Owners open homes to promote solar powerTwo Hudson-area residences were stops on the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society’s Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 1.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Two Hudson-area residences were stops on the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society’s Solar Tour on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Visitors to the Lee Kisling home in the town of Hudson saw what one tour guest described as the most sophisticated system he had ever seen.
The Kislings use solar power to heat their three-level, 6,000-square-foot house — as well as provide hot water and electricity.
Fluid is pumped through solar panels on the home’s roof, and the heat is exchanged in hot-water pipes running through the home’s floors and a two-foot sand bed beneath the basement floor.
Two sets of photovoltaic panels on a nearby hillside provide the home with much of its electricity.
“This was a bit radical. But you know, we’ve not had any trouble with it,” Kisling said of the system.
Kisling is a railroad signal engineer by occupation. He said he’s long been fascinated by the challenge of moving to renewable energy, and got to know local people in the industry like systems designer Craig Tarr and installer Paul Steiner.
“I like the people. I like the industry. I like the idealism of it,” he said of his motivation for building the systems into his new home. “And gosh, you have to admit it’s going to hell in a hand basket on the energy front in this country. Fast.”
He said people who move toward gaining energy independence are doing not only themselves a favor, but the whole world.
“It’s not all about money, because if it’s about money, we’re all doomed,” he said. “If that’s the only basis on which we make our decisions, we’re doomed.”
Dr. Gary Konkol reported being very happy with his passive solar house in North Hudson a year after moving in.
His house has produced more electricity than it has used so far in 2011.
It’s the first certified passive house in Wisconsin and the Twin Cities area, and the first carbon-neutral house in the country.
“It’s essentially like prepaying your energy bills,” he said of building a passive house, which gets most of its heat through the windows.