Approximately 180,000 families live off of the grid in the United States. This number is expected to rise dramatically over the next several years as more people strive to live a greener lifestyle and save money. While most people can’t completely eliminate their reliance on public utility systems, many are able to significantly lower their reliability on these systems. If you’re interested in living off-grid, there are several things you need to have in place before you can cancel or downgrade your utility services. Following are three things you need to live off-grid.

Electrical Power

First, you need a clean source of electricity. While fueled generators have been used to bring power to remote locations for many years, they are actually very harmful to the environment. Clean ways to generate electricity include solar panels, wind turbines, and geo-thermal units. Though these materials appear to be difficult to find, they can all be located at an online solar panel store. The type of energy generation that’s right for you depends primarily on your geographical location. If you live where there are a lot of trees and hills, a wind turbine is probably not your best bet. Solar panels are ideal for areas that receive lots of sunshine. You may also want to set your systems up to run off of fuel in an emergency power shortage. 

Water Supply

You will also need a sustainable water supply. On most properties, this can be accomplished by drilling a well. However, not all properties have ground water available at adequate depths. If you cannot drill a well, you will have to collect water in other ways. Rain barrels are ideal for capturing some water, but you probably won’t get all you need from rain. You can pull water from a stream, but you will have to set up the necessary water filtration and treatment to do so. If all else fails, you can have water shipped in. 

Waste Disposal

You must find a way to dispose of your waste safely. Most areas require a septic tank that meets the requirements set forth by the local health department. In some areas, you can use a composting toilet. Whichever method you choose, you must make sure that your’re meeting the requirements set forth by law in your area. 

Living off-grid takes dedication and hard work. It’s not as easy as relying on public utility systems, but it is rewarding. Not only is clean energy better for the environment, it saves you money over a long period of time by eliminating your utility bill.