Welcome to our home renovation project - our small attempt to create a wonderful home that is both a joy to inhabit and one that integrates wholesomely into its surrounding ecosystem.   It also completes an old personal goal (over 25 years) to retrofit a house with passive solar space heat.

From the very beginning, we have approached our renovation using a systems approach, viewing our home as an ecosystem within the larger ecosystem of the earth.   We have tried (as novices) to renovate our house so it more naturally fits into the flows of the environment (energy, water, air, etc.) and becomes a more sustainable home.

For example, the rainwater harvesting system reduces the amount of stormwater leaving the site and decreases the amount of potable city water we consume by utilizing a natural resource Portland has in abundance - rain. The passive solar sunspace is both a renewable energy strategy (providing space heat) and an energy efficiency strategy (natural lighting, etc). The entire renovation has been guided by these approaches and the goal to be as “sustainable” as possible in the use of materials.

It has been (and continues to be) an amazing learning experience for us and for the people involved.   Perhaps you will pick up some useful tidbits for your own project.  We hope so.

Kent & Phyllis Snyder