Parting With Consumer’s–Next Steps

When you read my resolutions, “Eating Less Poison” probably wasn’t the one that immediately caught your attention.

Now we’re going to talk about the crazier one, #2.

I felt the joy of seeing our kilowatt wheel stop (other than the power outage!) when we closed up the house, right before we left on our cruise.
Next year, I want to see it stopped in January.

To be honest, I didn’t think going off the grid was something we would actually accomplish, at least not living in a subdivision as we do now. However, for Christmas we got a used woodstove, solar panels, and a bit of cash…

So, here is our game plan, for reducing our dependence on the electric company:

1. Reduce, reduce, reduce, is the name of the game. Solar panels aren’t going to allow us to continue with our current lifestyle. Immediately, we need to turn off lights when we aren’t in the room, keep the desk top computer off most of the time, etc. Eventually, we will get LED lights, which use less energy than our fluorescents. Before we install the wood stove, we are going to make sure the house is adequately insulated (which is currently is not). We already replaced one door, which has cut down significantly on drafts.

2. While we have a high-efficiency furnace, the blower uses a great deal of energy. The woodstove should heat the house well enough that the furnace will not be necessary. If need be, we will continue with our plan of moving into the basement during the cold months.

3. Our next largest energy user is the hot water heater. Luckily, those are available as attachments to wood stoves.

4. We received money for purchasing solar panels for Moonraker, which will be infinitely useful when we are anchored out, or moored in Thunder Bay. There is no reason to leave these on the boat in the winter, though. Hopefully, we can get our usage low enough for these to support it. If not, we would consider a wind generator (for the boat and the house!).

5. If the solar panels will not support the washing machine, we will use our portable unit. We’ll invest in a drying rack.

6. I’m neglecting our largest energy user: the well pump. Our current pump is not doable off the grid. We are considering more efficient pumps, and a gravity feed water system. Our house is very tall, so this would work quite well!

So, breaking it down this way, you can see that off the grid living is not so much of a pipe dream, even in our home in a subdivision!

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