While not everyone wants to embrace the challenges that come with living independent of any utility connections, a number of communities across the globe are experimenting with living off the grid as part of being a sustainable, self-sufficient village.

People living off-grid range from environmentalists looking to lessen their impact on the planet to survivalists striving for self-sufficiency is advance of the collapse of civilization.

Three Rivers Recreation Area

More than 500 homes are scattered across 4,000 acres about an hour drive from Bend, Ore. None of them is connected to the power grid. The development of mostly vacation homes — there are fewer than 100 permanent residents — started in the 1960s.

Greater World CommunityGreater Earthship

This 634-acres development near Taos, N.M., claims to be the world’s first Earthship subdivision — an Earthship being a passive solar house made of natural materials such as adobe and recycled tires, cans and other materials. Residents of the Greater World have access to 347 acres of community land, open green space with hiking, biking and parks.


Breitenbush is an intentional community set on 154 acres near Detroit, Ore., that operates the Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center. An onsite hydropower plant supplies electricity for the complex of 100 buildings. Geothermal wells provide heat.


The 35 buildings in this community of about 60 people living and working in Black Mountain, N.C., are powered by solar panels and hydropower generated by a micro-hydro system in Rosy Branch Creek.

Emerald EarthEmerald Earth

This intentional community on 189 acres Mendocino County near Boonville, Calif., was founded in 1989. The dozen or so people living here share a common house with a main kitchen, eating and meeting areas and shower. olar panels and a gas generator provide electricity. Use of composting outhouses means there is no need for a septic system.