Helping newbies off the grid

If you live off-grid, why not share your knowledge with others?

One way is to write for this blog. But a more direct approach is to offer lessons in off-grid living to others in your area.

This week Bruce Johnson and Barbara Hagen will teach Oklahoma City area residents to live more cheaply and sustainably, with a few tricks they’ve learned in over 30 years of off-grid living. They are giving the course for free.

Johnson and Hagen, both 64, live in an Oklahoma City home powered by solar and wind power generated on their property, and use water from their own well. They haven’t paid an electricity bill since they were married in 1986.
The couple are running a sustainability workshop at Oklahoma State University.
“We’ve (been) living out here for the past 30 years, using solar and wind energy….we’ve learned to conserve and still have a good life,” Johnson said.
The couple have a refrigerator, cars, power tools, television and other modern conveniences. And though Johnson said most people won’t want to live completely like they do, if everyone adapted a few of their techniques into their own lives and homes it could all add up.
Just by knowing more about where power and water come from and the work it takes to generate them, people learn to conserve and be more conscious of how they live, the couple said.
“I think as we’re more conscious, then we’re going to want to do the things that help create those connections that allow life to continue,” Hagen said.
The couple have photovoltaic solar panels scattered throughout their property, which provide most of their energy. It’s supplemented by wind power generated from a towering turbine near their garden. They use water from a well drilled more than 100 feet below the ground. Water is heated by solar panels and a stove.
Johnson said a lot of what they’ve learned over the years can be used in anyone’s house or apartment. Much of it would save consumers money in the long haul.
The workshop is the latest in a series hosted at OSU-OKC with the partnership of Oklahoma City’s Sustainability Office aimed at showing local residents ways to save money by making environmentally friendly choices. The workshops are paid for by federal grants.
Sustainability course: 7:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 240 of the Agricultural Resource Center at OSU-OKC, 400 N Portland Ave.

4 Responses

  1. I am working on living off the grid. Have over 1000 acres and looking for men and women that are looking for reasonably priced land to lease with the option to buy.. from 1 acre to 100..
    Northern Nevada. Will be farming there.. and creating fuel. Looking for intelligent individuals wanting to be part of my community.
    If you have experience building this is great also..

  2. I live out of san luis, co. This is my first year. I have built a berm green house, a barn and currently building a earth bag home. So far the cost of everything is less than 10,000. I am off the grid and love it. I have built everything by hand.

  3. That is fabulous-Please come to New York!!
    Sidenote: I know nothing of this subject and am looking to learn. Are the prescriptions laid out for off the grid living ‘portable’ to other countries? i.e. if I build a house in another country are the tenets still the same? Varying laws and access to sun and wind aside.
    Thanks so much!

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