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OFF THE GRID HEAT, BY MIKE FOURNIER, TULSA


Most of us are well aware of how dependent on technology we've become. While a power outage 50 years ago might have meant a night of board games and candles, a modern blackout can truly be a life or death situation. Because of this, the idea of having a home that can function independently is very appealing. Just how appealing is getting off the grid?

Off Grid Heating Nowhere is the distinction between the modern house and a cave more pronounced than in temperature control. The problem is that few of us know how to produce electricity or refine oil well enough to heat our homes unassisted. One thing we understand well enough, however, is that fire is hot. And when that fire is contained in a stove, you're well on your way to a heating system that relies on far fewer middle men.

Independent Electricity Of course, even if your home is hot enough, the whistles and bells that come with electricity are numerous (and increasingly important). While most of us still get our power from a utility company, the numbers show that more of us are looking to produce our own. Though solar panels aren't always able to power an entire house, they are certainly a significant step in that direction.

Off the Grid Durability Durability is another important factor in living off the grid; on a home's path to self-sufficiency, bi-monthly repair calls are a bit of a detour. Off-grid living requires not only energy independence, but building materials that are not going to break or rapidly wear out; it's not surprising that the number of requests for high-quality building materials has also seen an increase.

Cabins in the Woods? While many facets of off grid living seem to be seeing some pretty dramatic increases in popularity, requests for log homes (perhaps the poster boy of off grid living) have decreased in recent years. Does this mean that Americans are less enamored with the Walden-esque idea of rustic existence? Probably not. We're inclined to believe that, though more of us are concerned with the things log homes represent, our economic era finds few of us willing to part with the tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars it can cost to get back to nature!

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