Sunday, May 12, 2013

City Mouse, Country Mouse (Part III)

We moved to Serenbe for the life here.  A big part of the life is the way it was developed.  It was conceived and built as a sustainable community.

Let the grass grow tall instead of cutting it back and treating with pesticides.  Treat waste water and reuse it for irrigation.  There is a 5 acre organic farm in the community.  The homes are Earthcraft certified.  The community is home to the smallest LEED commercial building in the US.

I love that there are nature paths.  I hated driving 30 minutes or more to go walk in the woods.  It didn't make sense.  Here I'll be able to walk out my back door and be on a nature trail around our lake.

Sustainability is important to me.  Our home in Atlanta was renovated to Earthcraft standards.  My uncle told me, growing up, "take care of your stuff and your stuff will take care of you."  Well, my stuff is all of these things: resources, people, nature, community.  I want to take care of them.

We're designing the house to incorporate a lot of these features:
  • Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Heat Pumps: VRF heat pumps run a little bit all the time, keeping temperatures constant throughout the house, versus the traditional air conditioner/furnace combination which uses a lot more energy because its an all-or-nothing affair.  They're even more efficient than geothermal.
  • Solar: I don't know if we'll install solar right now, but we'll prepare for installing it during construction.  Panasonic is coming out with some very interesting solar/battery systems in Japan that I hope to see in the US soon.  Panasonic has some solar panels that perform very well (site #17).
  • Battery Storage: Panasonic have some products in Japan.  And there's some newer stuff.  I'm hoping we get something like this in the US that I can install in the house.  I suspect I'll have to provision for it and retrofit it in to the house.
I'm meeting in the morning with our builder and Earthcraft Technical Advisor which should produce some interesting updates.  I also have several posts about building our footings and foundation, and waterproofing our basement.