Living Offgrid Affordably 12: Enough Thinking, Back To Work


| 4/2/2012 2:33:57 PM


Tags: renewable energy, solar power, building your own home, Jeff Chaney,

Jeff with his one kilowatt array 

After all of the mental exercise in the last article A Plan Comes Together, it is time to get back to work. Winter is whizzing by, and I had to be ready when spring arrived to uncover this mess and erect the permanent roof.

The starter solar power system I had installed was working flawlessly, which allowed the long winter to pass relatively quickly. During this time, I assembled the front half of the side walls, then pre-cut all of the rafters and collar ties, to be ready to go in spring when the weather broke. I also pre-cut stringers for the stairway, since the first thing I would need to begin the roof would be access to the loft floor. If, and when, a dry spell arrived and the cover was removed, roof construction had to move swiftly and seamlessly. I thought about this operation constantly, and prayed very hard that all of my calculations were correct! If not, I would have a “mell of a hess” on my hands.

Art 12 front walls At one point in the middle of all this commotion, a few days of clear, dry weather appeared. I decided to raise the front of the plastic off the floor and install the front side walls. As it turned out, the break in weather was only long enough to erect one side wall, which dictated that I re-cover with the plastic, then wait for a second opportunity to do the other side. In about a week, the weather window opened and allowed the installation of the other front side wall. The hard part of this operation was not erecting the walls, but trying to re-cover everything for protection.

Now, with the side walls completed, I concentrated on the floor plan again. I decided to go in the rear east corner and create a “kitchen.” I built a wall six feet long and installed it six feet from, and parallel to, the rear wall, attached to the east wall. I then

Art 12 kitchen corner covered the front of this wall with 1x pine planks that were sawed from the property. I left the “kitchen” side bare and used the cavities in the framing for storage. This arrangement proved very handy, and is still in use today. The picture of the kitchen corner shows the top of the propane grill I used as a cooking stove. After almost killing myself previously, I made sure to open a window when it was in use. Ventilation is paramount!

gerald naughton
4/3/2012 8:05:21 PM

I'm enjoying this blog, Jeff, and have read the whole series. I have to say I'd like more pictures -- I have a hard time visualizing some of what's going on. So, is the 36" space under your refrigerator acting as a "cooler" or is it pantry space? Also, you mentioned the "Housebuilding" book you're using as a reference manual, but do you have a floor plan for your storage building and/or house? Look forward to the next installment. Cheers. GEN





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