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Off-Grid Living

1024 810 Nisha Muire

Living off the grid in Toronto is possible – but only for those who are truly committed to a green lifestyle. The phrase “living off the grid” refers to living without dependence on utility companies including electricity, water and sewage. Although still a marginal lifestyle, it is attracting larger numbers of people – especially millennials who are eschewing materials trappings for a more paired down, simplified lifestyle.
Alternate energy
One of the biggest ways of unplugging is literally to pull the plug on the electrical company by providing your own energy. The most common forms of energy include solar and wind. Although, where possible, geo-thermal energy is also used. Most people who choose to switch to solar or wind power for their energy needs remain hooked to the power grid and even sell their surplus power back to the electric company. If you want to live completely off grid, then you would not be tied in with the electric company at all. Any energy you produced through solar or wind power would be stored in large batteries as D/C power, which is converted into A/C power when you need to use it.
Many new home constructions are being built using passive heating/cooling principals. All this means is that the home’s design and construction make full use of sun, wind and shade to heat and cool the residence along with top-notch insulation for a reduction in heat-loss. If you have an existing home, then the best ways to heat without recourse to any utility companies is through wood-burning fireplaces or stoves. Stoves have the added benefit of being a great place to cook as well.
When it comes to water, some people opt to drill a well onto their land ensuring an always fresh supply of water. However, if you choose to go this route, you must be sure that the water is tested periodically to ensure that it hasn’t been infiltrated by contaminants. Another means of getting water is to collect it in cisterns. Rain water is great for use in toilets, washing clothes (unless there is very elevated levels of population in your area), water plants and general, non-potable use. Not have a hot water tank is another effective way of reducing your dependence on electricity. Tankless-hot water options are all very viable choices that would greatly contribute to a greener existence.
The best option for being off-grid where sewage is concerned is using compostable toilets. However, as they are not for everyone, the next best thing is having a septic tank. Septic systems breakdown wastewater into three layers – the floating scum on top, the sludge at the bottom and the liquid in the middle. A septic tank needs to be emptied and serviced at least once a year.
In short, it is possible to live off the grid in the city, but it is not very popular or practical. Since off-grid living is the antithesis to consumption, changing a city-life outlook is key to making such drastic transition work for you.


Nisha Muire

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