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Living the green lifestyle

EGLON — Not only is Kinley Deller building a home for himself, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter, he hopes to make it a case study for others who want to construct a similar type of building.

For the past nine months, with the help of his father and father-in-law, Deller has been building a “green” home — a highly energy efficient dwelling that includes the use of solar panels and a passive solar design to provide electricity to the home without the support of a utility company.

“Besides having a home the way we want it, we wanted to make it a case study, too,” Deller said.

The 600-square-foot house has a great room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, plus an additional 200 square-foot loft/storage space, which he expects to turn into a master suite some day. Deller and his wife, Patti Pearson, and Deller’s father started the project by trying their hands at building a smaller version of the house by constructing the property’s well house.

“We wanted to find out what we were good at doing and what we weren’t good at doing,” he said.

Following that project, Deller decided to hire contractors for the framing of the house, the installation of the concrete floor with the radiant heat system, the solar-powered electrical system and the plumbing. Construction began about nine months ago, with Deller now working at the site three days a week, with the occasional help from his father and father-in-law. He hopes to have it completed by May.

Features of the house include solar panels on the south side of the roof that absorb the heat from the sun, which is converted into electricity. The house is also oriented on the lot so the side of the house with the most windows receives the most sun exposure, which is considered a passive solar design, and generates more heat.

Special glazing was also applied to the windows to help absorb heat and a cement floor with radiant floor heating system was installed. A radiant floor has tubes installed within the flooring that are filled with hot water, providing another source of heat.

The house is also “off the grid,” meaning it’s not hooked into a power company’s electrical grid. Deller figures his solar powered system will provide 90 percent of the home’s power needs, plus it has a backup propane generator. The wood used in the framing, exterior and interior was all salvaged or sustainably harvested.

Getting building permits from the county wasn’t hard, Deller said, but obtaining a construction loan was, delaying construction a few months.

Deller found banks go by the belief that when someone is building on a large piece of property, the dwelling should be proportionately large, too.

“That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” he said.

He was able to finally get a loan through Viking Bank, with a few conditions, including having the house be accessible to the local electrical grid, primarily for resale value.

While he hasn’t figured out what the final cost of his home will be, his goal has been to build in such a way that it can be affordable to the average homeowner, he said. Typically, green homes tend to be high end homes, where people have it built and just pay the bill. Through his research, Deller believes it’s possible for a homeowner to have an environmentally-friendly home at an affordable price, he said. He’s also started consulting others who are interested in green building and has started his own consulting business, Yelnik Environmental.

“I wanted to do this as a sample, to show people that it can be done,” Deller said.

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