Living Sustainably Off The Grid

The 101 guide for off-grid homes creating a self-sufficient lifestyle

Living off-grid is possible and this guide covers the basics and what it takes to live more sustainably, starting with your home.

The environment is a hot-button topic in many circles these days. Many people want to protect the environment, but do not always know what that means. To some people, however, that means living completely off the grid. 

Those who live off the grid do not use paid power or water systems, but that does not mean that they do not have access to clean water or electricity. This is one of the biggest misconceptions when people mention off the grid living. There are many ways that people move off the grid and still live sustainably

What is sustainable living? 

Sustainable living is an environment that is off the grid but does not cause harm to the environment. If you are living off the grid but destroying the land, air, and water around you, then you are not living sustainably. 

It also needs to be something that can be done long term. Camping may be great for the short-term, but you would need to adapt your lifestyle to continue living in the wilderness for the long term. Sustainable living takes these things into consideration. 

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid

What is living off the grid? 

Living off the grid simply means that you are not sourcing your power, water, or resources from a collective grid service. Power companies and water/sewer providers are on the grid. If you produce your own electricity, water, or fuel services, you are off the grid. Entirely off the grid means that none of these services are commercially provided. 

Some people live off the power grid, but they continue to use the fuel or water services in their area. What you want to do to live off the grid is a personal choice. Here, however, we will examine living totally off the grid. 

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid

Where will you live? 

This question encompasses more than just the physical location of your home. You also need to decide on the style of home you are seeking. You may decide that you want to live in the wilderness amongst the wildlife. You may also decide that a trip to town should not take forever, so you want to live just beyond the borders of the town. 

Some people have also learned to live off the grid sustainably near the city. You must choose where you want your sustainable living to begin. Then you must select the type of dwelling. Unfortunately, an apartment in the city is not likely to be an option. If this is your only option, you may be able to reduce your dependence on things by starting a rooftop community garden, turning off unused appliances, or asking your landlord to recycle. 

However, living entirely off the grid is unlikely. You may choose a cabin, traditional home, or even an Earthship.

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid

What is an Earthship?

An Earthship is not going to fly you to another planet – I am sorry to break that news to you! However, it can help save the planet from a little destruction. Earthships are designed to be completely off the grid living spaces. 

They look like traditional homes but use only natural resources for energy, such as wind or solar power. They also have systems to treat water so that it is consumable, and waste is not disposed of in a harmful way. 

Food is also produced in the surrounding area. There is no need to leave the land for most supplies. They are also built out of recycled or environmentally friendly materials. 

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid

Heating, cooling and power

Having a sustainable living space means that you can efficiently heat and cool your home while using whatever power you need. This may mean that you rely on solar, wind, or other natural methods of harnessing energy.

You do not want to spend all of your time and effort figuring out how to be cool. For off-grid heating, the use of wind turbines and solar panels can be a great addition to any home, but the scale will be larger to completely go off the grid. 

Sewage and water waste

Sewage cannot be avoided. Humans will produce waste and it needs to be properly disposed of. Some areas will allow homes to use their own septic system and they do not need to access any water from the grid. They can collect water in rain barrels or use other methods of harnessing natural water. Other areas have restrictions on what homeowners may or may not do. Check with your local authorities before building a self-sustaining water system. 

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid


Basic farming can produce all of the food that one needs to live a healthy life. You may have to learn how to process or store food so that it does not spoil during off-seasons. However, growing gardens, keeping chickens for eggs and meat, cows, goats, and other animals can be beneficial. There is no reason to need additional resources. 

Other Considerations

You will also need to consider what else you will require. Some people have moved away from single-use plastics and paper products and opted for cloth, reusable plastics, glass, ceramics, and other products. If living off the grid is an environmental desire, then you will want to consider these things too.

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to avoid these things, so planning for recycling, burning, or other environmentally friendly disposal steps will be necessary. For example, burning paper in an outdoor burn area may be a fine way to get rid of it; however, burning plastics would not be advised. Research the options in your area as well.

Some cities offer easy ways to recycle, while other regions have no recycling center. If you must travel to recycle, you need to know what materials will be accepted and when they will be collected. 

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid

Final Thoughts

Living sustainably off the grid is excellent if you plan for it. You will not be entirely off the grid in one day, but you can begin preparing today. Find out what is allowed in your target area, decide on your housing style, sewage options, recycling options, and farming desires. After this, begin planning how to implement the things you want in sustainable off the grid living.

How to Live Sustainably Off The Grid

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Jade Piper

Jade piper is a small business owner and writer. She is passionate about healthy living, the environment and equality.

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