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WHAT'S GOING INTO THIS OFF-GRID HOME
A little about the house we are putting together.
Written by Administrator
Thursday, 24 June 2010 22:35
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Our new place will have 2,337 square feet of living area, 523 square feet of loft space above the garage, and a 760 square foot basement.  Alongside our two car garage will be an enclosed drive-thru walkway with adjacent horse stalls and a horse tack/hay room. We have tried use resources found around our area such as reclaimed wood, limestone, etc.

We are using steel SIP's (Structural Insulated Panel System) for the construction of our home. SIP's have steel frames four feet wide by however long we need them, with five inches of foam inside. SIP's exterior walls are extremely energy efficient and can withstand winds of up to 150MPH (hope we don't get to prove that). We will also be using SIP's for the roof as well, which allows us to have cathedral ceilings throughout the entire home. The ceiling height in the living room will be about 16 feet.

The exterior facing will be cedar siding with a field stone skirt. The roof will be corrugated metal.

Now for the off-grid portion. Above the garage will be about 56 photovoltaic solar panels producing about 13Kwh of energy. We will also having a wind turbine to compliment the solar. The wind turbine is a VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine), which means it spins like a top rather than a propeller or windmill. The turbine will produce approximately 2.5Kwh of energy. We are using the turbine because it always seems to be windy on our hill, especially if the sun's not shining. Sure, there will be those rare days when we get neither, therefore we'll have a 10Kwh diesel generator backup. We are also researching using bio-diesel to limit our carbon footprint. As I understand the theory, you only want to run your backup generator 200 hours or less a year.

Inside we'll have exposed timber framing using 10"x10" rough sawn oak beams. The oak beams have been reclaimed locally, so no trees have been cut down for them. Above the beams there will be a cupola the entire length of the living room. The cupola will be filled with windows to let in natural light. There will be a double sided fireplace with one side in the living room and the other in the master bedroom. The facing of the fireplace will be reclaimed limestone. I personally pulled this limestone from a hand-made, 100 year old cellar located about a half mile down the road at my neighbor's place. It took me about three weeks with no other help, in the nice warm heat in the middle of August, 2008. Most of the pieces are six to eight inches thick. A couple of the pieces are two feet wide, eight feet long, and 4 inches thick. A lot of sweat equity, but I believe it will be well worth the pain, (I nearly broke my finger).

The flooring in the living room will be reclaimed oak barn wood. I love the look of aged, rough sawn oak with all the flaws like nail holes and saw marks . This flooring was reclaimed from old barns that were no longer in use. I can't wait to see them in place. It should go swimmingly with the rough sawn oak beams. The bedroom will have hickory hardwood floors. The "working" areas like the kitchen, mud room, pantry, laundry room, and the stairways will all have rubber flooring. Rubber flooring is something I have not seen in homes but it is very appealing to us. My office will have bloodwood flooring, procured from a local business that sustainably harvests trees in South America. (Really, we checked them out.)

The trim work throughout the house will be reclaimed oak lumber I pulled from some local barns. A friend of Terri's wanted a couple of barns torn down back in February, 2009. I was happy to tear them down and reclaimed all the pieces of lumber and tin roof. Again, I tore this all down by hand, by myself. Absolutely no help. I either like the challenge, or I am just completely bonkers. However, all went well and I reclaimed some wonderful materials, including an entire set of cattle scales from 1907. Check out the pictures section. Somewhere in the house I will be using pieces of the scales, probably in my office.

The front door will be made of iron and eight feet tall. This will be a focal point when you drive up. It is very cool and very heavy.

The back deck will cover the entire back side of the house all the way to my office. We will be using Guayacan as the decking material acquired from the same place as the bloodwood. Guayacan could very easily last 50 years or greater even without any treatment. This wood produces its own oils so the about the only thing that would happen is it would turn grey because of sun exposure. I will be designing the deck and installing it myself, possibly with the help of my brothers.

Check out the Materials page to get more details on the materials we will be using.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 21:32