Promote Renewable Energy by Building a Solar Powered Home

Amanda Griscom shares the Hathaway family's journey of how they promote renewable energy by building a solar powered home.


| August/September 2003



Passive-solar design strategies like large, south-facing windows and thermal mass incorporated into the floors reduce the need for supplemental heat.

Passive-solar design strategies like large, south-facing windows and thermal mass incorporated into the floors reduce the need for supplemental heat.


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

The Hathaways share their story of how they promote renewable energy by building a solar powered home.

When Alden Hathaway told his wife, Carol, that he wanted to build a totally self-sufficient, solar-powered home for their family of five, she feared that it was the end of life as she knew it: She wasn't ready to give up her clothes dryer and dishwasher to conserve energy, along with her morning ritual of curling her hair.

Carol knew her husband always had been a little weird about electricity. For their first date, he took her on a romantic drive through the countryside — to check out high-voltage transmission lines. Now he feared he was about to go overboard in his effort to promote renewable energy — and take the entire family with hint.

"I won't he hanging all our clothes on a line, honey, and I certainly won't be parting with my heat rollers." she told her husband.

In the end, he built his solar dream home and she got to keep her dishwasher clothes dryer and, yes, even the heat rollers for her hair.

Alden's idealism and Carol's pragmatism turned out to be the perfect combination In the summer of 2001, the couple built a House that satisfied them both: spacious, fully solar-powered, located in a choice neighborhood and replete with plug-in creature comforts including all the gadgetry coveted by their digital-era children: Tripp, 15; Mary, 13; and Megan, 12.





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