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Electrify me

Originally Published: 2022/04/16

Many of the potters I know, including myself, tend to think of ourselves as the ultimate DIYers, socially just, and environmentally conscientious. We make or build the things we need, we recycle everything, and share a great deal of our knowledge with anyone who asks.

Now granted, I just made a massive blanket statement, because obviously, not everyone is like this, but it does tend to be our culture.

Here in frosty Montana (seriously, where the hell is Spring?), a majority of homes and especially newer homes, are heated with some form of gas. Forced air furnaces are super common and hot water heat via a gas fired boiler is very common. Gas is (for now) the most cost-effective way to heat a home.

I've long wanted to have a solar panel system to power my home. As I use an electric kiln to fire my ceramic works, and as I've often had to heat my studio with electric heaters so there is no extra air movement, I have been paying the power company a LOT of money over the years. And when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, I really started to think about my personal energy dependence and what my personal goals were. What I found out was that I for dang sure couldn't DIY my way through this one.

So I reached out to Solar Montana and they did an estimate. When I learned that they could install a scalable system, I jumped. In the next few months, I'm going to finally see my dream come true. I will not quite be Net Zero, but I will be close.

Not pottery, but a pretty dang sexy solar array.

Some of the other decisions that I've made are to replace other gas-based appliances with electric once the solar system is in. First up is my hot water. I'll be going to an electric on-demand with a recirculating system to reduce the amount of water that has to run before the hot gets to the tap. I'm looking at an infrared heater for the garagio, and eventually an induction cooktop. Somehow, I'd also like to figure out how to get my gas furnace replaced with an electric fired one.

I'm also upgrading the insulation in my home. I have a couple of windows that have to be replaced, and my entry doors are steel, and not very well installed, so fiberglass with Low E windows are on the list. I'm also replacing the garage door in the garagio, with one that has a value of R12.

I'm ridiculously excited about this, I really feel that it's going to be critical to adapt to this technology. I'm thrilled that I will be able to make my pots in a sustainable way, and I'm really glad I won't be lining the pockets of the power company's executives any more.

What do you think about renewable energy? Is trying to get to Net Zero a goal for you? Comment below!

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