As most American homes waste 30% more electricity than efficient homes, there are lots of ways to make homes more eco-friendly. If you’re looking for off-grid power options, you’re going to be taking on the task of eliminating your dependence on outside power generating. This is a gargantuan task if you’ve never done it before and especially if you haven’t changed your home consumption.
Here are four ways to start going off-grid this year.
1. Go Solar
One of the best ways to jump into off-grid living is to try out solar power. Since there’s no shortage of sunlight in most inhabitable places on Earth, there are few good arguments against solar power. It’s so common that it’s almost synonymous with renewable energy.
With the help of some photo-voltaic solar panels, an inverter, and batteries to store the power, solar-powered systems provide a lot of electric power. If you have a lot of sun where you live, especially if it’s remote and off the grid, you can get a lot out of your system.
While it’s costly in some regards, you can power a lot of elements of your home without much hassle. It’s still challenging to power an entire home with just solar power. It could take decades for the average homeowner to generate enough power to see a positive return of selling back to the grid.
However, as we can all attest to, technology moves quickly and in unpredictable ways that lead to lower costs and increased efficiency. Increased technological efficiency is going to ensure that more power can be stored more easily. Rather than having to lose power with inefficient systems, you can ensure that you keep the power that you store.
2. Wind Electricity is Efficient
Before you start investing in wind power, call up your local weather service and see what the average wind speed is for your region. This lets you know how much energy you could be generating with a wind turbine. A slow wind speed means that you’re going to struggle to generate the power that will not only pay for your system, but allow you to store electricity.
When you know that average range of wind speed, you can determine how efficient a system is going to be. Wind speeds vary between national averages based on your topography so be sure that you take the time to ask about what you can expect in advance.
Size matters a lot when you’re choosing a turbine. If you get a small to medium turbine that’s around 400-watts, then you can only power a few appliances. You’ll have a four-foot rotor that gives you a little bit of power, which you might be able to store.
However, go bigger with a 10,000-watt turbine and you’ll be able to power the majority of your house. With a turbine this big, you’re going to be dealing with a 23-foot turbine that’s on a 100-foot tall tower. If you’re on a small plot of land, this might not work so well, but if you have a large rural area to spread out on, you could try something in the 7-foot range.
Learn about the pluses and minuses outside of the wind itself. Since there are so many moving parts, you’re going to deal with lots of maintenance and potential failure. Learn about the parts so that you can do some of the service on your own.
3. Microhydro is an Option
One of the options that’s most often overlooked in the world of renewable energy is the “microhydro” option. This requires a regular and fast running water system to generate electricity but if you’re positioned perfectly, you’re going to be able to generate lots of power.
The basic principle of this kind of power is when water goes from a high place to a lower position. Water flow has a lot of strength and when you put something that’s able to move and generate electricity in its path, you unlock lots of free power.
Microhydro electricity is more cost effective than many other types of power. They can produce up to 100 times more power than wind or solar. And given that they cost the same amount to set up, you’re going to get a major return on investment.
With the right source from the right stream or nearby water source, you’re going to get constant energy. Unlike solar and wind, which have serious downtime due to weather fluctuation, flowing water is constant. The only reason more people don’t use it is because of the fact that it’s hard to find the specific conditions for microhydro.
If you have a massive plot of land, setting up a system might be easy, If you’re near a water source, you could even modify your land a little bit to divert water through a microhydro system.
4. You Need To Adjust Your Expectations
One of the ways to prepare to go off the grid is to lower your power consumption. If you’re trying to use the same amount of energy that the average American home currently uses, it won’t happen. However, if you reduce your needs via tiny home living with a solar generator, you might be able to get totally off the grid.
Simplification is the key to going off-grid.
If you can lower your energy consumption by even a dollar, that’s three to five dollars less you need to spend to ensure that generate that power. If you want to use what you have more efficiently, you need to seek alternatives.
Rather than keeping all of your computer networking equipment plugged in 24/7, you could plug it in and unplug it at night. There are timed power supplies and power strips that you can set to keep them from running during hours you don’t need them. By making a few small efforts, you ensure that you’re able to meet your power needs easily.
Off-Grid Power Options Are Getting Cheaper
Where once off-grid power options were prohibitively expensive or required serious stinginess, they’re becoming more efficient. With that efficiency, the price is dropping as well.
Check out the latest energy-efficient home decor trends that are emerging around the world for more ways to lower your consumption.