Caring for the environment has been a life-long passion for us. We have recycled and used cloth bags for shopping since the 1970s. We have participated in numerous stream and road cleanups. We use high- efficiency wood-stoves to help heat our house and reduce our oil bill. So far, we have generated enough wood from deadfall on our farm that we have not had to purchase any firewood.
We also learned to use the house in accordance with its 18th century design. Each room can be closed off from the adjoining room and the hallway. We disconnected radiators in rooms that we use infrequently, installed a programmable thermostat, and keep it set at around 60 degrees fahrenheit. With the wood stove assist and because we dress appropriately for the heating season (wool sweaters, socks, and throws, of course!) we are comfortable during the winter and have dramatically reduced our oil bill. In the summer, the house is naturally cooled thanks to its high ceilings, thick brick walls, large windows, the open center hall with a front and back door that aids air circulation, shutters that can be closed to block the hot sun, and shade from the centuries’ old trees that surround it. We have two energy efficient window air conditioners that are only brought into service to cool high-use rooms during the longest and hottest heat waves. Otherwise, open windows and whirring fans suffice.
We now send our home grown fiber to Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont for processing. Green Mountain Spinnery uses a chemical-free green process to scour the raw wool which is then custom-spun into yarn for us.
In the fall of 2011 we installed a 9.66 kW fixed ground-mount solar PV system in a former sheep pen. It supplies all of the electrical power used on our farm. Any unused energy is diverted to the public power grid. We are happy to share our renewable energy experience with visitors.
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