We have spent a lot of time talking about the benefits of building our house totally off grid. After a shocking $187 power bill last month for power to light our 5th wheel, run the washer in the barn, the security light that helps guide my way to the barn plus a small space heater we ran about 15 days last month in the greenhouse our decision to go off grid was finalized very easily this week.
I had already come to the conclusion that dryers, dishwashers and microwaves will not find a home in our new house and neither will the monthly check I write to the power company.
I am constantly trying to find ways to conserve power but some months my effort seems to go unnoticed. We have been striving every day, here on our farm to find ways to be more sustainable but we still have a long way to go.
So you may want to understand exactly what it means to “live off the grid” and how we plan to do that.
Living off the grid means using no supplied power source. We produce all the power we need to live using solar and wind generated sources. Here in South Carolina sunny days are abundant and our homestead is positioned on the top of a knoll which give us plenty of wind. If you were to look at the wind maps for our area you would not think we could generate enough wind for power but by the way the lay of the land is the wind circles in a small valley and hits us with blunt force at the top of our knoll.
How do we plan on accomplishing this?
1. Cut down on our electric use by using more man powered DC appliances, tools and fixtures.
2. Heat and cool our home with wood and passive solar.
3. Build an energy efficient home.
4. Solar hot water.
Even though I have 15 years until retirement and Craig has 20 it is constantly in the back of our mind that by the time we retire we won’t be able to afford power. Our bill has steadily risen every year since I can remember.
Our ancestors survived for centuries supporting themselves by what the land had to provide them and we want that same freedom. For now we will keep plugging (no pun intended) away and at some point I will happily announce the day we are totally “off gird”.