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.”