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The Klein family has always been committed to the environment. Jane, Michael and their son Johannes live by the mantra, "reduce, reuse, recycle." They practice what they preach, down to reusing jam jars as water glasses. When they heard about the Holiday housing development, says Michael, we thought, "why not put our money where our mouth is and move into a solar home?"

Names: Jane, Michael, and Johannes Klein

Location: Holiday Neighborhood development, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Their Solar Story: Life in a sustainable, solar powered community

Their Bright Hope: That the cumulative effect of small communities like theirs can have a big impact on the Earth

Developers planned the Boulder, Colorado-based Holiday Neighborhoods with sustainability in mind. Each “solar home” comes specially constructed and wired for solar panels, with energy-production displays inside that allow residents to track their use. The panels on the Kleins’ roof feed solar energy into the local utility’s grid. When they use their appliances, they pull from that same grid. However, since they make more energy than they use, they actually get a refund from the power company.

For this eco-conscious family, finding the right community was as important as the home itself. Says Jane, “to surround ourselves with a neighborhood that is so devoted to sustainable living was a concept we could get excited about.” Living among like-minded neighbors now inspires them to find even more ways to go green. Says neighbor Kate Frazier, “The philosophy of Holiday was to create a community where people felt connected to each other and the environment.”

Tony Boniface, president of the company that installed Holiday’s solar panels, shares this philosophy. “The solar array on the rooftops of all the homes here in Holiday are an important technology. They provide an energy source that is not damaging the Earth,” he says. “We’re not depleting non-renewable resources … this is truly an energy source we can be proud of.”

The Kleins’ son Johannes, 11, feels this sense of pride, in his ability to shift our planet’s energy-use habits away from dependence on fossil fuels: “I thought, wow, I can really make a difference. I think everyone should make a difference, because we’re gonna need it in the long run.” His plans for the future? “I think I’m going to have a solar house when I grow up.”

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