Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living Off Grid

There are lots of ways to be greener in the world today. Simply changing light bulbs to fluorescents is one easy way. If you wondered about going further, here is a list of what we do at our 'off grid' farm. 
  • Electricity: Solar panels and a wind turbine generate all our electricity. It is stored in batteries which hold enough for a few days. If it gets cloudy or the wind is calm for very long, we have electric and propane driven generators to supplement the supply.
  • Water: Our well is 450 feet deep. It runs with an efficient pump that gets electricity from our power system.
  • Sewer: We have a septic system.
  • Fuel: We have a propane tank for gas stove cooking, and the water heater.
  • Heat: The water heater makes domestic hot water, and also heats water that pumps under the floor for radiant floor heat. It uses electricity, and some propane to light.
  • Trash: We compost a lot, and also recycle all we can in our area. What is left gets bagged up and hauled to the dump a few times a year.
  • Building: Our house is small, about 900 square feet for two people. We only heat the main floor. It is built with a lot of thermal mass, including a concrete slab base and very thick walls, to moderate temperatures. We don't have air conditioning, and only during the hottest months do we need to use a ceiling fan upstairs. The house also has lots of windows on the south side to get more sunlight in the winter months.
  • Phone/Internet: Cell phones work great in most areas; we had to change companies to get better coverage here, but now we do fine. The internet comes by broadband; we have a dish that picks it quite well. 
In addition to these aspects of the farm, we strive to provide for ourselves by having chickens for their eggs, and a large garden for food. By freezing and storing what we grow, grocery bills are lower than when we lived in town. Plus it is so satisfying to eat what you have labored for.

These choices have changed our lives, for the better. Now, we hear the wind blowing and know nature is giving something we need, and sunny days take on a whole new meaning. 

1 comment:

Doris Sturm said...

That is wonderful Kathryn. I'm so happy you're able to do that with your husband.