Slip into a bit of our Alaskan Heaven
Since Log Cabin Wilderness Lodge is located off of the electrical grid, Shane and Rebecca use a combination of sources and technologies to produce enough heat and energy to maintain a comfortable year-round lifestyle in their beautiful valley.
Due to the dramatic changes in light and temperatures from season to season in Alaska, it takes a mix of approaches and some hard work, yet we are able to go green in our energy usage.
The electrical power comes from solar panels, inverters, batteries and the 5 or 6 kilowatt diesel generators.
The bulk of the heat is produced by an outdoor wood boiler. The Parrows also have a wood stove in the great room that is used on occasion. Each of the five guest cabins are also heated with wood. Only dead wood that was killed by fire, storms, or insects is burned. Dead wood is plentiful in the area and we enjoy harvesting the 35 – 45 cords it takes to run the place per year.
With so much daylight, solar provides most of the power in the summer. A little bit of energy is available from the sun in the winter, but most of it comes from the diesel generators.
When necessary, our generator runs generally three to four hours a day. Winter or summer, we store the power we produce in our battery storage system (12 deep-cycle batteries weighing 104 pounds each, worth about $4 a pound). When the generator is off or the sun has gone down, we run off the batteries through an inverter. If you were in our house, you wouldn’t know we are off the grid.
We are very conservative and I think it’s an approach what would work for all Americans: use the power you need, but don’t waste it. We use LED lights, which are more expensive to buy than regular bulbs, but use only about three watts of power.
Our desks are completely wired into power strips and when we walk away from them for the night we turn off the power strips to all those 15 little cubes for all of the little electrical devices we all love that are plugged in and are accepting watts of energy.
We are successfully living off the grid and that is satisfying, but it’s not without costs. We have made quite an investment in equipment, have monthly bills for propane and diesel, and have to maintain and monitor the system.