Living “Off the Grid”

When one hears the term “off-the-grid,” images of bucolic cabins, candlelit evenings, and wood outhouses are rarely far behind. These are the trappings of a rustic holiday – but certainly not the makings of a lifestyle.

For thousands of people, however, off-the-grid living is just that: a conscious choice. Off-the-grid refers to homes that are not connected to the electric grid. Typically, the houses are also disconnected from municipal water or sewage systems. Don’t be fooled by visions of crude cabins and antiquated lifestyles – most of these homes enjoy all of the modern luxuries that we are accustomed to and are beautiful to boot (check out these incredible houses, and this one too!).

off the grid home
image courtesy of

People approach the logistics of off-the-grid living from different angles. Solar panels provide clean energy without the irritation of a noisy generator, while other homes opt for wind power. Energy Star appliances are a popular choice to ensure maximum efficiency. Rainwater collection basins can provide water for the home. New innovations and technologies are constantly invented to make this lifestyle an easier and more accessible option.

There are over 200,000 households in the United States that are off-the-grid. The trend of this is growing so much that many communities have formed around the idea of a self-sustainable lifestyle. Take the Three Rivers Recreation Area, located in central Oregon. Three hundred homes strong, this community is made up of huge mansions, modest cabins, and even a smattering of yurts. The houses may represent a wide socioeconomic spectrum, but every one of them is self-sustainable. Far from cooking dinner over the open fire, its residents enjoy every amenity you would expect in a modern home, from wireless internet to radios. By living in Three Rivers, homeowners get to enjoy the rural atmosphere and rest easy that they aren’t making a negative imprint on the planet.

off the grid home
image courtesy of W.L. Tarbert

Naturally, there are logistics to consider. Those who opt for this lifestyle need to get their home decked out with all of the trappings to make living off-the-grid a fun and viable option. It takes time; but it is also surprisingly obtainable. You can also use Off-Grid’s Land Buddy map to find people in your area who can help you make your home self-sufficient.

Going completely off the grid is a big leap – so start with small steps. Test taking one room off the grid, using Treehugger’s helpful guide. You might just find yourself inspired to continue the trend for the rest of your home!

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