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Home Forums General Discussion New Life Off-Grid!

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    Hi and welcome! So what are your ideas, dreams and such? What do you envision for yourself? Solar? Wind? Combination? Or even no electric? Are you planning on staying in NJ or are you looking elsewhere? What does living green mean to you? Are you planning on having critters, chickens, rabbits, goats or larger livestock? Gardening? So many directions for you to go here.

    Glad to hear you are not in debt, that is something that really gets in the way of most people living their dream. You also mention you want to build something small for 2, is that for a potential future partner or do you have someone now, and if so, is this person on board for living the life you are wanting to live? Yeah, lots of questions, but they are important questions, not necessary to answer any of them here, but necessary for you to come to terms with. :)




    Well some who have gone cold turkey say they wished they had not and had weaned themselves off the grid over time. I’m not off grid yet myself. I have camper but I am bumbing electricity from a friend right now lol.

    You will find much useful info by searching this forum. Allow me to recommend my blog as I have some interesting articles on this topic. My articles are more or less interesting depending on your angle. I target the less rich way to go. If you have money of course its much easier to be offgrid and get most of what you would have on grid quickly. It’s an investment any way you look at it however. Weather you do it slowly over time or up front then move in.

    Its a matter of investing in stocks and bonds and the US Dollar or in self-sufficiency. You can be the judge of which one will pay off better. Personally I believe that any measure of independence anyone may gain is wise step in the right direction.


    Quick intro: I’m Patrick Fuentes living out in Northern NJ 22 years old

    looking to start a new life off-grid.

    I’m new to the idea of people living year round off green energy! WOW what

    an idea! I’m looking for a small piece of land (1-2acres) to start. I want

    to build a small apartment sized home on it for two. I’d start today if I

    knew what I was doing! No debt at the moment and plenty of free time for




    TreasureGift: These guys are my role modles

    I envision having small solar/wind home check points to travel to

    across the US as a dreamer. Been living poor for a large part of my life,

    moving constantly, once, twice, sometimes 3 times a year to apartments

    and shelter homes. Adjusting shouldn’t be a problem. I’m looking for a

    woodsy area to start my build, something tucked away from a town

    (society is important). I’m in a relationship and we both want to run

    away from…”social order”

    I’m interested in exactly what the LaMar Alexander has. No monthly bills

    and FREEDOM!

    Been searching for the cheapest most conveniently designed homes.

    This is what I’m looking at for building INSPIRATION!

    caverdude: Absorbed a lot of great info from your blog, thank you for sharing.

    I’m interested in slowly moving into the build overtime before permanent living. Doing my best to make sure each step is given time to breathe.

    My interest at the moment are: Where can I find woodsy land (1-2acres) preferably in driving distance to town. What are some smart options for wind and solar? What options are there for cheap/conveniently(small)designed homes(Everything will be self-built with guidance from professionals).

    Is it possible to live like LaMar Alexander?



    If you find some land, I can tell you how to do it. I started with a 20′ camper and hauled 2 deep cycle batteries in my van to charge them as I drove around to have a couple lights and some tunes. I now have a 960 sq.ft. shack in the woods operating on 512 watts of solar with no well or septic. My venture started in 1989..

    Figure on building something from the start with enough roof area to collect water from. I collect enough to support 2 adults with showers daily and general cleaning. (No need for a well) I use a urine diverting toilet system that I built myself. I let the liquid go out with the gray water and compost the solids. Makes great soil! (No need for a septic) I grow all kinds of veggies in my compost and I’m still alive.. LOL

    Just like Skeeter said.. “Keep it simple, stupid”. Work on necessities first and worry about luxury later..


    Take a look at my friends house He built a dome that cost $1000 for the dome materials. $2000 for the wood platform (a deck) that it sits on. And a $1000 for tools. roughly. Its 350ft2 roughly. 19′ dia. 15 foot skylight. Its very comfortable.

    He put a $100 a/c unit in the wall. He added a $175 small pot belly wood stove and flue for winter heat. He also uses electric radiator type heater $35. And restaurant food heating lamp sits just above his computer chair, where he sits most of the time. His lighting is sky lighting and LED mostly. He uses electric for water heating with a 120v hot water pot. He heats his bathing water with this.

    Currently he has no septic, toilet or bath. He buries his compost as he goes I think in cat holes behind the house in the woods. I’ve been trying to talk him into building a structure next to this which a homemade composting toilet setup. Too much expense for now though.

    Any humanure composted over a year should be fine for even putting on a veggie garden, though I’d still be reluctant myself.


    Back in 1997 I searched for reasonably priced land and had to go at least 35 miles from the city. First it was a frame shell with septic and roof. Then the well, and inside plumbing and electric, with future expansion in mind. Then the drywall and finish. I had gathered a lot of scrap and bought future items on sale.

    Next year came the addition, using rammed earth tire retaining walls “Y”ed to what would become an Earthship outbuilding the next year.

    Looking at building materials present day costs, it is even more important to use as much free or cheap recycled material as possible. With all wood houses, the most efficient is the A-frame with the roof at the average sun angle south for solar. People advertize domes and yurts, some of which are not cheap at all.

    With me, it definitely helped that I was a carpenter foreman/multi-tradesman already. I still had to study the solar electric and local codes. I would not be mortgage free if I didn’t do nearly every trade by myself with the help of my wife and young son. I could have done the carpet, but the price was installed. Naturally, I had to also buy some tools I didn’t have, and it was tough going financially for a while. I had to first have the energy and determination to work full time, and work after work and on weekends and holidays for three years.


    Most efficient the A-Frame? I think because of floor to outside surface area ratio, A-Frame would be least energy efficient.


    Look into eco-villages that already exist for mentoring… Maybe you could even join one until u find your own land.

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