs. Today’s modern cabins provide plenty of opportunities to invite nature in and keep it simple. Building an outhouse will not only save you money but also keep cabin maintenance to a minimum. If you decide to have an outhouse at your off-grid cabin, be sure to store keep toiletries in a secure compartment. Otherwise, you may find your outhouse infested with curious wildlife.
Access to fresh water
No matter where you choose to settle or how big your cabin may be, there’s one thing that every homestead must have: fresh water. If you have a well, most of your water storage will be below ground. However, you will also need to be able to store enough water to last for days or even weeks at a time. You can collect water from a spring or stream and store rainwater. So once you’ve determined the proper method of storage, how do you plan to clean your water?
The most practical and palatable option is to filter your water through a reverse osmosis filtration system. you can purchase a water filtration system that filters 15 gallons of water per day and stores at least 2 gallons per use. Other options include boiling water. However, this won’t work if there’s sand in the water. The same can be said for chlorine. That said, make sure you have enough water stored to keep your filter running.
Believe it or not, plenty of off-grid families live with zero electricity. They get water from a nearby stream, then cook with firewood. But if that’s not your plan, you can always invest in solar power. Today, there are plenty of technologies for generating clean power, such as solar power, hydropower, and wind. Keep in mind, you will need to be ready to make repairs when needed, especially during harsh weather conditions.
Consider your options based on your personal preferences and requirements. As most people living off the grid choose to live a “greener” life, they also seek a sustainable lifestyle that uses fewer resources than they consume. So, with these challenges, are you ready to go off the grid?
This is an another Cassie Steele article.