Off-grid Carriage House

DePrez/Beck Carriage House & Barn

City, ST  |  December 2016  |  5,000 Sq. Ft.

Off-grid Carriage House & Horse Barn Double as Garage as well as Caretaker’s Apartment

The DePrez/Beck Carriage House Barn was designed as a one-bedroom apartment on the upper floor above a four-car garage. In addition, the owners wanted to include a four-stall horse barn and tack room with walkout on a basement level.

The DePrez/Beck Carriage House Barn has its own well and septic system. One of the immediate challenges in the implementation of this project is that it is completely off the electric grid. The nearest electrical power is over a mile away. The cost to run electric service was prohibitive. In addition, the client was interested in the use of as much natural energy or energy-saving techniques as possible.  To satisfy the electrical power challenges, T.W. Beck Architects designed a photovoltaic power system for all electrical needs of the building. The electrical system has a Trace ‘SW4024’ 4,000 watt inverter, with twelve (12) deep-cycle batteries, and twelve (12) 120 watt Astropower PV panels. This yields a total array size of 1,440 available watts of power. The DePrez/Beck Carriage House Barn is totally self-sufficient except for propane deliveries.

A propane refrigerator was specified to eliminate additional power load on the electrical system. In addition, all other appliances were specified as energy efficient. Many innovative low-voltage and natural lighting techniques are integrated into the design to further reduce electrical consumption.

South Orientation Provides for Passive Solar Heating & Cooling

T.W. Beck Architects placed the structure on a south-facing hillside with a south orientation. This orientation, in conjunction with the use of concrete floors and walls, provide for passive solar heating and cooling. The heating system is a gas-fired boiler which provides in-floor heat to the structural concrete floor of the garage as well as radiant floor heating for the apartment above.

The design utilizes attic trusses on the upper level to reduce construction costs. The overall design-build project cost was approximately $175,000.  The trusses were tripled on the sides of the big dormer and doubled on the sides of the smaller bathroom dormer. This design provides more openness on the upper level living space, as well as providing more passive heat and natural south lighting.

The upper level apartment is designed as a caretaker living quarters. The garage level provides parking for owner and caretaker vehicles as well as storage areas for a snowplow and tractor.  The lower barn level has a hay chute from the garage to the horse stall area. The use of a structural concrete slab for the garage alleviated concerns for the spread of fire from the garage to the horse stalls.