Living off the grid is a really trendy topic right now, with more people looking for ways to become less dependent on local monopolies for their power and water supply. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that yo have to give up all of your worldly possessions and go live in a shack in the woods. If that’s what you want, more power to you, but there are other ways to break the hold of power monopolies don’t require such a drastic lifestyle change.
Easing Off the Power
Studies show that more than half of your utility expenses are from electricity alone. Any little bit that you can do to cut down on your dependence is going to create a savings in both money and resources. You can choose to install a system that completely fulfills your power requirements, or a hybrid system that allows some parts of your home to operate off the grid, while using a company to supply the rest. An example of this is having a solar power to run your electricity, and using a municipal supplier for natural gas for water heaters and stoves.
The most common ways that homeowners are saving power is by installing on-demand, or tankless, water heating systems that heat water at the source, and only as much water as is needed. The initial investment costs more than updating your traditional water heater, but the savings over time are worth it.
Solar panels are by far the most popular option,a dn technology has made them more affordable and less obtrusive than ever. Some municipalities will even ‘buy back’ your excess power to supply to other customers, and tax credits for installation are also a good incentive. Other option are hydraulic power and wind turbines.
Determining which type of alternative energy source requires a little forethought and planning. One consideration is your climate, another is the overall power requirements for your home. If you live in an area that has relatively low sun exposure, a pole-mounted solar array that adjusts directionally may help, or you should consider a back-up source, like wind power. Wind turbines are not an ideal solution in areas that are subject to frequent high winds or where wind currents are obscured by the local topography.
Stream Energy is an example of a company that’s putting power back into the hands of the people by making it possible for entrepreneurial-minded individuals to get into the power business. Instead of relying solely on your local power company, consumers in several states now have a choice in who they deal with. When individuals own the company instead of a corporation, we all have a say in the process.