Tag Archives: barn house

Planning for Solar Panels on Your Barn Home Kit

solar panels

Solar is the fastest growing alternative energy source in the world—a trend most would have dismissed as a fluke 48 years ago. That’s because photovoltaic systems back in 1970 were wildly expensive, costing around $70 per kilowatt an hour. Today, you pay significantly less at just 12 cents an hour per kilowatt. The overall price for kilowatt hours has dropped 10 percent since 1980. If these trends continue, analysts believe solar will inevitably contribute 20 percent to total energy consumption in the United States by 2030.

It’s easy to see why solar is one of the best disruptive technologies out there, and why an increasing number of homeowners are opting to make the switch. While we ourselves do not manufacture solar panels, we can definitely help you get set up with some when you go through the process of designing a barn home kit with us.

Here are some things you should consider before retrofitting your barn house building kit.

Infrastructure

Sixty percent of households don’t have sufficient roofing infrastructure to support solar panels.

One standard 60-cell residential solar panel can weigh between 40–50 lbs. Powering a house efficiently will require the majority of your roof’s surface area, in order to properly aggregate enough power to the inverter and into your battery bank.

A good night’s rest comes courtesy of our homegrown Pacific Northwest timber. This wooden material is handcrafted onsite and cured using a process that denotes longevity. If you don’t mind sacrificing a little open space in the vaulted ceilings, the installation of extra support beams can reinforce the weight of the panels. We also recommend tweaking the roof pitch for maximum sun exposure. Check out our Flex Design option to learn more about how to further customize your kit!

How Much Does Solar Cost?

The average gross residential cost for solar panels before factoring in tax credit reductions can hover between $16,800 and $30,000. Sleek solar products like Elon Musk’s powerwall and solar roof can cost $12,000 to $15,000 for a 2,000 sq. ft. home. The powerwall, a highly efficient and discreet battery system, will add another $3,000 to $6,000 depending on your needs. However, sticking with conventional solar panels is still the better option at this point in time.

Simplicity is a universal philosophy amongst our rustic designers. For a 3,000 sq. ft. home with a $200 monthly power bill, a conventional 8.5 kW system would only cost $26,000 to install. At this scale, Tesla’s photovoltaic cells would only be able to produce 6.25 kW at a $60,000 price point, giving you less for more.

Tax Credit Reductions

Federal tax credits for solar last year saved the average individual $5,000. A tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction of the price you pay for installation. 30 percent is the current reduction rate. Eventually, this rate will drop to 26 percent in 2020. A trend which will continue to fall unless Congress chooses to renew the program’s reduction policy. With only one year left, applying for these reductions before installation would be the most prudent move you could make.

What is Net Metering?

Net metering protects the energy you generate onsite from being abused by utility companies. If a utility company overuses the power you contribute to the grid, then you’re entitled to reparations. Running your meter backwards will result in credit that can be used on your next electrical payment. Each state is different depending on where you are. Be sure you do some research before turning your kit into a self sufficient off-grid mecca.

Ready to take the first step toward designing your dream home today? Request a free quote to get started!

360° Barn Home Tour: Garage With Living Quarters

garage with living quarters

DC Structures’ post and beam building kits are designed to bring you closer to your passions—literally! Guided by the idea that where you live and what you love should be one in the same, we offer flexible and functional packages that can be modified to suit your unique lifestyle.

This garage with upstairs living quarters in Bend, Oregon is a shining example of the ways in which home can effortlessly combine with hobby—all without sacrificing on luxury. Adapted from an Oakridge 60’ barn home kit, this stunning barn-style house features a large garage and storage space on the ground floor and sweeping open-concept living quarters upstairs.

Tour the inside of these stunning upstairs living quarters!

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Ready to turn your hobbies into a lifestyle? Request our digital catalog to get started on your dream building today!

Barn Conversion Cons: Why Remodeling Might Be A Bad Idea

barn conversion

Thinking about a remodel for that old wooden barn sitting unused on your property? Here are a few things to consider when planning for a barn conversion.

The idea of restoring an old barn into a rustic barn house might sound great in theory, but most of the time it’s a lot more costly and painstaking in practice.

The biggest barrier to a barn remodel is without a doubt financial. Hidden expenses will crop up in the form of things like fumigation costs and re-engineering fees. In other words, it won’t take long for the cost of the barn conversion to exceed the cost of an entirely new barn-style home.

If you’ve got an endless cash flow and a zen-like capacity for headache-inducing regulatory hiccups, then maybe a barn conversion is for you. If you’re like most people, however, you’ll probably prefer the path of least resistance.

Barn Conversion Woes: The Rotten, the Infested and the Costly

Before you begin to plan a barn remodel, it’s important to identify whether your barn is even worth converting. If your structure is a pole barn, don’t even bother.

Pole barns have short life spans because they rely on treated wood posts in concrete in lieu of a proper foundation. This means that, regardless of what chemicals are used to protect the lumber from the concrete’s moisture, the posts will inevitably rot.

As such, appraisers, banks and lenders do not always recognize pole barns as permanent structures. This complicates financing requests for your already spendy barn conversion. Further, many pole barns are not properly engineered to meet the structural requirements necessary for a residence. And good luck getting permits for that kind of project!

To add insult to injury, you’ll likely need to hire an architect or structural engineer who can create blueprints of the existing barn. If you don’t have the old plans, you can’t get permits or accurate bids for the new plans.

Even if the barn you’d like to remodel has a proper foundation, existing blueprints and adequate structural integrity, there is yet another roadblock to make you wary. Six-legged pests such as powder post beetles will wreak havoc on the timbers that support your barn.

Fumigation is expensive enough, but costs will be astronomical if you delay the process until after your old barn has been remodeled. Would the financial burden and logistical nightmare of vacating your residence be worth that rustic barn conversion?

The Post and Beam Barn House Alternative

DC Structures offers a diverse and highly modifiable line of post-and-beam building kits that will stay standing for two-to-three times longer than their pole barn counterparts. Whether you’re looking for a barn-style home, hybrid apartment barn, or a workshop or garage with living quarters, DC Structures has a kit to suit your lifestyle needs.

Our pre-engineered barn home kits are both efficient and cost-effective. We offer our clients the benefit of a rustic barn aesthetic that is built to last—all without the headache.

Request our digital catalog for a better sense of how we can make your barn house dreams come true.