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Off-grid living is easier than you think.

Many people aspire to becoming totally self-sufficient and living off-grid but feel that it is impossible due to the technology involved and the financial implications, but we are here to tell you that going off the grid is easier than you think, if you put the time in.

Like anything desirable, achieving aspirations take time and dedication. Due to the fact that we have more than 15 years of experience, we have listed our top tips on how to go to make a smooth transition to going off-grid.

It's about living an off-grid lifestyle

At Sustainable.co.za, we believe that opting for a green lifestyle improves the day-to-day rather than detracting from it. In its infancy, the product offering of the green movement was limited, expensive and incomparable to what was available in terms of quality and availability. We know, we were there. We saw the difficulty in the change of mindset and lifestyle as it tended to detract from the existing way of life.

Nowadays, the technology has improved so much that it actually surpasses what we the average person is familiar with. With climate change becoming more and more apparent it has forced, not only the average user, but large manufacturers to adjust their focus towards the conscientious consumer.

Going completely off-grid is the next step in this change of mindset and lifestyle. How? Well that's easy.

Be Prepared!

Yes we have utilised the Scout Motto because it's a great one. If your desire is to become independent you would need to create a plan on how to achieve this. It goes without saying that the less power you use, the less it will cost for a suitable Solar Power System. Becoming energy efficient is a great place to start.

Light it Up

Replace ALL your indoor lights with their LED counterparts, yes all. LED lights use a 10th of standard bulbs, for example, a chandelier with 8 standard candle light bulbs will use 1.6 units in 5 hours. Replace them with LED lights and you are looking at 0.16 units for exactly the same time period. LED lights pay themselves off in 3 months or less. Not only that, they look exactly the same as your standard bulb and they are getting more and more affordable. Seriously, what have you got to lose?

Replace all your outdoor lights with Solar Lights. Unfortunately solar lights have received a bad reputation due to large companies importing thousands of poor quality lights in from China. When investing in Solar Lights, choose quality over quantity and they will last. Solar Lights are more cost effective when bought as a complete unit as they run on 12Vdc.

Purchasing a solar kit to power existing AC lights becomes more costly. If a Solar Light does stop working, check the battery. 9 times out of 10 this is the problem which is easily remedied. Simply replace them with rechargeable batteries. These can be bought from us here and fit most solar lights.

Take out the Power Guzzlers

Easily reduce your energy use by replacing all old electronics and appliances with energy efficient alternatives. Unfortunately efficiency wasn't an issue back in the day and most old equipment are huge power guzzlers. This goes for old washing machines and dish washers too. They use way too much water! Also start training yourself to become more conscious of energy vampires. A lot of appliances use electricity even when they are switched off. TVs and decoders are guilty of this in particular. Start practising switching these power guzzlers off at the plug.

Become a little cooler

Replace your fridge with an A+++ fridge from Bosch. If this is the only appliance you replace then do it. You will see a significant savings in electricity within a few days. Be consumer conscious when shopping for a fridge. Many manufacturers don't tell you the whole truth and rate the fridge in comparison to the rest of their range rather than a global standard. So while it may say A+, it is referring to how efficient it is compared to the other fridges and not according to the actual power rating. Ask the consultant for the actual power rating (not the daily or annual usage). If they can't do this, it is probably not an A+ fridge.

Anything that generates heat uses a LOT of power. If you are aiming to eventually go off the grid, then replacing heat generators with gas-operated appliances is the way to go. Stoves and Ovens, Gas Geysers and Gas Heaters are the way to go. Always be safety-oriented when working with gas. We have a great monitor that can detect both gas and/ or water leaks. A great gadget to invest in if looking to go off-grid. If you would prefer to opt for a Solar Water Heating System, then we also have a product that can connect it to a gas geyser as a back-up
instead of an electrical element.

Be wise and Solarize

Now that you have reduced your energy usage, you can start looking at a suitable off-grid solar power system for your power requirements.

Investing in a system that can be expanded upon at a later date will be a high capital investment but you will save in the long term. Starting with a small system and then adding on a number of other small systems may be a small initial investment but it will cost more in the long term. The budget you have in mind will affect the outcome of this decision.  So where you start will depend entirely on what sort of budget you are working with.

We have a wide range of small off-grid systems as well as larger systems to take a house totally off-grid. If you are at this point, then please take advantage of our offer to provide free professional advice and system design. With over 15 years in the industry, you can rely on us.

We require the hours of usage and power ratings of the items needed to operate on the system. We send you a form to complete so that we can determine the load profile, design a suitable renewable system and advise on how to become more energy efficient where possible. This form is the basis from which we work when designing a system specific to the requirements.

Water, water everywhere

Another focus area when going off the grid is water. We waste so much water on a daily basis but this has recently changed in drought-stricken areas due to necessity.

If you are lucky enough to be able to install a borehole, then we would recommend investing in this. We offer a wide range of solutions and our senior technical consultants are happy to advise on what you would need to start pumping water via the sun. Our range of solar pumps extends further than that and covers demand pumping as well as pool pumps and booster pumps.

Another way to save water is to invest in Rain Water Tanks and Grey Water Systems. So much rainwater gets washed away, it's a good idea to save this precious resource when going off grid. Grey Water Systems are another way to ensure that no water goes to waste by recycling used water to irrigate crops. Please only use environmentally friendly detergents and read the label before doing this. It is inadvisable to pump chemicals into your garden, particular over produce that is for consumption.

We offer such a wide range of solutions that off-grid living is not only achievable but becoming more and more desirable due to the unreliability of municipal services. Our brand promise
to you is to provide a wide selection of high quality affordable products combined with fantastic service and excellent advice. Try us out now and see for yourself.

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