LIVING OFF THE GRID - What does this mean?
What exactly does it mean to "live off the grid"? And why talk about this on this website?
We've all heard about making choices that are more environmentally friendly and less of a carbon footprint on our planet. Off the grid living is the ultimate step to being Green! It's more than just energy efficient lightbulbs and appliances and recycling!
When you see real estate, both homes or a parcel of land, being advertised as "off the grid", this means it is not part of a typical city infrastructure. We all take for granted all of the amenities you have at your home. You have power, telephone, city sewer, cable television, natural gas service, water source and more. These utilities are considered part of a city's grid. When you go outside the limits of any city here in Northern Arizona, you will more than likely be off the grid. You may have an area that is serviced by power and telephone, but for the most part, most of Northern Arizona is "off the grid".
Living off the grid isn't for everyone, but it is certainly catching on. Ask anyone who currently lives in the more rural areas of Northern Arizona and they will tell you they wouldn't live any other way! And it is possible to be off the grid and still be less than 15 minutes to the hustle and bustle of Flagstaff.
So how do I live off the grid and have most of the comforts I've been accustomed to? Easy. Look up to the sun and listen to the wind as it blows through the trees! Northern Arizona boasts 300 days of crystal blue, sunny skies! And this area is also tops when it comes to wind generation. You could also consider propane or gas/diesel generators as well. Put all three together and you will have power 365 days a year.
Septic systems are the alternative to city sewer systems, satellite service for internet, cell phones and depending on the location of the property, wells or cistern tanks for your water needs. The closer you are to Flagstaff and the base of the San Francisco Peaks, the better chance you will have for a well. The further you get from these areas, the chance of drilling a well diminishes.
So what do you do when you're off the grid and unable to drill a well? There are options, the first being the installation of a cistern tank and having water brought in, either by yourself or by companies who service the needs of the community. Like other high mountain areas, hauling water is just a fact of life. A tank is installed in the ground and you can purchase water for approximately a penny a gallon. Or have it delivered right to your tank for about a nickel a gallon. Water harvesting is another option. On average, you could water harvest approximately 10,000 gallons a year in the water that comes off your roof. Many people collect water in the rural areas for their horses, livestock and gardening..
60% of the residents of Coconino County, like other areas of the Western States, truck water into their homes, so this is not specific to Northern Arizona. Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Las Vegas, Hawaii and New Mexico all have areas that require water to be trucked in. Many of the properties and areas that I specialize in, here in Northern Arizona, are off the grid. Living off the grid is a way of life. Those who are doing it wouldn't live any other way!
For more information on this topic, please feel free to email me or call me anytime.