My Dirt

When I was a kid, I loved playing in the dirt – I could make mud pies for hours! Then in my youth, working as a landscaper, I earned the nickname ‘pigpen’ – somehow I was always the first and last one down in the dirt and getting my hands in it! I joined my first environmental group at age 12. At some point as an adult, I looked around and saw that things were not getting better fast enough. So I decided that I needed to do more.

My name is Wendy McLean. I grew up on a small farm in the lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia and watched and helped my father build our 70’s era natural log home. (Helping at this age mostly consisted of running to pickup whatever small piece of log or tool Dad said he needed!). My brother later introduced me to energy efficiency and solar energy when he became a R-2000 architect. I read Amory Lovins’ “Soft Energy Paths” , E. F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” and imagined a day when photovoltaics and appropriate technologies were the norm….

Once I was finally a homeowner, I wanted to create a healthier, more efficient and resilient home. I had spent considerable time reviewing recent climate change information and its solutions and studying renewable energy and sustainable home design.

I became a home energy advisor, helping clients make their homes more energy efficient, more comfortable and have less environmental impact…

Later I started a renewable energy business, installing home energy systems throughout the BC Interior, mostly PV (solar electric)

and some wind, micro hydro and hybrid systems.

I debated whether to renovate my home in the city into its greenest possible form, as the best home for the planet (from an embodied energy viewpoint) is one less new home. I also wanted to farm in the future and I have allergies and sensitivities, so creating a healthy home where I had room to grow food, was important. I ended up designing and building my own deep green natural home on an acreage where I hoped to farm. I had seen various forms of efficient, natural and sustainable buildings and homes in my travels. Nothing locally had all the elements I knew were possible in this climate, so I set out to learn how to create a natural, healthy, efficient and low-embodied energy home that fit into its landscape as gently as possible and was as warm and cosy to live in as possible. It meant I got to play in the dirt again too!

I hope that my home can be an inspiration for people who have never before seen its technologies and that this site can help educate and inform about sustainable building and living, because buildings that sequester carbon, take less energy to produce and run efficiently are important ways of combating climate change and creating resiliency, as well as being comfortable, healthy homes to live in.

You can find many of the resources I used to build my home on the Green Home Resources page of this website. Some of the many resources I have used to educate myself and clients can be found on the Resources and Research page. You can contact me here for more information.