A very common question, one that is asked all the time. Below you will find the answer to this question and presented in such a way that you will gain a full understanding of this term and the principles within it.
What is ” Living Off The Grid ” all about ?
The term or phrase ” Living Off The Grid” or “Off Grid” also referred to as ( OTG ) simply means to living in the manner of self-sufficiency or self-reliance without being dependent on one or more public utility services that are provided by municipal or government authority.
These services include :
- Mains Water Supply
The term “Off grid” is a term that has just a little ‘ cloudiness ‘ surrounding it, that I would like to make clarity on, so you have a complete understanding of the concept.
A common misunderstanding a lot of people have is that to be ” Off Grid ” you must be completely disconnected from all services and utilities in order to qualify as ” Off Grid”. This level of disconnection is called Autonomy. An autonomous dwelling is that being completely independent and free of all municipal or government services and utilities.
However, the ‘traditional’ meaning of ” Off Grid ” refers to being disconnected from just the municipal electricity service or ” Power Grid”. This isn’t a life changing piece of information but more so a clarification of definition.
” The sole focus and target for most off grid living people is to reach the state of complete autonomy. This is a choice that is completely in your hands for you to decide”.
For whatever reason, you may wish to be or remain connected to a utility such as main grid electricity. For example; for the purpose of your home business that may require large amounts of power or if you have a family member with a medical condition that requires a dialysis machine.
Those…….” Off Gridders “
Those living the ” Off Grid ” lifestyle are referred to as ” Off gridders” for obvious reasons.
Another misconception that some of general population has, is in regard to ” Off gridders “. These misconceptions include stereotypical beliefs that ‘off gridders’ are unsanitary, irresponsible, lack wealth, are rebellious, lazy, selfish and have poor psycho social skills.
This couldn’t be anymore far from the truth ! In fact, I believe it is the complete polar opposite.
People that have chosen or are in the process of living the ‘off grid lifestyle’, possess the qualities and visionary skills that the majority of the finger pointing bigots actually lack in my opinion.
Off gridders are those of unique and positive character. They possess attributes of intelligence, responsibility, strength, and are of hardworking, adaptable natures.
They are people with families, careers, professions, aspirations and dreams. I myself personally know and are very good friends with many ‘offgridders’ who have more university degrees and letters after their names than I have ever met or known in the grid world!!
These misconceptions are mostly based on poor or lack of information, inability to learn new concepts and the Woodstock Music Festival! God bless the 60’s.
People that live OTG or are in the process to live this lifestyle have made the choice for one, all or more of the below reasons:
- To live a lifestyle of better health, focusing on well-being for themselves and their loved ones.
- To live a lifestyle that delivers the fruits of self-dependency, self-reliability and self-preservation.
- To live a lifestyle that lessens the footprint or impact on the environment.
- To live a lifestyle that proves to be a cost effective and financially cheaper way to live.
- To live a lifestyle that provides the benefits of enriching our experiences and growth.
- To live a lifestyle that break the chains from the ” Grinding Wheel of Society “
- To live a lifestyle that sets us free !
Considerations for ‘Off Grid Living’ – The Utility Must Haves
As an experienced ‘off gridder’, I am going to bring to attention the requirements in regard to services or utilities that are not only necessary, but vital in order for survivability. As we all know we need Location, Shelter, Water, Food and Will to survive, as discussed in my previous article ” Survival Tools For Living Off The Grid “.
In this section we are going to be touching on what services or utilities we require for effective, healthy and long term off grid living.
They can be broken down into 3 main categories :
Obviously, these above 3 category services are provided by municipal or governing entities. However, they are not the only providers to finding solutions to service or utility related issues. The other and most obvious provider to service solutions is you !
Enter the “OFF GRIDDER ” !
In this section of the article I will be briefly touching on the various types of utility or service solutions that most off gridders use to combat the need of utilities or services, whilst upholding and maintaining the required standards of local / state council or relevant authority.
This section will be kept brief as I am only outlining the types of service solutions. Further information and a more in depth breakdown of these services will be found here within ” Off Grid Lifestyle Solutions- The Secrets To Off Grid Living”
The most popular and safest way to provide your own water is via rain water catchment provided by your dwellings, with the of use rain water holding tanks. Structures like your house, garages and sheds provide this catchment.
As I live in Australia ( Driest continent on the planet ) I have rain water catchment on virtually anything and everything that has a roof on it !
As my location only really receives good rain fall in the hotter seasons, I am forced to capitalize on all rainfall that we receive. Water ways like streams, creeks and springs are also vital points for water collection. I use all of these methods.
By assessing the water quality I am able to direct the right water quality to the right place for efficiency and longevity of my precious high quality drinking / consumable water.
” In other words, use your lower quality water for things like clothes washing, toilet flushing, garden and external use, and use your higher quality roof catchment water for drinking, showering and kitchen use “.
Filtration, purification and disinfection of water is within another topic of discussion.
The most popular methods of power production for off grid livings is with the use of solar panels. Not only are they becoming more efficient, but also becoming a lot cheaper and more easily accessible.
When I first started out living ‘off grid’, solar panels were a lot more expensive than today prices. These days, and to the benefit of newcomers to the community, they are not only cheaper but more efficient. Tailoring a solar system to your requirements and budget is now to every ones advantage.
Other methods for power production include the use of fuel powered generators, ( A product or tool that is necessary for off grid living ). Generators provide instant back up power supply to your needs and to your solar systems.
Wind and water turbines are another great source of energy production. They capitalize on other elements such as wind and water and provide a ” trickling” effect into the boosting of your off grid power supply.
Furthermore, is the use of fire and combustion to provide energy. Once again, a more detailed look into these items will be found within other articles.
The most popular methods of sanitation in this modern age of off grid living is with the use of septic tanks which are buried beneath the ground. These tanks have dividers within them that separate solids from liquids. The design method aids in the decomposition and transfer from what gets flushed down the toilet into a safe effluent by the end of the process.
Through the process of bacterial reaction, breakdown and separation, the overflow bi-product (effluent) is safe to use on gardens, lawns etc. Harmful pathegons are recognised as removed by this stage.
There are a range of other waste solution products available too. These include composting toilets also known as “Dry toilets” where urine is diverted. Both bi-products are dealt with in a safe and non harmful manner and can also be used safely as materials to be re-entered into the earth.
Break The Chains
You now have a better understanding of what ” living off the grid ” is all about. It’s simply about living a way in which you are not dependent on services that society has in place for us, which come at a monetary price as well.
It is also about putting responsibility squarely in your hands. Responsible of providing your own services and utilities.
In doing so, you break the chains of dependency. You regain your freedom, and your life.
The benefits of an ( OTG ) lifestyle far out way the negatives, and once you have tasted freedom like this you will never turn back. You will wonder why you didn’t take action on it before. You will turn a page in your life.
“You will develop new skills and give birth to new concepts and alternative ideas. The lifestyle itself encourages you to be creative and resourceful. You will discover new aspects of yourself that you didn’t think existed and you will view the world and the finer things within it, with a new-found appreciation and understanding”.
I personally found that when I began my OTG life, doors opened within myself, and the deeper meanings in life became clearer. It really is amazing just how much changing your life on the outside, changes the life on the inside.
To a newcomer, this world of ‘ off grid living ‘ may seem a little daunting or ” too much work “. But with the level of information and support available to us in this day and age, its a little hard to really find an excuse to prevent moving forward into the grid free lifestyle.
” A mind is like a parachute, It dosen’t work if it isn’t open “ – Frank Zappa.
If you have any questions or comments, I welcome you to leave them below and I will be more than happy to reply and help you out.
All the best,