Building a Legacy
At the age of 20, in Nova Scotia, I worked for a horse-logger who gave me an old work horse ready for retirement. My wife and I ‘snigged’ trembling aspen logs with that horse to build our first log home. Somehow I became a reputable log home builder over these early years and eventually moved my family in 1990 to the west coast of British Columbia. From here it was an upward climb. From hand-crafting log homes, to building the features to log homes in Whistler, to teaching the craft and finally becoming an artist in nature; designing and building ‘natural play’ sculptures for children’s playparks throughout south coast B.C.
It all just seemed to fall in place over the years and all while I was building our new homestead. My vision for what I was to call,’ Tantalus View Retreat’, became a reality in the year 2,000 and has become many of our guests, ‘best kept secret’ to this day.
Coastal Cedar Creations
Mother Nature knows many ways to introduce a twist into the trees of the forest. Every tree has a life story and Warren Brubacher
preserves those tales by incorporating flowing timbers into flowing designs -the beauty of nature preserved.
Tantalus View Retreat- A Mountain Homestead
Featured in the Renewable Energy Handbook by William H. Kemp
Janice and Warren Brubacher developed their passion from the ‘back to the land’ movement of the 70’s where they built there first homestead in Nova Scotia and then in ’95’ moved out west into the wilderness in the Coast mountains of British Columbia where they built their second homestead; this time completely off the grid.
In the first few years they required the use of a gas generator to power their home which was not in keeping with their desire for peace and quiet and the wish to live in harmony with nature. As luck would have it, Swift Creek which flows year round, cascades through the property and still proves to be a reliable source of water to run our micro-hydro system. Warren identified a prime location upstream to establish the intake pool, formed by a massive slab of granite in the streambed.
It has proved to be a trouble-free area in which debris from high water events never collect or clog the pool. (working with nature – not against her) A 4 inch diameter ‘pick-up’ pipe, sealed into the intake pool delivers water first to two, 400 gallon tanks which filter the water before gravitating down the mountainside.
The ‘penstock’; 600 feet of 4 inch diameter pipe delivers water to turn the turbine at 40 pounds gravity-fed water pressure. Two nozzles create velocity on the ‘turgo’ wheel to spin the generator at 2200 rpm. which equates to 29 Amps at 24 Volts. An underground cable delivers constant power for charging a bank of batteries capable of storing 500 amp/hours of energy. This is then inverted to AC to run conventional household appliances, etc.
A recent upgrade to the homepower system now makes hot water. When the batteries become fully charged, sometime in the night usually, the excess energy from the ‘stream’ generator is diverted to a 24 volt heating element inserted into a hot water tank. We have managed to cut our propane costs down by two-thirds as this ‘free’ hot water serves as a pre-heater to the 40 gallon propane-fired hot water tank. On the average, 100 F. hot water replaces any hot water drawn from the main tank. As a result the propane rarely kicks on and when it does, for a much shorter period. The chalet hot tub works on a similar system and is much more efficient now too.
My dear wife, Janice passed away years ago but I like to think her smiling eyes are looking down on our beloved homestead.