Dave Large once again opens his 2,200-square-foot, “net-zero passive home” to the community for one day to help provide tips and inspire others to reduce energy consumption and save money.
The home opens 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at 173 Griffith Farm Road in Sequim, with no appointments needed.
Attendees must wear a mask, and organizers ask for no small children to attend.
“I built this home with a purpose,” Large said. “It’s been rewarding, and it’s fun for visitors to see a home that costs $10 a month to heat.”
Built in 2016, his house generates more energy than it uses, and is part of the National Solar Tour co-sponsored by the American Solar Energy Association and the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance.
Large said he’ll emphasize how residents can upgrade existing homes to save on costs and seek out incentives.
“Many people don’t know how to do it or know the incentives,” he said. “Sometimes those decisions are less costly than they might think.”
For example, Large said, some people get the impression that their first step in energy savings is to install solar panels, but that “it’s almost always easier to do something cheaper first.”
Those options, he said, include installing insulation, LED lights, a heat pump, and/or newer windows.
There are many energy efficient homes in the area with solar panels and better insulation than the standard, Large said, and his home is an “extreme example.”
One cost-saving element of his home is its triple-pane windows with hinged openings that allow for a tighter seal. For homeowners, he said going from single-pane to double-pane windows can help a lot, but triple-pane windows can be costly and it may be cheaper to pursue other energy savings first.
Large’s home also has approximately 1-foot thick walls with heavy insulation. He encourages people to look at sealant around doors and windows because it can wear out over time.
“You’d be surprised how many homes, when you turn off the lights, you can see daylight coming in,” Large said.
As more people turn to electric cars and the climate crisis exacerbates supplies, Large said electricity demand per household will go up. He said he feels homeowners will have to handle it by using less power in their homes.
At the open house, Large plans to provide detailed information on rebates, and for those who attend, he wants to offer an energy survey of their houses.
“Anytime I recognize someone is ready to take the next step, subject to time availability, I’ll do what I can to help them and see what incentives are available to them,” he said.
At age 81, Large will speak briefly about how the home was built to accommodate aging in place, too.
Large is also part of an in-development, local team working with the Unitarian Green Sanctuary group to help homeowners select the most cost-effective energy reduction projects for their homes.
For more about the National Solar Tour and Large’s home, visit nationalsolartour.org and pnwnetzero.com.