EDUCATION, EVENTS & ARTICLESThis article originally appeared in Boulder Solar Week Edition, 2007
A Mountain Garden of Eatin'by Bill Melvin
Early Boulder County tax records show the value of our original structure at $25 back around the turn of the 20th century. Since then this funky mountain cabin has seen numerous additions that have culminated in a fitting tribute to both the old and the new. Over the years, the house has been a labor of love that hopefully has increased the value slightly!
Melvina Vistas offers insight into green remodeling and energy-efficient options for existing structures, including solar panel installation, on-demand hot water heater, sustainable flooring, reclaimed wood products, and no-VOC paint throughout. The interior is nicely complemented by a lush landscape of edible, native, drought-tolerant species creating a little oasis on the slopes of Fourmile Canyon. After a few years of renting and becoming intimately familiar with the house and it draftiness, we decided that the windows were the first up grade to be made once the house was ours. We also chose to install of a wood-burning stove - that was a no-brainer, with 12 acres of densely populated pine slopes within view, in desperate need of thinning for both forest health and wildfire mitigation.
Melvina VistaYear built: 1901
Home Size: 220 sq.ft.
Ecoscape Environmental Design
Simple Solar Systems
- Passive solar design
- 3.1 KW grid-tied solar photovoltaic system
- Daylighting, CFLs, LEDs
- Double-paned, low-e windows & insulating blinds
- Energy Star appliance
- Bamboo and cork flooring
- Locally cut and milled Siberian elm slab countertops
- Low VOC paints
- Xeriscape & permaculture
- Drip Irrigation
- Wildlife habitat
- Low-flow showerheads, fixtures and toilet
- Water-efficient appliance
- Wood posts salvaged from spruce budworm thinning project
- Rough-cut pine siding & lumber from ReSourcae
- Construction waste recycling
- Recycled old appliance
We've made numerous energy efficient improvements over the years. To complement our passive solar gain, we installed a 3.1 kilowatt PV system designed and installed by Joe Callahan of Simple Solar Systems. An on-demand hot water heater recently addition replaced an outdated hot water heater from the 80s. Several Energy Star appliances that conserve both energy and water use have been added over time to replace the outdated and dysfunctional refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine.
As permaculture designer and owner of Ecoscape Environmental Design, Bill integrated an edible landscape into our 7,200 ft. elevation mountain property; numerous fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, vegetables, and a host of natives are supported by various water harvesting schemes. The result is an integrated food forest that provides organic delights throughout the growing season.
Between the green remodeling and the landscape of discovery, we look forward to a health and fun space in which to raise our new son, Daniel Jameson.
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