Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Live Off The Grid Cheaply

Build an off-the-grid cabin yourself to save money.

The meaning of "living off-the-grid" is different to everyone. Most interpret it as an individual's efforts to reduce his reliance on fossil fuels. While it can also carry a stigma as an extremist or fringe lifestyle, in the modern sense, living off-the-grid in entails using alternative energy rather than the public utilities to power a household. Arriving at a point in which one can live off-grid -- but still with some modern comforts and conveniences -- often involves a significant up-front cost. There are plenty of ways to save money, however. All it takes is a little out-of-the-box thinking.


1. Start small: buy one solar panel at a time. Figure out the size of the solar array you will need to power your home. The Off-Grid website recommends determining how much money you have left over at the end of the month, after your bills are paid. Save a portion of that money, and take the rest and purchase as many solar panels as you can. Along with solar panels, add deep-cycle batteries to your monthly purchases. You will also need one charge controller.

2. Incorporate money-saving habits into your daily life. Refrigerate candles for three hours before using. They will burn more slowly and drip less. Brush your teeth with a half-baking soda-half-salt mixture instead of toothpaste. Use vinegar and borax for cleaning supplies. Reverse the direction of ceiling fans in the colder months so that the blades turn clockwise, forcing warmer air down. Start a garden. Buy food in bulk from a food co-op. Keep track of all of your expenditures.

3. Conserve instead of spend as much as possible. If you have an on-grid home, leave it that way. The Green Fire Times notes that off-grid living is not necessarily cheaper than public power, as amortized battery replacement costs can be as costly as monthly utility bills, and switching a home over to off-grid requires big purchases. Instead, retrofit your home's insulation, replace windows and doors and make efficiency upgrades to lighting and heating. One dollar worth of energy conservation can save three to five dollars in energy generation equipment costs, according to TreeHugger.

Tags: living off-the-grid, save money, solar panels, than public, your home