When considering an off grid system to power your new dwelling, you need to assess your daily power consumption to help you with your off grid living. Going ‘off grid’ will also require you, and your family, to become a lot more conscious of your energy usage, as you don’t have the support of the grid.
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When calculating how much power you may use in a new property you must consider 5 important things and how they relate to your systems’ requirements, possibly saving you thousands of dollars in system costs. Energy-intensive appliances are those that heat or cool a space, be it air, water or an element. The major considerations are:
- Gas or Solar Hot water – An average hot water system for a 3 or 4-person house may easily consume 4 kWh per day alone. Gas or Solar Hot water is a great option to simply and drastically reduce your power consumption, in-return saving you big money. Important to note that in bad weather you may need to boost your solar hot water system and if it has an electric boost you’ll end up using a lot more power at a time when the generated power from your solar panels is drastically reduced.
- Gas Cooking – Electric cooktops and ovens are another big requirements for your Off-Grid system. Although running ovens and elements from your Off-Grid system is definitely achievable you may find going with gas will save you a lot of money.
- Wood fire heating – Electric Bar heaters are massive consumers and when run for long periods don’t fit in well when living Off-Grid. Wood fire heating is an option taken up by many of our customers. A wood fire stove is a great way to heat up your living space
- Efficient appliances – If you are buying a new property, you can take the opportunity to ensure you get the most efficient appliances, thereby reducing your Off-Grid system’s requirements. Energy star ratings are now present on all appliances, along with a yearly kWh usage. This can be used to select the most efficient appliances for your budget. LED lighting is a very efficient option and gives off good light. As numerous lights are usually on for at least a few hours a day, a more efficient light can add up to big savings.
- Change your routines – It’s simple. When the sun is out, use your biggest energy consuming appliances. We call it “Blue Sky Rule”. Do your washing, vacuuming and all other household routines during the day, this way the electricity is in effect supplied directly from your panels and not discharging from your battery storage. For smaller systems, you may want to load-share, which means you stagger the use of your high draw appliances such as toasters, microwaves and kettles etc. This will reduce the requirement for a large Off-Grid inverter which will save you even more money on the system cost. Use common sense and follow the “Blue Sky Rule”.
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