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Castalia log home sets new standards for living off the grid
8/7/2012: .

Few people can say they live a life of self-sufficiency, but in the hills of Castalia just northeast of Wake County, Carther F. Jorgensen developed a sustainable, self-sufficient and off-the-electrical grid log home called the Clearwater.


Jorgensen, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and a teacher in the Nash-Rocky Mount public school system, worked with Log and Timber Home Builders, log home builders located in Nashville, N.C., and in achieving his goal to build a home without relying on public utilities or amenities.


"This home incorporates many things that I wanted to do all my life," Jorgensen says. "It is a lot of stuff in a relatively small home."


The 1,572-square-foot log home is an example of building or renovating with sustainability in mind. The idea of living of-the-grid typically means not relying on the main power grid for electricity, but it also includes disconnecting from public water and sewer systems. The home is complete with an observatory, solar panel array, and water and waste system. The use of solar power maximizes energy and reduces utility cost while promoting environmental and economic sustainability.


The three-bedroom, 2½-bath home is powered by six 8-volt batteries designed to last 15 years, which also are 90 percent recyclable. The six batteries maintain their charge through the use of 18 200-watt solar panels. The solar panels can recharge the batteries to full charge in less than a day with minimal sunlight. The sun-powered option, which includes the solar panels, an inverter and batteries, can provide electric power for about four to five days without recharging and require little maintenance.


"The Clearwater is a perfect example of a home that uses green technology to its fullest potential and naturally integrates right into the landscape," says Michael Wild,'s information officer.


According to studies conducted by National Institute of Standards and Technology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Research Center of the National Association of Home Builders, homes built with solid log walls typically are 2.5 percent to 15 percent more energy efficient than conventionally built homes. This natural property allows the logs to collect and store thermal energy and gradually release the thermal energy back into the home throughout the day.


For more information on the Clearwater, call (919) 746-7522 or visit