When one starts to consider going off the grid, it needs to be asked whether or not it’s worth it? There are extra costs involved and it takes work, not to mention changing your lifestyle. With that question in mind, it’s worth noting that there are a variety of reasons for going off-the-grid. Whether it’s because of government and utility infrastructure fears, household budgeting reasons or concerns for the environment, moving off-the-grid provides plenty of benefits of which more and more people across the country are taking advantage.
Money in the Pocket
One of the biggest reasons a large number of people move off-the-grid is to reap the monetary rewards of no longer getting monthly utility bills. Although it takes a considerable amount of money to purchase solar panels and/or wind turbines, the return on investment is rather high, and the equipment often pays for itself within 5-15 years. This graphic shows time frames and costs relating to solar power.
[For more information on setting up a solar system and an explanation of all the parts and pieces involved, check out this previous post on Land University.]
Living off-the-grid doesn’t just mean disconnecting from the power company. Reducing the amount of items you own also means you need less space to store fewer things. Every extra cubic foot of space in your home influences the amount of money you spend on heating and cooling, property taxes, etc. Some four-person families living in today’s modern society might require a 2000+ sq ft home, but living minimally off-the-grid, the same family can comfortably live in 1000-1200 sq ft and reduce a number of space-associated bills.
It’s also worth noting that if your power generation system is powerful enough, some utility companies or municipalities allow you to back-feed the grid with your excess power, earning you a credit. Some legislative bodies are slowly wiping out this incentive, so be sure to check your local and state regulations.
Distance from the Political Powers That Be
Another great advantage of living off-the-grid is the slew of environmental benefits. The less demand there is on a power or water supply grid, the fewer burdens are placed on the environment. This reduction comes from the individual homes utilizing solar and wind technologies and harvesting their own water instead of the utility systems. Although this small difference seems like it wouldn’t amount to much, the more homes disconnected means that much less fuel the power plant has to burn and that much more water not being drained from the reservoirs. On top of that, most off-grid homes are built to maximize solar and water efficiencies, reducing waste far below that of today’s typical home. These topics are discussed in the Solar Power Gain and Water Systems posts on Land University.
- Better health: typically off-the-gridders take additional steps to grow their own food, minimizing the consumption of today’s processed and chemical-laden foods.
- Increased family bonding: living off the grid usually takes a little more work and effort than your standard home.
This allows for a shared workload among the whole family, building camaraderie. The minimized place of technology can allow for more family fun time with board games and puzzles instead of piling in front of the TV.
It is easy to see the many benefits to living off-the-grid. Through a little hard work you’ll be able to reap the rewards for many years to come, all while being less impacted by the fluctuations of the markets or whims of the latest political leadership. Stay tuned for future great off-the-grid posts in the future on Land University.