by Mark Leonard
Its funny when talking with folks and the subject comes up where are you living. When I tell them Cerros Sands, outside of Corozal, Belize, they either think it is pretty cool, living off-grid or they look at you sideways and cannot fathom why you would not want to be connected to “Electricity.” Then the conversation takes a turn…
I explain that I have all the power I want and do not have to deal with outages and electric bills. They become more interested. I also tell them I am not connected to water as well. This is a bit easier on them, as some have wells.
Then we go off into the details of how much sunshine we get in Belize. That is easily understood. Now it begins to sink in and they start coming around. I detail the solar array, inverter, charger controller and batteries. It is becoming easier to understand. Then I throw Wind Power into the mix. As these conversations are usually down by the beachside in Corozal, the picture becomes even clearer.
Here at Cerros Sands, my home has a ceiling fan in each room, nice Hunter top of the line ones as well. Guess what they are nothing but decorations, the breeze here is awesome. One of the many reasons I decided on this area for my off-the-grid project.
That along with access to Chetumal, Mexico for dining and shopping, and more importantly MEDICAL! Most folks don’t think about medical till it’s too late. Sorry to say but on Ambergris Cay many wait forever because they cannot get off the island for medical as planes do not fly at night. That needs to change!
I detail our water systems. First we built two cisterns, each approximately 15,000 gallons, as catchment for water from the roof. This is a bit of overkill, however as I do build homes here and we use this rainwater for our construction. It does not get any better than that! These are connected; however either can be shut off/diverted should we ever desire to clean out one or the other. These being under the home create a natural cooling system. We have a small filter we use at the sink for our drinking water, thereby eliminating those heavy five gallon blue water containers everywhere. Our water is currently being heated for showers with an on demand system. That was a temporary installation as we now have a solar heater for hot water. Be careful with these as the water gets so hot the pressure relief valve goes off. Be sure to turn on the cold water first so you don’t get burned.
So, we covered power and water, now sanitation. As with most, Belize septic systems are the norm. For this we use a 3 stage tank, easily built (do not spend money foolishly on the plastic systems). This runs out to a soak away, a smaller tank with gravel and from there a leach field which is under our vegetable garden. We treasure our resources, I frankly cannot believe why each home in the world does not catch rainwater.
Missing something? Like Cable. Who needs it? These days’ satellites provide our Media’s. We have more channels than we can watch. I subscribe to NHL and NFL so I can watch any game on at any time. Internet has many options as well. We use a WIFI at the house right now and we use another system, Stellar Links, for our Restaurant and bar, Francesca’s Beach Bar. By the way if you are in the Corozal area, the food and our beach are not to be missed.
We welcome you to visit Cerros Sands in Corozal and I will be more than happy to show you how we live here very happily Off-GRID.
Mark Leonard brings nearly 30 years of real estate, financial management and development experience to Belize. He is a member of the Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize. His work covers all aspects of real estate from sales, lending marketing, development, land planning, engineering, residential and commercial construction, and business management. He is a specialist in waterfront and resort/recreational development that is sustainable in design.
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