Going off the grid has never been more relevant right now.
As I am writing this, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine.
The world seems to have gone crazy, people are scared and panicking.
No one knows how this will play out.
The preppers are smugly saying “I told you so” as they retire safely to their bunkers with their 3 yrs of rations supply and safe sources of water.
The masses are hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Businesses are shut down across the globe.
Stock markets are decimated.
There are massive queues to buy guns and other weapons. Either to "protect" themselves and also to get back to some hunting land and provide for their family like in days gone by.
And there is a huge rise is people looking to buy land away from the cities and looking to make sure they are never “at risk” again.
People are taking massive action to buy some land for sale, looking to create a small sustainable hobby farm to grow their own food, raise chickens, and set up their own energy systems and water systems so that they can live and survive off the grid if they have to.
Whilst we should all get through this current crisis (hopefully), it has certainly been a HUGE wake up call in how quickly things can change and how long things might take to recover.
It is a huge wake up call in ensuring we can provide for our own needs and not rely on someone else or an institution to come and save you.
It only took 2-3 weeks for the stock markets to crash violently and erase 10 years of gains, for the unemployment lines to sky rocket and supermarket shelves to be empty.
Many of us have never experienced anything like it.
Many people are suddenly realising how fragile our economy really is and how reliant we are on our own government and foreign governments for the basic necessities of life…
What if a foriegn power decides it will no longer supply basic pharmaceuticals to millions of Americans who depend on them to stay alive???
Can we ramp up our own production?
Do we currently have the facilities?
Should this be one of the priorities moving forward?
There will need to be a huge re-think and re-structure at the macro level but at the micro level what can you do to protect your family and keep your family safe, healthy, not stressed and well looked after.
Many of our clients are now taking action to do what they can to future proof their own lives.
Some have been asking about earthship homes and various ways of alternate living and going off the grid….
We have already discussed modular homes as an alternative to traditional built homes which was a very popular article. We have also examined the costs and feasibility of tiny homes that are also super popular right now.
Going Off The Grid With Earthship Homes
Michael Reynolds is one of the noted experts with earthship home buildings.
Check out this fascinating interview where he explains how his buildings virtually eliminate water bills, utility bills, food bills and is super efficient. Water recirculates and waters plants which then provides food and oxygen. The house heats and cools itself. There is adequate healthy food all around.
He has created homes like this all around the world. You can see some of them in New Mexico- where it gets extremely cold outside in the desert at night but when you enter the home, it is warm inside and requires no heating.
Passive Home Design For Sustainable Eco-Living
Passive home design and “zero energy” homes are becoming very popular also. They rely on smart architecture and high performance building design to drastically reduce the energy needs of the home.
They also rely on some high tech materials (triple pane windows) and high levels of smart insulation to stop energy leakages from the home.
This video explains very quickly in just 90 seconds how passive home concept works:
These buildings reduce the energy requirements of the home by 90%. Some of these technologies and smart building materials may be incorporated in any home eg energy efficient windows and high tech insulation. You can set it up so you can be off grid completely. Or you may choose to stay on the grid but just benefit from massively reduced energy bills.
But if you have decided going off the grid was a goal for you, it is wise to consider some of these technologies. Some of them may require increased cost upfront but you will save it back for years with lower to nil energy costs for the next few decades.
Here is a more in depth video explaining much of the technology behind these amazing passive homes:
So How Do I Go Off The Grid?
Going off the grid is a decision not to be taken lightly. There is a lot to learn, a lot to consider and some upfront costs involved.
We suggest to take it very slowly. Start doing extensive research, costing and planning.
Start talking to people who have done it.
Seek out those who tried it, did not make it work then came back to city life.
Talk to those who are still doing it successfully and would never return to the grid.
In whatever space you currently have, whether you rent or own or live in an apartment or a house, make a start.
Try growing some herbs or vegetables.
If you have enough space, start to raise some chickens.
There is a massive surge in people buying chickens for urban living right now- to supply themselves with daily organic eggs.
Of course, you may decide that totally going off the grid is not for you but you can find some land, that you can build on that has grid power and can be connected to city water and sewer.
Or many people do a hybrid model, where they can connect to power, but they will need to put in a well and septic system.
Others just want to be as far away from other people, rules and regulations as possible, live off grid and have the skills to look after themselves.
Other people choose to buy land and set it up as a smart alternative.
They are content with living in the city to live and work and see friends.
Though they are smart enough to have a "plan B", a cabin in the woods, somewhere that they may go for summer vacations or one weekend a month and they know they can hide out and survive for a few months if the need arises…
If you decide that you wish to move forward with either going off the grid or a hybrid alternative sustainable model, you will need to buy some land that you can create your new sustainable life on.
There are many ways to create an eco-friendly/sustainable living situation depending on what you prefer, what appeals to you, what you can afford and many other factors.
But always CHECK with your local county planning and zoning that your plans will be permitted…
Some counties are very strict and you will struggle to build what you want.
Others will work with you as long as you show you have basic sanitation and safety standards.
Other counties will leave you alone and will not need you to submit any plans at all…..
Remember, if you are doing something that has not been done before, you might get a initial “NO”.
Make sure you take the time to go and meet with the planners and explain exactly what you want to do.
Counties have guidelines to ensure certain standards and public health are maintained, but there may be ways you can adapt your building that will be acceptable to them.
Check out this retired couple who have been successfully living off the grid for 8 years and have shared their experience.
It's a fascinating look into what it takes.
They seem very happy and have set up a great life but they acknowledge that it is not always easy, you need to be very self reliant and solve many problems yourself.
They acknowledge there are costs involved to set it up at the beginning and ongoing costs along the way as everything needs to be maintained. Some items will need to be replaced at some point.
But I gotta say, I do love people who think creatively and carve out a new way of doing things, despite a few challenges along the way.
Is Going Off The Grid Worth It?
We think so.
But you need to do it in a logical well thought out way.
There is a lot to learn and skills to be mastered.
It can be a fun journey along the way and there will be many challenges along the path.
Remember there is not one "right" way. There are so many ways to go off the grid. Find a way that suits your budget, your lifestyle and your long term goals. Take your time and go step-by-step.
Even if you decide it is not for you and you’d rather stay in the city, it is still a great idea to learn a few skills. Perhaps how to grow your own food on your balcony or use a solar panel or two to power your dishwasher, or have a few backyard chickens.
If you do decide it is for you, plan to do it slowly, talk to many experts, talk to many off-gridders, seek to understand the seasons, the inherent risks, and start to build your skills.
This recent crisis has identified to many people that many of us are not as skilled as we think!
And that the ability to design an app or tell some funny jokes on Tik Tok might not be enough to get us through the next crisis….
What do you think? Let us know....
If you are keen to start to buy land, check out our land for sale