Sustainable Living Off the Grid: 6 Ideas to Get Started
The majority of the United States relies heavily on utilities such as heat from fossil fuels and electricity. There is an ever-growing group of people though, that have made a commitment to themselves, their family, and the environment to cut off some of this reliance. In 2017, an average of 180,000 people in the U.S. live off the grid in some way – meaning, they are attempting to get out from under the thumb of public utility companies.
Are you one of those who are passionate about changing your reliance on those big name companies and want to create a more sustainable lifestyle for yourself and/or your family? If so, there are many benefits to this way of life. Here are a few suggestions for starting your own off-the-grid lifestyle.
Downsize Your Home
First things first, if you are living above your actual needs, you should certainly consider downsizing. Typically, this is the first step off-griders take to reduce their ecological footprint. If you are not going completely off the grid, or even if you are, it is a great method of saving money on heating and electricity. Overall, having a smaller living space will save you time and the expense of upkeep, and make it easier for you to become self-sufficient. Full off-griders often choose to build their own home, designed specifically to utilize the most space for effective simple living and heating.
Plant Vegetable and Herb Gardens
Growing your own vegetables and herbs truly lets you know exactly what is going onto your family’s kitchen table. From beginning to end, you get to see and control what you are consuming. If you decide to grow organic, you can ensure that the items you are eating are free of harsh pesticides and hormones. Having your own garden also ensures the freshest, from farm-to-table taste. Keeping a successful garden will also save you trips to the grocery store and therefore, reduce gas emissions.
Build and Maintain a Chicken Coop
Maintaining a chicken coop may seem a little bit intimidating, but the benefits easily outweigh the very few downfalls. Backyard chickens are much healthier than store-bought ones. Similar to your vegetable garden, you know exactly what your chickens are consuming and what type of environment they are in. Your chickens and their eggs will be at peak freshness and taste much better than anything purchased at a grocery store. If you have children, teaching them to help maintain the coop is a wonderful growing experience as well.
Compost, Compost, Compost!
Composting is one of the simplest ways to promote healthier growth for all greenery on your property. It isn’t just for gardens, but can promote healthier soil and weed-free growing conditions overall. So many items can contribute to your compost, so you don’t have to feel bad when food spoils or you don’t want to create more unnecessary waste. If you followed the above suggestions, garden and chicken coop waste can even be repurposed and implemented in your compost! Educate yourself on the vast benefits of composting and learn how to create a compost bin. You may be amazed at how beneficial the process can be.
If you are truly looking to break free from the grid, collecting rainwater may be of some appeal to you. This project is of a somewhat larger size, as you’ll have to build or purchase a water filtration system or make the effort to boil all the water collected. Natural rainwater is relatively pure, as it does not contain any of the sanitation chemicals typically used by city tap water companies. It can be used for a wide variety of every day processes, from consumption to bathing.
Install Solar Panels
Luckily, the world has become much more knowledgeable on the benefits of utilizing solar power over the last few decades. Solar panels for the average American home have also become much more accessible. Using more energy powered by the sun is a no-brainer if you want to break away from your reliance on public energy companies. You can employ a specialist who will install them for you and offer a bit of education, or you can choose to install them yourself. Whatever the route you take is, be sure to do your research, making sure this is something you want to take on.
Going off the grid is a major decision, which will completely overhaul your way of life. This can be a very exciting time for you, even if you are just getting your toes wet. If you are downsizing to a smaller home and need help, give Arpin a call. We are not only experts in taking away moving stress, we were the also the first moving company to test solar power technology on our moving vans. We have since made our technology available to the entire transportation industry through a company called eNow. American Moving and Storage Association’s Editor-in-Chief, John Bisney, authored an article titled Arpin Aims to Drive Down Fleet Costs by Driving with Solar Power, which further details this project.