The Benefits of Living Off the Grid
The benefits of living off the grid can be very rewarding for those who are willing to make the adjustments. My husband and I moved from the city to a house that is completely off the grid in the winter of 2007. We saw this as a challenge at first, but were willing to make some sacrifices in order to live a quiet life in the mountains of Colorado.
Now that we have lived off the grid for four years, the benefits of this lifestyle far outweigh any “comforts” that city life had to offer. We have completely embraced our way of life and the long term benefits that come from living off the grid – reduced energy costs, lower risk of power outages, increased environmental knowledge and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Reduced Energy Costs
Without monthly power bills, we save hundreds of dollars. Along with our solar panels, we installed a wind generator to use the wind on those days when there is more wind than sun. Not only do we save money by generating our own wind and solar power, we never have to worry about being disconnected. The sun and wind are renewable and free.
Lower Risk of Power Outages
When weather turns stormy – we still have power. During a big storm with lightning or wind that knocks down poles, it’s the grid-tied homes that are affected. It is the people like us that are relying on our solar panels and wind turbines that still have our lights on and our houses warm.
Increased Environmental Knowledge
Managing alternative energy systems, living more simply, and learning the best ways to conserve offers a hands-on environmental education. We have become more aware of the patterns of the sun and the weather. We use the sun in the winter to warn our house during the day and in the summers we use the brisk mountain air to cool our house at night. We only do laundry on sunny days and hang our clothes to dry. On days that we do not see the sun, we do not use any unnecessary appliances. We have chosen this lifestyle and now it comes naturally to us.
Reduce our Dependence on Fossil Fuels
By living off the grid, we use renewable energy sources to supply the energy needed for daily living and are no longer dependent on power companies. This means that we no longer have to worry about constant rate increases. Also, we now have a chance to do something positive about reducing our carbon footprint. Solar power and wind power make use of totally renewable, green energy. Compare this with using electricity from fossil fuels that are non-renewable and also pollute the environment. It is estimated that over 40 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in the United State come from generating electricity. For the average person, about 12 percent of their carbon footprint is derived from home energy.
Although living off the grid was seen at first as a challenge to us, the benefits of living an independent and more environmentally-responsible life have been very rewarding for us. We love our way of life and would not trade it for any of the conveniences that grid-tied city living might have to offer.
Sue Bergethon lives off the grid with her husband in the mountains of Colorado. They own and operate a Solar Power business from their home.