Living off-grid versus de-gridding

One of the recurring themes of this blog will be optimizing your dependence on the grid.  In most cases, this means lessening your dependence on the grid, but still maintaining some level of dependence where it makes sense.  There is an inverse relationship between efficiency and reliability.  Efficiency simply refers to how much of an output you get for a given amount of inputs.  Reliability refers to a system’s ability to continue functioning, even in the face of adverse conditions.  An analogy is the human kidney.  We have two of them.  We can survive just fine with one, but it would leave less margin for error.  Having one kidney would be more efficient than having two, but less reliable.  On the other hand, having three or four would be even more reliable due to the extra redundancy, but the efficiency penalty isn’t worth it.  The point is - don’t worry about living off-grid and completely disconnecting yourself from the public infrastructure.  In many cases, you should rely on it, because it’s far more efficient to do so.  But be sure to build some redundancy into your plans, and be sure to retain the ability to be disconnected if need be.  Balance efficency with reliability in all that you do.

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