Monday, September 12, 2016

Sustainability And Living Off The Grid

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By Harold Stevens

Whether due to the cost of housing, insurance, utility bills or other factors, a number of people are now attempting to reduce spending. In some cases, living off the grid can be a great option for accomplishing this goal. Although, individuals doing so need to be sure one has the capability of obtaining the resources necessary to sustain life.

Individuals residing in this way often share a communal solar source, or live off a generator. One of the most popular terms for people residing in this manner is that of off-gridders. While electricity can be generated through alternative means such as hydro and solar, water is another story. As such, many families and individuals live near lakes, rivers, streams, store water in tanks or dig a well.

Upon discovering in a recent publication that over 180 thousand individuals and families identified as off-gridders, the concept has become even more popularized. In addition, now with cabins, tents, RVs and mobile homes, tiny homes have been introduced. These tiny homes, if placed on private property could easily be managed without connection to county, or public utilities. For, most are small enough that a generator or solar panels would suffice.

In the United States, California is suggesting that citizens start using wind and solar to generate electricity. The state is also advising residents to avoid using toxic lead acid batteries to store sunlight. While most grid-tie systems are less expensive than equipment used in solar and wind generation, there are some good options. For example, old car batteries have proved useful as a nighttime storage alternative.

While the main focus is sustainability, many of these communities are intentional ones. Intentional communities are made up of small neighborhoods built or acquired by a group of like-minded people. For example, there are a number of offline social networks such as Christians, dance groups, magicians, poets, singer-songwriters and others whom desire to live in communities dedicated to a specific interest.

Whether a group based on lifestyle, common interest, religion or other factors, these communities are often successful. For, by the time individuals decide on living this lifestyle, most have already been friends, or in groups with those that will become neighbors. As such, unlike traditional neighborhoods, there is often far less friction between neighbors.

In most all cases, those building an intentional community are going to set some specific guidelines and groundwork. In addition, most individuals related to this type of community are going to have an interest in social justice and environmental causes. For, one of the main priorities of this lifestyle is to eliminate waste while controlling carbon footprints.

Beyond intentional communities, others reside in this manner because of availability, cost and other factors. Some of these factors include reducing carbon footprints, saving money, surviving and preparing for an economic collapse. While this is the case, off-gridders still have to pay camping fees, overnight or monthly RV park fees, mortgage or rent. Individuals providing these overnight fees, rent to a landlord or property management company are generally not considered off-gridders.

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