Solar Stewardship: Page 4 of 4

Beginner

Inside this Article

Homeowner Candace Gossen at her eco-renovated Portland home.
Homeowner Candace Gossen at her eco-renovated Portland home.
Green and blue glass bottles get a second life in a whimsical garden wall.
Green and blue glass bottles get a second life in a whimsical garden wall.
A large picture window on the south side of the house
A large picture window on the south side of the house lets in lots of natural light.
The garage apartment features straw-bale insulated walls
The garage apartment features straw-bale insulated walls for improved thermal performance.
A model of a living roof serves as a neighborhood education tool.
A model of a living roof serves as a neighborhood education tool.
Recycled materials, and renewable energy technologies, come together
Recycled and salvaged materials, as well as renewable energy technologies, come together to create an efficient and comfortable urban oasis.
A Solar Hot Water Collector and a PV Array
A 4- by 10-foot solar hot water collector and a 1,540-watt PV array provide heat and power to the home.
The drain-down solar hot water system
The drain-down solar hot water system has been working well for years.
The straw bale studio makes a cozy office/living space.
Tucked into the corner of the yard, the straw bale studio make a cozy office/living space.
Interior of the straw bale studio
Interior of the straw bale studio
PV System's Electrical Equipment
Six months of the year, the home’s PV system produces more energy than its inhabitants use. During the winter months, the system offsets about 30% of the five residents’ usage.
PV Array on a 12-foot pole mount
Historic district zoning made roof-mounted PV taboo, but ironically, this highly visible, 12-foot pole mount was legit.
Biodiesel storage tanks share the laundry room.
Biodiesel storage tanks share the laundry room.
The solar hot water system
This solar hot water system also serves a space-heating function, supplying heat to the hydronic radiators in the house.
Hydronic radiators in the house.
The solar hot water system supplies heat to these hydronic radiators in the house.
The solar-heated hot tub
The solar-heated hot tub is heated by a 4- by 8-foot solar collector (not shown) through a copper coil, which can be seen at the bottom of the tub.
Rainwater collection offsets water use and cost
Rainwater collection offsets water use and cost, for summertime irrigation.
Art and functionality combine in the bottlewall
Art and functionality combine in the bottlewall, and throughout the property.
Art and functionality combine throughout the property.
Art and functionality combine in the bottlewall, and throughout the property.
Homeowner Candace Gossen at her eco-renovated Portland home.
Green and blue glass bottles get a second life in a whimsical garden wall.
A large picture window on the south side of the house
The garage apartment features straw-bale insulated walls
A model of a living roof serves as a neighborhood education tool.
Recycled materials, and renewable energy technologies, come together
A Solar Hot Water Collector and a PV Array
The drain-down solar hot water system
The straw bale studio makes a cozy office/living space.
Interior of the straw bale studio
PV System's Electrical Equipment
PV Array on a 12-foot pole mount
Biodiesel storage tanks share the laundry room.
The solar hot water system
Hydronic radiators in the house.
The solar-heated hot tub
Rainwater collection offsets water use and cost
Art and functionality combine in the bottlewall
Art and functionality combine throughout the property.

Wall o’ Waste

Cost: Just her time.

Nothing goes to waste at Candace’s place. Discarded hubcaps, curvy sticks, and broken glass become objets d’art. Colored-glass wine bottles—donated by a local recycler and collected from the trash—create a mosaic wall along the front of the house. The project, as Candace says, serves to demonstrate that so-called waste materials don’t have to end up in landfills if someone is creative enough to find a use for them.

FYI: Buying “green” is not always a good thing. Green glass, especially that used for green wine bottles, is not highly marketable as a recycled material and often goes to waste.

Looking Ahead

Even with all of these improvements, says Candace, the house is an “ongoing, ever-evolving” project that may never be truly finished. She keeps busy these days working on her doctoral degree in ecological science, coring lakes on Rapa Nui, and raising a teenage son, but that has not slowed her down any. Her immediate plan is to finish off the biodiesel furnace shed with cob, a wine-bottle mosaic, and a living roof.

“If you’re industrious in learning what you need to, willing to put in the sweat effort, and resourceful when finding materials, it all can be affordable—even for a single mom,” Candace says. “I’m proof of that.”

Access

John Patterson is president of Mr. Sun Solar and inventor of the Sol-Reliant solar water heating system. Over the past 28 years, his company has installed more than 2,000 solar energy systems, including PV, solar water heating, and solar pool heating systems.

Suzanne Olsen is a writer and photographer specializing in renewable energy and the environment.

Comments (0)

Advertisement

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading