How Green Can You Go?  The first BrightBuilt Barn gives back to the gridThe March 2009 issue of MaineHome + Design featured the BrightBuilt Barn, a net-zero home they dubbed “A Beach of Green Design.”

Debra Spark writes:

BrightBuilt Barn is a small blue
outbuilding that sits atop a hill full
of birch trees in Rockport, Maine.
It is also an answer to the question,
How green can you go? Or more precisely:
What would happen if you asked some of New
England’s top green builders to make the most
eco-conscious structure possible, a cutting-edge
building that would be beautiful, affordable,
durable, sustainable, and reproducible? And
what if you did all this in Maine, a state in
which the challenges of heating cannot be
ignored?

Keith and Mary Collins, a physician and artist respectively, first asked these questions when they were looking to build an office and
studio next to their Rockport home. Now, two
years later, they have a sustainable structure
on their property, one that generates enough
electricity to give back to the grid. Indeed, on
days when BrightBuilt Barn is working most efficiently, the electric meter runs backward,
working as a virtual outboard motor for the
couple’s home, while paying off the carbon
debt incurred in construction. And how will the
couple know when the environmental bill has
been settled? Well, the building will help them
estimate. A computer panel in the loft reports
on BrightBuilt Barn’s energy consumption, and
an outdoor light skirt acts like a mood ring,
glowing green when the structure is contributing
energy to the grid, red when it’s in user mode.

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