Ranch Buildings & Facilities

Design and build building and facilities that fit into the ecosystem with as little disruption to the land as possible, and that are pleasant to look at and practical and energy-efficient to use

Buildings and facilities should have the smallest carbon footprint possible considering the manufacturer and transport of the building materials, the labor necessary for construction, the labor and supplies necessary for maintenance, the energy used in the above

Buildings and facilities should be safe for people and livestock, and fit the character of the ranch

Design elements

  • Fire resistance

    • All buildings and facilities should have the highest quality and installation of electrical equipment
    • All should have metal roofs to prevent fire from ashes/coals in a wildlife and no gutters, ever
    • All should have concrete or metal siding to prevent exterior fire from burning the building
    • All sidewalks, steps and decks will be made of concrete to prevent fire – except in areas that are irrigated, in which case they may be made of wood to have a smaller carbon footprint
    • Fireplaces will be high efficiency propane and fitted with catalytic converters to decrease the risk of fire and to reduce pollution from wood smoke
    • Landscaping will consist of predominately native fire-resistant plants and decorative native stone from the ranch
    • Smoking is prohibited at the ranch and in all ranch-owned buildings and areas
    • Grass and brush around the buildings and ranch homes are mowed monthly during the summer
  • Energy efficiency

    • Buildings have lots of insulation to maximize heat retention in the winter and cooling in the summer
    • All buildings have high quality windows and doors
    • All buildings have high quality external siding materials, such as concrete board and/or metal or stone
    • Numerous windows and skylights will be located in all rooms so natural light is plentiful to minimize use of artificial lighting
    • Skylights that open located in high ceilings to passively let out hot air in the summer, while drawing in cooler air in the evenings
    • Blinds on skylights to lower thermal radiation into rooms; placement of skylights on eastern and northern roofs primarily
    • Cupolas are installed to facilitate hot air exchange
    • Florescent light and bulbs are used in all fixtures
    • Ceilings fans are installed to move heat from the ceilings in the winter and move air around in the summer
    • Wide eaves shade the windows and walls from the sun
    • Geothermal ground or water sourced heat pumps are installed in all homes to lower energy use
    • Tile and commercial linoleum floors and granite countertops are installed to decrease maintenance and increase sustainability
    • Special plumbing will be installed to eliminate breaking and water damage during a freeze caused by an energy failure
    • All interior walls, ceilings and woodwork and even some furniture like dining room tables are made from locally cut pine trees to make use of a renewable resource with very low transportation costs, versus other choices like sheetrock or exotic hardwoods
    • Homes are prewired to use solar panel arrays, which will be installed when the price of solar panels makes that an economically viable option
    • Paint that has a pretty big environmental footprint is used very sparingly (paint on metal roofing and siding is baked on to last a long time) and internally, only doors and windows are painted
    • High quality Bosch or similar top quality brand appliances are used to save on maintenance costs, reduce operating costs (i.e. more energy efficient) and are safer
    • Cooktops, hot water heaters and clothes dryers are all propane to lower electrical needs
    • Lawn and deck furniture is cast aluminum because it lasts many times longer than plastic or wood substitutes
    • Many of the building products used are recycled materials and at the guest ranch, we choose to recycle all the logs used in previous
      guest ranch buildings into the new cabins despite added costs for doing so. The logs all came from the local area initially.
    • All decorative rock and gravel used outside of buildings and on roads comes from the ranch and therefore has a very small carbon footprint
    • All sewage is treated and digested on site, so that all the water is safely returned to the water table instead of drained off to a creek or river as is done in most places. The ranch has the first commercially-sized “grey water” system in the state!