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Elena's Not-So-Secret Diary


Modern Homesteading: How Homesteaders Are Using High Tech to Save Energy

ElenaWhat comes into your mind when you think about the word homestead? Giving up everything and traveling a thousand miles to live in an ascetic lifestyle?

Homesteaders don’t have to be stereotypes! You don’t have to move to the middle of nowhere to become a homesteader, and homesteading isn’t about living the life of someone in the old days.

The adaption to modern challenges is what separates the modern homesteaders from the old ones. And this article introduces 7 tech tools modern off-gridders are using to save energy (and money) – and you should too.

1. Solar Panels

Solar power is one of the most accessible options modern homesteaders can use to save energy. How much can solar panels reduce your carbon footprint? According to the formula provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, a 6,000 watts solar panel system can offset the emissions produced by one fossil fuel automobile in a year.

Solar panels can also create big savings, especially if you live in a state with middle- to upper-level utility rates. For example, if you are using 10,400 kWh annually (the average amount for a US household), you can save over $1,000 a year on electricity alone with the solar system.

solar-panel

2. Wind Turbines

Solar power is not the only option. Installing wind turbines in your homestead will surprise you with their effectiveness and sustainability in energy saving. The only thing is that wind power is quite site-sensitive and practical about the wind quantity and direction.

If you have enough and consistent wind in your area, you may consider purchasing a home wind generator to reduce your energy bill or even live grid-free. Some even built their own wind generators with off-the-shelf parts from their local hardware stores.

3. Solar Powered Home Appliances

Installing a homestead solar electric system might be a challenge for a big house homestead. If you don’t want to do the math to calculate the wattage needed for daily use or turn to an electrician for help, the solar-powered appliances (with a built-in or separate solar panel) will save you the trouble and help you go greener effortlessly.

For example, solar powered security cameras can keep your property safe and save energy at the same time. The add-on solar panel can store energy for days and can be tilted 360 degrees so that it can collect most sunlight throughout the year. Other useful solar-powered home appliances include solar-powered oven, lamp, water heater, and etc.

4. Electric Bikes

It can be a daily routine for some modern homesteaders to ride their cars to nearby stores for some additional daily appliances. If you are one of them, consider replacing your automobile (electric or conventional cars) to an electric bike, which produces zero emissions, saves your bill on the gas expense, and help you to get a better shape at the same time.

These days, the electric bikes are gaining more and more popularity among the green homesteaders, thanks to its improved capacity to go long distances (760 driving miles annually on average) and the falling price.

electric-bike

5. Micro Hydro Power Generator

Unlike the solar power and the wind power, the micro hydropower is more consistent and reliable as a sustainable energy source – it can continuously produce energy even if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow.

And therefore, the micro hydropower is favored by those modern homesteaders who have close access to the micro hydropower source. Actually, the hydropower has already been put into use on some high tech daily appliances. For example, the shower head with built-in water-powered turbine can use the hydro energy to show you the water usage and temperature.

6. Geothermal Heat Pumps

Do you know that almost two-thirds of a typical homeowner’s energy bill is from heating, cooling, and hot water? The biggest potential for energy savings comes from your heating and cooling system. And this is where the geothermal heat pump comes into play.

So how does it work? The geothermal system can do heat exchange between the temperature underground and the ambient temperature of the air around you. It collects heat from below the ground to heat your house. The effect can be reversed in the summer to cool your house.

7. Energy Saving Appliances

On average, home appliances are responsible for roughly 13 percent of your total household energy use. Energy star appliances are recommended to save energy in homesteading.

The Energy Star label is a federal guarantee that the appliance will consume less energy during use and when on standby than standard non-energy efficient models. Compared with the conventional models of home appliances, these appliances can save you 9-25% operating cost.

What to Consider Before You Embrace an Off-Grid Lifestyle

ElenaLiving an off-grid lifestyle is more than just a trend, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way of life.

Part of the appeal of living off-grid is reducing dependence on outside sources and relying upon oneself for food, shelter and utilities. The off-grid living is also less expensive, sustainable and reduces our carbon footprint on the earth.

However, there are several things to consider before you embrace an off-grid lifestyle.

Shelter

Having a safe, dry place to live is essential for any type of lifestyle. Many people begin their journey of off-grid living in a tent, but soon fabricate a more permanent structure for shelter and security.

A structure that can stand up to the climate and wildlife in the area is essential for successfully creating a sustainable off-grid lifestyle. Shelter from rain, snow, heat and predators tops the list of things to consider before embracing an off-grid lifestyle. Predators may be human or animal when living in a secluded location and a safe shelter from either variety is needed when establishing a homestead.

The shelter does not have to be a new construction created from new lumber, off-griders think outside the box for the shelter needs.

Shipping containers, trapper cabins and tree houses are just a few of the solutions to shelter needs that off-griders have come up with.

cabin

Clean Water Source

Having a constant source of clean drinking water is another serious consideration. Each person living on the off-grid homestead will need approximately one gallon of water per day. That is not including water for livestock and laundry.

Before selecting a location make sure you will have easy access to clean well water or other type of natural water source. Constructing a water collection system for catching and holding rainwater is recommended for off-grid homesteads as well.

Power (Fuel) Source

Even an off-grid lifestyle requires the use of some type of power or fuel source. Cooking, heating and lighting are bare minimums that will require wood, coal, manure, solar power, water or wind power.

There are several alternative fuel sources that will enable you to live comfortably off-grid, just consider cost, installation and maintenance when choosing a power source.

Safety is another consideration when selecting a power source. Emergencies can and do arise on off-grid homesteads. Having a reliable means of communication and transportation will provide you quick access to outside help should an emergency arise.

Electric fences to protect livestock from predators; motion detection lighting; alarms, cell phones and other security and creature comforts can all be powered by the sun when embracing an off-grid lifestyle.

Food Source

Now that you have considered shelter, water and power source, what will you eat? Being able to hunt, fish, grow and preserve your own food is essential for off-grid living.

Planting and maintaining a vegetable garden and fruit trees, plus knowing which native plants are safe to eat, is an ideal start towards having a sustainable food source for an off-grid lifestyle.

Knowing how to preserve fresh vegetables and fruits without a deep freezer will also be needful.

Having access to good hunting land and fishing spots is essential for garnering enough protein, unless you can maintain livestock.

Another thing to consider before embracing an off-grid lifestyle is raising livestock. By having chickens, goats and rabbits on the homestead, you can ensure an organic supply of fresh meat, milk and eggs.

Waste Disposal

We have become accustomed to having a waste management company pick up household trash and dispose of it for us. We are also accustomed to indoor plumbing and flushing the toilet.

Living off-grid makes you the waste management professional on the homestead and you need to be familiar with any regulations which may apply to waste disposal in your area. Trash and human waste must be disposed of properly to prevent diseases.

Security

No matter where you live, security will always be needed. The crime rate in the wilderness is not as high as it is in the city, but it still exists.

Consider how to protect yourself and your belongings before embracing an off-grid lifestyle. Learn how to safely use a firearm for protection and research the security product brands like Simplisafe, August and Reolink for available options you can add to your remote homesteads.

Fencing will be a necessity around gardens to prevent wildlife from entering. And warning signs around your property will also deter human trespassers.

Experiencing nature at its best requires preparedness. Start small, then slowly build your homestead as you gain knowledge and experience until you achieve the dream of the desired off-grid lifestyle.







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