If you want to learn how to start living off the grid, you’ll likely begin your journey by considering renewable energy. Did you know the average on-grid home uses roughly 30 kH of electricity daily? With that fact in mind, what combination of energy sources does your homestead need to meet those needs? Or rather, how can you reduce that number to fulfill your dream of living off grid and creating a self-sufficient home.
Should you invest in solar panels for home use? Scott Gentleman from Backwoods Solar explains in a 2009 interview with Countryside: “We design most of our systems to provide 4.5 to 5 kWh on days when the sun shines.” To many would-be off-gridders, it might seem an untenable lifestyle change. And yet dozens of families thrive within these limits. Mostly, it’s a matter of making smart choices.
Considering wind energy? You’ll likely need answers to common questions such as how does wind energy work and what are some wind energy pros and cons? What about a wood-burning cook stove? If you have an abundance of renewable wood sources on your homestead, this may be an excellent choice. Plus, by adding a heat exchanger coil, hot water tank, copper tubing, valves and fittings, your wood-burning cook stove can heat all your domestic water, too.
And don’t forget off-grid battery banks. A typical battery bank that powers the needs of a small family in a modest-sized, energy-efficient home for only a few days is the size of a refrigerator, weighs over a ton, lasts less than 10 years and costs more than $3,000. Systems for greater electrical needs are often two-to-four times that size. By choosing your battery banks wisely from the beginning, you’ll maximize the lifespan of your batteries and lower their lifetime cost per kWh.
Even if you can’t go entirely off grid, you can take measures to learn how to save electricity at home and reduce your consumption of non-renewable energy.
Susan Robishaw had it right when she made this observation about renewable energy:
“Be forewarned! Living ever closer to the Sun and the Wind and the Earth can be addictive.”
A wood-burning cook stove with a large enough firebox to heat your home is an amazingly useful piece of equipment. It keeps you warm, cooks your dinner, bakes your bread … Read More