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Solar Home Tour in Takoma Park, MD





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Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) gave a tour of a 90% clean energy solar house on July 9, 2005. CCAN Executive Director Mike Tidwell has managed to reduce the energy use of his home to an extremely low level.

Solar panels provide electricity. A grant from the state of Maryland help keep installation costs down.


The electric meter was actually running backwards! Excess power is sold to the utility company.

A controller in the basement shows power generated.


One of the most important steps taken was to replace the refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR one. The refrigerator only uses as much electricity as a 50 watt light bulb. Tidwell says to look for one that uses less than 450 KW per year. These units are not very expensive and will give substantial savings on your electric bill.


Ceiling fans are an important part of the house. Since warm air rises, they circulate comfortable warm air in the winter, and also make the house more comfortable in the summer. A stove provides enough heat that the original heating system is virtually not needed. Utility bills have typically been about $8.00 per month!


Additionally, compact fluorescent light bulbs are used. Each one of these saves about $40 in electricity costs over the life of the bulb.

Overall, the house is very comfortable, but has money saving features that offer extremely important benefits for the environment. A real win/win situation. All the improvements made cost only about $7,600.

Chesapeake Climate Action Network will have more open houses. This is a great opportunity to see "hands on" what you can do to make your home use less energy. Check their website for future open houses.





2002 - 2005 David Walls. All rights reserved.