Are you ready to take positive real steps towards that dreamed of, move off grid? This weekend plan will result in concrete action that moves you forward in your plans, and provides some real numbers and experience for your future off grid power system! Your weekend will be used to collect power data, and to take actions to move forward.
The whole idea behind the Move-Power weekend is to actually live with your simulated off grid power system. We will only run items that we expect to use when we are off grid this weekend. You will arrange the power to all the appliances to go through one or more kill-a-watt meters to collect the power data. You will as best possible try to simulate your daily activities off grid and much as possible. The second part is less simulation and more action, during these days where you don’t use power, we take positive steps towards your move.
You will need some realistic numbers and experience to have a feel for what powered items will fit in your power budget, and future power system budget. So here’s a simple plan to get some experience without a large expense.
1) Make a list of items you have and would use normally in you off grid power system. From that list select the items you actually have and can use now. For example, stereo, Compact Florescent lighting, or cooking appliances like a crock pot or electric grill.
2) Purchase a quality power strip and a Kill-A-Watt meter. You will need a supply of various extension cords, and some may need to be heavy duty extensions for a larger appliance like a refrigerator or cooking appliances.
3) Select a centrally located wall plug, and plug in your Kill-a-Watt meter with the power strip plugged into it. Now arrange the other extension cords to plug into the power strip and power your devices for the weekend. If necessary this system can be scaled up to run from multiple locations by using more kill-a-watt meters and power strips. Always check the ratings of your extension cords to match the loads you use them for! This may look a little messy for the weekend with the cords all over, but it should not be unsafe!
4) You’re now ready to start the Move-Power weekend. Once you start by plugging in the meters, do not remove them until you have recorded the data from each one.
5) Start your power simulation. Attempt to operate items as you anticipate you might when operating your off grid power system. Run a few lights at night, read, or TV. Use some of your cooking appliances to cook your meals. During the day, your assignment is real action towards your goal.
Okay, collecting power data is one thing, now its time for some real action that will move you forward. You started the power simulation? Great! That is some positive action to build upon. Now lets talk about a few more concrete actions you might take during the daytime.
- Not enough money saved to consider the move? Simplify your lifestyle. How much time and money do you spend on stuff that doesn’t move you forward in your goals? What about all that suff in your garage or in storage? What can be sold? What is really necessary? Downsize and de-clutter your life. Think garage sale, ebay and craigslist to sell things you don’t need.
- Where: Research good locations to move. Questions to answer are; Do I want to move and keep the same income producing work? Or, is an entire change to another state being considered? Research the Internet, make phone calls about possible properties.
- Some folks love financial planning and spreadsheets, while others may not be so fond of them. Either way, planning and “counting the cost” is a crucial element to your project.
- There is a large trade off between money and skills. The more useful skills you have to create and build your off grid life with, the less you spend on others for help!
- Learn more about small motors, or brush up on some welding skills. Take a class at at the community college or take on line courses where helpful. Just get started on new skills today!
When you’re done with your off grid Move Power weekend, you should walk away with more clarity about your goals, You will have some real experience and numbers to work with on your Power Budget. You will have more experience with the power side of things, and have started or continued refining plans and new skills necessary to achieve your goals!
What do you think? Was this power simulation a helpful idea? What additional elements would you suggest to this weekend project? Tell us more in the comment section below!