Solar Living Takes Different Mindset

Trio of Maryland residents using the sun to power their lives.

Published: 19-Mar-2002

WITH THE CURRENT situation in the Middle East, and all the controversy surrounding a new energy policy, it may seem like a good time to consider alternative energy sources. But for some local folks who have been tapping into the sun's energy, the best reason to go alternative is to be kind to the environment and live closer to the cycles of nature.

When Richard Crenshaw built his home six years ago in Shady Side, he set out to affect the environment as little as possible. The house is designed so that the sun's rays heat it throughout the day, and it stays fairly warm throughout the night. A propane heater kicks in to keep it from dipping below 58, and on really cold days, he lights a pellet stove to boost the temperature a bit.

He also uses a solar-electric, or photovoltaic, system that uses the sun's energy to provide 1,000 watts of electricity. He said it's just enough to run the fans and pumps and keep his refrigerator going.

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