Self sufficiency

If self-sufficiency is your dream, what’s the reality like?

The fallout from the credit crunch has forced many people to consider some form of self-sufficiency as a route to saving money. Solutions such as growing your own fruit and vegetables and collecting rainwater to beat the hosepipe bans and water your crops, are simple ways to reduce food bills.

But what if you’re thinking big and want to take self-sufficiency a step further?

This might involve altering your house in some way or keeping livestock if space allows. So is a ‘house with no bills’ a possibility?

Well, a ‘house with fewer bills’ certainly is.

Although it may take some time to enjoy the benefits of lower utility bills, installing solar panels can be a huge long-term money-saver at a time when oil, gas and electricity costs are literally ‘going through the roof.’

If outside space isn’t an issue, your home could be converted to incorporate such additions as a mini wind turbine to generate your own power, rainwater harvesting and filtering systems, and under-floor heating using a ground source heat pump.

Even though you’ll probably need to use power from the National Grid on occasion, the difference in heating bills will be significant if you can afford to pay the initial installation costs.

Putting food on the table

Living a self-sufficient lifestyle, although simpler in some respects, is definitely not without worry. Caring for livestock and relying on the weather for some of your food is not for the feint-hearted, but many people do live this way and enjoy the type of freedom it gives them.

Once systems such as rainwater harvesting are in place, everything ‘joins up’ in that you know that your crops can be watered, and the land irrigated if necessary. It does take a great deal of pre-planning to become truly self-sufficient, but those who achieve it are free from the exorbitant costs of running a house that the rest of us are forced to suffer.

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