- Living off-grid saves 90% of energy and water usage compared to normal homes
- 75,000 people are now living off-grid in the UK
- Going off-grid could save up to £990.80 a year in utilities alone
The Benefits of an Off-Grid Lifestyle
More people are choosing this lifestyle than ever before. In the UK alone, it is thought that 75,000 people are now living off-grid. While becoming completely self-sufficient isn’t an option for many people, the dream of a less stressful life is alluring.
Stepping away from today's consumer-driven society and consumption economy which drives so many of our decisions, is tempting. The number of people trying to incorporate some of the benefits of living off-grid into their more modern lifestyle is on the rise.
Reducing your impact on the environment can also save you money. There are now recycling and reducing wastage schemes that can help cut costs dramatically.
What Is Living Off Grid?
Living off-grid is about becoming completely self-sufficient and removing yourself from many of the constraints of a modern lifestyle and can also save you money in both the short and long term. Disconnecting from the electricity grid, water supply and gas mains, means finding a different way to supply yourself with the power and utilities you need. The ways in which you can do this are often more financially economical and eco-friendly.
But you don't have to cut yourself off from the world to make the most of the money-saving benefits of off-grid living. Here we take a look at the off-grid lifestyle and consider how these things can be applied to a life lived on-the-grid.
You Could Halve Your Utility Costs Every Year
Simple Ways To Start Living Like You’re Off-Grid
Let’s take some of the most common utility bills for the UK; electric, gas, broadband and water. You may not be able to dig your own well or create WiFi where there isn't any, but there are some fairly simple adjustments that can have a massive effect on both your energy consumption and your bills.
Electricity to Solar Panels (save £294)
One of the most popular methods for a household to create its own electricity is by using solar panels. With government grants and incentives, the one-off installation fee can be minimal. And you’ll be saving on your regular monthly bills too.
Gas to Wood Burning Stove (save £192)
Buying and installing a wood burning stove can cost as much as £3,500, or as little as £750, depending on the type and make you go for. However, the investment is well worth it. Go for a new, eco-friendly burner and you’ll be reducing particle emissions by 90% compared to an open fire and 80% compared to an old stove type. The cost of materials to burn is far less than gas and if you insulate your house well, the savings will go even further. The bigger and better the system, the more you’ll be able to use it for, including heating the water in your boiler, cooking, underfloor heating and secondary heating to other rooms.
Broadband to Free WiFi (save £202.80)
We’re so used to being “connected” every second of the day, but it’s really not necessary. Unless you need to be online for work or your gaming or TV and movie streaming is an essential part of your life, then the internet doesn’t need to be something you pay for. Many coffee shops and public places now offer free WiFi, so the ability to get online has never been easier. If you need access to a computer, there are also lots of internet cafes or libraries that allow you to log on for free.
Water Saving Techniques (save £286)
Cutting off your shower just 1 minute earlier could save you up to £120 a year for an average four-person household. Simple and easy steps like reusing bath and dishwater for the garden, fixing dripping taps and using a water-saving showerhead can save even more. A water saving kit, usually consisting of 5 methods is available for free from most water authorities. You just have to contact them and ask for it. These kits regularly save households an average of £110 per year and 37,000 litres of water.
Off Grid Living is Good for the Mind
Living off-grid can also have benefits for your mental health. A daily routine that is hectic and stressful with countless demands on your time and energy can increase the sense of anxiety.
At any one time, it’s estimated that more than 300 million people have depression, according to the World Health Organisation- that’s about 4% of the world’s population. Although depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors, research from Mind has shown that “ecotherapy” offers benefits to mental health and wellbeing.
Also known as green therapy, this includes things like gardening, growing your own food and environmental conservation work. These are all elements of an off-grid lifestyle that can be fused into your own style of living.
Escape The Rat Race for Greater Wellbeing
Getting away from the rat race doesn’t have to involve moving far away.
Introducing elements of an off the grid lifestyle will mean getting away from the constant use of technology and spending more time on yourself. Enjoying hobbies will help you appreciate experiences rather than things and growing your own veg will increase your awareness of consumption.
Mind explains that money and mental health are often connected so learning to reduce your spending and escape the constant buzz of consumerism can be good for your wellbeing as well as your wallet.
The UK’s Clean Growth Strategy
As part of the UKs Clean Growth Strategy, the UK Government has promised to cut greenhouse gas levels by 80% by 2050. Within this initiative, gas used for heating and cooking will be phased out over the next 30 years and replaced by low-carbon alternatives.
One highly popular, low carbon alternative, is a heat pump. They can save you over 50% on heating costs compared to conventional methods and have a long list of other benefits, including:
- Lower energy bills
- No risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Twice the lifespan of a traditional boiler
- Automatically adjust to maintain desired room temperatures
- Reduced carbon footprint
Reduced CO2 Emissions from Heat Pumps
To generate 1000kWh of heat, the following boilers will create this much carbon dioxide.
While living off-grid can look daunting, there are a lot of benefits that can be incorporated into the modern day world. Despite technology often being seen as the enemy of this style of living, it’s actually making it a lot easier, with many gadgets and initiatives helping people to recycle, save waste and live a more economical and sustainable life. With so many benefits and multiple ways to get started, maybe it’s time to give the off-grid lifestyle a try.