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    • Off the Grid!

      November 05, 2020

      This past summer, we started construction of a new custom home in tranquil Turtle Valley. Our clients, a wonderful young family from the Lower Mainland, wanted to relocate to the Shuswap as a lifestyle choice, and fell in love with the property when they first saw it. After purchasing it, they contracted Copper Island Fine Homes to build their new family home.

      The major hurdle that we all discovered was energizing the home with hydro. Together, we explored options with BC Hydro, but when we finally got an estimate of $80,000 to bring power to the property and learned that it would take a year or more to design, a decision was made to build the house off the grid using renewable energy.

      Part of that means a stunning solar array, already installed at the property as you can see in the top photo below. In addition to solar power and rechargeable batteries, the home will also utilize a propane furnace heating system during the colder months.

      We’re currently running three weeks behind schedule due to delays in foundation and framing construction, but we’re now making up time and working hard to get back on schedule. Fortunately, we are now entirely weatherproof, just in time as the snow begins to fly in earnest. As you can see in the other photos below, our heating and plumbing mechanical installs are complete, as are electrical rough-ins. That’s allowed us to begin insulation, and we’ve now spray-foamed our bumpouts, rim joists and exterior water lines. We’re currently installing batts and getting ready for blown-in ceiling insulation.

      The house is at lockup, with exterior doors installed and the garage sheeted for security. We’ve installed a sub-trade access door to minimize damage to the main house entry door. Drywall has been measured and ordered, and a beautiful wood burning fireplace has been installed.

      Outside, soffits are complete, and our siding and trims are on site and ready for installation. Duradek decking has been installed and railings are on order.

      There are some remaining challenges brought by the remoteness of the property. For example, the solar array, while up and functioning perfectly, doesn’t provide sufficient power to operate the industrial space heaters we need for drywall curing. Project Manager Dean Friesen is exploring all options with the homeowners to ensure we get proper heat to maintain construction schedule and proper drying. These options include a commercial generator and an electric furnace with fans. Another challenge is the long dirt road with significant slope and sharp curves -- it poses access challenges for heavy loads such as drywall and cabinet deliveries. We’re doing our best to bring loads in during weather breaks and adjust schedules and trade starts to work around these deliveries. Plow trucks are standing by as needed for snow clearing, sanding and vehicle extrication.

      In other words, we’re all up for the challenges!