How to Live Off the Grid in the City
When people envision someone who lives off the grid, they might conjure up a leathery cowhand or a hermit squirreled away in the rocky countryside. Their first thought probably isn't someone living in a four-story walkup. It's true, off-grid living in the city is rare. But it does happen, and more often than you think.
Keep reading, and we'll clue you into how to live off the grid in the city is possible and how you can prepare to do it yourself.
What is Living Off Grid?
Nowadays, living off the grid indicates cutting ties with public utilities. So rather than societal isolation, going off grid is an isolation from the electric, water, and sewer companies. You can do this even in a densely populated area; all it takes is installing systems that wean you off of public infrastructure and resources.
Off-grid living is all about achieving a more independent life. Some do it for the ecological benefit, others because they're tired of dealing with utility companies. But whatever your reason, it can happen wherever even in the depths of a concrete jungle.
There's also a financial benefit. People often save thousands every year by going off the grid, and that's not to mention the lower stress levels from depending on unstable or inadequate public utility systems. Sound too good to be true? Let's look into how it's possible.
Your Guide on How to Live Off Grid in the City
City-based off-gridding looks different depending on location. But the below steps offer a basic guide to slipping the grid and finding a more independent life within city limits.
Know local, state, and federal regulations
Unfortunately, not every city allows off-grid systems; most cities won't allow you to disconnect from sewerage and water for health reasons. And places like New York City don't even allow off-grid energy. Not all cities are this strict, but it's likely impossible to go off the grid entirely.
Always research the laws relevant to the area you plan to go off grid in. From there, begin estimating the scope you want to go off grid. If you only want to go partially off grid, there likely is a way to achieve that almost anywhere. Also, hopping off grid is much easier if you've paid off your mortgage because you have more control, given the complete ownership of your property.
Make sure you have enough space
Cities, as we know, are cramped. Because of this, you'll likely face spacial limitations when building your urban off-grid paradise. For example, there may not be room to install enough solar panels to power home appliances adequately. Or, perhaps you lack the acreage to build a large enough garden to feed you and your family year-round.
Always evaluate your space and seek expert advice to evaluate if your space will work. But also, don't be afraid to get innovative. There are plenty of great ways to maximize your space with enough creativity.
Harvesting off-grid energy
After nailing down logistics and legal issues, start taking practical steps. The best way to achieve energy independence within cities is by solar panels. But remember, if your city has heavy smog or air pollution, it limits the effectiveness of your solar panels.
Invest in a powerful and efficient set of panels for the best results. Also, remember to clean them frequently, given they get dirtier faster in cities, and cleaning improves energy production.
No more stale tap water
Harvesting rainwater is the most popular way to get off-grid water in city areas. You can buy a rain-catching system but don't forget to invest in top-notch filtration. City rain faces higher pollution rates, and drinking rainwater untreated or filtered can be toxic.
Living in the city, a garden will likely serve as supplemental food. But gardening is still a great way to eat healthily and save money. And you may find ways to plant a larger garden than you think by using a vertical gardening strategy or container planting. However, always beware of any air or soil pollutants before growing vegetables; it's always wise to test this before planting.
Other methods for food, such as raising chickens, depends entirely on local laws. Some city areas might allow small livestock, although it's rare and something you must check the legality of before pursuing.
Take Your City-Dwelling Off Grid Today
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