Friday, October 17, 2008

Solar Living Institute, Hopland, California

We took the short trip north to Hopland where we toured the Solar Living Institute, whose mission is to "promote sustainable living through inspirational environmental education". This was a complex dedicated to solar and wind power, along with renewable resources, green gardening and greener living. It was really quite fascinating as the entire institute is run on solar power - including their water pumps that are used for irrigation and for circulating the water for several ponds on the site. We got many great ideas while touring their facility that anyone can do in their home - such as a canopy of grape vines over a patio to provide shade and to cool a hot side of a house, thus lower cooling costs. The Institute also produces biodiesel which can be purchased on site and also maintains an active organic garden of fruits and vegetables. In addition, the Solar Living Institute also provides an assortment of hands on workshops from making your own biodiesel, to wiring your house for solar panels to building with natural materials. The location and cost depends on the course so consult the Workshops list on-line. If you are in the Hopland area and are interesting in ideas for Greener living, then it would be worth your time to to stop in and tour the facility, which is free, although there is a suggested donation of $1 per person.

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