Sustainable Living Fair Shows New Ways to Live Green

7 years 2 months 2 weeks ago Monday, September 27 2010 Sep 27, 2010 Monday, September 27, 2010 7:21:01 AM CDT September 27, 2010 in News
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COLUMBIA- People wanting to learn new ways to be green came to the eighth annual sustainable living fair. Among this years events were tours to houses that serve as good examples for green-living. Claire Garden's house was on the agenda this year. Garden lives in Terra Nova a small urban-based intentional community in Columbia. Garden lives in one of the two houses on the compound. The community has a one and a half acre garden, passive solar greenhouse, geothermal heat pump, and photovoltaic system which is part of a grid intertie system. This means that Garden's solar energy system is connected to the city's grid system. Therefore, any extra energy Garden produces goes to the city."It's like a public service, because it provides energy through the grid at a time when we're not using it," says Garden."For the first year we were actually producing more energy than we were using," says Garden. However, this year, Garden says due to the amount of cloudy days, they have not produced extra energy.Garden also has a geothermal heat pump, which uses the earths natural heat to both cool and heat a house. The earth stays constant at about 55 degrees ten feet or lower under the ground. Geothermal energy uses pipes that run into the ground to access that temperature. "If it's really warm outside like a typical summer day then the cooling we need to do is provided by the geothermal. In the wintertime, when it's very cold, we only need to heat from the 55 degrees to a comfort zone. So geothermal allows us to use this constant earth temperature to heat and cool in a very natural way and efficient way,"  says Michael Goldschmidt, a professor at the University of Missouri. People curious to see how these systems work joined one of three solar tours on Sunday.

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