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Green living: Off the grid families pioneer sustainable energy lifestyles
Christian Science Monitor ^ | August 7, 2010 | Kari Lydersen

Posted on 08/12/2010 3:41:46 PM PDT by posterchild

Asheville, N.C.

Living "off the grid" can conjure fantasies of Swiss Family Robinson-style ingenuity in paradise. Or, for those with less love of roughing it, it can simply remind them of the hardscrabble self-reliance throughout much of the developing world, where millions cook over fires, bathe in streams, and consider the glow of a bare light bulb a luxury.

In the United States, off-the-grid living – without relying on government entities or utility companies to provide electricity, heat, gas, and water – often is associated with gritting it out on the survivalist fringe.

But an increasing range of Americans are leading a snug, even smug, lifestyle totally or mostly unhitched from public utilities. Using nature – the sun, wind, water, and the earth itself – they cheaply warm and cool their homes and power everything from a blender to a giant flat-screen TV to a raging hot tub. And with the constant concern about global warming and messy dependence on fossil fuels, it's natural that growing numbers of Americans – "the foot soldiers" of energy independence, as one expert calls them – would begin taking steps to untether themselves from the grid.

For Wayah Hall, going off the grid in a cabin 26 miles from downtown Asheville, N.C., was a way to live in harmony with nature and avoid reliance on electricity that comes from the region's coal-burning power plant that pumps smog into the famous Blue Ridge Mountains haze.

(Excerpt) Read more at csmonitor.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
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1 posted on 08/12/2010 3:41:47 PM PDT by posterchild
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To: posterchild

i think the reason people scoop all the dog crap in little plastic bags off the sidewalks of this city is ‘cause they use it to make little fires to cook soup and stuff at home.


2 posted on 08/12/2010 3:42:59 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (Gawd I love being an American.)
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To: posterchild
while still not cheap – living off the grid...

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

3 posted on 08/12/2010 3:47:34 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: posterchild

Pleeeezzzz....He’s living in the woods...Obviously doesn’t have a job...or a family.....or responsibilities. He’s a friggin’ hermit...


4 posted on 08/12/2010 3:47:39 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (What)
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To: posterchild

One can live off grid and have all the modern comforts. This article makes it sound like some kind of sacrifice.


5 posted on 08/12/2010 3:48:37 PM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: posterchild
Living off the grid typically requires a significant investment. Hall figures that once the hydropower system is finished on his property, he will have invested about $15,000 on energy systems. Most North Carolinians spend several hundred dollars a month for electricity, water, and heat. So the Halls will have paid off their investment in a decade.

Yeah, and how much will it all cost to maintain the system one decade down the road?
6 posted on 08/12/2010 3:48:52 PM PDT by dr_who
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To: posterchild

How clean-burning is the wood?


7 posted on 08/12/2010 3:50:00 PM PDT by sionnsar (IranAzadi|5yst3m 0wn3d-it's N0t Y0ur5:SONY|TV--it's NOT news you can trust)
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To: posterchild
Im trying to gradually get off the grid. So far Im down to 25 sheets of toilet paper and two flushes per dump.
8 posted on 08/12/2010 3:51:54 PM PDT by DainBramage
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To: posterchild

This enviro cr** added $100,000 to the cost of his house. Dumb and dumber. Pssssst...He’s got a cell phone. Read the article...You’ll like what these folks do for a living!!


9 posted on 08/12/2010 3:52:25 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (What)
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To: Sacajaweau
He’s living in the woods

He's not living in the woods, he's 'nestled in a temperate rain forest.'
10 posted on 08/12/2010 3:53:24 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: dr_who

If he want’s to spend his own money I’ll be glad he’s doing it if it reduces the tech costs in the future.


11 posted on 08/12/2010 3:54:41 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: posterchild

CS Monitor.

‘splains it all.


12 posted on 08/12/2010 3:54:57 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: posterchild

“Most clean-energy experts don’t see off-grid living as the solution to the nation’s energy crisis. “

Experts don’t like it when ya can’t meter it. LOL


13 posted on 08/12/2010 3:55:24 PM PDT by DonaldC (A nation cannot stand in the absence of religious principle.)
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To: sionnsar

He’s doing it for the ‘universe.’ When a black hole consumes the matter that used to be the earth the universe will be glad that a minor oxidation reaction didn’t take place prematurely a few billion years prior.


14 posted on 08/12/2010 3:56:51 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: DonaldC

I’m going off the grid.

I just installed a 47KW diesel generator.

Woohoo......


15 posted on 08/12/2010 3:58:08 PM PDT by super7man
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To: sionnsar

“How clean-burning is the wood?”

.
100%

Burning wood produces all natural substances, all of which are beneficial to the environment.


16 posted on 08/12/2010 3:58:41 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: DonaldC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVQIxK_R3kI


17 posted on 08/12/2010 4:03:41 PM PDT by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: DonaldC

I like the idea of living off the grid, but not for ‘environmental’ reasons. I also like growing some of my own food and doing my own house repairs and doing a few other things that are transactions not taxed.


18 posted on 08/12/2010 4:03:41 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: posterchild

“powered with electricity that comes exclusively from solar panels mounted on a wagon that they wheel around the property to catch the best rays.”

Wow!

This is “high tech” at its best.
.


19 posted on 08/12/2010 4:04:32 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: super7man
I just installed a 47KW diesel generator.

Now that's more like it. Plus you can start a small co-op with that kind of power.

Running the economy on alternative energy is like running on fairy dust. As if by magic everything will be all right.

20 posted on 08/12/2010 4:05:31 PM PDT by cicero2k
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To: DonaldC

No fooling.

If enough people were to do this, the gov’t would find a way to tax it. Look at your utility bills closely; it’s a great place to hide taxes.


21 posted on 08/12/2010 4:08:57 PM PDT by Daisyjane69 (Michael Reagan: "Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time)
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To: Sacajaweau
He’s a friggin’ hermit...

From the article..."waterless composting toilets built decoratively out of tree stumps mean they don't need a sewer system."

His toilet is a hole in the ground, or should I say...a hole in stumps.

I remember outhouses, they stink, they are unsanitary, and I don't want one.

The eco-freaks think going backwards is progress.

22 posted on 08/12/2010 4:10:59 PM PDT by SteamShovel (UTOPIA...Isn't)
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To: posterchild
Mr. Hall, an outdoor-skills instructor, and his wife, Alicia Bliss Hall, a natural healer, live in a kind of off-the-grid neighborhood with another young couple: Jason Brake, a professional muralist, and his wife, Diana Styffeler, a mountain bike excursion leader.

None of them produce anything. None of these people could earn a living if it were not for our post-industrial economy and accumulated wealth (which I fear won't last long.)

23 posted on 08/12/2010 4:11:38 PM PDT by La Lydia
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To: SteamShovel

They had one of those holes in a State Park. You could feel the bacteria level in the place. It was horrid. I went outside and puked after.


24 posted on 08/12/2010 4:12:32 PM PDT by Sacajaweau (What)
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To: editor-surveyor
This is “high tech” at its best.

It works now, but wait until they trip on the cord and break the panels...

25 posted on 08/12/2010 4:13:15 PM PDT by SteamShovel (UTOPIA...Isn't)
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To: posterchild

These people seriously need to read a book called “Trees”. It tells about the time on earth when people starting settling in this country. Their so called vegetation and trees made it near impossible to live. It was depressing; it made people sick due to no light.

Don’t let them con you here.


26 posted on 08/12/2010 4:13:37 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: posterchild

screw the green I want to KEEP MY GREEN.

Solar panels should get the same protection as digital dishes. No local law or association is allowed to ban or prohibit them.

I would love to see an affordable solar tile system.


27 posted on 08/12/2010 4:14:18 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: posterchild
Perhaps Living Off the Grid is a new Popular Tag Word, but heating with wood is quite common in the Northeast where oil prices, kerosene, gas, electricity prices are too high for many families. Solar panels are seen more and more as are personal windmills--but these Old green ideas do not come cheap.

Dams where old mills once were powered with hydroelectric power still remain, the mills long closed even demolished, but many dams still remain no longer serving their original purpose. The historical habitat of 12 species of diadromous fish were intersected by these dams- 65% of dams have now been removed in Maine, or slated for removal.

Many American families do live off the grid "for fun" every summer--it's called camping out!....and that is where the s'more was invented!!

28 posted on 08/12/2010 4:15:23 PM PDT by fight_truth_decay
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To: freekitty

Who is getting conned?


29 posted on 08/12/2010 4:15:38 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: posterchild

I believe going Number 2 is illegal in Asheville.


30 posted on 08/12/2010 4:17:10 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (It's easy being a communist when you're rich.)
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To: posterchild

I know of some folks living off-grid and they didn’t get sucked into this enviro-nonsense in the process. This article doesn’t give a realistic image of what living off-grid is all about.


31 posted on 08/12/2010 4:17:35 PM PDT by mrs tiggywinkle
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To: editor-surveyor
Burning wood produces all natural substances, all of which are beneficial to the environment.

Burning wood produces a lot of the same emissions as does burning coal in a coal fired power plant. SOx, NOx, ash, soot.

Don't get me wrong, I like burning wood and coal powered electricity. But it bothers me when these eco-freaks want to regulate coal and oil out of existence and then think we can all start cutting down trees for our own heat.

If we did that, the US would be bare of trees pretty quickly. It was a real problem in areas with no coal back in the steam engine days.

32 posted on 08/12/2010 4:20:43 PM PDT by SteamShovel (UTOPIA...Isn't)
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To: posterchild

Horse shit......Asheville has been a refuge for Mother Earthers for at least 50 years. Artists flock there to starve together in celebration of their lack of the skills to be part of the work force.


33 posted on 08/12/2010 4:21:55 PM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Greetings Jacques. The revolution is coming)
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To: editor-surveyor

You betcha!! We live in the south, but have heated with wood for 25 years now. Most of the time, not too cold, but some years we get to 15 degrees and for us that is cold.


34 posted on 08/12/2010 4:25:23 PM PDT by maeng ( l)
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To: ChocChipCookie

Ping.


35 posted on 08/12/2010 4:27:08 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DonaldC
One can live off grid and have all the modern comforts.

That all depends on.....

.....How you define "all the modern comforts"

.....How much money you want to spend on alternative electricity generation and storage

.....How much wood you want to burn for heat and cooking (better not catch you cutting it with a fossil fueled chain saw).

.....How much you enjoy sitting in the dark.

.....How small your house is and how well insulated it is.

.....How much money you have to buy special DC powered appliances.

It depends on a lot of things. Mostly it is a balance between primitive living and money.

36 posted on 08/12/2010 4:31:57 PM PDT by SteamShovel (UTOPIA...Isn't)
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To: posterchild

I live off the grid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex-bPb_Fhbg

This is NOT my Winnebago, but it is the same year, make, model. Notice that when the guy starts the engine the second time it’s still in drive. It can start in drive. I did that by accident and it took off without me. I ran to the front and put my hand on the brake pedal, got thrown forward, and put out my shoulder. I’ve been very careful since then. I love my Winnebago. I don’t have a generator, and my engine is a 440. It runs beautifully.


37 posted on 08/12/2010 4:31:57 PM PDT by Excellence ("A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.")
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To: SteamShovel

“If we did that, the US would be bare of trees pretty quickly.”

.
A popular misconception!

Cutting more trees down would make our densely overgrown forests much healthier. there is not likely any chance that we could even keep up with the growth rate of our forests.


38 posted on 08/12/2010 4:33:18 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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To: editor-surveyor

The whole East Coast used to be covered in trees.


39 posted on 08/12/2010 4:36:05 PM PDT by stevio (Crunchy Con - God, guns, guts, and organically grown crunchy nuts.)
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To: DonaldC
Experts don’t like it when ya can’t meter it. LOL

Years ago when I was in home construction, a couple was building a new home. They dug a water well about 50' from their house before the house was completed. The drill stem fell about 75' when it hit a cavern.

The temp of the air inside the shaft stayed between 68 and 72 year round. They piped that air into their house and the utility company wanted to know why their bills were less than $10 per month.

40 posted on 08/12/2010 4:47:45 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Remember in November. Clean the house on Nov. 2. / Progressive is a PC word for liberal democrat.)
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To: Arrowhead1952
They piped that air into their house and the utility company wanted to know why their bills were less than $10 per month.

Nothing wrong with making sure they weren't stealing electricity.

41 posted on 08/12/2010 5:02:01 PM PDT by SteamShovel (UTOPIA...Isn't)
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To: posterchild

“wood-burning stoves heat the cabins”

But they claim to be happy not be using coal fired electricity.


42 posted on 08/12/2010 5:10:05 PM PDT by Pessimist
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To: posterchild

Eff this nonsense.

Build more nukes, also the smaller nieghborhood nukes as well.

Power should be cheap and plentiful in this nation.
The so called “green” movement has neutered us! And we chose it!


43 posted on 08/12/2010 5:15:42 PM PDT by Names Ash Housewares ( Refusing to kneel before the "messiah".)
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To: posterchild
"For Wayah Hall, going off the grid in a cabin 26 miles from downtown Asheville, N.C., was a way to live in harmony with nature and avoid reliance on electricity that comes from the region's coal-burning power plant that pumps smog into the famous Blue Ridge Mountains haze"

Total crap. The Lake Julian steam station was converted to a scrubber stack years ago.


44 posted on 08/12/2010 5:20:47 PM PDT by Rebelbase (Political correctness in America today is a Rip Van Winkle acid trip.)
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To: posterchild

Alternative energy is receiving huge subsidies from rate payers and taxpayers. Even with enormous subsidies alternative energy solutions are still expensive and often unreliable. If you are not connected to the grid, alternative energy generation may be a better alternative than grid connection.

Living off the grid may work for rural locations and hard core enviros but the ideas will not scale for large populations. It is a retreat to the past with a much lower standard of survival.


45 posted on 08/12/2010 5:32:06 PM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: posterchild

if you have to ask; you have no business posting this thread.


46 posted on 08/12/2010 5:34:56 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: SteamShovel
Nothing wrong with making sure they weren't stealing electricity.

I hear you. The utility company could not believe they had year round AC / heat from and underground cavern. I think that house is still heated and cooled from that cavern. Believe me, it does need a dehumidifier.

47 posted on 08/12/2010 6:38:47 PM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Remember in November. Clean the house on Nov. 2. / Progressive is a PC word for liberal democrat.)
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To: freekitty

I do have to ask as I don’t see the con. Before you revoke my posting privileges please use your psychic abilities and superior knowledge to tell me what it is.


48 posted on 08/12/2010 6:52:19 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: posterchild

That’s what I thought. You are the one making accusations; not me.


49 posted on 08/12/2010 7:02:41 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: stevio

Most of the country is covered with trees, more than we could ever burn, except for the forest fires that are enabled by not thinning the forests.


50 posted on 08/12/2010 8:52:01 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Obamacare is America's kristallnacht !!)
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