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Old 12-03-2015, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,691 posts, read 49,476,475 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
Ummm ... this isn't an "East Coast" phenomenon. Tens of millions of people have perfectly reliable power all along the East Coast except when there's a hurricane or particularly nasty nor'easter, and the most impacted are those who live closest to the coast. Maybe it's a Maine phenomenon, but my guess is that Portland and its suburbs has decent power. You just chose to live in a rural area with crappy, unreliable power.
That is possible.

When I came here shopping for land to build on, most properties I looked at were parcels where the nearest grid power is miles away from the parcel. Getting an easement to install power poles and then running the wire is often more costly than buying the land.



Quote:
... Most people I know who live out in the country around here don't have generators to provide emergency power because we have adequate and reliable electrical service. We get high winds and heavy snow regularly, and our local power lines are built to withstand both. Unless a tree takes out a power line or a lightning strike fries a transformer, you don't lose power.
This state is over 92% forest. With every wind trees blow down and they pull down the wires. I do not think that snow has any effect on power outages.



Quote:
... That said, what happens to your reliable solar power during periods of extended cloudiness, which is a major factor in limiting the effectiveness of solar power generation in almost all of the Great Lakes, Northeast, and New England from about November through March?
We owned a home in Washington state for 5 years, granted most of my time was spent living underwater, but they get far less sunny skies than what we have seen here in New England in the past 8 years.

For most of the winter, we get one storm each week, followed by 5 or 6 days of clear sunny skies, until the next storm blows thorough.

We are new to solar power having just shifted to it in October. We are still adjusting our lifestyle, to me this is more reliable, because I know that on the next sunny day I will have lots of power again. You just do not have any predictability with the grid here.
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Old 12-03-2015, 06:38 PM
 
215 posts, read 141,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6.7traveler View Post
...
You can really come out ahead if you can find land without restrictive building codes and build alternatively (earthbag,strawbale,cordwood,adobe, etc).
...
Then we built a geodesic dome home ourselves for approx $5k.
...
Between solar and wind and batteries and propane appliances, you really don't have to rough it and it doesn't have to be expensive.
...
Working less and for myself, not having the stress of lots of bills, living in a beautiful area with mountains, good neighbors, no stresses of the bigger cities, no restrictive rules and extra money in my pocket really works for me.
Do you have any favorite resources, books, sites guiding on how to do all this?
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Old 12-03-2015, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,840 posts, read 2,757,973 times
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^ YouTube and google . If you google any of the above about strawbale, cordwood or earthbag or geodesic dome building, etc all the best sites will be on the first page. Then after that the best way to learn is just to jump in and do it yourself. They may also have alternative building (strawbale, cordwood, earthbags, Adobe, etc) "workshops" in your area. I've never attended one as I don't like having to pay for performing manual labor .
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:57 PM
 
13,093 posts, read 13,696,928 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeliber View Post
Do you have any favorite resources, books, sites guiding on how to do all this?
Find people who have built or are building alternative homes such as straw bale, log cabin, yurt, ask if you can visit their sites, watch them build, help them build, you will learn a lot. most are happy to share what they know and answer questions. I know a woman in her 50s ( an elementary school teacher) with no building experience whatsoever who decided one day she was going to build a house, she bought some land, first got a teepee and lived in that while she built her straw bale house, then she lived in her straw bale house while she designed and built her frame house, then she added a yurt to her land, all this she learned on her own by doing. She also did not have a lot of money. She foraged for scrap building materials at the dump, and scrounged from what other people discarded.
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Old 12-03-2015, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Land of the Great Bears
3,498 posts, read 1,923,300 times
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Off grid means what it says: Off the electrical grid. It may also include lack of other public utilities, or not.
With some locations in Alaska and Hawaii, and certainly other states too, living off the grid is a requirement, rather than an option. And as previously mentioned, cheaper, more remote land has great appeal to many.

In places where grid power is available, some people choose to live off the grid for various reasons. For example, on the island of Hawaii electricity costs over 40 cents/kwh and is generated with diesel fuel. Dirty and expensive is a great incentive for looking to the sky for power. Actually, many of these urban folks with their own solar system are still hooked into the grid, they're just generating their own power rather than paying for the utility to provide it to them.

Sacrifice? Most rural solar users do not use anywhere near as much electricity as the average American household does, but they could if their system was big enough.
I think that stepping down consumption is usually a lifestyle choice rather than an economic dictate.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:08 PM
 
2,542 posts, read 5,995,235 times
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Most of you are mixing up the terms "off-grid" and "homesteading." Off grid simply means you are not tied into the electric system, creating and storing all your electricity on site via solar panels/wind turbines/hydroelectricity and some very expensive batteries. Many people are able to produce most of their own electricity, but are still tied in so they don't have to purchase the expensive batteries.

Homesteading is a very general term, but basically meaning a person is trying to be as self sufficient as possible. There is a huge variety of people who consider themselves homesteaders: urban, suburban, rural, wilderland, tied in, off grid, hippies, tea baggers, retired folk, 20 somethings.... you get the picture. Some only garden and raise chickens. Some do the whole shebang.

And then there are preppers, which is a whole added layer.
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Old 12-03-2015, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, PA
14,676 posts, read 9,733,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6.7traveler View Post

To me, the main attractions to living off grid are financial freedom and having to work less.
If living off the gird just means producing your own electricity, it doesn’t make a dent in our budget. $200 a month is what I am spending now. Our phone bill alone is higher. What about gas for the car, propane or natural gas, clean water, internet, TV, etc? In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think just cutting off from the electric grid is that liberating.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:06 PM
 
2,542 posts, read 5,995,235 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
If living off the gird just means producing your own electricity, it doesn’t make a dent in our budget. $200 a month is what I am spending now. Our phone bill alone is higher. What about gas for the car, propane or natural gas, clean water, internet, TV, etc? In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think just cutting off from the electric grid is that liberating.
That is the problem for mass adoption of solar panels--the initial outlay time. For this reason, many people decide to obtain enough panels to produce all the electricity they need, but still stay tied in. The batteries really are a good chunk of change. It also depends on your current electricity costs at the unit level. Some areas have much more expensive per watt cost than others. As you also stated, personal budgets play a role. I don't have a car payment, or cable, my phone is $10 a month. All of a sudden the electric bill jumps up higher on the bill list. Now imagine someone who doesn't have a mortgage(or extremely low payment), and it makes more sense.

Of course, I believe the for most reason a majority of off grid households chose that route is to do their part (at least some of it) to lesson the use of coal and such.

It definitely is a very personal decision with a lot of factors.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:48 PM
 
Location: Land of the Great Bears
3,498 posts, read 1,923,300 times
Reputation: 3810
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
If living off the gird just means producing your own electricity, it doesn’t make a dent in our budget. $200 a month is what I am spending now. Our phone bill alone is higher. What about gas for the car, propane or natural gas, clean water, internet, TV, etc? In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think just cutting off from the electric grid is that liberating.
Don't forget about the rest of what 6.7traveler said:

"On our latest property we live on in Alaska, we bought 10 acres, 20 miles outside of town for $10k,"


That's the liberating part. No big mortgage, no big rent payment.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:00 AM
 
4,586 posts, read 4,624,911 times
Reputation: 4358
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyRider View Post
I by no means have a “green” lifestyle but I do drop in here every once in a while to learn a thing or two. My greenness goes as far as not wasting energy or other natural resources but I am not putting myself through hardship just to be green. This brings me to living “off the grid”. First of all, what does it exactly mean? Does it refer to just electricity or all modern amenities? Given the normal needs of human beings, is it even possible to disconnect from the world? Do you have to live in a cabin in the woods to live off the grid?
Go watch Railroad Alaska on Destination America! Eye opener.
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