On Saturday, Matt and I went on a tour of homes in the west suburbs that are using solar energy to heat and electrify their homes. I wrote about solar energy and the homes we visited on my main blog.
But one of the homes not only used solar energy, but was the home of a conservationist who's house was surrounded by a natural illinois prairie, was situated for ideal passive solar design, and had a green roof. It was a true oasis in the suburbs, a wildlife haven in the middle of manicured lawns and pom pom bushes. I was inspired.
The homeowner was a wonderful host as she allowed the visitors of the solar tour to walk the perimeter of the property as she showed us how they achieved the green roof, and about all the native plant species that make up her lawn. He clothes hung on a line, barely covered by the wild sumacs that grazed the house's exterior. She showed us the placement of the windows and overhangs of the house, as well as the angular roof which had two "spouts" where the roof's rain water spills out into the native landscape (although now the green roof mostly aborbs the water). Every spring, she does a burn around the property to assist the growth of the native plants.
It was really amazing, and it came as no surprise that the homeowner helped restore the prairie at the Morton Arboretum, and is now a teacher specializing in native plants. I loved her spunk, especially when someone asked if the neighbors complain about her laundry hanging. I'm sure she would give a good education on the virtues of not using your dryer in the summer.