Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Living Off The Grid - Survey Results

Our last survey asked whether or not we could live off the grid and, if so, what electrical devices we could live without. Here are your answers:

Which of the following items could you
live without (select all that apply)?

Prioritize energy use to live off the grid.

  • Hot Water
  • Hair Dryers and Hair Care Products

I drew the following conclusions from the results:
  • Microwaves are unnecessary (almost all participants said they could do without them).
  • All items received at least one vote suggesting that living completely off the grid is a realistic concept.
  • Food preparation and storage are higher priorities than "creature comforts" (like heat, air conditioning, and a TV).
  • Being connected, via the Internet, is almost as important as the ability to cook and refrigerate our food.
  • We are twice as likely to do without a clothes dryer than a washer.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a woman who is living off the grid, and has done so for the past year. She lives in a simple cabin, in the forest.
Firewood to heat a home.

Nature provides for most of her needs. A rain cistern provides water for washing (drinking water is hauled in). Rain barrels collect water for the vegetable garden. Her property provides wood for heating her home and for cooking.

She managed to stay warm and comfortable through a very cold winter and shares that it was the best winter of her life. I asked her what made it the "best" and she said, It is total freedom.

I realized, as we spoke, that living off the grid is about prioritizing our needs, living in harmony with nature, and accepting some inconvenience.

In today's world, there are many ways to reduce our dependence on municipal utilities. We can install photovoltaic panels to completely, or partially, provide electricity. Wells can provide our water and it can be heated via solar panels. Eco-friendly septic systems can decompose waste and return clean water to the environment.

We can comfortably remove ourselves from the grid completely, or we can opt for reducing our need through hybrid systems. The choice is ours.

Backing away from municipal services offers us sustainability and independence from the high cost of utilities. It reduces the stress placed on the environment and will be especially important as world populations grow. Yes, there may be some inconvenience involved but it seems a small price to pay for the enormous benefits.

Sneak Peek: Tomorrow begins another thrilling Change The World Wednesday challenge. See you then!