Whether you’re concerned about global politics, the threat of terrorism or the increasingly erratic weather, the desire to become more self-sufficient and off the grid is quickly catching on. What used to be the preserve of a few survivalist fanatics is now becoming an attractive solution to many people, even if it’s just about reducing your energy bills each month. Here are some ways in which you can begin to make your home a little more self-sufficient:
#1 Solar Panels
We see these more and more nowadays as they have become increasingly available to the average consumer. If your location is good for sunlight and you position them correctly, it is possible to create enough energy to power your household completely. The panels can be standalone units or positioned on a roof but it pays to get a professional involved as they are not easy to install and the placement and configuration is very important to gain maximum benefit.
#2 Back-up Generators
If renewable sources just won’t work for your home then think about alternative power systems in case of emergency, crisis or power outage. To keep your household ticking over in the event of an incident, choose a reliable generator. When shopping for a generator, consider the steady-state wattage and the surge wattage. You’ll need nearly double the surge wattage if you want to power items such as refrigerators, for example.
#3 Vertical Hydroponic Gardening
Growing your own food is by far the most effective way to become self-sufficient. It’s healthier, you know what’s in it and you can have a steady, constant supply. The benefit of vertical gardening is that it can be done even in tight spaces, urban areas and is highly efficient. Ready-made kits are available to purchase or with a little research, you could build your own.
While you won’t generate any power by composting, it’s a great activity for conserving energy and resources by using waste to cultivate new growth in your garden. The ultimate in self-sufficiency is to be able to feed yourself with things you grow and composting is both easy and cheap and provides the perfect natural fertilizer without any harmful chemicals.
#5 Wood-Burning Stove
Start with one, master how it works and then you can confidently add more to other rooms of the house. If you can secure a regular supply of wood that you can dry out yourself, then you could practically zero your heating costs and rely solely on stoves to heat your home. Modern stoves are safe, efficient and you can regulate temperature and air intake with ease. If you’re thinking about this option, remember you will need to maintain a clean chimney.
#6 Rain Barrel
Rain is a renewable resource that most of us don’t make use of. Rain water can easily be collected in rain barrels or even linked to your home’s guttering system. Although it cannot be used as drinking or cooking water, it can be used to flush toilets, water plants and to keep your water costs down.
#7 Chicken Coop
Imagine being able to supply yourself with a steady stream of meat and eggs. It will save you money, you know exactly what you’ve been feeding your chickens and you’ll have peace of mind that the meat hasn’t been pumped full of hormones and antibiotics! You’ll need to some research about how to safely and effectively look after chickens but it’s a healthier way of eating poultry and eggs and a step closer to being more self-sufficient.
#8 Raising Goats
OK, so you’ll need a little more space for this one but goats make wonderful companions, keep your grass short and provide milk, which can be made into cheese or yogurt. Goats milk is incredibly nutritious and certain goat varieties can be sheared a couple times a year for their soft fleece fibers, which can be used for making blankets and clothing.
#9 Tesla Powerwall
This genius device is not yet on the market but if you’re serious about self-sufficiency then you should bag one when it does become available. This device has the ability to transform the way we consume energy as it’s a rechargeable lithium battery with enough energy storage capacity to power your home. If you had one of these and solar panels, for example, you would never need to buy electricity again!
#10 Learn a Skill
Imagine being able to sew or knit your own clothes, fix your own vehicle, make your own furniture or carry out minor home repairs. Teaching yourself new skills will help to make you more independent, less reliant on stores and services and potentially save you lots of money in the long term.