There are many reasons why people are becoming more interested in living off-grid. At first, it doesn’t seem logical. Why would anyone want to give up the convenience of modern life? But over 300,000 people have already made this move.
Living off-grid is worth it. It is a responsible alternative to modern consumerist lifestyles. Technology can be harnessed to create an environmentally responsible, climate-friendly, non-polluting way of life.
In this article, I’ll look in more detail at the factors to take into consideration if you are contemplating this change in your lifestyle.
What Is Living off The Grid?
Living off the grid means that there is absolutely no connection to:
● The electrical grid
● Any external water supplies
● Municipal sewage systems
You may want to live remotely or remain reasonably close to an urban center. You also may want to build a new home or adapt an existing one. There’s no single blueprint for living off the grid, and no two off-grid lifestyles are the same.
Related reading: How can I take my home off the grid?
Is Living Off the Grid Worth It?
In my opinion, living off the grid is worth it! It gives the individuals a feeling of independence and self-sufficiency that they can’t otherwise get.
With living off the grid, people tend to experience lower costs of living. Living off the grid means you no longer have:
● Monthly utility bills
● Commuting expenses
● Need to spend money on processed food
As a result, financial pressures are reduced.
Living off the grid allows you to utilize organic farming methods and get back to being connected with nature. You’ll re-establish a connection with the seasons and the soil, often absent in city living.
Related reading: 11 challenges of going off-grid and how to overcome them.
Why Would Someone Choose to Live Off The Grid?
Environmental concerns are high on many people’s agendas. Living off the grid is a living demonstration to respect our Earth and its land. In the world today, there is a rampant ‘throw-away’ mentality with never-ending consumption. When you live off-grid, you learn to:
● Reuse certain materials.
Many people forget that we have access to the wind, the sun, and hydrostatic energy. When utilizing these energy sources, your electricity is practically free! This allows you to live off the renewable energy sources available in the world.
Related reading: Why should I live off the grid?
Benefits of Living Off the Grid
There are many different benefits of living off the grid, such as:
● Organic food production preserves the soil ecosystem
● Waste is reduced, and recycling increases
● Kids learn self-sufficiency & practical skills
● Off the grid, homes tend to be away from polluted urban centers.
● Protection against ‘shocks’ such as a significant disruption to the power grid
Living Off the Grid Changes Your Life For The Better
As well as the ecological benefits of living off the grid, there’s a positive impact on people’s happiness and overall well-being. There’s a profound sense of relief that makes it possible to take back control of one’s own life. This helps avoid today’s competitive, non-stop, consumer-driven lifestyles.
In the words of the Eco Warrior Princess: “My off-grid lifestyle has given me a real sense of purpose, fulfillment and personal accomplishment, that no amount of corporate ladder -climbing ever gave me.”
How Does Living Off the Grid Affect the Environment?
Several ways that living off the grid affect the environment are that:
● It reduces dependence on non-renewables.
● It reduces carbon footprint due to a reduction in-car use
● Organic farming, without pesticides and herbicides, protects the soil biome
● Fewer disposable consumer goods (including plastics) reduces landfill waste and minimizes impact on waterways and oceans
● Producing food on the land reduces emissions from airplanes and trucks
How Much Does It Cost to Live Off The Grid?
Living costs are reduced, but it’s a mistake to imagine that you can create the infrastructure you’ll need to live comfortably, without considerable up-front investment. For example, a solar power installation can cost up to $15,000 (for a 3-bedroom house), wind turbines up to $30,000, and a hydro-powered system (if you have access to running water nearby) up to $100,000.
For your water supply, you’ll need to drill a well. Cost depends on how deep you need to go—factor in prices for the pump and piping. You’ll also need a septic tank. If there isn’t one already on the property, consider installing one of at least 1000 gallons. This may require a building permit.
Of course, there are ways around the septic tank. You can also use waste as a means of fertilizing your plants and gardens if you fully want to tap into the off-grid lifestyle.
Related reading: How much money do you need to go off the grid? With 3 examples.
Who Is Off the Grid Living Best Suited For?
Different people adapt well to living off the grid, although it may not be the best for others. The off-grid lifestyle is best suitable for:
● People that want to escape the city and live their dream of a simple life at a slower pace.
● Eco-warriors who want to play their part in halting environmental degradation and reducing carbon emissions.
● People that dream of building their own homes, using sustainable modern technology.
● Groups and communities who share a ‘back-to-nature’ philosophy.
Pros of Living Off the Grid
Living off the grid has plenty of things going for it, including:
● The price of off-grid land is often lower
● If you grow your own organic food, it will be cheaper, better for your health, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by reducing dependence on food imports
● You’ll be living a challenging yet simpler life
Cons of Living Off The Grid
● Start-up costs. The initial investment in power and water systems can be high, although this is recouped over time
● Running costs. Factor in the price of maintaining and replacing equipment over time. It’s much better to have the skills to do it yourself because calling professionals can be expensive.
● Energy storage. You need to have adequate storage when usage is high, or there’s not much sun. If it can’t be stored, it’s wasted.
● You may need a back-up for your systems, such as a diesel or biofuel generator, in case of a malfunction.
Adjustment to an off the grid lifestyle may take some time. You’ll probably need to develop new skills. But most people relish the challenges they face and soon grow to love their unique way of life.
Beginning Your Off the Grid Journey
Once you’ve decided to make the transition, planning is all-important. Below is a list of necessary steps and resources regarding those steps.
Finding Your Land
There’s a variety of ways you can search:
● Local realtors
● Search property records to learn about specific properties.
● Make direct contact with landowners
● Roadside signs
If you’re building from scratch, be as creative as you like. There are many options, including:
● Shipping containers. (Can be repurposed to create innovative spaces)
● Earthships (Also known as ‘Hobbit Houses’ built into the earth, or mounds)
● Houses built from natural, locally sourced materials
You’ll also need a full toolbox to carry out routine maintenance around your property, including a chainsaw to chop wood and remove fallen trees. Make sure you have everything ready.
Off the Grid Living Is Definitely Worth It!
Moving to an off-grid lifestyle is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make, but it’s worth gaining a more uncomplicated, stress-free lifestyle. You’ll be living in a way that is much more in harmony with the environment. And finally, you’ll be able to take real pride in achieving your independence to live an authentic and sustainable lifestyle.
Check out my recommendations for equipment that will help you take your home off-grid.