Off Grid: Meaning, Technologies, and Applications

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Deborah F. Barrow


“Off grid” or “off the grid” refers to a building or buildings that are not connected to any public
utility systems. Energy, water, and waste disposal are dealt with on site without any ties to a municipal
system. This overview and analysis addresses the apparent lack of knowledge and expertise in this area
not only at the most basic levels but also the void that exists within the intelligentsia as to what it takes
to go off grid and what that means. Off grid is its own entity and not just part of sustainability, conversely,
off grid most often does incorporate sustainability. Many resources exist on the individual components
of an off grid system but there is little information available that addresses how to combine these
components into a building for it to become off grid and thus the prevalent ignorance among laypersons
and scholars alike. This paper houses them together and shows how they relate to the overall built


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