Living off-grid

How off-grid are we?

“Off-grid’ living refers to living independently without one or more public utilities. In our case this means living without gas, mains electricity and mains water, but we can’t live completely without two of those three.

No fossil fuels

The boat is completely free of fossil fuels; we use no diesel to power or heat the boat, or gas to cook. As the price of gas increased after Russia invaded Ukraine this turned out to be a good move, though we weren’t expecting fuel prices to spike for at least another decade!

50% off-grid for electricity

We can live without electricity for about half the year (we unplugged from the shore power at the marina in late March and didn’t plug in again until early October). Unfortunately, in the northern hemisphere it’s very difficult to run solely on solar power, and most off-grid domestic premises have some sort of supplementary power like a diesel generator. We have a shore power feed which supplements the solar power by charging the batteries when they get below a specific voltage.

30% off-grid for water

Finally, we don’t have mains water as people in a house or flat would experience it. We have a 1,000 litre water tank under our bed which is filled either from rainwater collected from the roof and filtered or from the mains water provided by the marina. Our drinking water is all from mains water.

Image of a three phase water filtration system. with three cylinders side by side connected by a pipe across the top.
Our (badly installed) water filters

It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much water we get from rainwater reclamation and how much we get from the marina water feed as it’s unmetered. What we might do is start measuring it on the side of the tank though that’s difficult as it’s enclosed, there’s no gauge, and we can’t fill it more than half full because it leaks.

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