One of the things about our house that people might want to know is that we went to considerable trouble to find a house with an unobstructed southern exposure. This will allow us to maximize the efficiency of the solar panels we are going to install. anyway that's just a side note.
Project 1 Energy Audit
Of course all sustainable projects must include an energy audit as early in the process as possible. This is something that will happen as soon as possible!
Project 2 New roof/photovoltaic Installation
One of the things that set us back a bit was the harsh realization that we really needed to put a new roof on the house before installing our PV system. We are considering using a new product from www.readysolar.com. It’s basically solar in a box with much of the infrastructure needed to support a PV system built into the panel system. This should greatly reduce installation costs and the system pricing seems pretty reasonable.
Project 3 Rainwater harvesting
As we get our roof completed, we plan to reorute the rain water leaders to a central location just in front of our laundry/mechanical room. This will allow us to install a cistern at a later date which we plan to use for washing machine and gardening, if not toilet flushing on the lower level bathroom.
Solar Hot Water
With the money we receive back from rebates and incentives on our PV installation, we plan to install solar hot water for domestic hot water use and potential for radiant floors on the lower level of our house.
We like the idea of being self sufficient, meaning that if the grid goes down, we can still function at a minimum level of comfort. A pellet stove would be useful because we could purchase a large supply of fuel pellets and store them in the garage.
Large Kitchen Window
One of the great things about the orientation of our house is that lots of low winter sunlight enters the house providing free heat in the winter. We would like to enlarge the kitchen window (south facing) for views and for heat gain, while also providing shading to protect against high summer sun.
We are working on an early idea of something called front yard CSA’s. During WWII, 40% of food was grown in people’s front yards. We’d like t bring that concept back and join with other neighbors in growing a wide variety of vegetables that will be available during different times of the year. We’ve talked to our farmer friend Dave at Weaversway Coop farm, and he seemed intrigued by the idea.
WE have a large strand of bamboo on our property. So far the only use we could find for it is to make charcoal for cooking. Apparently, you can’t burn bamboo in a fire place. It does not provide much heat, burns quick, and explodes when the knuckles are heated up. But making charcoal would be interesting to try, but we since we don’t have a lot of time or expertise, this project is a bit further down the pike for us.