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Given the state of the country and the world today people are beginning to wonder if they can survive when municipalities can no longer provide for their citizens. Antiquated infrastructure that has been patched together for years because of financial woes is weakening by the day.
The question now becomes can you live without municipalities supplying you with all the things you have become accustomed to. In some ways, you cannot break the bonds completely because there are things that you cannot provide for yourself but this has been the case for thousands of years.
Therefore if you think you can escape to the backcountry and never see another human being again maybe you better rethink certain things, but there are things you can do to lessen your dependency on others and on municipalities. The questions you must ask yourself include what happens when the power goes out, do you have a backup plan. Solar panels are expensive but you can start out small by getting just a few panels to operate just a few appliances, in particular heating and cooling appliances, water pumps, refrigeration and hot water tanks.
Solar system using single panels to operate certain appliances but are not adequate for the entire household. In many cases, any surplus generated is sold back to the power company to be used, as a credit for power at night and on days there is limited sunlight.
Any source that generates electricity and supplies electricity to the grid must be approved by the power provider and in some cases, they will have to inspect your system and put safeguards in place to prevent high voltage feed back along their lines that may cause harm to anyone servicing the lines. You can off course purchase or build a structure that is not connected to the grid giving you free rein to develop whatever system works best for you.
Once you are no longer connected to the local power grid and the sun is absence for a few days your battery bank will be depleted. Wind power is another alternative and if you plan to go completely off grid, you would probably need a wind turbine(s) along with a solar panel array. You first have to determine how much electricity you need generated and then position your turbine at a height sufficient to generate the desired amount. Turbo power is another option, which harnesses the power of water to operate an electrical generator.
You may have a source on your property but the source originates miles upstream in areas you have no control over.
You need electrical generating sources that you have complete control over and fast running rivers while you may control a portion of one you do not control the entire river or stream.
Before you decide to run off and start building that cabin miles up in the hills you not only need to worry about power you need to also consider food sources that you will need. Unless you want to be digging latrines every few months and moving the outhouse over the new pit because the old one is full then you will need to install a septic system if you want to go off grid or now live in an area that does not provide a sewer system. You may think right now the nearest bush or tree will do but this is impractical and unsanitary. Septic systems are not complicated but to do it yourself you will need certain skill sets, lots of energy and time especially if you plan to do all the digging by hand.
You have to make sure the soil can accept the waste by conducting a perk test to rate the absorption and retention level of the soil. Whatever you choose can be accomplished, but it will take time, effort on your part and money. However, you need to begin before disaster strikes and have a plan in mind before building that cabin high in the mountains because it will not take long for you to realize just how dependent you really are on your local municipality. SubscribeEnter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content. Gridtied offgrid hybrid solar systems – energy, What are the benefits of gridconnected solar panels vs. Since the beginning of 2011, I have been working towards building my own Zero One right here in Oklahoma.
When I was mowing last weekend, I was thinking of why I hadn’t accomplished nearly as much as I had planned on. Episode 5 – In which our hero wins his just desserts, and reflections on the week past.
Here we are on day two of Steve Leckart’s off the grid challenge.We wrote him yesterday inquiring as to the progress of his off-grid survival and he replied with a nice note for all the readers of SuperForest!
Still, I will say that as optimistic and awesome as this is, my carbon footprint is significantly heftier than I’d care to imagine. SuperForesters are all over planet Earth, all united in exploring how to redefine "environmentalism" and "sustainability" to encompass every aspect of our lives. Did You Know?Projects in 12 countries are registered in the Living Building Challenge and six other projects have been certified to date. December 3, 2012By Steven CastleThis Net Zero home not only produces all its own energy, it stores and automates it as well. Yes, we’re thinking of Hurricane Sandy victims of a decimated power infrastructure, but also of the hundreds of thousands whose power goes out regularly in big and not-so-big storms and wait for days while large and overtaxed utilities try to restore power. And more and more, we’re seeing homes designed and built not just with net-zero (producing your own energy) in mind, but with storing energy as well. Six OutBack inverters (center) and a bank of 48 batteries (left) convert and store the electricity.
The 72-panel solar PV array produces 16.6 kw, with 260 kWh of battery storage, enough for about 36 hours of use, says Snider.
The home consumes about 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) of solar energy a day when the homeowners are in residence—some of that just from keeping the backup generators warmed and ready to go.
The eMonitor display shows energy production and consumption at the circuit level with easy-to-read graphs and charts. AVDomotics created its own “modules” within the Crestron platform to enable the automation system to communicate with an OutBack Mate2 solar inverter control system.
The Crestron system can also perform much-needed load shedding, in which it turns certain devices down or completely off to save energy.
After construction, the owners realized they could save even more by swapping their incandescent lights for LEDs (light emitting diodes). When it’s time to leave for the season, the owners only have to push an away button on any of their Crestron controllers turn off everything.
For added assurance, the Sniders and AVDomotics receive alerts from the eMonitor and Crestron systems if any circuits are on or if there’s a problem with a system in the home.
This article is based on a feature article in the July-August issue of Electronic House and can be found here.
Living off the grid allows you to have complete independence from the state and manage your won fuel, outgoings and food supply!

The way in which to achieve this independence can be quite confusing and overwhelming, but with these 9 top tips from Longtimemother you can see just how easy it is…from identifying junk, keeping your home warm and networking with others, these tips will help you achieve that independence you crave. A small but growing number of Americans, however, have ditched the comfort and convenience of their utilities and chosen instead to live off the grid — unconnected to gas, water, phone and power networks, and, in some cases, making their life from whatever they can grow or hunt on the land.
Storms that at one time would have hardly been felt are now causing untold damage because of the weakened nature of power grids and other infrastructure. Garbage removal, sewers and sewage treatment plants, plowed roads, sturdy bridges, electrical service, treated water piped to the home and gas for cooking and heating are just some of the things that are provide by your local municipality. In any village or town throughout the ages there have been engineers, carpenters, medical practitioners, and farmers that others have turned to for needs that families and individuals could not meet on their own.
What happens when the transportation hubs breakdown, do you have a plan to supply food, water and other necessities to your family. Power is the key because without it you will find life much harder and once simple tasks will become complicated ones. Illumination is down on the list of priorities because you can make candles, lantern oils and use the daytime hours to accomplish tasks. This system does require the home be connected to the local power grid to absorb any surplus electricity generated. Today most homes are connected to the power grid but this does not mean you have to use that power. Some people have homes in areas that simply do not have any infrastructure in place at all, so solar wind and water is an ideal way to generate electricity.
The solar panels would generally be installed on the roof for the greatest access to direct sunlight. However, whenever the sun is shining the panels are generating power and recharging the battery backup system. Once again, you will need a battery bank to absorb any surplus electricity, but when used with solar panels you are assured of a constant supply of electricity.
Many areas of the country have zoning laws and ordinances that may restrict height, position or outright prohibit the use of wind turbines. In the event of a disaster, the water source can be interrupted from natural causes or from someone or even a town damming up the river for their own water and power needs.
Windmills do not generate electricity but they can be used to pump water from deep underground into holding tanks and then gravity fed to your home, to irrigate crops and to holding tanks for livestock. Land is a finite commodity in other words you cannot make it and it does not appear one day off the assembly line. Many homes in the country have their own septic systems but if you live within certain areas, they are regulated by the city or state. Eventually uncontrolled waste would find its way into your water source by leaching into the soil or from runoff caused by rains. Your biggest concern is contamination of any wells you have on the property so make sure you plan carefully. Do you want to be completely free and independent of power companies and water treatment plants?
To reduce the economic burden you can acquire the skills and knowledge needed and do much of what has to be done by yourself and start small and build up gradually so you do not have to spend so much money at one time.
We believe that being prepared is important for any family and we want to see preparedness become a mainstream conversation.
After re-watching 30 Days: Off the Grid (where they take two regular single people from NYC and put them in an off the grid village for 30 days), I was reinvigorated. 0 Comments Tags: Earth Week, off the grid, smart solutions to modern problems, Steven Leckart. Yet, with about $5,000 worth of gear, I wasn’t leading even a semblance of the life I’m used to.
0 Comments Tags: Earth Week, off the grid, smart solutions to modern problems, Steven Leckart, sustainable.
So far, it seems like one can live a semi-normal life, without surrendering too many creature comforts, and reduce one’s carbon impact significantly. We don’t mean to eCrush on him or nothing, but someone as photogenic as Steve should do more visual content. The packages of gear that have been arriving at my home for the past week come from California but as far as Florida (actually, the UK, if I remember correctly).
They come from those looking at modest solar photovoltaic (PV) investments to power their homes with grid-tied systems and realizing that when utility power goes out, so does their system’s ability to produce power (backfeeding power on the lines is a hazard to linemen trying to repair a grid).
A solar thermal system heats water for domestic use and the home’s radiant-floor heating system, and a backup generator and water heater for times when all the power from the sun isn’t enough. The company also programmed the Crestron system to monitor the level of liquid propane and water available in their respective tanks. When the house is unoccupied, for example, the well and septic pumps shut off, and if there isn’t much juice left in the solar system’s storage batteries, the lights dim to 75 percent. The thing that I use the most is checking on the PV system and seeing how much energy we’re producing, and I can do that from anywhere in the world,” says Tim. Twelve zones of audio and eight TVs, including a surround-sound system in the family room, are served by home control company Crestron’s ADMS Intermedia Delivery System media server. White says it cost about $3,500 to replace the existing bulbs with Philips and Color Kinetics LEDs, but was well worth it, as the homeowners would have had to spend $10,000 more on solar panels to run the incandescent lights. AVDomotics may tie them to indoor and outdoor temperature sensors so they can turn on and off automatically. Then they can hop in the car, take a last look at their remote retreat, and press another button to roll down the aluminum shutters over all of the first floor windows and doors for safety and security. Emails are also delivered to AVDomotics twice a day with a status report of the system, which helps the custom electronics dealer proactively remedy a situation before it becomes costly or dangerous. You look around for things that you can do to make your world a better place and as an environmentalist, everything that’s green is likely to be greenwashed.
What happens when energy is no longer affordable or available do you have a plan for, transportation, cooking and heating your home? It may be exciting or even romantic to think of you sequestered in a nice warm cabin all winter living off the land and being independent.
Once the sun goes down or on cloudy days, the battery banks would provide the needed electricity. Drilled wells are ideal because of their reliability but deep wells require large pumps, which require electrical power to operate, so consider a shallow hand dug well that you have control over as a backup when power is unable for a few days for whatever reason.
That does not mean that land cannot be repurposed for the sake of growing foods and raising livestock and in the event of major catastrophe you will likely see buildings come down and crops being planted in their place.

Human waste piled up and lying about will harbor bacteria and create a rodent and insect infestation. This is usually accomplished by the use of lateral lines that collect the waste as it rises in the septic tank. On the other hand, you may simply want a backup system in place for when there is a crisis and you are left to fend for yourself. I have a job that requires me to work 8 hours per day plus a 1 hour commute and 1 hour lunch. Beyond the massive cutback in the time I normally spend typing at my desk, here’s a short list of what unexpectedly fell off my radar while I tended to the solar garden: all news, the election, Flickr, Facebook, my iPod, instant messaging, most personal e-mail, shampooing, all household chores (again, just ask my wife), calling my parents, and taking time to respond to the comments left on my previous posts.
Declarations of grid independence also come from people who are fed up with losing power for days or weeks during storms that are becoming more prevalent and more intense.
It’s powered by a large solar PV system, but it also stores the energy collected in a bank of batteries that are governed by a system to optimally charge them automatically—and automatically conduct load-shedding when power supplies are low.
Snider’s home is miles from the nearest power lines, so the home had to build to be completely self-sustainable.
A high-end Uponor in-floor radiant heating system, which relies on water heated by the roof’s solar thermal panels and liquid propane-fueled hot water in the backup tank, was integrated into the Crestron control system as well. Crestron’s DigitalMedia switching technology delivers audio and video content to different areas of the house via the company’s DigitalMedia fiber solution, with fiber-optic wires terminating at each of the home’s TVs. In essence, they have already received an immediate return on their investment, and then some. Every corporation seems to be telling us that we can be green if we use their product and deep down we know it’s nonsense.
However, a few trips to the outhouse when it is raining, below zero or you have to shovel a path because it snowed last night and things may not look as exciting. If you do not believe, you would be on your own during a crisis research some of the more recent events. Then, I looked around my property and saw all of the progress I have made thus far (which is not much). About as sucky as the fact that virtually every handheld solar charger comes with a bag of phone charger tips.
Tim can also see how much power is available as stored energy in the batteries from Crestron’s touchpanels and apps. But living off the grid has not yet been colonized by the corporations, which is something that makes it very attractive to a wide spectrum of people.
Today a few acres of hardwoods could literally be gone in a matter of years if it was the only source of fuel. In the event of a power failure, you would have the means to keep your foods chilled, heat water and operate heating and cooling devices.
He decided to add 16.6 kilowatts of solar PV to the mix, even though powering the home with generators might have been cheaper.
Wood is considered a renewable and sustainable energy source but it takes decades for hardwood forests to renew themselves. After all, if you’re going to power a home, you may as well take advantage of Arizona’s abundant sunshine. But the thing is, living off the grid is not some sort of a game where you have to be completely pure in the way you do it or else it doesn’t count. And large parts of rural America are still very white, because when non-white people turn up they get frozen back out again.
There are some notable exceptions, like a Hispanic off-grid community I met outside Albuquerque, but for the most part it remains a rural and white movement.
One is the fact that Americans are falling out of trust with their system, that they’re realizing it can no longer look after them. And the second is that the technology that has risen up has made it possible to live very comfortably off the grid. So you can have your fridge and your shower and your TV and your stereo and your Internet, but maybe if you want to run the washing machine you’d better turn off the stereo for a couple of hours to conserve your solar or wind energy.
So there are ways to turn it around and say that you’re gaining more than you give up, and that you give up a lot to live on the grid as well.
But the idea of off-the-grid living actually seems really integral to American society, because of the size of the country and the pioneering spirit that’s so much a part of your national culture. It just felt to me like America, of all the places in the developed world, is the place where off-the-grid life could, and to some degree already has, taken off. I myself want to live in an off-grid community eventually and so I decided I would travel across America to see how it was done. Did you get the sense that any of them wanted things to fall apart just to be proven right?
There are a lot of people who feel that way, although it goes far beyond people who live off the grid. The two main groups who want to see some kind of cataclysmic event are, I think, the environmentalists and the conspiracy theorists.
The green people feel that society will just go on destroying the earth until there’s a bad disaster. When he began marketing electricity for the first time, he started out charging by the number of lights people used, instead of the electricity itself. But very quickly he changed his business model and began metering the electricity because he saw that was the best way to make money. Of course, the moment that the companies starting selling electricity rather than light, they had every incentive to encourage their customers to be as energy inefficient as possible because the more power they squandered, the more power was made for the utility companies. In order to organize it most simply for themselves, they had a very small number of locations where power was produced, and then it was transported very long distances, very inefficiently, in order to be sold to the customers.
You don’t have to go back to the Stone Age to do it, and it could solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. I think it’s very good for society at large to have a lot of people living off the grid, because it increases the resilience of the people as a whole when you have this large subset not dependent on centralized power of various kinds.
You have incredibly liberal people doing it for environmental reasons and incredibly conservative people doing it to escape the clutches of government, and lots of people who fall in between those extremes.
What is it about this lifestyle that brings together these groups of people who we tend to think of as incredibly different?

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