Some of the 310 people from the EcoSolar Tour 2009In 2009 we put in some experimental solar panels, rennovated the kitchen, and built a wonderful doghouse for our dog Lucy (complete with spiral staircase and solar lighting). We also hosted our third Eco Solar tour with exactly 310 people coming through (eerily the same number for each of the three times we have done this).

Our first set of solar panels. 60 watts for $350The first fun project was to install some experimental solar panels. I just wanted to start with a wee bit of solar, just for the practice you know! I bought a 60 watt solar battery charging kit from Canadian Tire, a battery, and went online to find a "dark switch" that turns lights on when it gets dark. This little solar system runs our LED landscape lights and works quite nicely. More details on the electrical page.

Bright red countertops in the kitchen.Our second project was a kitchen rennovation. With the rennovation tax credit in place for 2009 we spent time fixing up our kitchen. First we bought new custom cupboard doors from Shelcraft Woodwork in Killam (a friend). Then we put in new kitchen counters in BRIGHT red quartz. Finally I updated all the lighting with new LED pot lights. These lights are fantastic providing perfect colour and are brighter than the compact flourescents we used to use.

Lucy's solar-powered doghouse.Early in 2009 our dog Lucy snapped the ligament in her knee. After a long recovery I was looking for a way to let her have access to the back yard without having to jump down from her dog door. The answer is a very fun little dog house that has its own spiral staircase, triple glazed windows, and solar lighting. The doghouse serves two purposes; the first is protecting our dog's knee, the second is to cut the drafts from the dog door into the house. This year we did not have to close off the dog door even at -30C. Lucy is pleased. More details on the insulation page.

Finally there were some water saving changes this year including a meter to monitor our use of hot water (helps us decide if we want to add solar hot water). We also added another 3 litre low flush toilet and added some stainless steel dip tubes to our hot water tank to get more usable hot water from the tank. See the water heat page for more details.

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