Off grid living is gradually gaining popularity as people grow more aware of their impact on the environment and hope to live a greener lifestyle. While you certainly don't have to disconnect your house from utilities completely, there are a few things you can do to start producing your own electricity, water and heat. Solar panels, rainwater harvesting and wood burners are all simple to fit and over the course of their lifetime will prove excellent value for money. While there may be an upfront cost, your energy bills will decrease and you may even be paid for the surplus electricity you produce. In the long term, these investments will certainly pay for themselves.
Photovoltaic Solar Panels
One of the myths surrounding solar panels is that they will only work with bright direct sunshine. This isn’t true: all a solar panel needs is daylight, so they will work even on a cloudy day in the UK. A south-facing roof is the best place for photovoltaic solar panels as they will be exposed to light all day long but a west, or south-west facing roof will also provide plenty of energy.Adding solar panels is also a good way to future-proof your home. Solar panels are a great technology that will help you to generate electricity to power your whole house even when there are power cuts in your area. They will also add value should you decide to sell up and move on.
In the UK, we all take water for granted, after all, it’s literally falling from the sky most of the year! You might think that rainwater harvesting is going a bit too far, but actually, it is a great way to save money as well as conserve water. All you need is a roof for the rain to fall on and water storage tanks to collect it in. You don’t even have to see your tanks as they can be buried in your garden without too much fuss. Plus, you can store drinking water as well as process water (for your toilet). Whether you collect rainwater exclusively for your garden, or want to use it in your house, this is a brilliant investment to make.
Wood Burning Stove
The wood burning stove is such a romantic idea - logs crackling in the grate, you gathered around with blankets and hot chocolates… But actually, wood burning stoves are also excellent for heating your whole house without using a single fossil fuel. All you need to do is connect it to your boiler or underfloor heating. You will need to check that your area will allow you to use a woodburning stove to heat your house and make sure that any stove you do buy complies with building regulations before you start. Once you are good to go, all you have to do is supply your burner with wood logs, chips and pellets to stay toasty.So there you have it, three ways to supplement your house’s electric, water and heating needs as well as edging a bit closer to off-grid life.
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