A Small, Solar-Powered House in the Blue Ridge Mountains
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Location: Round Hill, Virginia
We lived in a 3,500 square-foot house, and owned five other traditional American homes. One day, when looking over finances, we realized we were both working to support our home. The house owned us. At the same time, we’d been questioning our carbon footprint. I “blame” that on the Solar Decathlon. We went to several of the Department of Energy-sponsored competitions and each time came away in awe; it was possible to live well and, at the same time, tread more lightly on the planet. We started talking about how much space we really needed, how we could live more sustainably and what we wanted to do with our lives. It was a game-changing conversation.
Eventually, we moved to smaller and smaller spaces, all the while down-sizing our finances. We came to realize that what we wanted to do was both design and build a space that felt right for the way we wanted to live. Long story a little shorter: we built a 250 square foot house of our own design on a friend’s property in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
We live outside as much as possible, so the house feels even bigger than its square feet. A screen house and a deck we constructed make this possible. The house is 80% (if not more) solar-powered; we have a super clean wood-burning stove for heat and an alcohol-burning stove for cooking; we ate salad tonight from our wee garden. The dream of living more sustainably is alive and well. We invite people to tour our home as part of an ongoing conversation about living more intentionally. This space isn’t for everyone but the point is: it’s the space that fits the way we want to live. I think that’s the goal for all of us, right? One of the best things people say after a teeny, tour of our house is that it feels “big.” They can’t believe it’s only 250 square feet.
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