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Interconnectedness & Off-Grid Living

Here we share a lovely blog from the great people at Vale da Mata, you can find out more about them and see other blogs here.

The economics of being off-grid are far from straightforward. The cost of a solar electric installation to produce sufficient electricity even in winter without depending upon grid supply can at first glance seem expensive. Its a considerable capital investment. In winter when days are shorter and electricity need is higher, there is less sun. In summer when there are long hours of full sun, the excess electricity could easily be wasted. But using that excess energy to pump water up from the depths provides free and much needed irrigation allowing food crops to grow better, and keeping the grass green and the ground moist – natural fire protection. If the pumped water is first passed through solar water heaters, an almost endless flow of hot shower water is another added benefit. 

It is often thought that off-grid winters can be a cold experience. Careful planning of your home can avoid this concern. Well placed insulation has a value far greater than its cost. A warm home without burning enormous piles of wood that is designed to collect the otherwise wasted heat can add additional warmth to other rooms, a warm dry airing cupboard and provide abundant hot water.

All onsite organic wastes can easily produce cooking gas and rich soil fertilisers using a simple low cost anaerobic digester. Vermicultures can easily, effectively and safely process sewage.
When each investment in an off-grid system is considered a key part of an interconnected whole, the economics are very different compared to each item on its own.

The feeling of independence and living with abundance is beyond economics.

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