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Spearfish Sustainable Builder Gets Off-Grid A-Frame Project on Discovery Channel

Sustainable home builder Jared “Cappie” Capp of Spearfish landed his second feature on the Discovery Channel this weekend. Disovery’s Building Off the Grid featured Cappie’s construction of a completely stand-alone A-frame house near Hill City last night (see a photo of the place from Cappie on Instagram). The full episode is on YouTube for $2; the Black Hills Pioneer gives us some details for free:

The A-Frame home, built near Hill City, is a 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath, home with a 400-square-foot loft.

Built essentially as a weekend home for a Rapid City couple with two young girls, the house is completely off the grid. It draws its water from a well on the property, has a septic system, and is powered by a solar panel system.

Capp, from Spearfish, and his Pangea Designs crew were stymied by this summer’s soggy and cool conditions.

“We usually try to pour concrete in May, but because it was so wet this year we didn’t pour concrete till the end of July,” he said. “We built that house in 100 working days” [link added; Mark Watson, “Spearfish Man Returns to Discvoery Channel Building Show,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2019.12.14].

I’ve visited Cappie’s own sustainable straw bale house in Spearfish; he’s a heck of a builder!

Cappie made the Discovery Channel a couple of years ago for building a house out of shipping containers near Maitland Road south of Spearfish. Through his Black Hills Homestead project, Cappie held a workshop on building with shipping containers last summer:

When Cappie gets done working, he cleans his tools in a bucket of sand and biodiesel:

Now I’ve got to angle for a camping invite from those folks with the A-frame. I wonder if Cappie hooked up Wi-Fi for them….


  1. Debbo 2019-12-16


    I’ve seen several videos of shipping container homes and even apartment buildings from around the world. Seems a natural. I wonder if there’s any trouble with snow accumulations?
    The tool cleaning idea is great too. We always had uses for used oil on the farm.

    A frames are geat in wintery climates. I assume they put the solar panels on the south side which means if there are any side windows/skylights, they’d be on the north. Otherwise windows are only on the ends. Assuming the roof ridge runs east and west, there’s a limited amount of direct sunlight inside, but maybe the owners don’t plan on using it much in the winter.

  2. Rachel 2020-11-02

    Hey, Debbo!

    The solar array is actually not mounted on the roof, but on a separate platform. Maximum sunlight AND maximum view! :)

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