Building a home with both retirement and the environment in mind meant factoring in the inevitable disabilities that come with age, and long-term maintenance costs and rising energy costs that must be considered on a fixed income. Highlights of energy-saving design:
- Built into the side of a hill which provides most of its insulation and protection.
- One level with a loft and clerestory for southern light exposure,
- Geothermal heating and cooling, solar electric for the rest of the house’s energy and all energy-efficient appliances.
- An off-white cool metal roof that reflects the sun all summer, keeping the attic cooler.
- No hallways or other wasted space. Rooms are built and furnished with flexibility in mind.
We have chosen to live in the country, but we included an apartment in our house design to reduce our footprint. With its own bathroom, kitchen and exterior access it is available whenever we want to put up long-term guests (always welcome) or our daughter between jobs, or when well into retirement we may need another source of income, a renter. When not being used by guests, one room serves as an extra office and the kitchen is in use during canning and drying season preparing our food for winter storage.
[box] See past and current solar production for Draco Hill. Interactive graphs, illustrations of our carbon off-set and more. [/box]