The reason people choose to join the tiny house movement is varied. Many tiny home owners see living off-grid --living without dependence on municipal water, sewer, and energy supplies-- as an added benefit to living small. They like returning to a simply time and becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant. Living off-grid, or off-the-grid, was the norm for early settlers to this country, but returning to it is, oddly, fairly easy due to advances in technology.
1. Rain Water Collection: Collecting rainwater is a great way to conserve water for re-use later. In fact, just one inch of rain gathered from a 1,000 square foot roof can yield over 600 gallons of water. This water can be stored and used to water crops for a self-sufficient lifestyle. Active collection, in a container, can help conserve this precious resource.
2. Solar Power: The technology that is solar power has grown tremendously over the past few decades. What was once a luxury item for the few is now an affordable solution for many. Solar panels are affordable and easy to install. Plus, additional info will tell you that they can collect so much power that you may even choose to give back to grid and earn energy credits.
3. Wind Power: Like solar power, wind power has advanced as well. Wind turbines are no longer exclusively used in giant wind farms, but can be installed unobtrusively in private, residential settings. Some communities may have height restrictions, but there are plenty of smaller options that circumvent this restriction.
4. Gray Water Recycling: Gray water recycling is a misunderstood term. It simply means re-using the water from a home that has been lightly used, like bath water and water from the kitchen sink. It has nothing to do with the sewer system, which is called black water. Gray water, while not potable for drinking, can be used to water lawns and plants.
5. Evaporation Cooler: Air conditioners use excessive energy to run and are often considered wasteful by eco-friendly people. It can be uncomfortable, however, to depend on simply open windows and cross-ventilation during heat waves where temperatures rise over 90 degrees. An evaporation cooler is one way to beat the heat while living off-grid. Basically, an evaporation cooler, or swamp cooler, works when evaporating water cools the surrounding air. In fact, this concept has been used since the ancient Egyptians discovered it.
6. Pellet Stove: Using a pellet stove to heat your tiny home is beneficial on two levels. This type of stove allows you to live off-grid without depending on your local energy company for electricity or gas. It also takes formerly unusable items, sawdust and wood shavings leftover from the lumber industry, and compresses them into low-cost and eco-friendly pellets to burn.
7. Composting Toilets: Living off-grid also means living without sewer services. While the idea of a stinky latrine does not appeal to many people, there are less smelly options. In fact, composting toilets are available that dehydrate any solid waste and need little to no water for flushing purposes. In fact, many state parks are switching over to composting toilets with great success.
8. Debt-Free: While not exclusively an off-grid term, many tiny home owners are enjoying a debt-free lifestyle. The cost of a tiny home compared to the hefty price tag on a larger, 2,000 square foot home is dramatic. The average tiny home costs just over $23,000 while a standard home averages $272,000 in the United States. In fact, sixty-eight percent of tiny home owners live mortgage free.
Whether you choose one, or all solutions, living off-grid is a choice that is good for you and your environment.Share