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By HomesteadDreamerThe term “Off Grid” gets tossed around a lot in the homesteading, prepping, and survival communities but the actual definition of it can be a topic that sparks a heated debate.
When it comes to living off grid, many people further confuse having running water with NOT being truly living off the grid while others say that so long as the water doesn’t come from a municipal service, they are.
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It is important to take many factors into consideration when deciding how to power your off-grid home, including what type of appliances go in the home.
Hybrid wind energy systems can provide reliable off-grid power for homes, farms, or even entire communities (a co-housing project, for example) that are far from the nearest utility lines. In much of the United States, wind speeds are low in the summer when the sun shines brightest and longest. Keep in mind that the storage capacity must be large enough to supply electrical needs during non-charging periods. You should also make sure that the water is clean and that there is no runoff from factories or other commercial enterprises.
Find out whether the site has utility connections, including landline phone service, and internet access. If your ultimate goal is living off the grid, evaluate the site for its alternate-energy production potential.
Other factors to consider when you look at potential homesteading sites are whether it can be reached by a public road, what municipal services are available, and the distance between it and neighbors, a hospital, and a school, if you have children. Before I start my review I need to make clear that I see Woods as a fellow green builder and any critique I have is as one colleague to another. In his book Woods sees himself more practical architect than Wells who has very strong but sometimes impractical views about ecology and how natural homes should be built. And it shows in his architecture, which tends to be a lot more conventional from a systems point of view. So anyone, including fellow green builders like Woods, who has an agenda other than putting the wellbeing of the planet first is not benefiting the planet (and thus humans as part of it) to their full potential and not technically fully a green builder in my eyes.
The Howard Roarks of this world with their purity of self expression and their laser sharp personal vision are isolated from the wholeness of the universe, in fact that may be their genius. But as a person who was one of these Artists for over a decade, who lived and breathed the Roark inside me (I read the Fountainhead like a bible twice), who created great works of art that only my soul could create, I understand what it means to be driven by an inner truth.
For example you see it portrayed in the film Barton Fink, where a writer strugles with these very issues of inner vision vs.
There is a scene in the movie when Fink the idealistic writer is explaining to the life hardened producer about wanting to write “something beautiful” with the screenplay. But if you understand that we are all connected, that the flap of a butterfly does create storms on the other side of the planet, then you know that the most self preserving, self satisfying thing to do is to serve the whole with an understanding that you are not separate from it.
And even more importantly you can see that serving the whole and following your inner soul is one and the same. Perhaps that view is their contribution to the world – their inability to see the whole?
So the trick for me is not to worry about my talents but to focus on my connections – to the planet, my family, my neighbors, the air I breathe and the food I eat.

But as a green builder I serve first and foremost nature, with the understanding that both the oceans and my tap water, the Savannah of Africa and my close family are all part of the nature I serve. I set out each day with this intention and over the course of a million decisions each day the question is always – which choice serves nature best? My acts don’t always harmoniously balance the universal whole with loading the dishwasher in time. But my life is not over and I hope that as I mature I will improve the balance between immediately local needs like mortgages and more esoteric needs like saving rain forests I have never visited.
The reason for this, and I agree entirely, is that the module system forces the home to be inwardly symmetrical. This modular system is both simple and genius and everything in the world should be built using a foundation grid. We dive into what people think from the general public along with fellow bloggers and compare them to try and get a consensus. We dream of buying property on a remote island to homestead and live a more self sustainable life. It refers to a home that is producing its own electricity, has its own water supply and that has provisions for sewer and garbage processing or removal. Each Off-Grid system we install is customized to the specific needs of the customers lifestyle, location, climate, energy source and amount of energy needed. According to many renewable energy experts, a "hybrid" system that combines wind and photovoltaic (PV) technologies offers several advantages over either single system. The cost of running a power line to a remote site to connect with the utility grid can be prohibitive, ranging from $15,000 to more than $50,000 per mile, depending on terrain. Some people choose to live in an isolated spot in a very rural area, while other homesteaders live in a self-sufficient way wherever they are, in towns, or close to other homesteaders.
When you’re looking at sites, find out whether you can legally do the things you want to do on your homestead, such as raise poultry and construct buildings.
Consult your state’s Department of Environmental Services for well-water testing and information about water safety, and programs that offer financial assistance to protect water sources. If you’re planning to live off the grid, you might want to be independent of utility companies, but be realistic about how soon that will be possible. I was interested in it from Wood’s involvement with Malcolm Wells, a great natural architect and the pioneer of earth covered building. I’m not talking visually but in terms of the materials specified (or more often not specified), the discussion of (or lack of) green systems like solar panels, gray water, composting, material recycling etc. To compare Reynold’s Earthships to his own work shows how ignorant Woods is of what defines an Earthship or a natural home. The true definition of an Earthship is that it is made from local natural materials that have the lowest embodied energy possible and that it is off the grid in terms of gas, electricity, water and sewer. I see small differences in Woods’ work but overall they look like Wright designs to my untrained eye. As long as his vision is more important than anything else the vision of the planet will always come second to him.
I realized that the world needed me and that my actions, no matter how pure and honorable, were not helping the planet.
He was on meager salary by the church to churn out show tunes each week for the sermon, no more glorious or divinely inspired than the underpaid mason who built the beautiful cathedrals. Regardless of our talents, we all have something to contribute in the grand scheme of things. From a universal point of view the mail carrier and the Mozart are all crucial.

I tend to err in favor of some universal planetary savior thing, which ironically is due to me being self centered and forgetting that loading the dishwasher is just as much a part of the whole. Now if you could comment below and tell me what I was trying to say that would be great because I lost myself about half way through.
Woods’ main point in the book is the connection between geometry and earth, and that nature is inherently geometric. Like our body, a seashell, a leaf, the house retains an inner harmony where all the parts resonate on the same linear language. The 4′ foundation is also a hell of a lot easier than some of the more complex sacred geometry ratios. Depending on who you are talking to, it can mean being off municipal services for power and running water OR it can mean being offline for a few days and unable to text, tweet, or get on social media. At the same time, we work to be prepared for the unknown things life can throw at you when you least expect it.
Each system also utilizes a back-up generator to provide supplemental power in case of bad weather or instances of high demand.
Understand yourself and your family when it comes to proximity to others and to community services.
Your local agricultural extension office will either perform the test or refer you to a company that will do.
A landline phone is always a good idea because cell phones and internet phones can be unusable during natural disasters, and also because they don’t always give 911 systems accurate location data. As an architect, and in my opinion like most architects, Woods is primarilly concerned with the visual aspect. In fact I wish the Earthships did have more great designers involved since they usually all look the same – they have a DIY weekender look. Hopefully you can hang in there and not get too bored because it really is important stuff! You guard it like a precious jewel from the vulgar baseness of the world that is constantly trying to pull you into mediocrity.
I heard the planet’s SOS call and it pulled me to look outwards instead of always inwards.
The important thing, though, and this in my mind is really, really, important, is to understand you can’t do one without the other. But green building is an acknowledgement of systems, the interconection of them and the impact they have on the planet.
Ultimately I hope, in my limited understanding of how things work, that through serving I am served.
Without an innner harmony in a house it starts to look like a bunch of sticks and stones randomnly thrown together and it is painful to live in. The site should have a southern exposure, to give your crops and garden the maximum amount of sunlight. To make my point I am going to make up his purpose and say that he wrote for others – for his boss, to feed his family.

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