Bright-Minded Home – February 2013

BRIGHT-MINDED HOME – February 2013
By Melissa Coleman

Q+A with Jason Peacock of Maine Green Building Supply about Souler House.

Jason Peacock set out to design and build his own comfortable, nontoxic, energy-efficient, and solar-powered home in a small solar community in Wiscasset. The result is the Souler House, named in accordance with his daughter’s fortuitous misspelling. The 950-square-foot home features a 3.6 kilowatt solar array as well as many eco-smart products and design elements.

Q: Which products have provided the best returns?

A: Because we wanted to maximize the solar energy produced by the house, it was critical to find efficient appliances. The magnetic induction range uses 50 percent less energy than a normal range. The lights are all LED, and we use a superinsulated Marathon tank for hot water. Heat is provided by an electric Convectair heater, plus a Regency wood stove when needed. The photovoltaic panels produced 4,300 watts last year, and our consumption was about 5,100 kilowatt-hours, so our total annual utility cost was around $200, plus one and a half cords of wood.

Q: Which interior design elements do you enjoy most?

A: The insulated slab concrete floor is incredibly durable and beautiful, with a warm, rusty-colored no-VOC stain and finish. I’m really impressed at how fresh and restorative the air feels from having used no-VOC finishes and American Clay walls along with the Venmar HRV ventilation system. We’re also happy with the formaldehyde- and VOC-free Executive Cabinets from Maine Green Building Supply, as well as the PaperStone countertops. And we have a gray swivel chair from EcoHome Studio with soy-foam cushions and organic fabric that is a perfect fit for the contemporary interior.

Q: Is there any other element you’d add?

A: Maine Green Building Supply now has Intus triple-pane (R-11) windows, now priced similarly to double-pane windows, that I’d add to future projects.

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