How much energy you can conserve is really dependent on how far you are willing to go. For one Northland resident, he is trying to go the distance.... A net-zero energy use.
There were a few things on Dave Stark's mind as he began designing his new home.
"One of the core concepts was protecting the Lester River."
And construction was motivated by the birth of his son.
"The solar panels went up on his one month birthday."
Solar Panels, wood stoves, and rain water collection systems are all easy-to-spot energy conservation methods, but others are hidden within the home's small boxy design.
"The primary structural member s of the house are all recycled wood, so it is recycled Douglas Fir."
The house is also ideal for passive solar heating.
"You can see the sunshine streaming in the morning and that happens in the winter time, but it doesn't come in the summer time because the eves were designed such that they block in the incoming solar radiation."
Recent fuel prices have been unstable, yet his home heating system gives him the biggest payback.
"The combination of the wood stove and the solar thermal together and using multiple fuel sources has really worked out well."
All organic waste from the garbage disposal as well as the toilet goes directly into a compost bin in the basement.
"It's about 25 gallons of compost for the entire year for that and then we have a system that we keep the compost in separate bins for 2-3 year, and then we lay that onto our vegetable garden."
But the key to the effectiveness to this house is conservation.
In Duluth, meteorologist Shannon Murphy.
Dave Stark and his wife Stacy are the co-owners of Stark Enterprises, a company consulting people on water conservation tactics.