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Our new house

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by SteveK, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    As some of you guys know, for the last year we've been having a new house built for us in the Alaska Range, just about exactly half way between Anchorage and Fairbanks. We put in a solar array which will completely power the house on sunny days, as well as charging a large bank of storage batteries. Yes, we are off the electric grid, the nearest commercial power 24 miles away. Anyway, here a couple photos from across the pond, part of the 5.5 acres of water we own.

  2. Looks like heaven to me. Nice job on the pictures and the house.
  3. A very nice house, with great surrounding scenery.

    How cold it is in winter?
  4. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    Thanks Gordon! I did a bit of quick photoshop cloning to clone out a purple truck belonging to our finish carpenter that was right next to the house. It's been a long and frustrating year during construction, and there are still a number of things to be finished, but it's almost done! This past week I even moved all my slide files to the new house (about 300,000 slides, 30 years of my work)! We are proud of the new house, and in the near future, following Jim Strathearn's annual BBQ, we'll offer one here for anyone who can make it.
  5. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    It's interesting, but 24 miles north of us in the town of Cantwell (the closest town) it can be in the -60F range for a month or so in winter, but we are normally 20-30° warmer. They don't get much snow, but we average at least 2 meters on the ground, and often have 3-4 meters. Cold is relative, and -40 does feel warm when it's -60 somewhere else. Most of the winter here is in the -20F to 10F range. We don't get any direct sunshine for about 2 months as the sun stays behind mountains that are fairly close to us.
  6. Wow, that's a nice looking home - congratulations. Do you adjust the angle of the PV array to follow the sun throughout the year, Steve?

  7. ArtO


    Jun 14, 2008
    Very nice home. Hope you enjoy it for many many years to come. What a great place for a photographer to live.....
  8. Beautiful home and area. Best of Luck with it.

    Out of curiousity -- If you're totally off the electrical grid, and don't get any direct sunshine for a 2 month stretch, (I assume that the solar panels don't either) how do you get your power during that time period?
  9. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Congrats on your new home.........what a beautiful place and on natures door steps. I'm sure it's a beautiful area for star gazing as well, crystal clear evening skies!!!! Best wishes.
  10. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    The array has a small photo cell on the top of the panels which senses the direction of the sun, and drives a low voltage motor to turn the panels. In winter I will lock the panel to the south, to keep it from searching for the sun.

    We have two diesel generators (for redundancy) with auto start circuits to charge batteries as needed. The generators are housed in a very well insulated small building with a small oil heater (Toyo) to keep them warm so they can start easily in winter. We are considering adding a wind generator to the system as well, to try to keep from burning too much of that $5/gal #1 diesel. The generator needs to run about 5 hours every two days to keep the batteries charged when there is not solar input.

    Yes, we are just two miles from the border of Denali National Park. We only have 3 neighbors here in the winter, 4 in the summer, so there isn't any light pollution to interfere with winter night skies.
  11. WOW, Steve your new home looks very pretty! And a beautiful location! Hope you can share more pics when you can! Perhaps the inside? And congratulations! Hope ya'll will have many years of happiness there!
  12. kwork


    Jun 8, 2006
    I'm so jealous. You are living the life of a king. There's probably only small fish in that pond too :rolleyes: 
  13. What a dream home that would be! Congrats!
  14. I have serious envy Bud. Congrats!
  15. shtarka1


    Feb 1, 2008
    Congrats & Much Happiness!!!
  16. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    I'll try Dianne, but I'm not really good at shooting interiors.

    No, actually no fish in the pond, but an abundance of ferry shrimp, a small fresh water shrimp that is good food for the nesting birds here.

    Thanks Dave. You'll have to come to try our fishing rivers one of these days!

    Yes, it's our dream home. Don't want to go through the hassle of building again! Especially when our workers come from a minimum of 24 miles, and some are coming from 190 miles. A nightmare of subcontractor problems!

  17. How lovely! I'd been wondering how things were coming along, having seen pics of the earlier construction and views from the upstairs. What sort of R-values do you build with up there?
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