Nowadays,it can often feel as if it would never be possible to just leave everythingbehind and start a self-sufficient life. The likes of smartphones, cars, andthe copious food, water, and energy supplies have all played a huge factor inan existence that relies upon products all day, every day. For many of us wemay feel uncomfortable without such items.
However, wecan still regain our independence from the pulls of the modern worldwithoutneeding to compromise the quality of our life. Going off-grid is one of them.By replacing energy and water supplies from the main grid for renewablealternatives, this way of living offers a sustainable alternative to alifestyle where everything we need is available to use 24/7. Together withFlogas, specialists in LPG canisters, we take you through exactly how livingoff-grid can be easier than you think.
Finding alternative power
If youremove yourself from the grid, you must look for an alternative energy supplyto power your home. Solar energy is a reliable form of power that can producearound 3,400kWh of free electricity every year.If you have small children, thena 3kW to 4kW solar panel system will produce the required amount of energy fora family home, whereas a 2kW to 3kW solar panel will produce enough energy forsmaller homes with less people living in them. A 3kW overall solar system willcost around £5,000 – £6,000 and will be a sound investment based on the amountof free electricity you will procure during its lifetime.
It could beworth looking at installing a backup supply of power too. This could be in theform of a generator or a gas bottlewhich can be utilised on cloudy daysor if your solar panels stop working for any reason. Or alternatively, domesticwind turbines can also be installed that produce 5kW to 6kW of energy; you willalso be paid for any energy that you don’t use which is sent back to the grid.
If you relyon energy that isn’t on the grid, you must be wary to only use the energy thatyou actually need. To keep energy costs low and to live within your own budget,LED bulbs should be used to replace incandescent bulbs – helping to reduceelectricity costs by 75%; aim to get rid of any electrical appliances that youdon’t need, and make sure that all electrical appliances are turned off at themains once they have been used.
If you liveoff-grid, you may need to source a water supply if there isn’t one availablefrom a nearby natural source. A well cancost anything between £10,000 – 20,000, and this is dependent upon how deep thewell is dug, and whether the well will be used as a source of drinking water orfor other domestic purposes.
You willalso need to install a septic tank as there won’t be a sewage system. Thissewage tank will need to be emptied periodically by a vacuum truck so that itis disposed of safely. As well as this, a greywater system should also beinstalled; by treating water used in dishwashing, sinks, showers and baths,this water can be used again. This also benefits the lifespan of your well, asyou can reuse water that has already been cleaned and brought to the surface.
Making lifestyle changes
Of course,there are practical changes you need to make, including finding an alternativeenergy source, but there are also lifestyle changes you must consider.
You shouldkeep an eye on the energy, food and water that you use to make sure it’smaintained at a consistent level. If you begin to slip, then your reliance onthese things may reach unsustainable levels, which may impact your ability tolive off-grid. There are many ways to keep on top of waste, and these include:
- Keeping showers short.
- Only using artificial lighting whenit is completely dark.
- Turning off lights after exiting aroom.
- Using food leftovers for compost tocreate a rich soil for growing more fruit and vegetables.
- Attend workshops that allow you tolearn more about how to repair any damages to the home, or how to cultivateland for agricultural practices.
- Adopt techniques such as hunting andfishing so as to catch fresh food, helping to reduce your reliance uponsupermarkets that you would usually have to drive to.
While there are other ways you can choose to liveoff grid,becoming self-sufficient may well be how you can unlock your potentialand happiness.