The Log Home Neighborhood

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Hello everybody!

My name is Keith Jacobs-Holman, it has beeen a while since I have been back to this site. It is truly amazing how when people find out about a dream like the ones we have(building a log home), how much lack of support you from those you would think would be greatest source of support. Since I have joined this site, it like this wall of negative energy as formed. I believe I will be turning to this community as my project continues, if only for some encouragement and advice.

For those who have not read my profile, I have 160 acres in northren California. My back drop will be the majestic and beautiful Mount Shasta. The home is going to be 3957sq ft with four bedrooms and a bunkroom. Sounds great right? Here is my problem and where I could use some advice from my log home family, my, property is 2 miles off the main highway, about that distance from the main power grid. According for my state run power company(Pacfic Gas&Electric), it will cost me about $20,000 to $60,000 to set up the property with power. That is with wires on the pole, wires underground will cost more. That is just to reach the property, to get to the homesite will be further. I was thinking about going off grid but am worried about how reliable it can be. I live by home depot and lowe's in my area, as well as other home improvement stores and all have solar and wind energy systems. But being a city boy for the most part, you kind of wonder just how much do they know? I know many of you out there have been or are going through this obstacale. A friend of mine gave me these too websites to look at and I have to say, I am game but I have no idea what to be looking for or believe. I would like some of you who are going through this too take a look and tell me what you think. I am open to any and all opinions and comments. Be honest, be cruel if you must but please tell me the truth. Everyone here are going to be my guide. I will be posting photos of my land and progress as we going along. Here are the websites.


<a href="" target="_top">Click Here!</a>

the other is:


<a href="" target="_top">Click Here!</a>

Thank all who come to my aide!


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Comment by Glenn V on April 15, 2010 at 12:21pm
Your energy loads will include heating and air conditioning, heating hot water, all electric appliances, lighting, well pump, etc. You will need to figure each for maximum use. I hadn't seen that website that Joe gave before. Thanks Joe. I guess I will list some sites for you that I have been to.
Just a few of the LONG list of web sites I have. I just kind of picked a few and didn't want a long list on here. Most have more sites to go to. I hope a couple of these will help you. The last one is an energy calculator.
Comment by Joe on April 14, 2010 at 8:36pm
You are barely going to have time to clear this lot and build a home this size. Trying to build solar panels to save $ is going to be the least of your problems. Spend $120 and buy the books if you want to. I personally wouldn't waste my time.

Meanwhile the following site contains just about everything you need to know to calculate your electrical load since everything you buy should have a wattage on it. It even contains prices for invertors, but you need to know that it's going to get complex with connections to the needed bank of batteries and interfaces into solar panels, wind generators, possilbly automatic switch over for the generator, etc. Depending on building codes and insurance you might need a licensed electrician to do all of this. That power line might look pretty cheap in the long run. Just about everything better run off gas as the most your are going to get is 4500 to 6000 watts off one inverter and you are going to need a serious battery bank to sustain any load for a long period especially if your are going to run hot water heat which needs pumps. Any reverse cycle heat system is going to be a huge power drain so plan on gas again. Refridgerators and freezers, to be any reasonalbe size, for a house that big are going to have to be electric. You better read the electrical requirements very carefully on that electrical stove. The wife's hairdryer alone will be 1500 watts. Sorry no gas hair dryers that I know of. You and your wife will be communicating a lot though deciding if you can make toast while the coffee maker is running and god forbide that you run the microwave at the same time. Best advice, put in a big propane tank!!!!!!

You can calculate it all in this web site. They have a spread sheet for you to use at the bottom of it.

Glen and others gave you some very good advice.

Comment by Keith E Jacobs-Holman on April 14, 2010 at 5:06pm
Hello everybody,

I am assuming when you say load, you are talking about power requirement of the house. This is my first project like this so it is very daunting. For appliances, I am going with Wolf and Subzero. I have done some homework and they seem to have the best combo of natural gas and electric stoves, burnner, freezers and refrigerators. There are plans for radiant heating flooring on the main floor, Because of that and the fact that my property is well rich, I am started looking geo-thermal water heating(I think that is what it called). As far as weather goes, for my state, the snow line moves between 4300 ft and 5700 ft depending on what storm comes through the sierra mountains. The property sits and 5490 ft above sea level and it gets alot of wind during certain times of the day. As far as the set-up of the house, all the bedrooms are on the same side, up stairs and downstairs. The bathrooms are not connected per say but are in the same area of the room for each side. The bunkroom's bathroom sit at the other side of the house, above the kitchen. So water, hot and cold, should not be a problem. I am still learnning and reading books on this subject. I have looked the different companies that offer solar services as well as wind power too. I know there must be and will be a major investment in alterative power. As well as puting this togather for the family, I also have the responsibility of doing the odd jobs here as well. Cutting cost is the word in these economic times. For instance, my friends and I have the job of clearing and leveling the site before the foundation will go down. That will save some funds. If I can cut some cost of installing solar and wind power, then why not go for it? That is why I put the link to the two books up. I know some of us have gone off the grid at least some if not all the way. Some of you are living entirely on alternative power. I was hoping that some would read the discription of the books and tell me if it is fessible to purchase for futher investigation.

I am really hoping that everybody in this community comment and give their advice. I am sure that everybody has heard of "Blog Cabin". Well this is my personal blog cabin. I invite to comment and have fun!

Comment by Susan on April 14, 2010 at 4:27pm
Hi Keith. Dont get discouraged! Some people might think you're crazy for building a log home - a lot more will be green with envy!
Check out this forum:
Most of the members are a great resource for all sorts of homesteading topics - there is even a board devoted to alternative energy.

Hopefully the link works this time.
Comment by Glenn V on April 14, 2010 at 11:47am
With all of my rambling on , Tim said it best with one paragraph, the main point what I had left off. Thanks Tim. Figure the total loads of the home so you know where you stand, try to reduce all that you can, thru design, products, and usage, then you will know how much demands will be so you can design your power / heating needs. Its probably something that should be done by a professional but if you have the time for lots of research and are good with details go for it. The things I listed are some things I tried to learn about to help build a better, greener home, but I enjoy reading/learning about these things and hope to incorporate as much into the home as $$ allow. Your property sounds like a dream to me... I hope you can post some pictures of it.
Comment by Tim Bullock on April 14, 2010 at 10:45am
Keith, I agree with Glenn. Prior to doing anything, I would want to know the true "load" required to run this home........Perhaps a bit of tweaking with site location and roof overhangs could yield huge savings in "load"......
Comment by Glenn V on April 12, 2010 at 1:04pm
All it takes is one or two wasps to spoil a picnic. But if you ignore the wasps they usually won't sting and then you can get back to all the wonderful food that is still there for you. This site can still be the picnic...

I haven't studied up on Cal. at all but I do believe Cal offers some great incentives for solar and wind as well as the gov for a little while.There are many web sites to give you information, too many to list here, Desire, solar, wind, Cal government, energy star,so start searching.They are constantly improving outputs from solar and wind. I will let others list some.
That is a fairly large home to put off grid but can be done. The first solution would be to start with the design to cut as much heating and A/C , hot water loads,and electric loads down buy designing an efficient home to take advantage of thermal heat gain for heating with thermal mass storage such as tile on concrete floors and the length of the home running east, west for thermal gain on logs for the colder months, taking advantage of lower sun angles in winter, properly designed roof overhangs and window placement with shading to prevent thermal gain in summer along with landscaping. With prevailing winds design a home for passive cooling with the wind, usually a thru or siphon style of design with maybe the wind passing thru woods or over a water source to help cool it before it passes thru your home either all on one level or up thru a coupalow or stairwell. Building a tight home with good windows and outside doors but enough windows to let natural light in where needed; less windows on the north and west walls if in a colder area. Your builder is really important part of this. If it gets cold there put your living areas to the south such as great room, dining room, put heat generating rooms to the north such as a kitchen and also bedrooms, closets, baths etc. Design the garage to help block colder wind for winter months as well as landscape features to block or channel colder north winds away from your home so check on the prevailing winds for your area. They usually change from season to season. Good insulation and properly done. Put bath areas close together so less heat loss on hot water and less cost also. Energy star appliances for as much conservation of electricity and water as affordable. Flourescent and LED lighting to cut electric usage. Solar PV , wind, with battery backup/ inverter, solar water, LP for cooking, heating, backup LP generator, heating with wood, if allowed, and of course natural ways to heat, cool, and light up your home are some to consider. I know this was kind of generic but I hope it added some ideas of things to consider. There are green designers of homes that may be a good thing to consider. Best of luck and I am sure others will kick in with websites and ideas to help. I'm not sure you will save much dollar wise with initial cost of off grid from being on, but you will in the long run.

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