Jane Haasch is reducing carbon footprints one house at a time.
Recently, the town of Dayton resident completed construction of a second environmentally friendly home on 40 acres she shares with her sheep and a donkey named Abe.
Haasch lives in the first house that she built 19 years ago and plans to sell the second. She is busy planning two more, plus a duplex.
Her goal is to demonstrate to others affordable and potentially zero energy, sustainable homes.
“As houses have gotten bigger and bigger, we need to show our children how to lessen our impact on a fragile earth. One way is through our building practices, our energy use and our lifestyles,” Haasch said.
According to Haasch, the argument many have made against sustainable construction is that it is too expensive.
“I’m doing this myself to be sure they are of quality construction and use the most affordable and sustainable building components I could find,” Haasch said.
Her other goal is to build them in a way that protects farmland.
The new home and those scheduled for construction are situated on one-acre lots overlooking 30-acres of shared pastureland and prairie.
Conservation subdivisions featuring cluster housing like hers can be found in the eastern United States. This development is unique in that it centers on a farm where others might center around a golf course.
“This one is an option for people who want to live in a rural area that allows for shared participation in gardening and possibly raising a few chickens while enjoying watching sheep, goats and a donkey graze,” Haasch said.
Her recent addition features a 1,200-square-foot house that operates completely on electricity. A good portion is generated by a 2.5 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.
State-of-the-art features such as infloor radiant heat and Energy Star appliances add to its energy conserving design. A hybrid hot water heater draws heat and humidity from the air.
The house also features LED exclusive indoor and outdoor lighting, as well as sun tunnels that allow ambient light from the roof to illuminate rooms below. A wood stove with a concrete block heat sink, provides a primary or secondary heat source that doubles as an auxiliary cooking surface.
The two-bedroom house faces south, capitalizing upon passive solar radiation during needed times of the year. It is buffered to the north by trees that help to insulate against cold winter winds.
Windows concentrated on the south and east, provide sweeping views of the countryside.
A two-foot overhang helps to balance the need for solar heat during cold times of the year and cooling shade during the summer.
In addition to making the house energy efficient, 30-year fiber cement siding, 50-year standing seam metal roofing and fiberglass constructed windows offer low maintenance. Low VOC paint used throughout and bamboo flooring are examples of some of the more sustainable materials available today.
Located on one level, the house is handicap accessible.
“I get excited about the potential for zero energy because we need to eliminate the use of fossil fuels,” Haasch said. “It’s a simple house with interesting architectural details, privacy, yet opportunities for building community, in touch with nature with very little to maintain.”
An open house is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, June 1, at E1955 Lambs Quarters Lane or N428 East Road on GPS.