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07/11/2017 Off-the-grid - Wikipedia

Off-the-grid
Off-the-grid is a system and lifestyle[1] designed to help people function without the support of remote
infrastructure, such as an electrical grid. In electricity, off-grid can be stand-alone power system or mini-grids
typically to provide a smaller community with electricity.

Off-grid electrification is an approach to access electricity used in countries and areas with little access to electricity,
due to scattered or distant population. The term off-the-grid (OTG) can refer to living in a self-sufficient manner
without reliance on one or more public utilities. People who adopt this lifestyle are called off-gridders.[2]

Off-the-grid homes are autonomous; they do not rely on municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power
grid, or similar utility services. A true off-grid house is able to operate completely independently of all traditional
public utility services.

Contents
1 In popular culture
2 Electrical power
3 Water and sanitation
4 Popularity
5 Community
6 Environmental impact
6.1 Environmental concerns in Canadian off-grid communities
7 Economic consideration
8 Off-grid Photovoltaic
9 Africa
10 See also
11 Gallery
12 References
13 External links

In popular culture
The idea has been recently popularized by certain celebrities including Ed Begley, Jr.[3] who stars in the Living with
Ed[4] television show on the Home & Garden Television (HGTV) network. Actress Daryl Hannah promotes off-grid
living and constructed her home in Colorado according to those principles, as does survival expert and Dual Survival
co-star Cody Lundin,[5] who lives in a self-designed, passive solar earth house in the high-desert wilderness of
Northern Arizona, collecting rainwater, composting waste, and paying nothing for utilities.[6][7]

Electrical power
Electrical power can be generated on-site with renewable energy sources such as solar (particularly with
photovoltaics), wind, micro hydro, geothermal; with a generator or Micro combined heat and power with adequate
fuel reserves. Such a system is called a stand-alone power system or sometimes referred to as a Hybrid power system.

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In addition, it is possible to simply eliminate electric power such as in Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite
communities.

Water and sanitation


Self-supply of water and sanitation is possible to be independent of municipal water supply and sanitation services.

On-site water sources can include a well, stream, tank, or lake. Depending on the water source, this may include
pumps and/or filtration. Rainwater can also be harvested. Filters can be advanced running off an energy source of
boiling and storage.

Off-the-grid houses are not connected to a sewer system, but may instead rely on various types of dry toilets, such as
composting toilets or urine-diverting dry toilets.

Popularity
On 13 April 2006, USA Today reported that there were "some 180,000 families living off-grid, a figure that has
jumped 33% a year for a decade," and cited Richard Perez, publisher of Home Power Magazine,[8] as the source.[9]

Assuming the same rate of growth, there would be a quarter million off-grid households in the United States by late
2007. Because many Third World citizens have never had the chance to go on the grid, current estimates are that 1.7
billion people live off-grid worldwide.[10] A wave of TV shows and articles came out after the publication of "Off the
Grid, Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government and True Independence in Modern America" by Nick
Rosen in 2010.[11]

Community
The concept of a sustainable off-grid community must take into
consideration the basic needs of all who live in the community. To become
truly self-sufficient, the community would need to provide all of its own
electrical power, food, shelter and water. Using renewable energy, an on-
site water source, sustainable agriculture and vertical farming techniques is
paramount in taking a community off the grid. A recent concept design by
Eric Wichman shows a multi-family community, which combines all of Off Grid Community Concept by Eric
Wichman
these technologies into one self-sufficient neighborhood. To grow the
community you simply add neighborhoods using the same model as the
first. A self-sustained community reduces its impact on the environment by controlling its waste and carbon footprint.

Environmental impact
The State of California is encouraging solar and wind power generation that is connected to the electrical grid to avoid
the use of toxic lead acid batteries for night time storage.[12] Grid-tie systems are generally less expensive than off-grid
systems due to the lack of additional equipment like charge controllers and the batteries. However, some systems may
mitigate this difference by using old car batteries that can no longer supply enough current to start a car.[13]

It is often done to residential buildings only occasionally occupied, such as vacation cabins, to avoid high initial costs
of traditional utility connections. Other persons choose to live in houses where the cost of outside utilities is
prohibitive, or such a distance away as to be impractical. In his book How to live off-grid Nick Rosen lists seven
reasons for going off-grid. The top two are saving money, and reducing the carbon footprint. Others include
survivalists, preparing for the collapse of the oil economy and bringing life back to the countryside.[11]

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Environmental concerns in Canadian off-grid communities


Canada has about 175 aboriginal and northern off-grid communities, defined as "a community that is neither
connected to the North American electrical grid nor to the piped natural gas network; it is permanent or long-term (5
years or more), and the settlements have at least 10 permanent buildings."[14] Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada lists the following environmental concerns for these off-grid communities:

Burning large amounts of diesel produces substantial greenhouse gas emissions. This contributes to
climate change which negatively affects communities.
Fuel must be transported long distances by airplane, truck or barge, leading to a greater risk of fuel
spills.
The transportation of fuel by trucks on winter roads impacts the environment negatively through high
greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicles.
Fuel spills may take place while the fuel is being transported and stored, posing environmental risks.
Fuel tank leaks contaminate soil and groundwater ...
Generators can be noisy and disruptive, especially in quiet, remote communities.
Emissions from diesel generators could contribute to health problems in community members.[14]

Economic consideration
In situations where grid parity has been reached, it becomes cheaper to generate one's own electricity rather than
purchasing it from the grid. This depends on equipment costs, the availability of renewable energy sources (wind,
sun), and the cost of a grid connection. For example, in certain remote areas a grid connection would be prohibitively
expensive, resulting in grid parity being reached immediately.

Off-grid Photovoltaic
The photovoltaic off-grid market has been researched by international institutes, universities and market research
companies. The cumulative installed PV capacity is estimated in 2010 between 1 and 2 GW[15] depending on the
source. The market research company Infinergia has gone further by mapping national cumulative installed off-grid
PV capacity on 100 countries worldwide.[16]

Africa
In Africa, small and inexpensive pico solar electric lights and solar home systems are becoming readily available.
Inexpensive solar panels, lithium ion batteries and high-efficiency LED lights make the systems affordable.

See also
Anarcho-primitivism
Autonomous building
Back-to-the-land movement
Battery charger
Domestic energy consumption
Distributed generation
Electrical grid
Inverter
Microgeneration
Rural electrification
Simple living
Solar charge controller
Solar Guerrilla
Stand-alone power system

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Sungevity
Survivalism
Wide area synchronous grid
Zero energy building

Gallery

Incomplete DIY Wind A PV-solar system Schematic of an active solar


generator system heating system

A HVAC heat pump system Treatment ponds can be used Heat and cold storage may
for purifying water be combined with heat
pumps for use in the
domestic greenhouse or to
heat the house itself

References
1. Vanini, Phillip (2014). Off the Grid: Re-Assembling Domestic Life. p. 10.
2. Adey, Peter (2014). The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities. p. 117.
3. TheRenewablePlanet.com (http://www.therenewableplanet.com/green/celebs/ed-begley-jr.aspx)
4. livingwithed.net (http://www.livingwithed.net/)
5. off-grid.net (http://www.off-grid.net/index.php?p=313)
6. Stanley, John (November 1, 2007). "Survival guide aimed at complacent urbanites" (http://www.azcentral.com/trav
el/arizona/features/articles/1101cody1102.html). The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
7. Lundin, Cody. "About Cody Lundin" (http://www.codylundin.com/bio.html). Retrieved 2012-08-07.
8. Home Power Magazine (http://www.homepower.com/home/)
9. USA Today (https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/USAToday/access/1020707911.html?dids=1020707911:1020707911&F
MT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Apr+13%2C+2006&author=Paul+Davidson&pub=USA+TODAY&edition=&startp
age=B.1&desc=Off+the+grid+or+on%2C+solar+and+wind+power+gain+%3B+Incentives%2C+savings+push+mo
re+families+to+renewable+energy)
10. Modern Ghana News (http://www.modernghana.com/news/164812/1/17bn-people-live-in-darkness.html)
11. Rosen, Nick. Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence.
Penguin. ISBN 0143117386.
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12. California Solar Energy (PV) Rebate Information: The New California Solar Initiative Program (http://www.beyond
oilsolar.com/carebate.htm)
13. African Town Gets Wind Power and Knowledge (http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/02/
african-town-gets-wind-power-and-knowledge-51394)
14. "Off-Grid Communities" (http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1314295992771/1314296121126). Aboriginal Affairs
and Northern Development Canada. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
15. "IEA PV Roadmap" (http://www.iea.org/papers/2010/pv_roadmap.pdf) (PDF). IEA. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
16. "Photovoltaic off-grid map" (http://www.infinergia.com/en/node/105). Infinergia Consulting. Retrieved 2012-04-14.

External links
VelaCreations - a documentation of a couple living off-grid for more than a decade (http://velacreations.com)
Smithsonian magazine interview about living off-grid (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/interview-do
ug-fine-200803.html)
West Texas Weekly article on John Wells' life off the grid (http://westtexasweekly.com/field-lab-john-wells/)
Off Grid World - a website dedicated to providing free information for those who wish to live off the grid (http://offgr
idworld.com)
Into the wild: the rebels living off-grid all over Europe in pictures (https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gall
ery/2015/mar/09/into-the-wild-the-rebels-living-off-grid-all-over-europe-in-pictures?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2).
"Theyve opted out of cities and started all-new rural lives, building their own straw homes, teepees and bath tubs.
Since 2010, photographer Antoine Bruy has travelled from the Pyrenees to Romania tracking down urban
refuseniks." The Guardian
Offgrid Mazagine (http://offgridweb.com/)

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