Sunday, January 11, 2009

Grassroots Volunteering

I belong to Muscle Powered, a small, grassroots, pedestrian and bicycle advocacy group. We had our annual planning meeting/potluck brunch this morning. Reviewing the past year's activities, our small group of volunteers accomplished quite a lot. This year's planned activities include Bike to Work events in May, leading weekly community walks (and maybe bike rides), a Kids' Bicycle Rodeo, a booth at an Earth Day fair, and our on-going efforts towards improving connectivity of access here in town, and more recreational trails in the surrounding open space.

The President of the Carson Valley Trails Association, to the south, brought information on their efforts too. They'll be having their annual meeting next week, and I'm thinking I'll join their group too. They work on a lot bigger scale than we do, so I'm looking forward to learning more about dealing with federal, interstate, and private property trail easements (the California state line angles across Lake Tahoe, and continues southeast, just south of here), and volunteering on their trail-building projects.

Very interesting too, at our meeting today, was the house of our hostess. She has taken a small house in the older part of town, and remodeled it to make it as green and sustainable as possible. This was her chance to show us her work of the past year, giving us a tour before the meeting. Her initial efforts included gutting and reconfiguring the entire place - moving walls (she said one closet door is the only door inside that was still in the same place), moving and replacing all exterior windows and doors, and replacing all flooring with sustainably harvested wood. The gorgeous counters in kitchen and baths are made of recycled glass, and all appliances are energy-efficient. A photo-voltaic array on the roof provides electricity, and the solar water heater, via a heat exchanger and pump system, provides both domestic hot water and heats the house through baseboard radiant heaters (she does have a gas hook-up as a backup for cloudy days, but with our 300+ sunny days annually she hasn't had to use it much). It's a beautiful home, with some technology so new and different for around here, the power and insurance companies haven't quite figured out how to deal with her yet.


Nancy M. said...

I would love to have solar electricity! I have been fascinated with homes like your friends. How cool that you got to tour one.

Annette said...

A solar panel for this summer will be my next acquisition.
Sounds like an amazing houe!