In the mid-1980s, Amory Lovins, co-founder, chairman, and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, built an efficient, 4,000 square foot home in Colorado for living and working. By today’s thinking, the home is a little larger than most greenies would prefer, but it was built to be 90% more efficient than a traditional home of its size. That’s pretty impressive, especially at a time when the panels on the roof of the White House were being taken down for “repair.”
Now, after a quarter of a century, the Wall Street Journal reports that Mr. Lovins has spent the last two years on a major renovation of the place. He calls it Banana Farm, which is explained in the above video. With this renovation, economic realities went out the window, for better or worse, and it’s tricked it out with a number of green gizmos.
Of course, gizmos are okay if the efficient design is already in place.
Importantly, the retail cost of the overhaul was roughly $150,000, but individuals and companies donated a lot of what’s in the home. Banana Farm has a 9.7 kW solar photovoltaic array, solar thermal panels, vault-like efficient doors, an efficient Swiss stove that uses efficient pots, and streamlined plumbing designed to relieve the electrical pumps.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting graphic that accompanies their discussion of the green home. Check it out here.
[+] The Homely Costs of Energy Conservation by WSJ.