Living off the grid is an attractive concept to several tiny home dwellers. It signifies an added layer of freedom. Living ‘tiny’ grants liberty from hefty 25+ years of mortgage repayments, and the bonus of no more spending on utilities.
Yes, there’s an initial investment cost required, but it pays off in the future. Off the grid living allows the freedom of location. It’s no longer necessary to be within reach of municipal utilities. To many people, “off the grid” also suggests off the radar in terms of urban zoning concerns.
Plus living off-grid is a self-reliant lifestyle. It empowers us to potentially cater to all of our basic needs with just the land that we live on.
The Main Components of an Off-The-Grid Tiny Home
Typically, the first step to moving off-grid is to purchase land. But with a tiny home lifestyle, this expensive venture isn’t even needed. Your off-the-grid tiny home can be in either an urban environment or a remote natural setting. Next come the basic necessities, which we will list down here:
Power Sources for Off-Grid Homes
One advantage of tiny homes with regards to solar energy is that the solar array can be placed on a wheeled wagon, positioned in full sun, while the tiny house resides in the shade.
And if it’s worth it, both the home and the solar cart can be relocated seasonally within the plot to optimise shade and solar accumulation, respectively.
Adopting wind power is very location-dependent. You will need to be aware of your geographical position on the land. But a few daily hours of winds can make for a valuable partial or back-up source of power. Wind turbines can be loud, so take that into consideration, along with how close they will need to be to your tiny home.
Alternative energy sources do not generate output continuously. A battery bank is necessary to store electricity, so the ice cream doesn’t melt because the sun isn’t shining. Batteries do need maintenance, so do your research to find the most efficient when factoring in off the grid living.
Heating for Off-The-Grid Homes
Electric space heaters are commonly high-wattage and not the best choice for an alternative energy source. Instead, look to options that are fueled by propane, wood, or of course, the sun.
Heating with wood stoves is the conventional choice for off-grid living. Luckily, it takes a comparatively small wood supply to retain warmth in a tiny home with good insulation. There are several small wood stoves available that are suitable as off-the-grid tiny home solutions.
Cooling for Off-Grid Homes
If there’s a possibility to place the tiny home in a manner to take advantage of shade and steady breezes, by all means, do it. Employing shading devices such as awnings can also help. And in slightly moderate climates, using fans can keep the temperatures indoors tolerable.
But in certain circumstances, these provisions won’t be sufficient, and an air conditioning unit might be an inevitability. Swamp coolers are an alternative for arid areas, but the moisture instantly becomes a real concern for tiny homes positioned in humid climates.
Water Supply for Off-Grid Homes
The easiest, most rustic choice is to draw water to your tiny home, then store it in conveniently-sized vessels, and heat it on the wood stove. This method might require a gravity-powered shower or even sponge baths.
Bulk water delivery demands water storage tanks that accommodate the local weather. If the area experiences biting cold temperatures and the water is to be placed outdoors, then think about using either a below-ground water tank (i.e. below the frost line) or a water tank heater suited for outdoor use.
A water pump offers tank water usage that is much more convenient, carrying the water throughout the home and even pressurizing it. The water pump would also be a necessary component of the system for a tiny home solution, including an on-site water source like a ‘well’ for example. Test the natural water reservoirs for contaminants before utilizing the water, and filter as needed.
Composting for Off-Grid Homes
An outhouse toilet is a valid approach, but what if you want the toilet right inside your tiny house? We have a unique recommendation for you.
And that is utilizing a composting toilet. It’s cheap, manageable, and as comfortable as modern toilets are. It also gives you an outstanding solution for the disposal of excrement – namely the useful purpose as manure.
Rather than using water to flush it out, this sort of toilet uses a fan to vent the dampness outside, and to dry and shrink the solids.
Off the grid living isn’t for everyone. It requires sacrifices, a strict rethinking of lifestyle habits geared towards conservation, extra initial outlay in costings, and at points, a lot of hard work. But for those who are eager and prepared, the advantages are more than worth all of that.
Once provisions are in place for off the grid homes by providing for the basic necessities, there are no more dependencies on utility companies, governments, or other outside authorities. The prizes of freedom, self-sufficiency, and the fulfillment of living gently on the land can’t be surpassed.