Monday, August 24, 2009

House Plans (upper pad)

My wife found more time yesterday and completed the final on the design on the upper pad site.

She designs small to medium homes and cabins. But the CAD program we own is a very unforgiving program and sometimes frustrating to use ! But after all the pain was over this is what we came up with.

The entrance road is to the West . The East looks up the mountain.

The foundation will be Raised Floor type using 8x15lb I beams corners and outside perimeter, with concrete footings with weld saddles. connected with 2x12 bond beams. double 2x12 for stringers and 2x10 @ 16 o/c for floor plan. the platform will be decked with 2x6 screwed at 16" typical.

The remaining piers will be 4x4's on tapered pier blocks. expected elevation on East end will start @ 18" above existing ground level and will rise to approximately 7 1/2 to 8 feet above existing ground on the West end. I will not release the platform plan until I get engineering approval on design and expected load calculations for the deck.

The house will be centered on platform . this will give an 8' exposed deck on all four sides. I will use standard 2x6 bearing walls @ 16 o/c to allow for R22 insulation .

The first cabin has shown me to be more concerned with staying warm than cool. The endless supply of oak on my property and wood burning stove will be perfect for this home.

Cooling will be evaporative , Water heating will be solar with tank less on demand propane backup, Cooking multi fuel , propane , wood and solar . I like JW's "The Field Lab" design on his oven.

Solar electric will start small with 8 - 220 watt "REC AE-US" series pv panels @ 24 volts = 7.8 amps each charging during prime sun for a total of 62.4 charging amps connected via "Outback " FM 80 charge controller to a single battery bank consisting of four 6 volt "Surrette" Heavy duty industrial battery's with a rating of 1350 amp-hours. These battery's weigh over 300 pounds each and are assembled on site , The inverter will be rated @ 24volts DC in with 4000 watts AC out or about 34 amps AC continuous . I do have have line power backup and will soon ween us off the grid after construction , sometime in 2011.

This may change as we discover our exact needs in the future , but this system will be the starter with wind turbine @ 1000 watts coming in the 2 year time frame.

Since they have gotten the "CFL" or compact florescent light into the hands of consumers it has changed the way we use solar to light our homes .Using 12 volt for lighting is becoming less popular these days as the CFL's last much longer and are much more easy to access than the 12 volt filament type bulb which are about the same price and use equal amount's of energy. These 12 volt dc lites will be used only for backup lighting during either low sun hours or inverter problems.

The refrigerator and freezer will be 12 volt dc only as these are the energy robbers in the home using AC to power them . These 12 volt models have 4 1/2 inch's of insulation and are extremely efficient but on the small size , less is more ! (lol)

There's a lot of processes for going "off-grid" beginning with home design and it's "R" factor for insulation to the choice of an quality renewable energy source. Self sustainable begins with available natural resources in the area you choose to live . water , food , building materials , and determination to be conservative with everything you do with your life . This drive I developed years ago is finally achievable for my family and myself.

This is as much as I choose to share today and will return to my photography tomorrow.

The progress on the home will updated every now and then until I have some photos to post.

cheers !



  1. This is good! im gonna need some time to check this out.

  2. I love the design of the porch around the whole house. great sunblock!! and sitting area!! I love the court yard entry and well pretty much everything. One question.

    Why only have 4 batteries for your batt bank?

  3. Off Grid ,

    Battery selection is one of the most critical decisions you make on your system.

    The battery's that I recommend are industrial type battery's with extreme amp-hours reserve ,most folks don't know that much about battery's.

    A typical T105 6 volt Trojan golf cart battery has an amp-hour rating of about 225 amp-hours reserve. per string.6 x 225 = 1350 amp-hours.

    The Surrette industrial has 1350 amp-hours reserve per string. so a single string will last a full six times as long a duty cycle compared to the 6 strings of T105's.

    The Surrette is guaranteed 10 years compared to 1 year on Trojan's .Note: ( 1 bad battery will drain your system down to the level of the bad one!)

    The Surrette has a 3200 average recharge cycles. You can recharge them 3200 times at a 50% discharge . They don't even tell you what the T105"s recharge cycle is ? one year warranty?

    Mystery solved !

    Cost for Trojan = $135.00 each you would have to have 6 strings of banks to produce 1350 amp hours that's 16 battery's , my system = 4 battery string 4x6=24volts @ 1350 amp hours with 1 bank.

    Cost and maintenance : 16 @ $135.00 = $2160.00

    Surrette : 4 x $1150.00 = 4600.00
    4600.00 investment 10 year warranty.(BestBuy)

    2160.00 1 year warranty ??

    These type of battery are what most old timer's referred to as " Telephone Company Battery's " these types of batteries have been only available in the 2 volt-dc , until recent technologies have driven manufacturers build higher voltages . to field attraction to higher voltage systems (24volt and 48volt)with less battery's

    Now we can build 24 Volt systems with only 4 bad boys . less maintenance , more lifetime , = "Best Buy"

    Your battery bank is the heart of the system always remember that !

    O'ya don't forget, you got to be able to get them charged every day or 3 .

    You asked ?



  4. One correction:

    please note.

    "The Surrette industral has a 1350 amp-hour reserve per string . so a single string will last a full 6 times as long a duty cycle compared to a SINGLE string of T 105"s !"

  5. Wow, your right. I had no Idea. I think people tend to think if I buy a few at a time the cheep pnes it wont hurt the pocket book so much. but it makes much more sense to do it right. Your house is gonna be in magazines.