January 12, 2005


Vermont Home Harnesses Wind

In pristine northern Vermont, tucked in the woods, David and Mary Lahar have lived off the electricity grid since moving to their new home in Strafford in 1984. As David reports, concern for the environment and interest in alternative energy technologies were the underlying forces behind their home-building decision. The Lahars obtain between 75 and 80 percent of their electricity from wind, with the rest coming from solar panels.

A Farm near Strafford VT
A Farm near Strafford VT

They use wood for heating and use propane for instantaneous hot water, as a back-up heating source, and for cooking. The Lahars keep their electric needs modest, but recently David has considered putting up a larger wind turbine to provide for his family’s growing needs.

When choosing a lot for the 1,700-foot timber-constructed home, wind was a primary consideration. The Lahars conducted wind tests for a month before they made a final decision. An average of 8 mile per hour (mph) winds are enough to get the turbine paddles moving, and the site they finally chose for their wind turbine on Mount Mansfield has regular 10 mph winds. They constructed a 100-foot platform to raise the windmill above the tree line in an attempt to further capture the wind and installed a Sencenbaugh 1.2 kilowatt wind turbine with 13-foot blades.

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