Author: Ethan Pfeiffer
The sustainable house trip was about showing students how we can work with nature and have a positive symbiotic relationship with the environment through exploring intelligent design and innovative thinking. Dr. Larry and Cheryl Fulton’s house is considered the “greenest house in America” for having the highest scoring Emerald home in the nation. It literally is the coolest house in America, it’s A/C unit is powered by a geothermal system that uses hot water to make cold air or heating when you need it! Not to mention the Fultons were the nicest of hosts and we couldn’t thank them enough for having a bunch rambunctious college kids, that came out of the blue, into their home. They were so nice they even provided food and fresh Texas hill country rainwater, which tasted great and was harvested right from their rooftop. They couldn’t wait to show us around when we got there! They have truly put a lot of work and love into their home. I could feel a new dynamic of living that builds up what is around you and invests in the future. They told and showed us how much cleaner, more efficient and better the rain water was for simple things like taking showers and cleaning dishes. Unlike city water, which is treated or chlorinated, and pumped around using tax dollars and power, The Fulton’s rain water harvesting system uses gravity to be stored 20 feet from the house, doesn’t leave residues on the dishes, doesn’t dry out your skin when you take a shower, has little maintenance and is a supply of fresh water for a couple months if a drought ever came. He of coarse uses a carbon filtered water system to clean the water, but solar cells power the water system. Solar cells that have provided so much electricity during peak solar seasons that it has built up credits with the city’s utilities that he never has to pay an electricity bill and the city usually owes him money! The same solar panels that are also used to watch TV, turn on and run lights and appliances and they charge his Nissan Leaf 100% electric car that he uses to commute to Texas State in San Marcos for work which is 50 miles from his house. He actually caused quite a commotion at the university when a couple of people started complaining that he was plugging his car into an outlet on the wall in the parking lot to trickle charge his car because it was taking “there money”. That’s actually how HEAT learned about Dr. Fulton and his house. It was an interesting complaint because that would mean that people would have to pay to plug in their mini fridge at the office to if Mr. Fulton had to pay to trickle charge his car? Mini fridges waste much more power year round. The university eventually approved the use of the trickle charge for electric cars and is now working on a plan to have charging stations on campus that actually fully charge electric cars (not just trickle charge) to encourage the use of electric cars! We have to say that Dr. Larry Fulton and his wife Dr. Cheryl Lisa Fulton get a HEAT salute from us not only for their service to our country in the armed forces but for being bold individuals that take chances and are pioneering positive changes!