How to Go Off-Grid With Alternative Eco-Products Most People Don’t Know About

How to Go Off-Grid With Alternative Eco-Products Most People Don’t Know About

Living off-grid is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice for people looking to reduce their environmental impact and live more sustainably. Going off-grid requires using alternative systems and products that do not rely on public utilities like electricity, gas, water, and sewage. There are many innovative eco-products available today that can make living off-grid easier and more convenient. In this article, I will discuss some of the key categories of alternative eco-products I have discovered that can help facilitate an off-grid lifestyle.

Renewable Energy Systems

Transitioning to renewable energy sources is essential for living off-grid. Here are some of the most useful alternative energy products:

Solar Panels

Solar panels are one of the most common ways to harness renewable energy for off-grid homes. Advancements in solar technology have made solar systems more affordable and efficient. When sized properly, solar panels can fully power an off-grid home.

Some of the best solar panels for off-grid use include:

  • Canadian Solar – Well-known brand with high efficiency panels.
  • Renogy – Budget-friendly solar panels good for smaller systems.
  • SunPower – Premium solar panels with high efficiency rates.

When installing solar panels, make sure to also invest in solar batteries like Tesla Powerwalls to store excess energy.

Solar Generators

Portable solar generators provide an excellent eco-friendly power source while living off-grid. Some popular options include:

  • Jackery Explorer – Compact and versatile solar generator.
  • Bluetti EB70 – Affordable mid-size solar generator.
  • Anker 757 PowerHouse – Large capacity solar generator.

I recommend sizing your solar generator to fit your electricity needs. Calculate the wattage of devices and appliances you plan to run.

Wind Turbines

In windy areas, wind turbines can provide supplemental renewable energy. Consider installing a small wind turbine if your property has consistent wind. Some reputable brands include Southwest Windpower and WindyNation.

Properly site and size your wind turbine based on your property’s wind speeds. Factor in local zoning laws and neighborhood aesthetics when installing wind turbines.

Micro-Hydro Systems

If you have a running water source like a stream on your property, micro-hydro is a viable off-grid energy option. Micro-hydro systems use the flow of water to generate electricity.

This is a more complex system to install but can provide continuous off-grid power if designed correctly. Canyon Hydro and Harris Hydro manufacture micro-hydro kits and turbines.

Eco-Friendly Plumbing

Living off-grid requires rethinking conventional plumbing and using alternative wastewater systems. Here are some effective products:

Composting Toilets

Waterless composting toilets are a sustainable alternative to standard flush toilets. Some good composting toilet options include:

  • Separett Villa 9215 – High capacity electric composting toilet.
  • Nature’s Head – Compact all-in-one composting toilet.
  • Sun-Mar Excel – Non-electric composting toilet.

Composting toilets save thousands of gallons of water per year. The human waste decomposes into usable compost over time. Proper toilet maintenance is required.

Rainwater Harvesting Systems

To tap into water independently from the grid, use a rainwater harvesting system. These systems collect rainwater from roof gutters and store it in tanks or cisterns. This harvested rainwater can be used for washing, gardening, and in some cases, drinking.

Quality rainwater system brands:

  • Rainharvest – Customizable above ground rainwater tanks.
  • Bradford White – Whole house rainwater storage tanks.
  • Rainreserve – Stylish slimline rainwater tanks.

Properly filter and purify harvested rainwater if using as a potable water source.

Gray Water Systems

Reusing wastewater from sinks, showers, and washing machines, known as gray water, conserves water. Gray water systems filter and transport used water into toilets or gardens.

Leading gray water system companies:

  • BRAE – Full gray water recycling for residential use.
  • Gravelpac – Gravity-based gray water irrigation systems.
  • Aqua2Use – Basic gray water distribution kits.

Always check local regulations as gray water systems may require permitting.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Living off-grid requires stringent energy conservation. Seek out the most energy-efficient appliances available. Here are some options I recommend:

Refrigerators

Look for Energy Star rated refrigerators under 10 kWh/month such as:

  • GE CaféTM Series – Top-rated counter-depth refrigerators.
  • Fisher & Paykel – CoolDrawer multi-temperature drawer fridge.
  • Avanti – Small energy-efficient apartment fridges.

Use a passive cooler box like a YETI for off-grid outdoor food storage.

Washing Machines

Inverter-driven washing machines like:

  • LG WashTower
  • Samsung FlexWash
  • Bosch 300 Series

Minimize washer use by washing clothes in cold water, using eco-friendly detergents, and line drying.

Ovens & Cooktops

Propane ovens and induction cooktops are efficient off-grid appliances. Quality brands include Bosch, Empava, and NuWave.

Supplement with solar ovens and wood-burning stoves to conserve propane.

Alternative Water Heating

Heating water uses lots of energy. Use these alternative water heating methods:

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heating systems use solar thermal panels to heat water. This provides 70-80% of hot water needs. Leading brands are Apricus and Alternate Energy Technologies.

I sized my system based on my household’s daily hot water requirements.

Tankless Water Heaters

Propane tankless water heaters heat water on demand without storage. Takagi and Rheem make reliable propane tankless units suited for off-grid use.

I conserve hot water by taking short showers and installing low-flow faucets.

Passive Water Heaters

Low-tech options like solar shower bags and wood-fired coppers use the sun and wood stove to heat water. I use these simplemethods for outdoor water needs.

Eco-Friendly Lighting

Living off-grid requires careful lighting selection. Here are the best options:

LED Light Bulbs

Use Energy Star certified LED light bulbs throughout the home. Cree and Philips make long-lasting LEDs that consume minimal electricity.

I choose warm color temperature bulbs under 3000K to reduce blue light exposure. Dimmer switches also help control light usage.

Solar-Powered Lighting

Solar-powered spotlights, lanterns, and string lights provide outdoor lighting without electricity. Reliable brands are SunnySolar and Signature Solar.

I strategically place solar lighting to illuminate walking paths and other high-use areas at night.

Alternative Light Sources

Use candle lanterns, oil lamps, or propane lamps indoors at night to conserve off-grid power. I find these provide enough ambient lighting for rooms we occupy at night.

Be sure to exercise proper fire safety when using open flame lighting.

Eco-Friendly Pest Control

Living closer to nature often means dealing with pests. Manage them through these eco-friendly products instead of toxic pesticides:

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural mineral dust that can eliminate ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, and fleas when applied properly. It is non-toxic and chemical free.

I sprinkle diatomaceous earth across infested areas or inside wall voids through small holes. It cuts through the waxy shell of insects, causing dehydration.

Essential Oils

Many plant essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree naturally deter insects.

I mix a few drops of these essential oils with water in a spray bottle and use as a mist repellent where needed.

Live Traps

For rodent issues, use humane live traps so pests can be released away from the home. Avoid glue traps and poisons.

Predator Urines

Applying predator urines, like coyote or wolf, around the perimeter of your property can dissuade nuisance animals from approaching your homestead.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Living off-grid means making or buying natural cleaning products instead of using conventional chemical cleaners. Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly cleaning solutions:

Castile Soap

Castile soap made from vegetable oils can be diluted for use as an all-purpose cleaner. Dr. Bronner’s is a reputable castile soap brand.

I mix a few drops of castile soap with water in a spray bottle for countertop cleaning.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile natural cleaning agent. It works for scrubbing surfaces, deodorizing, and unclogging drains.

I sprinkle baking soda on my off-grid composting toilet weekly to reduce odors.

White Vinegar

White vinegar cuts through grease and grime without harsh chemicals.

I use it to wash windows and wipe appliance surfaces. The vinegar smell dissipates quickly.

Lemon Juice

The citric acid in lemon juice naturally dissolves dirt and stains.

I use lemon juice mixed with water to clean hard water deposits on faucets and showerheads.

Off-Grid Waste Management

Managing your waste sustainably is imperative when living off-grid. Here are some effective strategies:

Composting

Composting food scraps, leaves, and other organic waste reduces landfill contributions.

I use a rotating drum composter and spread finished compost around my vegetable garden.

Recycling

Sort recyclable materials like paper, glass, metals, and plastics to minimize trash output. Recycle properly when making trips into towns.

Burning

Incinerating burnable trash in a proper outdoor incinerator prevents waste accumulation.

I burn paper waste as well as woody yard debris in my incinerator.

Proper Waste Storage

Store household trash in sealed containers away from the home to prevent odor and pest issues. Take waste to a transfer station for proper disposal when the containers fill up.

Eco-Friendly Purchasing

Living off-grid requires careful consideration of every purchase. Follow these guidelines:

Buy Used

Purchase quality used items whenever possible. Shop at secondhand stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces like Craigslist and eBay.

Seek Quality and Durability

Spend more upfront on durable products that will last instead of buying disposable items frequently. Prioritize metal, glass, and wood over plastic.

Support Eco-Friendly Companies

Research companies’ practices and buy from eco-conscious brands whenever possible.

Buy Local

Purchase items produced locally to support your community and reduce transportation emissions. Shop at farmers markets and local artisan shops.

Minimize Packaging

Avoid excessively packaged goods that create unnecessary waste. Buy in bulk whenever practical.

Making the transition to off-grid living using alternative eco-products entails considerable research, planning, and investment. But taking the time to properly implement sustainable systems leads to a more self-sufficient, lower impact lifestyle that is deeply rewarding. The innovative products available today make modern off-grid homesteading more feasible than ever before.