BRANDYWINE 2848 - OFF the GRID in CALIFORNIA
This off-the-grid Brandywine is being built by the owners on their foothill property in central California. Electricity will come from solar PV panels and a wind generator, and of course the heating and cooling will come from the unique Enertia® design of the home.
We visited this home mid-construction and then again near the end of the project
Brandywine Basement - "Built by the owners" really means exactly that in this case. They have touched and lifted every piece of this house, and even formed and poured the foundation themselves. The foundation was a challenge they would not recommend - "Let the pros do it."
Brandywine has a taller main level (one extra course more than an Equinox) so that the beams can run over the girder, giving an extra feeling of spaciousness.
One optional architectural feature of the Brandywine is an arched window in the Sunspace wall. On the North, in all Enertia® homes, there are windows in both the inner and outer timber walls, allowing a view of the natural beauty of the site without loss of energy.
Enertia® homes are built with glue laminated timbers all the way to the peak of the gable. The angled timber ends and beveled top timbers are pre-cut at the factory. Electrical outlet boxes are pre-mortised, and pockets for the rafters are also pre-cut.
The timbers are fastened in place with heavy-duty, self-tapping screws and a power drill. All work is done from inside the house.
The construction chart shows the location of each pre-cut timber. As each timber is placed, that portion of the wall is complete - no insulation, vapor barrier, sheeting, drywall, are required - although an exterior stain will protect the timbers from discoloration. Tune in again for upsdates on this project - it is going to be a spectacular home.
Skip ahead in time, and we visit this home as it nears completion. The large Sunspace is the engine of the home, and will be a very popular place to spend time.
From the Sunspace, the large glass doors lead into the open plan living/dining/kitchen areas.
The layout of this beautiful site leads to a driveway approach to the North side of the house. From here, we can walk around to the right (West) to see all sides of the house, which looks great from every angle.
Continuing around the house, we end up on a hill overlooking the North East corner. We'll come back for some followup pictures when the owners have moved in.
Six months have passed, and we have a chance to visit this family again. Now they are moved in and enjoying the fruits of their labor. The airlock entry on the North side opens into the open plan living room/dining/kitchen space.
The kitchen is sleek and contemporary, and meshes beautifully with the wood walls.
The Sunspace is a favorite place, and contains several architectural features (such as the arched window) and functional features (heavy support timbers, paddle fans, and the airspace between the rafters). It is the "engine" room of the house.
On the North side of the house is a shed that houses the energy equipment - the inverter, batteries and equipment for the photovoltaic system, and other "utilities" that allow this home to operate "off the grid" with no loss of the comforts/ammenities of modern life.