Woolwich, Maine - Tipton House SolarBen Tipton’s house is smaller than many conventional homes, uses sustainable building materials, and has a PV and solar hot water system

Last year we discussed the construction of a sustainable four-person household built by the Tipton family in Woolwich, Maine.

Completed in October 2008, Ben Tipton recently shared data about his home’s energy performance with us.

Over the course of the year, Ben Tipton reports that his Maine solar power system generated about half of his family’s energy needs, and that his current home uses roughly 2800% less propane for heating and hot water than his previous home.

Here are some details:

Thank you to all that helped on our house. Even if you did not pound a nail your support, encouragement and friendship has been felt all along the way. I now have one year of data and the numbers look really good. No place to go from here but down. I have posted them here and on the blog. We could not have done it without all the help.

Here is the final first year tally…..

  • Cost per day: $0.93
  • Kw created on site: 1415
  • Kw sent out to the grid: 700
  • Kw purchased from grid: 2614 (wind and eco-friendly hydro power)
  • Yearly Cost: $339.86
  • Monthly utility Cost: $28.32
  • Total Kw used: 3329
  • Propane for cooking: 25 gal
  • Wood: 1.5 cords sustainably harvested from the land

So what is a net carbon impact this year??? The only thing that wasn’t made on site or in Maine was the 25 gal of propane. Our last house used over 700 gallons propane, 3 cord of wood and 5000kw. I have to say that these number are impressive and have exceeded my expectations. I owe a huge Thank you to all that helped on this project.


As part of Ben’s and his family’s commitment to sustainability, they continue to look for ways to reduce their energy consumption and sustainably produce what energy they do use.

You can follow Ben’s story on his blog, Simple Living in Maine.

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