NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 12, 2012

Low-powered couple

Salisbury residents opening green home for annual tour

SALISBURY — For Ray and JoAnn Whitley, the sun and the earth have been good to them in ways the average homeowner may not have thought economically feasible.

Nearly three years ago, the Whitleys installed a geothermic heating/cooling system and saw their oil bills cut in half. Last year, the Whitleys purchased 30 photovoltaic solar panels and placed them on their roof. The solar panels now produce more than 80 percent of their home energy needs.

Tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Whitleys’ home at 121 Main St., not far from the Amesbury line, will be showcased as part of the Green Buildings Open House Tour held annually by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.

The Whitley residence is one of two houses in Greater Newburyport to be featured on this year’s tour; the other belongs to Dennis and Phyllis Unger of 12 Maple St., West Newbury.

“It’s awesome. We’re excited about using the sun and the water down below to sustain us and we’re just really excited that we’ve been able to partake in both the geothermal and solar and use the resources that God has given us,” JoAnn Whitley said.

JoAnn Whitley said she is hoping people who share an interest in taking advantage of natural resources stop by tomorrow and ask questions. She said by simply asking those who have gone through the process what it’s like, it can demystify it and remove some of the related anxiety.

Among the concerns most frequently expressed to the Whitleys is what many feel are the enormous start-up costs associated with both projects.

It cost the couple about $70,000 to install both systems. But in both cases, the costs were offset by company rebates, federal and state tax credits and, of course, the savings associated by generating their own electricity, heat, air conditioning and hot water, according to JoAnne Whitley.

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