Media Workers and TV Researchers - Please seek permission before posting on this site or approaching individuals found here by phone or email - write to the Editor - mail to

Home Forums General Discussion Off-grid in an apartment – Is it possible?

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #62806

    I’m really into this off-grid idea, but I’m living in a studio apartment and hoping (perhaps beyond hope?) that I can start doing it myself, and helping to save the planet in the process.

    What do you all think? Will I be able to do it in an apartment complex? I feel bad because the complex I live in doesn’t even “officially” recycle. (I do, though; I take my recycling to the local recycling center.) So I want to go green in any way I can. Is going off the grid a reasonable goal for me somehow?


    An apartment building is a co-operative grid kind of living where heating and sometimes electricity use is included in the rent. Municipal water and sewage is provided. Clearly this does not offer many options for being off grid. However it does not prevent someone from living green and in this way help conserve resources. Even though the electricity may be included in the rent you can still strive to minimize electrical use if that is what you wish to do. Unless the heating is electric there is very little a tenant can do to affect heating during cold weather.

    The landlord not to mention the fire Marshall would likely have a fit if a tenant tried to use wood stoves for heating. So would adjacent tenants who would get the smoke and then ther is the attendant increaded fire risk.

    The tenant can reduce water and sewage use. In cottage country you see a lot of signs in the bathroom saying “if its yellow let it mellow if its brown flush it down” this is a subtle hint to reduce flushing to ease the demand on a limited septic system. You can reduce shower time and thus conserve water and you can use soaps that break down more readily thus reducing the phosphate load being dumped down the sewers.

    The old saying reduce, reuse, and recycle, can be put into practice even in an apartment.

    It is practical to live green even if you do not live off grid.


    City living absolutely requires many grids. Water and waste water, for example. Water delivery at pressure above 5 stories without using electricity is fairly hard – that is why there were no high-rises before fossil energy. But people have been living in apartments in cities far longer than they have been using fossil fuels. You can do a lot. Walk or ride a bicycle – don’t use oil. That’s a grid city dweller can shed individually, and easily. Develop and cultivate a local community within your walking radius. Make yourself valuable … learn to make shoes and where to get the materials, using a manually-powered machine – China’s a long way away and will be a long, long way away when fuel oil costs $10/gallon :)


    Grist magazine and Mother Earth News have both published articles about Urban Agriculture. In many places, urban dwellers have banded together and converted unused (and unsightly) abandoned inner city lots into thriving gardens where the members grow food stuff. Roof gardens are also used to good advantage. Not only does this convert the unused space into valuable green space but promotes the concept that it is possible to produce healthy foods locally and is a step in the right direction of reducing urban blight.

    It could start with something as small as a plant shelf in the window. My neighbor has already started her seeds in her west facing window. By the time the snow melts four months from now these will be ready to plant in her green house. Up here it is not advisable to plant outdoors until mid June. Last year many people lost their sedlings when we had a killing frost first week in June. Window plant boxes are the answer. We also buy hanging baskets of miniature tomatoes from the nursery stores. Its a joy to pick just a few absolutely fresh tomatoes (and non polluted by pesticides) for the salad each day. As long as the baskets are in the sun and watered daily they keep producing tomatoes so they could be just fine in an apartment.


    In Earthship One, the back of the book has an illustration of a off grid eco-max Earthship apartment type building going up a hill.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.