Sunshine on my solar panels makes me happy. Photos: Daniel Shaw
In and around Aspen, Colo., incorporating green into the building process usually means wondering, “How much cash can I spend on my house?” After all, this valley sports some of the most energy-sucking but least-used second, third, and fourth homes on Earth. One of them, former Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan’s 55,000-square-footer, can be yours for $135 million. What are the utility bills? Who the hell cares! Spec homes topping 15,000 square feet are still popping up without a solar panel in sight in a place where the sun shines 300 days a year.
When we decided to build a new house on our property in Woody Creek, a few miles but a world away from Aspen, we knew we were engaging in inherently anti-environmental behavior, so we decided to go as green as we could. We were going to be straw-bale insulated, gray-water recirculating, solar-powered leprechauns. On the grid, but only so we could give power back to it.
Um, that was before we started building. After six months of design and a year and a half of construction, we’re a few months away from moving ... Read more