There are a number of factors that might influence this — location, whether you want to put in systems yourself or hire, etc. Installation and independent systems can cost thousands of dollars (the first cited link places the price at about twelve thousand for one package of installation and materials), although you can make that back through the money you’ll save on your energy bill. It doesn’t have to take a huge time investment if you pay more to hire a contractor, and it certainly is feasible, but it does take a significant commitment and a willingness to invest time and money.
It depends on where you live. If you live in a thirld world or underdeveloped country, chances are that your house is already off the grid. It was reported in 2008 that 1.7 billion people currently live without electricity or running water, making them effectively “off the grid”.
If you live in a country like America, it certainly isn’t impossible to live off the grid. 180,000 people were already doing it in 2007. The biggest issue is electricity. Depending on where you live, heat and water may be a problem too. Many of those who live off the grid use solar power for electricity, which are placed on rooftops or nearby freestanding structures.
If you are interested in living off the grid, here are two sites to help you get started:
How to get off the grid is easy on paper:
Electricity – use photovoltaic panels or wind turbines. In combination, these can easily satisfy the electricity needs of an average family.
Water – rainwater catchment systems are simple, but may require lots of space and possibly a roof makeover. Depending on where you are located, though, annual precipitation is probably enough to get you through the year if you don’t have a well installed.
Gas – biogas digesters are a simple technology, but not a simple practice. Still, thousands of homes in rural Sichuan, China, have already built biogas digesters to satisfy their need for burnable methane. Done correctly, a biogas digester can even take care of any sewer/sceptic tank grid connections that might otherwise be necessary.
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