This research is an investigation of the perceived positive and negative aspects of off grid living in a middle to upper-class neighborhood in rural Utah in which no public utility grid was available for connection. Off-grid living is defined as unconnected to a public utility power grid, water, or sewer system. In the researched community, all individuals lived off-grid on minimum twenty-acre lots of land with single-household dwellings. We used surveys with closed and open-ended questions to qualitatively explore the local social effects (from individual attitudes to group identity to household economics to conservation attitudes) off-grid living had on individuals and households, and daily intra-community life. Our study group was a compelling community in which to ask this question since most of our participants came to live off-grid by chance as much as choice and they lived off-grid for a relatively long time (average of 9 ½ years). Among this group we coded responses into categories based on qualitative conversation analysis, word usage counts, and categorization and found the “independence” of off-grid living perceived as a strong “positive” factor and the cost and time-intensive maintenance as “negatives.” Gendered work also affected attitudes about daily life and energy choices. In addition, living off-grid, particularly the use of solar energy, seemed to enhance a heightened sense of intra-community neighborliness among most residents.
Smith-Cavros, Eileen and Sunyak, Arianna. "Off-the-Grid in an On-Grid Nation: Household Energy Choices, Intra-Community Effects, and Attitudes in a Rural Neighborhood in Utah." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 20, no. 1 (2018): .
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol20/iss1/5