Living Off the Grid
Reposted from Mansion Global | September 27, 2018
Heather and Phillip Steyn’s 35-acre mountain ranch, deep within Colorado’s Roosevelt National Forest, is 5 miles from the nearest electric utility pole. Yet their gourmet kitchen is loaded with built-in appliances, there’s a hot tub on the deck and the hand-distressed Brazilian oak floors are warmed by a radiant heating system—all powered by solar and wind energy.
The Steyns, veterinarians who raise sheep and keep horses on their ranch, never planned to live off-grid. “We fell in love with the property and where it was located—we didn’t do it to be green, we did it out of necessity,” Dr. Steyn, 47, said of her home. “It was cost-prohibitive to put the house on the grid.”
Whether they want to live in rugged locations, create a hedge against power failures, or to reduce their utility costs while shrinking their carbon footprint, homeowners are investing in a range of renewable-energy technologies. Solar panels, which have become more efficient and affordable, are already the norm in some neighborhoods. But a range of new off-grid innovations—from sensor-activated solar systems that power homes through blackouts, to ultraviolet filters that sterilize rainwater for drinking and bathing—are finding their way to the residential market.
Nearly 2 million U.S. homes will have some form of solar power by the end of this year—compared with just over 138,000 homes in 2010—according to a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, and Wood Mackenzie, an energy-research and consultancy firm. And the price of residential solar systems has fallen by about 70% since 2008, said analyst Ben Gallagher.
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