Off-the-Grid Living: Background information when reading California

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

California

by Edan Lepucki

California by Edan Lepucki
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2014, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2015, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Off-the-Grid Living

Print Review

off-the-grid adobe houseIn California, Frida and Cal Friedman are forced to live off the land without electricity or running water, growing the food they eat. While the couple has no choice but to adopt such a lifestyle, off-the-grid living has been gaining traction in contemporary society. Traditionally, the term refers to living without public utilities, particularly electricity. One doesn't have to be cut off from the food system as well to qualify. However, in recent years, off grid living has taken on a wider connotation - of somebody living apart from, or under the radar of, modern society.

The motivations for going off the grid can include environmental and economic concerns and a desire to lead a homesteader's life. Even if most home alterations (such as extensive networks of solar panels) do require a significant financial investment upfront, the long-term advantage to the pocketbook is apparent. Electricity needs can be met through use of solar panels and any extra generated can be diverted to storage batteries for backup use. Residential wind turbines are also an option and can be used in tandem with solar panels.

off-the-grid artist's studio and houseWells can tap groundwater but these can be an expensive option costing thousands of dollars and, additionally, are not a reliable solution in areas where groundwater tables are already low. A cistern, a large tank, is often used to store and use water. Water coming into the home through the cistern needs to be filtered before use. A septic tank in which bacteria can break down wastewater is useful for going off the grid. Composting toilets are another option.

While generated electricity can be used to heat the home, consumption might exceed capacity, in which case giant propane tanks can be used as backup for heat. Generators running on biodiesel or propane are also used for electricity in case existing, more environmentally friendly options don't meet needs.

off-the-grid boathouseIt is obvious that going off the grid necessitates decreased consumption and serious lifestyle changes. Adoptees of such a lifestyle will often hand wash clothes and dry them on outside lines, for example. Not surprisingly, off-the-grid living is closely tied with the tiny house movement whereby a typical house is 100 to 400 feet. Living in such small quarters poses its own kind of challenges but minimizes the resources needed to live off the grid.

An off-the-grid adobe house, courtesy of theinnovationdiaries.com
An off-the-grid artist's studio and living space, courtesy of emergencyresponsestudio.org
An off-the-grid boathouse, courtesy of shantyboatliving.com

Article by Poornima Apte

This article was originally published in August 2014, and has been updated for the July 2015 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Not doing more than the average is what keeps the average down.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -