Yankee Ingenuity

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Yankee Ingenuity:

A New England home uses innovative, eco-friendly technology
Laurel Kallenbach

Loves Heating & Air
Natural Home Magazine September/October

Clad in unpretentious wood-shingle siding, Sally and Tony Grassi’s coastal Maine home looks every bit the stoic New England farmhouse. Yet beneath its traditional exterior is cutting-edge environmental innovation: A blend of geothermal and solar power generates the energy the couple uses, plus the home employs a host of environmentally sensitive building techniques.

Tony and Sally’s goal was to create a nontoxic, eco-friendly home that reflects their environmental ideals. They declared independence from nonrenewable energy and banned PVC, a planet-polluting plastic, from their house. They also insisted on sustainably forested, formaldehyde-free wood for both framing and finishes.

Loves Heating & AirSet back from the ocean on an 18-acre parcel of field and forest, the house and accompanying buildings occupy the site of a house removed by a former landowner. “We didn’t want to make a new scar on the land,” Tony says. The couple built a cluster of buildings around a central courtyard: the main house (with kitchen, living room, dining room, office, master bedroom and guest room), a guest house (with three more bedrooms) and a workshop/garden house. A pony barn, which houses the complex’s solar panels, is farther away in an open field. No trees were cut to make room for the new buildings.

“We wanted to keep the house small but have enough room for our extended family for holidays,” Sally says. Locating most of the guest rooms in a separate building allows them to turn off the power there until company comes ….
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