Firstly what do we mean by off the grid? It is an aspect of buildings and a lifestyle designed in a self-sustaining way without depending on one or more public utilities. Traditionally the phrase off-grid refers to being disconnected from the electrical grid. This can also apply to systems like gas, water, and sewage. This lifestyle allows buildings and people to be independent, which is a plus, in isolated areas where there is limited to no access to these systems, this becomes highly attractive to people who want to reduce environmental impact and their cost of living. With housing costs on the rise, more and more Aussies have been looking into the option of living ‘off the grid’ and being able to manage their own food supply helps to achieve a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
There are a lot of ways to lead a sustainable off-the-grid life, with shipping container homes and tiny homes being among the top choices. Kingdomes is making its way up with Domes as another good option. However, vans can make a cosy home too, though it may be best to take a road trip in one first to see if you could live the van-life full-time. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, here is a brief guide to what you need to live off-grid.
Why is living off the grid so popular?
Off-grid living in Australia has become quite popular in the past decade or so. There can be a lot of upfront costs if you want to switch to this kind of lifestyle, but the returns are big once you’ve settled in. According to the people who have tried it, switching to off-grid living can pay for itself within three to five years. Factor in the advantage of controlling your own utilities (a huge problem in urban housing), healthier food choices, and easier access to tools that make it possible, and living off the grid has moved from a dream to a way of life for many Aussies.
In relation to Kingdomes our structures are more than capable of having all these systems put in place and accommodate to having multiple people living in them especially our 10 metre King Dome.
Benefits of owning your own dome home off-grid
These structures have multiple benefits and uses in terms of going off-grid. All of our dome sizes can be designed to be a green house, to be able to have your fruits, veggies and herbs growing without being destroyed by the elements or having to deal with animals constantly trying the fruits of your labour before you get to it. To our greenhouses you can add sprinkler systems to water your plants if that is the route you want to go (we don’t supply that but you can definitely install that sort of thing).
Another benefit is that our King Domes are very cost effective as they are extremely energy efficient. Geodesic domes promote more efficient air circulation and keep temperatures even throughout the structure. This can make them 2 – 4 times more energy-efficient than traditional homes. These homes insulate very easily due to their unique shape.
Having a dome home you don’t need to down size in terms of your belongings or family size. Our 10 metre King Dome has just shy of 80 square metres of floor space and 5 a metre roof heights which can comfortably fit a family of 4 with your mezzanine level with a bedroom up the top and a Murphy bed connected to it. You can even divide up your dome to have separate bedrooms just by partitioning off sections of the dome. Depending on the land size you can do dome cities/towns with communal areas to accommodate EVERYONE!
Living off-grid doesn’t have to be boring and dreary, you can still have the luxury of a 5 star hotel without all the people 😉
Is it illegal to live off the grid in Australia?
Absolutely not! Living off the grid isn’t illegal, but it comes with a few cautions. For example:
- Zoning and housing permits: Each county or town may have its own laws about living off-grid, so it’s best to check the local regulations about living off-grid.
- Rebates and incentives: If you get your off-grid setup up and running, you might be eligible for incentives from the government. These can further help offset the costs of switching to this kind of lifestyle.
- Land and Ownership: Off-grid living may require special land for sale if you want to build your own sustainable housing on it.
Living off-grid has a lot in common with choosing commercial housing with all the research required. It’s easier than ever to switch to an off-grid set up, but you should always look at the laws governing construction and land use in your area to make sure you avoid breaking any laws.
What to consider when building off the grid?
There are three important things to keep in mind if you’re considering living off-grid:
- Power: You’ll need one (or several) kinds of off-grid power systems to provide you with basic power. This is crucial for a lot of your other utilities, like water or food.
- Waste: Since you’re disconnected from the sewer line, you need to be comfortable handling your own waste – bodily or otherwise.
- Location: Very few urban centres offer space for off-grid living. Most available spaces are located outside of the city which can be an issue for those who have jobs within the metropolis.
Off-grid living can be idyllic, but it comes with its fair share of work. If you can’t deal with any of the things outlined above, off-grid living might not be for you.
What are the off-grid power systems available?
One of the biggest factors that makes off-grid living possible is the variety of standalone power options available nowadays. They’re easy to integrate and use, even for people living in the city. Here are two of the most common power sources:
- Off-grid solar energy
As one of the most popular sources of sustainable power, solar energy is the off-grid system of choice for many Australians. With major companies like Tesla creating power wall batteries for homes, it’s a convenient and affordable energy source to switch to.
- Off-grid wind energy
The better for open locations far away from cities, as wind energy can accumulate a lot of power quickly. Storing excess power is no issue since plenty of off-grid setups often have a spare battery or two to hold it for later use.
Is there a way to have internet while living in remote and rural locations?
The short answer is, yes! There is a company called Starlink which is a high-speed, low-latency broadband internet perfect for your off-grid living style. Australian Bureau of Statistics state that as of August 2021 the percentage of Australians working from home is now over 40%. Starlink has several satellites orbiting the globe consistently, this is the most ideal communication and internet option for anyone wanting to start their off-grid lifestyle and still be able to work from home with fast connection. Just by reading reviews, Starlink is a lot more reliable than any other satellite or fixed wireless system.
Does anyone live off the grid in Australia?
Absolutely! If you’re looking for like-minded individuals who have disconnected themselves from the grid, there are communities like Chewton Bushlands that have been living off-grid for decades. There are also groups like the Cohousing Australia Initiative and Tiny Homes Australia that offer comprehensive guides on how to go off the grid.
Living off the grid may seem like a big step, but there are plenty of Australians who survive and even thrive doing it! If you’re willing to take the extra step to become more self-sufficient, and a more environmentally conscious person then you should seriously consider the off-grid lifestyle.
Chewton – https://chewton.net/community/chewton-bushlands/
Cohousing Australia – https://transitionaustralia.net/site/cohousing-australia/
Tiny homes Australia – https://tinyhomesaustralia.com.au/
Kingdomes – https://www.kingdomes.com.au/
Tesla solar – https://www.tesla.com/en_au/powerwall
Starlink – https://www.starlink.com/
Australian Bureau of Statistics – https://www.abs.gov.au/
NSW government (living off the grid) – https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/basix-certificate/living-grid