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Old 12-08-2015, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
Has anyone on his death bed been heard saying I wish I had used less electricity?
Do you perceive that to be a goal of people who are off-grid?
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,336,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eascoaswing View Post
I've lived in all kinds of houses, in all kinds of weather; under a variety of circumstances. You know what appeals to me? Options.

If I can't pay the electric bill and they shut me off, damn if I want to be living in an all electric house. If the heat pump can't keep up with the weather outside, I want the added benefit of a secondary heat source to supplement it because cold sucks.Solar panels just make sense if it means I'm not paying another huge monthly bill to another company that can not guarantee service. We fork over thousands to companies for services and products that suck so I don't see how saving a bit somewhere can do any harm. Besides, until the gov't taxes the sun, it's free.I like the idea of being able to keep it simple and close to home. Know where my food comes from, who my neighbors are and things like that.

It would be nice to find a grey area between on and off grid IMO.
Agree. My furnace did die last winter, so I was without heat for much of a day. Luckily, I have electric heat in the sunroom and a couple of electric heaters, and my house is pretty tight and well insulated. It's why I'm looking for a backup heat source, which probably will be a gas stove or fireplace.

Many people in urban/suburban areas who install solar panels are also tied into the electric system. When the sun's out, they use their own power but at night, they can use the electric company's power. If it's really sunny, and they don't happen to be using much power, the excess power feeds into the electrical grid and they get credit for that power that they "sell" back to the utility.

There have a lot of advances in the efficiency of solar power components in recent years. Solar panels have become much cheaper, and they can produce more power with less sunlight, making solar power feasible in many areas where it wasn't just a few years ago, even in cloudy Upstate NY .
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Land of the Great Bears
3,498 posts, read 1,923,300 times
Reputation: 3810
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
Has anyone on his death bed been heard saying I wish I had used less electricity?
If your question is about any personal benefit that can be derived from using less electricity, I can think of two.

1. Less money spent on utilities allows more money to be spent on hobbies, travel, family etc.

2. Less electricity used may mean less of a contribution to pollution.

I can imagine that either or both could be important for some people. Can you?

Death bed-LOL. Not likely.
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Under the Redwoods
3,748 posts, read 6,155,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
Has anyone on his death bed been heard saying I wish I had used less electricity?
Keith Relf?
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Land of the Great Bears
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwlKaMyst View Post
Keith Relf?

Victor Frankenstein?
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:15 PM
 
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Well, I don't live off the grid, but the idea intrigues me - or at least the idea of living off the land. When I was a kid I was fascinated with the Little House On the Prairie Books/lifestyle, not realizing that my own grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents actually lived that lifestyle just a short distance from where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in Missouri. And once my parents retired they went back to their roots, moved back to the area and lived off the land themselves. Not off the grid - they did have electricity. But they raised their own cattle for meat and milked cows, planted gardens, had a well and an outside wood stove that heated the house and were pretty much self sufficient. I don't know if I could hack it, to tell you the truth, but the idea of trying intrigues me, especially if I could do it on the same land that my grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents homesteaded on (and about half of the land is still in the family, although not in MY hands).
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,336,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luzianne View Post
Well, I don't live off the grid, but the idea intrigues me - or at least the idea of living off the land. When I was a kid I was fascinated with the Little House On the Prairie Books/lifestyle, not realizing that my own grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents actually lived that lifestyle just a short distance from where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in Missouri. And once my parents retired they went back to their roots, moved back to the area and lived off the land themselves. Not off the grid - they did have electricity. But they raised their own cattle for meat and milked cows, planted gardens, had a well and an outside wood stove that heated the house and were pretty much self sufficient. I don't know if I could hack it, to tell you the truth, but the idea of trying intrigues me, especially if I could do it on the same land that my grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents homesteaded on (and about half of the land is still in the family, although not in MY hands).
A lot of people raised and living in urban/suburban areas romanticize rural living especially when it's tied into elements of subsistence agriculture. Having grown up on a working farm and known/been around farmers most of my life, I'll pass. Farming is a tough way to make a living, and subsistence type of agriculture requires lots more hand labor than most commercial agriculture. Add "off-grid" to the mix, and the work-load gets seriously onerous and the payback goes into the negative because of all the additional labor required.

A backyard garden and some chickens are one thing; attempting to raise enough crops and livestock to "live off the land" is another thing altogether.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:18 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,878 posts, read 70,665,916 times
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At the very least, it means living off the electrical grid, using solar or wind energy, or micro-hydro. You can have all the usual appliances, but powered by the renewable energy sources. (Yes, even fridges.)

At most, it means not hooked up to any utilities. The house might be served by hand-pumps at the sinks for water. Bathing water can be heated either by wood (Mexico has a lot of small hot water heaters heated by wood-burning), or via passive solar on the roof. It's not a bad way to live--just as comfortable as living on the grid.

Guess who will be better off when there's no more snowpack to feed meltwater into the rivers that have been powering hydroelectric generation, and the electrical system comes to a halt in regions dependent on that? Global warming will have a few surprises, some possibly sooner rather than later.
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Old 12-08-2015, 07:17 PM
 
3,668 posts, read 2,335,730 times
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In my area, rural east county San Diego it has been made near impossible to live legally off the grid. A reason for this is a little known consequence of the 2003 wild fires: As the cleanup scope was assessed, it was found that over 200 home burned that were relatively new, had full facilities, but had absolutely no record whatsoever of ever having been built, and mostly this was facilitated by the home being off grid. So regulation was put into place to stop that from ever happening again. You buy a raw piece of land, you want a well, in order to get a well you MUST get permanent electrical power. No generator, no solar. Until you get permanent electrical power on a site, you cannot legally have a street address assigned to your parcel. Because of a pro-green state law, you do not need a permit to build an off-grid solar system, but by county law, if you do so without a permit, you are not allowed to hook it to anything. If you want gen back up, you have to pay a $600 fee, and the county will, on a map draw a straight line to all your adjoining neighbors homes, where the line crosses your property boundary, a audio sensor will be temporarily placed, your generator turned on and the sound at any of the sensors cannot exceed 40 db. Same process is required for windmills.
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