View Full Screen Photo Slideshow of our home on Lovango, US Virgin Islands

I moved to St John in 1993. I worked with a Builder Architect who used indigenous materials in the homes he designed. He also incorporated into his designs the landscape and how to minimally impact the environment. I was taught how to layup the local style stonework and to crack stone with a 20 lb sledge.

Weekends I would work on my 36’ Trimaran which I lived on in Coral Bay. I installed two solar panels to help keep my boat batteries charged. Those were two 75-watt panels and they cost about $500.00 apiece back then. That was my first investment in solar energy and it has been paying off since.

In about November of 1995 I moved from my 36’ Trimaran to a cottage on Lovango Cay, St John. The house was totally off the grid with wind and solar capabilities stored in 24- 6 Volts batteries, it had a composting toilet and small ancient generator (Ole Huey) that would always run but was it ever loud so I hardly used it. I lived at that property for two years and got to fall in love with Lovango Cay and also learned much about wind and solar energy by living it first hand.

In Sept of 2002 I purchased a lot of land on Lovango Cay. I erected a 12’ Yert with two fifty-five gallon drums as my cisterns for water, a composting toilet and one 80 watt solar panel charging a 12 volt battery for lights at night and a gas stove. Soon after moving to Lovango I started working on plans and designs to help build my neighbor Wally Leopold’s house. Much of the materials that were used building the Love Shack were sustainable products, the timber frame is made of reclaimed lumber from the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Logistics were a problem at first but after awhile we figured out how we could transport large loads to Lovango, hauling sand, stone, brick, lumber products and concrete trucks. For our electrical energy needs while we were building we used old Huey and a small 3.2 kW inverter. As the house progressed so did our power consumption so more batteries were added along with more solar panels.

We finished the house in December of 2004, when totally completed the Love Shack has 7000 watts of solar panels, a 3.2 kW wind generator, 24- 2 Volt batteries for maximum energy storage, a standby 25 kW diesel generator and a standby, standby 6 kW diesel generator, a 80 gallon solar hot water system The septic system is an aerobic system that allows you water your plants with your cleaned up septic effluence waste water.

We built and designed Capt Phil Chaulker’s house on Lovango Cay also. It too is made of sustainable lumber with all stainless steel fasteners. Capt Phil’s solar array is a 2000- watt system with 24- 6 volt batteries for storage of power. Capt Phil uses a D/C refrigeration system
The system on our small cottage house is an 1800- kW solar array with 12- 6 volt batteries for storage, a 400- watt Air X Marine wind generator, we use D/C powered refrigeration system, a composting toilet. We compost much of our waste products to use as a planting medium
I have found that solar energy works and it works great in our sunny tropical environment. Its almost a no brainer! We have 6.5 hours of sunlight in the Virgin Islands on your average typical day, its there it will always be there and it does NOT pollute! Lets think of the generations to come and conserve now!

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