Solar collectors on every roof provide very hot water for most of the year, with an electrical waterheater backup for cold or cloudy weather.
And in the Sonoran desert, who really needs a clothes dryer? Many of us save energy and even time by using a traditional clothesline.
Combining design features with sensible use of power, residents can spend less than $50 per month on power bills.
The Milagro commmunity shares a large solar oven created specifically by Al Nichols as a memorial for Wayne Moody, our very special and much missed Project Manager.
Able to track with the sun, several households can cook in the solar oven at the same time.
We have cooked home-grown squash, beans, lasagna, soups, stews, casseroles and cookies in our community solar oven. It can even bake a 20-pound turkey.
In addition to the community oven, some of us have our own smaller solar ovens.
Solar Water Heaters
All houses are equipped with a 40-gallon solar water heating panel mounted on the roof. During sunny days hot water is pumped into the main storage tank inside the houses. During periods when solar heating is inadequate, supplemental electrical heat is supplied.
Solar Electrical Power
All roofs were designed with an optimum pitch for photovoltaic panels and with the breaker panels located in an attic to minimize the distance from roof mounted panels. Nine households have now mounted panels on their roofs, generating an estimated total of 33,437 kilowatt-hours annually. More savings are expected in the future as electrical rates rise.
Car-sharing & Electric Vehicles
At Milagro Cohousing, a number of Milagritos are subscribing to the concept of the station car, where several individuals share one vehicle. Still in the early phases, planning is underway to purchase the first Milagro station car. Such a measure means essentially that in some cases one can forgo a second car and potentially keep four or five cars off the road for each one station car . Car-sharing encourages ride-sharing with a possible rideboard as well as public transportation and even bicycling and hiking. Keep in mind, a car normally sits idle for some 22 hours per workday, so why not utilize the best benefits possible--share expenses and reduce costs while putting air pollution to zero.