The Green Barn

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It’s been a long time since an update, but we’ve gotten a lot of work and relaxing done since Christmas at the property. A lot of people have been asking about our power and water systems at the barn since finding out we are completely “off grid” at the property, so I thought I’d explain a bit about how we have done it.

We have always had power at the barn thru a very simple system of two 12 volt marine batteries, a solar panel to keep them charged, and a 10,000 watt power inverter to make standard 110v power. This has always worked great for us, although I did recently upgrade from a 1700 watt inverter. The upgrade was due to the fact that the 1700 watt inverter didn’t have enough power to allow us to use the electric skillet or coffee maker. These two marine batteries easily keep us in power for a 3 day weekend. The solar panel then recharges the batteries so they are ready when we return. I have also wired in lights using compact florescent bulbs which use very little electricity.

The next issue to overcome was the lack of running water. Although there is very clean stream on the property as well as springs, etc; we really didn’t want to dig a well or have large expensive pumps (especially with our limited power source). So, after installing a septic tank, toilet, sink and shower I moved on to a system to capture rainwater from the roof of the barn. I used two rain barrells and black corrugated pipe to capture the rain from the gutters. I cut holes in the top of the barrells to allow the overflow to run off into the drainage pipes and be carried away from the barn. See some pictures here… A simple 12 volt water pump designed for a camper was installed to pump the water from the barrells into the fixtures. The best part is a small propane powered hot water heater that comes on instantly when you turn on the hot water at the sink or in the shower and heats the water to very high temperatures nearly instantly. This was also an expensive system designed for RV’s and mobile hot water uses. It connects to a standard 20lb propane tank and will lasts for many months as little as we use it.

The next trip is this coming weekend. It’s bee a great 4 day weekend for us with friends and family as we grill out and enjoy what we have worked so hard to build. I am definintly prepared to start sitting back and enjoying as opposed to working the whole we visit as in the past. Although, I’ll always enjoy a simple project every now and then. Besides, I still have a bench swing and a chair swing to hang somewhere.