Going Off-grid? Your Ultimate Guide to Off-grid Living
Good for the Planet, Great for the Mind.
Living off-grid means living in a home without connections to public utilities such as water, sewer and electricity. Many people choose to go off-grid for environmental and sustainability reasons – allowing them to minimise their impact on the planet and lower their carbon footprint.
In addition to having a positive environmental impact, living off-grid is also great for your mental health, allowing you to connect with nature and steal moments of peace and sanctuary.
Sourcing Power for Off-grid Living
To be entirely off the grid, you’ll need to generate your own power source, which can be from an outlet such as solar, wind or hydro.
Solar is a popular and cost-effective way of powering your home. Continuous improvements in design and reductions in the cost of installation and maintenance have made solar a more accessible and economical choice.
Within regional areas, less advanced infrastructure can result in difficulty connecting to the primary power grid. If you are situated in a rural area, utilising solar maybe be worthwhile to maximise living conditions in the case of blackouts and inconsistent city power.
Although initially a higher cost, solar power can pay dividends in the long run. The Australian government offers financial incentive rebates dependent on your state, to assist with the costs of your solar installation journey. View more information about the government rebates being offered within Australia.
Once you start producing your own electricity, you’ll likely need a way to store it for later use. The models of at-home batteries, including Tesla’s Powerwall and AllGrid, enable off-grid living to be more accessible and affordable.
Energy-efficient Cost Savings
According to Renew Energy, installing solar can save on average around $400 per year, per KW, dependent on state and varying factors.
Implementing energy-efficient designs, appliances, and systems is also integral to reducing your energy use and creating an environmentally-conscious off-grid home, this can be done through:
– 5-Star appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines
– Smart monitoring system to monitor your energy usage
– Implement passive solar design principles to control energy consumption
Collecting and Using Water
To go off-grid, you will need to have a water source, this can be from rainwater, groundwater or from a dam or stream located on your property.
Any home with a roof has the ability to harvest rainwater for later use. A rainwater harvesting system can vary depending on the complexity of the design but includes components such as:
1. Catchment (most likely a roof)
2. Diversion (to channel the water into storage)
3. Distribution (to deliver the water)
4. Treatment (where the water is filtered)
An important factor to remember is that rainwater needs to be treated through UV disinfection, chlorine treatment or other filtration systems, to ensure it is safe for drinking.
Installing a rainwater tank can save up to 80,000 litres per year which adds up to over 400,000 litres over a 5-year period. According to Sydney Water, when your rainwater tank is properly installed on your property, you could save up to 40% of your drinking water supply, with up to $200 off your yearly water bill.
An effective waste management system is an integral aspect of off-grid living. City-based sewerage systems use pipes to collect wastewater, before being treated and disinfected and then released back into the environment.
An off-grid system has a similar process, using natural methods without needing to remove waste from the property.
Separating your greywater (washing machines, showers, sinks) and blackwater (sewage waste from toilets) will mean a reduction in your overall water usage, which is important when relying on rainwater.
It is important to always conduct thorough research of the standards and restrictions within your area to ensure you are using the correct wastewater system for your area.
Having a food source on your property is another vital aspect to consider when living off-grid. Establishing fruit, vegetable and herb gardens and small-scale fishing and farming systems can serve as your primary food source, particularly when living in rural areas with little access to shops or supermarkets.
Composting and General Rubbish
Managing your food waste and general rubbish, through composting, recycling and reusing where you can is essential when living off-grid. Composting is a great way to reduce food waste, reuse scraps and add a boost of nutrients to your garden beds.
- A compost bin or worm farm is the most popular composting option for domestic use
- Food waste including fruit and veggie scraps, tea bags and shredded paper can all be added
- In addition to any garden waste including plant and lawn clippings, leaves, small twigs and branches and weeds
Arkular’s Bangalow Hinterland House – The Ultimate Off-grid Haven
Welcome to our Bangalow Hinterland House, a completely off-grid bush retreat surrounded by lush green pastures.
Located on sprawling farmland, Bangalow Hinterland house has been carefully designed to create a private, secluded family retreat free from the constraints of public utilities.
The choice of off-grid living was requested by the client for environmental reasons and also due to the remoteness of the location, with the design being tailored to create an empowering and independent lifestyle, with a positive environmental impact.
Some sustainable additions to the Bangalow Hinterland House, include:
- Passive solar design to maximise natural use of the sun
- Installation of water tanks
- Careful orientation for energy efficiency
Give Off-grid Living a Go
Off-grid living is becoming a more accessible and affordable way of living in the modern world.With clever design, careful planning, and implementation of the right systems, you can have an off-grid home that is sustainable and cost-effective.