Acquiring the Little Pamet House was the first time we had owned a building on land, the first time there was a real opportunity to envision and enact environmental change in a direct manner on a specific property, thinking long-term and applying theoretical approaches to the situation at hand. The house came with a number of improvements in place, particularly double-pane windows as the vast majority and the installation of south-facing solar panels in 2010 (very ahead of the curve!) The approach has been guided by a pragmatic environmentalism, looking to the natural replacement cycles of existing equipment and prioritizing the most impactful improvements first then moving down the line. A rough timeline of one major improvement per year was penciled in to keep budgets in line and it has been going great so far.
The two biggest projects to date have been first to expand the solar panels by adding a new array on the house. These are larger in overall area and carry a higher efficiency rating than the prior panels and the combined impact in kWH is significant, and for some time we were running an electrical surplus on production vs. usage. Following on from this, we’ve installed air-pump HVAC mini-split units throughout the main house for both A/C and heating in the winter to directly utilize the electricity generated and reduce reliance on the oil-based heating system (at a higher overall MMBtu efficiency rating for heating and cooling). We’ve also added window film to better insulate the kitchen during the summer while retaining the beautiful view of the yard and forest.
It’s a fun process and we look forward to continuing the journey!