Does living off-grid, independent of any major supplier or provider for shelter, power, food or water appeal? Or does it make you feel slightly weak at the knees…? We take a look at the hard, medium and soft approaches to taking your home, and family, off-grid.
Living off-grid is growing in popularity. According to current estimates there are 1.7 billion people in the world live off the grid (possibly some of those don’t want to be and are living a subsistence lifestyle that they have no choice about). According to Home Power Magazine, at least 180,000 families are living off the grid in the United States and that number increases each year.
The two reasons for going off-grid mentioned most often are financial (because if done right it saves money on utilities, food costs and general day-to-day living – after all if you’re off-grid you probably won’t be tempted to buy the latest Gucci handbag) and to lessen the impact on the immediate environment.
For some people it’s a total stripping back process (like the residents of Tinkers Bubble, below), for others it involves a simplification of life while maintaining some luxuries by being smarter with what we have.
Where to start?
One of the best websites and blogs that we’ve found (because, let’s be honest here, Angloinfo editors are not off-grid yet, but we are interested in exploring the option) is Teri Page’s Homestead Honey. Teri, her husband Brian and their two young children live in Missouri, USA in a tiny 350-square-foot home that’s completely off-grid but very cosy. Teri’s website is a wonderful resource, packed with practical tips and information for any budding off-gridder.
At the other end of the scale is Tinkers Bubble in Somerset, UK, where the residents live in a more extreme example of going off-grid, some stay for long periods others simply come for a few weeks to help the project out. You can read interviews with the residents and see some great photos in Ed Gould’s BBC photo essay about living off-grid in the UK.
According to Off-Grid.net’s Land Buddy site: “It’s not easy going off the grid – and that is an understatement – you need money, skills friends, lawyers, plumbers. Unless you are a Marine, ex-SAS or a Navy SEAL its best not to attempt this alone.”
But going off-grid doesn’t necessarily have to mean disappearing off in to the forest, desert or outback. Kylie off Grid is Kylie Ahearn’s story about taking her inner-city house in Sydney, Australia off-grid. Kylie is a Sydney-based publisher and entrepreneur who co-founded the award-winning science magazine COSMOS and the environmental magazine, Green Lifestyle who is documenting the renovation of her home and the process of taking it off-grid with the help of sustainability coach Micheal Mobbs.
If you’re thinking of going off-grid, check out building regulations in your expat country at Angloinfo How-To and start connecting with other like-minded expats in your region through your local Angloinfo Forum. You never know there might be the perfect plot of land or renovation project, just like Kylie Aheran’s, just waiting to be discovered on Angloinfo Property.