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Videos of Geothermal Systems

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Geothermal Heating and Cooling System

Of all the sustainable features or techniques we incorporated into our house, the hardest one for people to understand is our Ground Source heat pump, often referred to as a Geothermal HVAC system . YouTube has some videos that explain it better than I can.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Edible Forest Gardens

The two-volume book Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier explains the approach we're going to use for growing food at the Glenn Retreat. Our food 'garden' will be seamlessly incorporated into the woodland landscape.

One of the fruit trees we're planing to try is the Paw Paw tree. The fruit tastes like a combination of banana, pineapple and mango.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to manage a wet site

It was obvious from the start that our site had a high water table and clay soil. The challenge was how to manage the ground water and rain water on site. Our solution was to build a series of retention beds to harvest the water and use it to irrigate the vegetation.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One year later...

It's hard to believe, but a year has passed since we started building. The house is done except for some punch-list items; and the landscaping was installed just before Michigan's freezing weather hit. Although my intent was to document the building process in real time, that just didn't work out. So instead, I'm going to look back and try to convey the significant points we hit along the way.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First post

Well, we're scheduled to break ground this coming Monday, December 7th, 2009, just in time to coincide with western Michigan's first winter blizzard - what timing!

When my wife and I first set eyes on the building site in the summer of 2005, I knew immediately it was perfect for us. Little did I know it would be a five year journey before we broke ground. The journey had many twists and turns, and for a couple of city folks building in the country, I'm sure there's much more to come.

Our plan was to incorporate a sustainable building approach, and we felt the LEED for Homes program incorporated much of what we were trying to achieve. My intent with this blog is to highlight some of the things we've already learned, and share additional information as it unfolds during the building process.

CROSS SECTION of RAIN GARDEN

CROSS SECTION of RAIN GARDEN
this is pretty close to how our rain gardens are built

Walking down the ramp, out the front door - it's great not having any steps

Construction of water retention area along west property line. This photo also shows the southern side of house which was designed to maximize passive solar opportunities.

Many neighbors find blue racers nesting

Final inspection day was pretty dreary outside, and petty exciting inside