Posts Tagged ‘Off the Grid’

Living “Off the Grid” By Ralph Rushing

December 30, 2010

On my ranch, a weekend retreat of sorts, I rest and relax while overseeing my cattle operation. When not busy at my desk, I work on the construction of a new rustic cabin. A number of the tasks I perform without commercial energy, as I like to live completely “off the grid,” totally self-sufficient, without relying on public utilities.

A battery/solar panel system provides the electricity, with a propane generator automatically starting and charging the batteries when the sun does not shine enough to keep them fully charged. Operating this system costs a fraction of the cost for conventional utilities. Heating comes from a wood-burning stove and fireplace. Water, collected from a rain-catch water system and natural seepage from underground water sources, goes into an underground cistern and then a large holding tank adjacent to the cabin via a deep-well solar pump. The cook stove, refrigerator, and hot-water heater all use propane and function as well as electric appliances. By following a few basic tips, anyone can live this innovative lifestyle.

First, test the water on your land and consult with local officials and laboratories about the results. Clean water remains a primary concern in the wilderness, where no access to pre-established plumbing exists. Learn the basics of home water-treatment and the devices that make water treatment possible. Understand how a home water-system functions, even if you create one with the help of professionals.

When living off the grid, knowledge becomes your best friend. You must intimately acquaint yourself with Mother Nature. In addition, estimate your energy consumption as accurately as possible and adopt a system that will furnish an adequate amount. If water runs nearby, look into hydroelectric systems. Otherwise, wind turbines harness a great deal of energy, and many households function off solar panels alone. Plan and prepare.

With enough forethought, anyone can live off the grid with the same amenities that others enjoy. For a more in-depth view of off-the-grid living, check out the following video: