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
The electric meter
was actually running backwards! Excess power is sold to the
A controller in
the basement shows power generated.
One of the most important steps taken
was to replace the refrigerator with an
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
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.