The decision to go off the grid started in 2006 when we moved to the farm and had to look at replacing the existing furnace and started looking at alternative sources of heating. The real decision to go off grid was pretty much made for us when our electrical bill doubled in 2008 and then doubled again when the new "smart meters" were installed. Thus, to say, the decision to go off grid has been driven by economics.
For us, living off grid means:
Utilizing solar and wind power with a back-up diesel generator
Heating with wood (outdoor wood stove) with propane furnace as a back-up
Use cold water instead of hot water whenever possible
Cooking on a propane stove specifically designed for off-grid living
Cooking on an outdoor propane BBQ
Maintaining our old fashioned wood burning cook stove for emergencies
The decision to go off grid has also entailed a complete lifestyle change. What we give up, we only hope to gain in the smaller footprint that we leave behind in this world. Here are some of the lifestyle changes that have been made:
We use an outdoor and indoor clothes line to dry our cloths
We use low energy light bulbs throughout all buildings on the farm
We do not flush the toilet after every use
We have a seasonal outdoor composting toilet
We do not use an automatic dishwasher
We refrain from using electrical kitchen appliances
We are mindful of bathing and showering habits
We burn candles and avoid leaving unnecessary lights on
We utilize and collect hand tools as opposed to power tools whenever possible
We minimize our use of electrical appliances, tools, toys and luxury items
TV's, computers, printers, etc. are plugged into power-bars which are turned off when not in use
Living off-grid was a great and wonderful experienced that trained us to live much more simply and sustainable. Unfortunately, in 2017 our backup battery bank became obsolete and died on us. Our current income will not allow us to purchase new batteries. We are therefore back on the grid, however, we still use all possible means to live frugally, and with as small a footprint as possible.
In 2018 we added a line of products to help promote consumers to getting off plastic.
Sustainable Living & Off-Grid Projects
The following are projects that we have undertaken here on Earth Haven Farm to either live off-grid or to create a more sustainable lifestyle.