POTSDAM - Green homes will be available to tour in the St. Lawrence River Valley Saturday as part of a national event that is organized in northern New York by the Local Living Venture. There are four sites in St. Lawrence County and two in Jefferson County featuring all manner of small-scale energy produced at home for very little investment in many cases.
In St. Lawrence County, there are three homes to tour. One of them, Crazy Jerrys Off-Grid Extravaganza is in Colton.
Jerry Bartlett disconnected two decades ago from the power line that was only thirty feet away, to achieve energy independence. This home is a living laboratory of different styles of insulation, as well as heating and power options - including a rocket wood stove retrofit, solar electricity, Listeroid diesel co-generator, an 85 foot ladder truck ready for deployment of the working wind generator, and much more.
Alternatively-fueled vehicles that Bartlett has built include a bright yellow human/hybrid Lithium Powered Rocket Trike, a Changzuki 115 mpg motorcycle, and a Do-It-Yourself 128 mpg Urba Centurion diesel powered sports car. This tour is not to be missed - as Crazy Jerry notes: You wont see this on T.V., folks!
Also on the tour is the home and office space for local energy contractors Northern Lights Solar Energy, near Canton, where they live and work with what they install. To see their work, visit www.nlightsenergy.com and join the tour to see how a homeowner can take advantage of rebates and tax incentives to be either on or off of the power grid. On this tour attendees will see how home-produced electricity is used for domestic hot water production and to mow the lawn in blissful silence, with electricity. There really is no limit to what can be done with electricity made by the sun.
The third home on the tour in St. Lawrence County is the camp of one of the tour organizers, Chelle Lindahl of the Local Living Venture. This location features a new rocket mass heater - a super efficient woodstove that radiates the heat produced for two days after the fire has gone out, with zero creosote and using far less wood than conventional wood stoves. This site is also completely off the power grid, utilizing used solar panels that cost very little to purchase and install. This is a relatively primitive homestead that shows how ingenuity is alive and well, and how simply one can live — which is also to say, very cheaply as well.
In Jefferson County, the Woodhenge Sustainability Campus in Adams Center features multiple homes of different styles in a tinkerers paradise. This is an off-grid homestead that features a small scale solar installation. Additionally, the Cronk family earthship that is under construction in Adams will be available to tour as well. Earthship homes are a thermal mass-oriented building made of largely recycled material, including rammed earth in old tires. They are nearly free to build and provide ambient heat and light naturally, so that very little inputs of the utilities most people pay for are needed.
All of the the tours are an Open House format. Attendees can go to the website to view more information, including the addresses, for the homes on the tour. They can then set up their own itinerary to see the places they are interested in. The website is www.SustainableLivingProject.net — then click on Green Home Tours on the left-hand website menu.
Most of the open house hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., though there are some differences, so attendees should arrange their travel schedule accordingly. A small donation is requested of participants who are able to contribute, at the home sites or via the website through PayPal.
The Local Living Venture (LLV) is a community-based organization dependent upon donations and volunteers to coordinate workshops promoting traditional rural and simple living skills. The LLV is part of Seedcorn, a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization based in Potsdam, NY.