An Environmentally-Sensitive Villa
Nelson Uzzell, owner of Villa Equinox, built his family home by hand and raised his daughter here. The love that went into building this house is palpable. It somehow manages to feel both spacious and cozy at the same time.
An early proponent of solar energy, it was important for Nelson to build Equinox in an eco-conscious manner.
In his words:
Villa Equinox was built in as environmentally-conscious a manner as we could afford. We really attempted to build this home with as much care and as low impact as possible.
A lot of the excavation was done by hand with pick, shovel, and sledge hammer. We had an abundance of rock on this site, and I started building before Trackhoes and rock breakers had made their way to the island. Most of the rock you see here was from this lot, broken by hand, and then carried by hand to its final destination on the property.
All power tools used to build the house were run by solar electricity. For about seven years, we were totally off the grid. The power poles didn’t even extend up the hill until 1998, so we had no choice. We connected to the grid in 2001, and we now power the property with both WAPA (the local utility company) and a solar assist. (ask for clarification on this)
Just like all houses on St. John, we have a large rainwater cistern. The only water we get is from rain, and when it runs out, we have to buy truckloads of inferior water up the hill. It is very expensive, and luckily something we never had to do when just our family lived here.
Please be very water conscious. Enjoy long dips in the pool, hot tub, and ocean- and keep your shower short and sweet. Locals even turn off the water during the lather times, and turn it on again to rinse.
The other thing we conserve on island is electricity, especially when it comes to air-conditioning. Utility costs are 300 times over the US average, and can be darn near crippling. There are mini-split systems int he bedrooms and gameroom for you comfort, but please use them conservatively. Keep windows and doors closed with the AC is running, and for goodness sake, turn them off when you’re not using the room. When the doors and windows are closed, the rooms cool down in a snap.
You might even try keeping the AC off and letting the tradewinds do their thing. It’s quite nice, once you get used to it.
Please use the compost bin in the driveway. Only veggie waste please, no meat or fish.
There is aluminum recycling on island, but unfortunately, nothing else.
Turn off the lights at night, and enjoy the starscape without light pollution. You won’t believe your eyes.