By John Schaeffer and the collaboratve design/construction team
The Real Goods Solar Living Center, in Hopland, California (two hours north of San Francisco), has hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors since opening in June, 1996. They come to see:
- Windmills and solar modules that produce enough electricity to allow Real Goods to sell excess power to the local utility
- Abundant solar-pumped water flowing through a lush oasis that was formerly a toxic patch of abused ground
- The world's largest straw bale structure, beautifully illuminated by daylight, and heated and cooled without using fossil fuels
- A central courtyard that is really a giant solar calendar
This story, told through the eyes of the participants, is not a worshipful tale, but rather a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to bring a vision to reality.