As legend has it, Colorado offers 300 days per year to take good advantage of the sun. Add 7,000 feet in elevation and you have broiler conditions in the summer months. There is a good bit less atmosphere protecting you from those UV rays. After our first full summer here it was no secret why ranchers were sporting cowboy hats, blue jeans, and long sleeve shirts in 90 degree weather. It's that dang sun! Oh, and maybe the biting flys...and boots cuz of the occasional snake. Just sayin...
There is much to be said about, "A dry heat", especially if you've had enough humidity to last a life time. But the dry heat, compliments of the sun and altitude, offers a change in course for gardening, building, and lifestyle. Much of what worked in the Midwest can be thrown right out of the window.
Solar Energy Potential Map U.S. Department of Energy
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
oh that crazy sun!!
sangre de cristo mountains
The journey toward more sensible living started about 10 years ago when we attended our first MREA Energy Fair. It was great fun, complete with a savvy group of exhibitors, educational workshops and local microbrewery representation. A whole new world opened for us and we began to look beyond conventional approaches to building.
Before attending our first energy fair, we had never heard of the concept of Passive Solar. What we learned made us really question what was going on with conventional home building. I just don’t get it. Why is this not only common knowledge, but regularly practiced? We highly recommend attending an energy fair for a fun way to learn. Get your feet wet by learning to use a solar cookerand go from there.
For you Coloradoans and those close by, there is the Sustainable Living Fair in Ft. Collins. Sign up for those workshops as early as possible because this event is super popular and fills up fast.
You will be surprised by how incredibly easy it is to incorporate passive solar into an existing home as well as new construction plans. If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Solar Tour...do it!! We took a guided van tour in Boulder, Colorado. Our driver was a solar power aficionado. We toured a dozen or so beautiful solar homes and came away with wonderful inspiration.
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