The drive to get off the grid and reach full or partial self-sufficiency is getting stronger and stronger every year. What has once been a prerogative of crazy-prepared survivalists is now a viable solution for everyday life, cutting your expenses and allowing you to get complete control over your life. In this article, we’ve gathered 5 things that can help you reach this ideal – or at least get a bit closer to it!
1. Solar Panels
The popularity of solar panels has been on the rise over the last decade due to their growing availability to average users. They are not as expensive as they used to be, and if your location has good enough conditions for capturing the necessary amount of sunlight, solar panels can become a viable solution as the only energy source for your entire household. Panels can be either be located on a rooftop or standalone, depending on your particular conditions. Just make sure to consult a professional before you even try arranging something of this kind – solar panels are quite a finicky device and won’t work properly unless ideally placed and configured.
While they are not yet present on the market, this article would be incomplete without mentioning Tesla Powerwall. They won’t be mass produced until 2017, but when they appear, they have a potential of drastically altering the world energy consumption patterns. In short, it is a rechargeable lithium battery powerful enough to store and provide energy for an entire household for extended periods of time. In conjunction with solar panels or other alternative energy sources, it can completely eliminate your need for buying electricity.
3. Chicken Coop
Your own chicken coop not only allows you to get fresh meat and eggs all year round at a much lower price than you will find in any store, its main attraction is that you always know what you’ve been feeding your chickens – which is something you can never say when you buy them. Poultry meat bought in stores and supermarkets is filled to the brim with hormones and antibiotics to make them grow larger and faster – if you don’t want that, you have no other way but to grow your own chickens.
Getting your hands on an alternative water source is one of the most difficult tasks for those aspiring to get off the grid, because there are not so many solutions to this problem. Drilling a well may seem like an obvious choice, but it is a much less available solution than it may seem – not all locales have sufficient groundwater aquifers. Probably the only other way out is to collect rainwater in barrels and water storage tanks. Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put into purifying it, rainwater isn’t safe for drinking and cooking – yet it can still be used for other purposes, decreasing your dependence on the municipal water supply.
Just like it is with meat, there is just no comparison between the agricultural produce you’ve grown with your own hands and something bought in a supermarket. Having a vertical hydroponic garden allows you to enjoy all the benefits of such a lifestyle – and in addition to being highly efficient, this approach can be used even in urban environments. You may either buy a ready-made aeroponic gardening kit or build your own system if you believe in your abilities – either way, there is nothing overly complicated about it.
If you strive to be completely self-sufficient, a geothermal energy system can serve both for heating your home in winter and cooling it in summer. The ground temperature remains stable all year round by passing air through ductwork and over water coils will bring its temperature up or down depending on the season. The only problem is that these systems are quite expensive – don’t expect them to pay off in less than 10-15 years.
As you may see, through both the modern technology and your own ingenuity, you can either considerably reduce your dependence on the grid or cut it completely – at least in certain areas. Use these tips, and enjoy your new-found freedom!