Do you want to minimize your carbon footprint? How about freeing yourself from the control of monopolizing utility companies? And how does escaping the oversight of local government sound to you? If this is all appealing, then you might be ready to live off the grid. This guide will help you find the best locales to live a Robinson Crusoe-style life.
One of the least work-intensive ways to live off the grid is to buy a home that is already off the grid. This will save you the time and energy it takes to install solar power cells, dig and connect a septic tank and build an entire house. For example, there is a 3,600-square foot mansion on the back of Aspen Mountain in Colorado. The house comes with a geothermal system for hot water and heating and a 5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system for electricity. But such homes come at a pretty steep price; the Aspen home has a multimillion-dollar price tag.
Sometimes the best place to live off the grid isn't a permanent location at all. Off-the-grid RVs are becoming a popular choice for the environmentally conscious person who is also mindful of his or her money. These RVs, which can include bathrooms with showers, fully operating kitchens, multiple bedrooms and common areas, typically run on such environmentally friendly chemicals as vegetable oil, a fuel which can easily be gleaned from byproducts of the residents' food supply. One drawback of the RV method is that it often has limited capacity in its hot water tanks, turning the use of the shower or washing dishes into a carefully timed activity. But these eco-friendly vehicles are a much cheaper alternative to permanent residences, generally costing less than $200,000 for a decent model.
If you want to live off the grid, but you don't like the thought of living in a location far removed from the rest of society, then an off-the-grid community may be the place for you. Dancing Rabbit, in Missouri, is quite possibly the most well-known such community in the world. The approximately 40 residents of this small village have dedicated their lives to building and maintaining a community equipped with cutting edge, off-the-grid technology. Food is grown in organic gardens, electricity is generated by an array of solar panels and wind turbines, drinking and cleaning water comes from a rain-collection system and buildings are made of earthen materials. Other such "ecovillages" include Arcosanti in Arizona, Cobb Hill in Vermont and White Hawk in New York.
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