Summer Solstice Green Home Tour

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The new, green home, off-grid and powered by sustainable energy, can be

as beautiful, comfortable and convenient as its owner’s desire.

Anyone who doubts that, or who would like

to see what a green home can be, is invited to participate in the

Summer Solstice Green Home Tour sponsored by the Cavendish Solar Store

at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 21.

The store is located at 1531 Route 131 in Cavendish.

The tour agenda is still being finalized as we go to press, but it will

likely include Carmel Blanchard’s home off Route 131. If enough people

are interested, it may also visit local renewable installations

including solar domestic hot water – flat-plate collectors and wood

boiler – and off-grid photovoltaics (solar electric). An earlier tour

attracted a crowd of 20-plus to Peter and Donna Hudkins’ off grid home

in Chester, said Solar Store owner and tour organizer Dallas Cox. “We

may solicit them for another tour opportunity.”

The Hudkins’ house is an example of a modern Green Build Council

Platinum Signature House that is neither a camp nor inconvenient. The

2000 sf house is modern, runs on a minimum of sustainable energy, and

is comfortable and beautiful.

The Hudkins said their goal was to make a homestead sustainable in a

way similar to the early hillside farms of old Vermont, where they

would raise their own food and supply their own energy. The center of

the house is a 20,000 pound mass of stone and masonry in the form of a

Russian style masonry wood stove, which is the primary source of heat

for the house.

During cold weather they run one or two very hot fires a day for 1/2 to

2 hours. When the fire is out, the flu is closed and the heat is stored

in the stone mass of the stove. The stones then radiate the heat

throughout the day keeping the house at an average of 70° in the winter

on four cords of wood.

The walls have an insulating value of R30 and the ceilings are R40.

Their’s is a passive solar design of the south facing house with

windows wrapping the house looking east, south and west and the roofs

overhang to keep the sun out of the house from May to September for

cooling and shining into the house the rest of the season for warmth.

Most of the Hudkins house is built with pine and hardwood logged from

the property, and is heated with wood harvested from the land in a

sustainable manner. To the east south and west of the house is open

land on which sheep are pastured, berries are grown, and vegetables are

raised. They also have beehives for honey and pollinating the plants.

The tour may also be visiting Mario and Isabella Gattorno’s place in

Proctorsville as well. They have a grid-tied photovoltaic system with

flat-plate solar domestic hot water panels, as well as a solar pool


Possible other locations include Dave Coleman, of Springfield, who has an off-grid home with PV and Solar Domestic Hot Water.

“We will be learning about Solar Electricity (PV) both grid-tied and

off-grid, Solar Domestic Hot Water and Wind Turbines,” Cox said. “Come

see how this technology can be used in everyday life to cut down on our

carbon footprint, save money, increase home value, and protect

ourselves from the eventual rise in energy costs.

“State and Federal Incentives are adding up to as much as half of the

final cost. Banks have created Renewable Energy Home Equity Loans.

Plus, grants exist for businesses and homes. Oil, gas, electricity,

wood, and all other sources of energy are only going to get more and

more expensive. There has never been a better time to make this

investment for a sustainable future.”

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