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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I put this in this section because the section description says "or living off the grid" if it needs to be moved please do so!

I hope this is allowed on this website but I am writing a term paper on off the grid living and homesteading and would like to include some survey results.

If anyone has time and could answer these questions for me it would be a great help.

Thanks,
Mark

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Would you consider your home to be “off the grid”?

If so, what aspects of your home are off the grid?

If not, would you like to take your home “off the grid” in the future?

Did you or do you plan to build a home off the grid OR did you or do you plan to convert an on the grid home to be off the grid?

What do you think is the largest square footage that an off the grid system could support?

Do you think it is more or less expensive to live off the grid than on the grid?

What benefits do you see in having an off the grid home?

Do you grow or raise any of your own food?

Do you think it is more or less expensive to grow/raise your own food than to shop at the grocery store?

What benefits do you see in growing/raising your own food?


If you are off the grid or planning to go off the grid what is/will be your:

Source of Electricity:

Source of Heat:

Source of Water:

Waste System:


Do you have any other comments on or experiences with off the grid living or homesteading?
 

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I put this in this section because the section description says "or living off the grid" if it needs to be moved please do so!

I hope this is allowed on this website but I am writing a term paper on off the grid living and homesteading and would like to include some survey results.

If anyone has time and could answer these questions for me it would be a great help.

Thanks,
Mark

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Would you consider your home to be “off the grid”?
No my curent home is a bound to the grid as is possible
If so, what aspects of your home are off the grid?
None right no we are moving to ensure we can cook, heat and get water with out city supply in an emergency
If not, would you like to take your home “off the grid” in the future?
Yes, we are planning on moving to close to off grid due to some work issue we will be using phone and elec but I want to do as much as possible without outside sources.
Did you or do you plan to build a home off the grid OR did you or do you plan to convert an on the grid home to be off the grid?
Building a green home either from straw bales or from cordwood construction starting with grid power then slowly converting over to solar/wind/water power over time since I can sell back to my local utility while still enjoying the grid system on cloudy or calm days.
What do you think is the largest square footage that an off the grid system could support?
I think your going to see difficulty past the 1000 to 1200 square foot more in the heating systems really.
Do you think it is more or less expensive to live off the grid than on the grid?
More expensive up front in buying equipment and over all your swapping sweat for money so it is less expensive money wise but it equals out with the amount of time you spend on it.
What benefits do you see in having an off the grid home?
Control over my absolute needs and later comfort in case something happens local that does not require evacuation and in along term situation to maintain myself at a level of comfort not possible in my current house.
Do you grow or raise any of your own food?
Not yet it comes with teh moving to the country part of the plan .:)
Do you think it is more or less expensive to grow/raise your own food than to shop at the grocery store?
No it is about teh same if not more expensive since your time also has to be counted in,
What benefits do you see in growing/raising your own food?
Control of my food supply I know what happens in commercial plants both the butchering and the raising in commercial farms.
If you are off the grid or planning to go off the grid what is/will be your:

Source of Electricity:
Solar panel, Wind turbine, Water turbine, Genset to top if off as needed
Source of Heat:
Wood, wood, wood, chainsaw and a hard work
Source of Water:
Well pump for drinking and gray/rain catchment system for teh garden and fruit trees
Waste System:
Composting toilet, Composter, worm composter, Pigs and some chickens
Do you have any other comments on or experiences with off the grid living or homesteading?
Not really
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the great response compboy it was very informative, thank you for taking the time to respond.
 

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Would you consider your home to be “off the grid”?

Somewhat, but not really

If so, what aspects of your home are off the grid?

Heat (wood), Water (spring), Septic


If not, would you like to take your home “off the grid” in the future?

Solar panels or some other form of power.


Did you or do you plan to build a home off the grid OR did you or do you plan to convert an on the grid home to be off the grid?

Eventually, if I can ever afford it.

What do you think is the largest square footage that an off the grid system could support?

As large as you want, it all comes down to how much money you want to invest.


Do you think it is more or less expensive to live off the grid than on the grid?

Less in the long run.

What benefits do you see in having an off the grid home?

You don't have to rely on anyone else but yourself and your equipment. You tend to use renewable sources of energy. And you are prepared in a SHTF scenario.

Do you grow or raise any of your own food?

Yes, we have sheep, cattle, fruit trees and vegetable gardens.

Do you think it is more or less expensive to grow/raise your own food than to shop at the grocery store?

It's less expensive. But your time is worth something as well right?


What benefits do you see in growing/raising your own food?

I eat healthier and tastier food than people who get there food from the store. I can still provide food for myself and family in a SHTF scenario.


If you are off the grid or planning to go off the grid what is/will be your:

Source of Electricity: Solar (wind or hydro are not options here, and solar isn't the best either)

Source of Heat: Wood

Source of Water: Springs

Waste System: Septic system


Do you have any other comments on or experiences with off the grid living or homesteading?
 

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Would you consider your home to be “off the grid”?

Potentially, yes, we could live for extended periods of time
off the grid right now. In practice/reality, no we're not.

If not, would you like to take your home “off the grid” in the future?

That's our goal

Did you or do you plan to build a home off the grid OR did you or do you plan to convert an on the grid home to be off the grid?

Our house was built in 1874 and has been upgraded several times over
the past 134 years to meet "modern" standards BUT, it's retained many
of the older...more functional parts that lend itself to going off the grid.

What do you think is the largest square footage that an off the grid system could support?

I don't believe there's a limit as long as you devote the time and unfortunately the money to do it.

Do you think it is more or less expensive to live off the grid than on the grid?

Depends on your idea of what "off the grid" is. If you want to go out and
cut off your electricity, heat with wood and light your house with tallow
lamps...it's practically cost free. We want to retain the trappings of some
normalcy so, it's rather expensive starting up. Once it's paid for though,
it's much cheaper...just hard work.

What benefits do you see in having an off the grid home?

Freedom to not be dependent on others for the basics of life. Freedom
to not have to bow and beg to others for light, food and water.

Do you grow or raise any of your own food?

85% percent of our food is grown here on the farm including wheat
and corn. We have ducks and chickens for eggs and meat, dairy
cattle for all our milk needs, soon will have a pond full of fish. We
also keep sheep and horses.

Do you think it is more or less expensive to grow/raise your own food than to shop at the grocery store?

Short term investments into equipment, land and animals is pretty expensive. Long term the cost is defrayed.

What benefits do you see in growing/raising your own food?

Same as stated above, freedom. Freedom to not be dependent on others
for the basics of life. Freedom to not have to bow and beg to others for
light, food and water. We're not totally off the supermarket tit but, we're
being weened quick.

If you are off the grid or planning to go off the grid what is/will be your:

Source of Electricity:

Currently we use solar power for water pumping (irrigation of the fields)
and we're working on combining several systems including methane gas
from the cattle and hydro for the house and barns. Wind power is out
of the question unfortunately.

Source of Heat:

Electric powered by gas generators. Also have fireplaces.

Source of Water:

Well water. We're also currently using water pumped from our swamp
and creeks for irrigation.

Waste System:

Septic tank for house waste.
Stercory for green waste and animal waste hoping to
eventually direct that to methane production.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2008/06/26/methane_digester/

Do you have any other comments on or experiences with off the grid living or homesteading?

It's long, hard work. Be prepared for 20 hour days (some of it always
devoted to research). Be prepared for the looks from people and the
whispers of "that crazy farmer kid". Flip people off when their back is
turned for calling you crazy because you can't work with a cast on your
arm. Don't be so rigid you make your family miserable...I still buy our
4 year old Fruit Loops and hot dogs BECAUSE HE LIKES THEM (and he does
that poochie bottom lip and puppy dog eyes thing really well). Don't
discount any avenue of getting things, no matter how ridiculous. The
first batch of 15 duck eggs we bought for hatching came in the mail from
EBAY.
 

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There are many grids, and I'm slowly trying to wean myself from each. We have our own well and septic, and I have one well that is pumped with a windmill, another has a solar powered pump. We raise quite a bit of our own food but not nearly all of it. We never buy eggs or pork at the store and frequently supply our own vegetables. I grow food for high-end restaurants so we are attuned to that kind of agriculture (although you wouldn't want to live off of an arugula-only diet). Growing grains is pretty much a non-starter for me unless I was forced to by a real emergency. Vegetables, fruits and nuts are grown in abundance. We also have cattle, sheep, chickens, and fish.
 

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Would you consider your home to be “off the grid”?
Yes, >=75% of the time

If so, what aspects of your home are off the grid?
Power, Water, Waste

Did you or do you plan to build a home off the grid OR did you or do you plan to convert an on the grid home to be off the grid?
Planned and built an off-grid home, from scratch.

What do you think is the largest square footage that an off the grid system could support?
Totally limited by your needs and the sustainability of your environment. Support can be massive: ie wind, hydro, solar etc and provide for very large dwellings. If you just want to meet your needs, small solar might be sufficient. Also depends on water supply and arable land availability. If you exceed your needs, within your systems budget, you can sell power back to the grid, produce to others etc.

Do you think it is more or less expensive to live off the grid than on the grid?
Increasingly more cost-effective to be off-grid. Trade-off is in labour effort from you etc.

What benefits do you see in having an off the grid home?
Independence of others/gubberment = huge. Cost of living = better. For motorhomers, mobility = great, but less benefit on infrastructure and farming produce etc.

Do you grow or raise any of your own food?
Some fruit and veg. Chickens, cows. Home baking.

Do you think it is more or less expensive to grow/raise your own food than to shop at the grocery store?
For Cheaper some things, like fruit and veg. Less variety available compared to shops. Meat not really an option for home except hunting and chickens. No home-kill cows here.

What benefits do you see in growing/raising your own food?
see above + I eat less red meat these days = healthy. Eat more fruit & veg = healthy. Drink more water = healthy.

Source of Electricity:
Solar, petrol generator, storage batteries. Small wind turbine in future.

Source of Heat:
N/A

Source of Water:
Bore, tanks + town.

Waste System:
bio-friendly chemical toilet system + septic.

Do you have any other comments on or experiences with off the grid living or homesteading?
Wish I'd done it sooner.

Hope this helps. Cheers Herne
 

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My home is about 70% off grid though in a pinch it could be 100% off grid.

It's easier to answer what parts of my home are on grid. I still use LP to cook on and I have an LP refrigerator. I can cook on my wood kitchen stove but that gets hot in the summer and I have a spring house for a refrigerator but tht means I have to walk up the hill to get something from the fridge.

I'm going to jump ahead a few questions because I have no idea what the largest size of house could be run off grid.

My home was an old hunting lodge and out buildings built by a stone mason. When I moved into it there was no electricty here. I lived without electricty for a couple of years and have slowly put together the system that I use now. So I converted an existing house to off grid but it was never on grid to begin with.

It is not just the monetary expense to being off grid that many wouldn't like, a person is basically running their own power plant and they have to do all the jobs that happen at a power plant. It takes time and effort to keep an off grid system running and unless you have lots of money there are limitations to it. It cost me less to be off grid because my home is so far away from the nearest electrical lines it would have cost me thousands more to run a line here than it did to set up my own solar/wind generators. So for me it is cheaper to be off grid.

I live alone and live pretty simply so for the most part my life works well off grid. If you need lots of toys to be happy then being off grid may be a problem. The benefits is that I always have some power. I may have to wait for the sun to come up or the wind to pick up to do my laundry but I never have to worry about the lines going down.

I grow, raise, and hunt almost all of my food or I work for it from the local area. The major exceptions being salt, sugar, and olive oil. I do buy my cat food too just because it's easier for my barn cats but I could let them eat with the pigs in a pinch.

It is MUCH cheaper to procur my own food. I've heard about how expensive gardening is and I don't get that. Yes, you have to buy your own seeds but only once and then you just have to care for them like the living things they are.

Benefits in raising my own food is that I know how to do it, I know where that food comes from, I know who handles that food, I know there are no poisons in that food and I know I am not paying my money to a foriegn government to give me food that may be dangerous. I see no negatives in raising my own food.

My electricty comes from solar and wind. Up north here we need two different sources because in the winter there just isn't enough sun to run a farm all day.

My heat for my house is wood. I have a large woodlot that I manage for wood burning as well as other things. I do use geothermal energy pumped by windmills for my springhouse and my new chicken coop. Passive and homemade active solar is used for the pig shed and soon for the cow barn.

Water is wind pumped. Water is heated with a commercial active solar heater.

Waste is seasonal. In the summer I use an outhouse in the winter I use a composting toliet that takes up too much space in my house but keeps my hiney warm in the winter months.

The main thing I would say extra is that solar panels need to be cleaned often to keep them collecting a peak efficiency. A wind generator needs to be climbed up to and mantained at least once a year and those things are darn high. Your batteries (the weakest part of your system) need to be kept warm or cool depending on the time of year, they need to be kept fed and watered just like a living thing, and can be dangerous so should not be in the house. Since I'm not rich I don't have a system that will run anything. I have to think before I wash cloths, I have to think if I want to vaccum. I don't have a hair dryer, I don't use space heaters (unless rocks in the fire are considered space heaters). My system has its limitations and takes work to keep it going. I'm never going to have a hot tub or a big screen TV and video games. Being off grid means I have to think about my energy use and that's the main thing to remember. You have to be a person that can be aware to be off the grid.

I guess that it.

Tury
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great posts! Thanks again to everyone who has responded, you have been very helpful and given me a lot of good ideas and points for my paper.
 

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100% off grid here. Miles from the nearest utilities. When we set out to find home, we didn't care about on or off grid, but when we found the 44, we had no choice; with a 300,000 acre mixed redwood backyard we had to live here.

Largest square footage is difficult to ascertain, my boss up the road powers and heats a 1500sq foot frank loyd wright style home, and the shipping office for their company, only grid connect is phone lines. But he also has a huge 48v battery backup, a three inverter outback system, and 73 panels producing a record 54kw hours on a good cool sunny day. You are limeted only by your budget.

Living off grid is categorically more expensive. Panels, inverter and windmills cost big money and you will still have outage days, windless and overcast, when you have to run a generator. Because once you have a set of deep cycle batteries in your system, you cannot let them over-discharge without risking ruining a $1200+ set of batteries. And it takes a mighty big inverter to run a deep well.

Benefits of living off grid? Well, since I was outside at 2330 last night with a chest cold hanging over propane tanks and running the generator to top off the batteries, I'd have to say none... Except it lets you live at firstworld standards no matter where you live.

We don't grow our own food yet, though our 3/4 acre garden is cleared and I've seeded a few pasture areas for goats. We are slowly putting in raised beds, and preparing for a big busy spring. Yes, it is cheaper to grow your own food, especially if you love basil like I do! ;)

Our sources:
Electricity: 2 panels... Partial generator use. See my most recent blog for a tour of our system.
Water: 300 foot deep mountaintop well, with real live sweet water! Less than .5 cents a gallon to pull it up and push it an extra 300 feet to a holding tank above us. Best tasting water I've ever had, and also the best water pressure.

Waste: blackwater goes through a sun-mar WCM flushable composted, grey water through gravel and sand pits.

Heat: currently propane until the cabin is complete, then wood, with luck, six weeks to go.

Additional thoughts: I'd sometimes like to return to the simple life of water,power, and heat but waking up miles from the nearest human voice, watching the slow steam of oxygen mist rising from the trees in tv valley below is worth it, but when the eke tric company decides to come the next six miles to our cabin, I won't be caught blocking the road.
 
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