A guide to off-grid living
Off-grid living is on the rise in the UK, but how do you go about creating an off-grid lifestyle, and how easy is it?
Off-grid means different things to different people – from living in a home without a mains power supply to leaving conventional society altogether, and lots of variations in between – but the one thing most off-grid converts have in common is a desire to follow a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle.
But how easy is it to live off-grid in the UK, and how do you go about it?
Know the limitations
The first thing to point out is that living completely off-grid in the UK is pretty difficult, if not impossible. Although you can find alternative power sources, you may still need access to running water and sanitation, and, believe it or not, you will still have to pay council tax.
Another difficulty is finding suitable land that is both available and affordable. If you do manage to find land you will also have to negotiate local planning restrictions before you can begin creating your new home.
However, while living totally off the grid may not be possible, with careful planning and commitment, creating a lifestyle that is simpler and more eco-friendly is definitely achievable.
Alternative power supply
The first thing you need to think about is how you will power your new off-grid home. Unless you want to forgo your creature comforts altogether, you will need to find an alternative energy source. Renewable energies such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy are all great options, particularly when used in combination for greater efficiency. However, while the reliability of renewable energy has improved massively in recent years, there is still the danger that it could fail when you need it most. With this in mind, it makes sense to have a back-up power source for your home, such as a small generator or even one of the new batteries on the market that can power an entire home.
Depending on the type of home you are building, you will also need a power supply during construction, before the renewable energy technology is installed. In this instance, generator hire is often a good idea, enabling you to get the job done without a large financial commitment.
For many people, being self-sufficient and living off the land is one of the main draws of an off-grid lifestyle. If this kind of ethos appeals to you, you might want to consider how you can supply and grow your own food. With just a small bit of land you can grow staple vegetables or rear livestock for meat or dairy. You can also forage in nature for items such as berries and mushrooms – just be sure you know what you’re looking for! The bartering system also plays a large role, enabling you to build community links and gain access to a wider variety of foods.
Not for everyone
Living off-grid may not be for everyone and it’s not always straightforward. However, it is possible to a certain extent in the UK and it can offer a wide range of benefits, including lower stress, more flexibility and reduced environmental impact. So, if you’re looking for a challenge and a change of pace, why not give off-grid living a chance?