There’s no denying that many people want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and be less reliant on other people and companies. One way to achieve that goal, or something close to it, is by going off-grid.
In a nutshell, off-grid means not having your home connect to any infrastructure such as electricity, gas, water, and waste. Some people living in rural areas already do that to an extent due to living so far away from all utility infrastructures. They have even found the best rural internet options that work for them; just because they're living off-grid doesn't mean they don't want to still be connected to the online world!
The following will give you some hints and tips to lead a more off-grid lifestyle:
When your home doesn’t have a connection to the electricity grid, you will need to find a way of generating your own power. Unless, of course, you prefer doing everything by candlelight and manual power!
One of the most popular options for electricity generation is to have solar photovoltaic (PV) cells installed on the roof of your house. Generally speaking, the more roof space you have, the more cells you can have, resulting in greater electricity generation.
You could also have the cells mounted at ground level if you’ve got a lot of land but not enough roof space. Solar power even works during cloudy days, although you’ll get the best power generation on clear, sunny days.
Off-grid electricity can also get used for your cooking needs and, of course, your lighting requirements. You will also generate enough electricity to power air conditioners to cool your home during the summer months.
Some off-grid houses use solar energy to heat water in a large tank, which gets used for their heating and hot water needs. Another option is to have oil tanks installed outside of your home.
Oil supplied from the external tanks gets heated inside a boiler. Heat gets generated quicker than a gas boiler, and it’s also a more environmentally friendly option as you don’t need as much oil to reach specific temperatures as you do with gas.
You have your power, cooking, and heating needs covered. But, how do you get water to your home? There are a few different options, depending on which is most viable for your needs.
Firstly, if your house is near a river or stream, you can pump that water into your home, filter it, and store it in a tank (cistern), so you’ve always got clean, running water available 24/7. The next option is to dig a deep well and pump and filter water from there.
Other options include solar collectors and rainwater collectors, depending on how much water your household consumes each day.
Last but not least, you will need to think about what to do with your wastewater as you won’t have a piped connection to your water company. The most common option is to have a septic tank installed below ground level.
Solid waste sinks to the bottom of septic tanks, and bacteria floating inside the water breaks the solids down into sludge. Any liquid overflow in the septic tanks gets released into nearby drainage fields. You will need to have a licensed contractor empty your septic tanks annually.