Officially Off Grid
It has been a busy couple of months working on the inside of the building, it looks like it will be fully enclosed just in time for summer! (Yes we realise the irony in this as the weather starts to heat up!) As well as this we have been rolling out kilometres of electrical cables, installing internal plumbing pipes, building internal fire proof walls and installing thick environmentally friendly insulation. Major landscaping was completed at the rear of the building which included the construction of two helipads. Local pilots assure us that they can whisk guests to the top of the mountain range within seven minutes from Lakestone Lodge or twelve minutes if you want to be in the shadow of Mt Cook!
We have also finished the installation of 32 large solar panels on the roof and they run through 3 x 3KW invertor/charger units which charge the battery bank and in turn power the building. The system is already operational and powering the construction tools on site. Although we realise the irony in being situated beside a large hydro power generating lake there is no nearby electricity network so it was more efficient to go “off grid” rather than bury kilometres of cable. Off grid becomes a lot harder when it’s not just a house for ourselves but we need to ensure that it is a luxurious, comfortable lodge for guests that doesn’t compromise their experience but rather adds to it. Alongside the guest rooms we need to ensure that we have enough power generated to be able to cater for events and weddings, without clients being inconvenienced. We don’t want to burn fuel to compensate for no grid connection so there is a lot background planning to ensure energy use is minimal and excess solar energy is used appropriately and is also stored well (eg used for heating water through 3 hot water heat pumps or charging the battery bank). Along with the power we also draw our water from an artesian bore on site.
Another challenge of building to maximise the stunning view is that we have to deal with the extreme climate. The building survived the -20deg C frosts in the winter and also was rock solid in quite scary winds (estimated between 150-200km/h) last week which blew vehicles of the road and a tree onto our builder Colin’s truck. It was not so much the building we were worried about as it is engineered to withstand much greater winds but all the construction materials which were well tied and weighed down but we were still nervous. At one point we looked outside and saw a plant get completely torn out of the ground and fly past the window. Now we are waiting for the extreme heat in summer and hoping all the careful planning to make the building warm in winter and cool in summer works.
What’s next: over the next few months we plan on finishing the external cladding, installing insulation, lining the internal walls, installing kitchens and bathrooms, painting, carpeting and tiling. We also plan to begin construction on the 12m long heated infinity edged lap pool (which will line up from the lounge to Lake Pukaki then onto NZ’s tallest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook in the distance). Once completed we can finish the decking and complete the final landscaping. We are very excited about the pool but are doubtful that it will be ready in time for us to try out this summer unfortunately.
Hopefully by the time we write another blog it will be on our new website which will have a lot more information on Lakestone Lodge as well as the ability to make bookings from 1st June 2016. Keep an eye out at www.lakestonelodge.co.nz
Shortly we will be running an opening special selling vouchers for accommodation at a reduced rate for supporters of the lodge and to ensure we have some bookings near the beginning. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in more information once these vouchers become available or like our facebook page.