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Friday, October 2, 2009

Mosinee, Merrill homes part of Wisconsin solar tour

From an article by Nick Halter in the Wausau Daily Herald:

On warm summer days, landscaper Tom Girolamo showers in the yard of his Mosinee home using rainwater stored in a 2,500-gallon tank heated by solar power. The used shower water is then sent to his chickens or to water his plants.

Also in the yard of Girolamos' home is a 120-foot wind turbine, a wood-fueled sauna and a wood-fired brick oven that he and his wife, Kathy, use for summer meals or to bake pizza for their guests.

The Girolamo's home is one of several in Marathon County that will be open for tours this weekend when the Midwest Renewable Energy Association sponsors its annual Wisconsin Solar Tour. The tour showcases businesses and homes that are energy efficient, sustainable or powered with renewable energies.

Organizers expect a big turnout this year as more and more people look to make energy-efficiency upgrades to their homes and consider alternative energy. On top of normal grants given out by Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is giving additional tax incentives -- typically up to 30 percent -- to people doing such projects.

Girolamo's home has been on the tour for five years. The 50-year-old UW-Stevens Point graduate owns a landscaping company called Eco-Building & Forestry that designs environmentally friendly and sustainable landscapes.

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