Living off the grid and tiny homes often go hand in hand together. Tiny living is the epitome of a minimal lifestyle – living in a dwelling that’s 400 square meters or less calls for less clutter and more of the important things. Which is why this philosophy works so well with off-grid homes, as this type of home take up very little energy and will often power up with only renewable sources.
Tiny homes are the perfect way to transition into this way of living. With all its benefits from positive environmental impact to your wellbeing, off-grid homes can have its caveats. However, like with most things, whether off-grid living is for you will solely depend on your preferences and goals.
How to build an off-the-grid tiny home
Joining the tiny living movement is not an easy feat, especially for those that have previously lived a more grandiose lifestyle. That being said, tiny homes would be suitable for those looking to live more sustainably or reject consumerism. In addition to adjusting your lifestyle, transitioning into a tiny home requires dedicated research before making the jump.
Unlike traditional homes where regulations are more concrete, tiny homes are still in a gray area. Apart from familiarizing yourself with laws, you’ll also need to be sure of the type of tiny house you want. If you want to live off the grid as well, you’ll need to do some studying by scouring books on eco-living or joining Facebook groups.
Off-grid homes means completely disconnecting from the national energy grid and relying on the energy generated from your home’s system. With the flexibility in the design of tiny homes, most can be made to go off-grid by installing solar panels or wind turbines, and a battery storage system to collect the energy. All your appliances in the home will be powered by the sun or wind, which significantly reduces your environmental footprint.
To live off the grid also means to become more self-sufficient. Living in today’s globalized world, it can be challenging, but your efforts won’t go unnoticed no matter how small it may be. In addition to installing renewable energy systems in your tiny home, there are other ways you can produce things for your daily living, including:
- Installing a composting toilet
- Harvesting rain
- Raising animals and/or hunting
- Gardening or farming
It helps to have an interest in construction or a passion for DIY, as it would make building and creating things more enjoyable and relatively easier. If you don’t, that’s alright – with a little guidance from other tiny off-grid dwellers, you can get into the hang of things. When it comes to more laborious tasks, such as installing plumbing or building with heavy materials, there’s also no shame in hiring laborers to help you get started.
Pros & cons of off-grid tiny houses
Living a life that people seldom have can feel scary, as you may not have specific examples to follow and model off. These days, with social media, the world feels a lot smaller and you can turn to anyone for advice. It can be extremely helpful to weigh out your options, especially before you make a huge life-changing decision. Here are some of the upsides and downsides of off-grid tiny homes.
- Reduces your ecological footprint. If making the world a better place is one of your goals for living off-grid, then you’re one step closer to achieving it. Living in a smaller dwelling made up of sustainable materials and powered with renewable energy will significantly reduce your environmental impact. Other things include harvesting your own produce and eating less processed and animal-based products.
- Saves money. The money you would otherwise use to spend on maintaining a house and rent or a mortgage, can be used on a more economical home. Skyrocketing house prices are one of the major reasons people are shifting towards living in a tiny home. Utility bills will also practically go down to zero.
- Less stressful. Let’s face it – between a 9 to 5 job, a mortgage, and overall pressure of society, life can get pretty stressful. At the same time, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving that kind of life behind and move on to something better for your wellbeing. Living smaller and off-the-grid can do wonders for your mind and body. You can put your energy into something more creative or spend time with family and nature.
- Minimal space. Living in a tiny home means you’ll have less space for pretty much everything. Each space in the house is utilized to serve its only purpose, and with minimal appliances, it’s easy to feel a little claustrophobic. But depending on where you live, you’ll have an abundance of space outside and you can spend plenty of time outdoors.
- Challenging chores. If you’re not a huge fan of chores while still living in a conventional house, it can be a shock for when you do chores in an off-grid tiny home. For instance, you might have to haul water from a nearby well or empty the composting toilet, all of which can sound unappealing.
- Regulations and zoning. Government regulations and zoning issues are not cons that apply exclusively to off-grid homes, but all tiny homes in general. As the tiny living movement is still relatively new, rules surrounding where you can park or what you can build are still uncertain. It’s best to keep yourself updated to avoid conflict.
While off-grid tiny homes have its challenges, the gains can certainly exceed the losses. In exchange for a grand, traditional home and all the trials and tribulations that come with it, you can live modestly instead with more time and energy to spend on things more important.
When the state of the environment and your wellbeing are put into question, the move to living tiny can be the perfect solution. Tiny, off-grid homes aren’t for everyone, but when it’s done right, it can be a rewarding experience.