Hey, it's who we are :)
Lisa and I are both fairly regular people, although we're both well traveled (internationally), and pretty independent. Lisa has built a successful Jazzercise Franchise in Annapolis Maryland (USA), and I'm an Australian born freelance Software Developer specializing in embedded computers and internet technologies.
A few years back, I converted the "walk-out" basement of our Annapolis home into an office, and moved all my stuff down two levels. After sweltering for many years with a seemingly ineffective central A/C system on the top floor, I now found myself basking in the coolness that my new basement office provided. This made me wonder about the merits of the American style of multi-level home construction. It seemed to me that designing a home to make use of the natural thermal properties of the earth would be cool project, so I started doing some research about earth covered houses.
A few months later, I did some Web work for my brother's advertising design firm in Australia, and it started me thinking about how my daily existence also impacted the environment in terms of the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming. I was building (brother) Nigel a web page that would convert an Australian Household's yearly power bill into Tons of Greenhouse Gas produced by it's generation (assuming fossil fuels). This amount was then converted into the number of "Equivalent Cars" that could be taken off the road if this power was generated by some "Greener" means.
Although the program was designed for the "Non-Nuclear" Australian power market, I was aghast when I ran my own power bill through the new web page. My usage equated to about 7 medium sized cars driving 10,000 miles a year. At that moment I really started thinking about how I could design a new home which was more ecologically responsible. Thus began our Great Green Adventure.
Through all this, Lisa has endured my crazy ideas, put up with me talking about moving to all parts of the US, and is now comfortable with the idea of an early retirement at Deep Creek Lake where we plan to spend time enjoying our energy efficient lifestyle, and exploring some of the natural wonders of the area. Don't get me wrong, we're not talking about abandoning the comforts of modern life, or removing ourselves from the "grid". Quite the opposite. We plan to be more comfortable, by designing smart instead of just following the "conventional" wisdom of home design.
This Our Cool House web page will act as a repository of ideas, goals, plans and achievements associated with our personal quest to become more "Green". Initially this will center around the construction of our new home. I am keeping a historic Timeline Page which I expect to extend over several years.
Once again, don't forget the navigation menu in the upper left corner of every page. Why not start out by seeing where we are going to build, by clicking on "Location".
ps: Anyone interested in talking more about OurCoolHouse can call
and ask to talk to Phil.
This site is all about building a cool, energy efficient house, that makes maximum use of earth sheltered design, passive solar heating and cooling, geothermal exchange energy management, and right sizing of the house for it's designated use. The home's placement is on a south-facing hillside in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. This site describes the design process, the technologies used and the expected results. We also have a comprehensive Links Page for anyone who is also interested in designing a similar project.