Prairie Spruce Commons is committed to reducing our environmental footprint. Part of this commitment includes designing our building to use complementary power sources like solar power, but what does this really mean? Thanks to an information session with Ken Compton, local solar and wind energy expert, we are gaining more of an understanding of our options.
Life Beyond Bigfoot : Solar & Net-Metering
It is our intention to build so we are ready for future installation of solar voltaic panels. The panels have a 25 year life expectancy (production > 80%). We intend to produce power under Saskpower’s net-metering program.
Suncatcher Solar provides the following information about solar power output in Saskatchewan:
The amount of electricity you can produce depends on the size of the solar array and the amount of sunshine you receive in your area. For example, a solar power system with a 4.8 kW array (20 solar panels @ 240 Watts each) will produce an average of about 700 kWh per month in central Saskatchewan, Canada. You can find out how much electricity you need by looking at your current power bills.
Why we will use complementary power sources:
Reducing our cost of living:S ask Power has applied for an annual rate increase of 5% for the next two years.
Our Creating Community: Let’s Get Ready to Crumble event on Tuesday evening was a resounding hit. Our friends and guests sampled 4 delicious crumbles and the Haskap Berry Crumble created by Laurie Gillies took first place. Laurie credits the win to her mom, Vickie Gillies, “who makes the best crumbles, crisps and cobblers ever”.We’ve posted the winning recipe below.
If you are like many of the taste testers, the Haskap berry may be new to you. While Haskaps are well known in Russia and Japan, they are quite new to Canada. They LOVE our prairie climate. The University of Saskatchewan have bred a hybrid of the Russian and Japanese plants that are very hardy in Saskatchewan.
It only seems appropriate that the Haskap Berry Crumble was the winner. Like cohousing, it is new to Saskatchewan and proving to be healthy, hardy, and delicious. You can go online to Haskap Canada at haskap.ca to find out where you can find them and how to purchase seedlings and grow your own. In Regina, Laurie and Jim carry the berries at Nature’s Best. Laurie’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law grow Haskap on their farm, Heavenly Blue Honeysuckle Orchards near Birch Hills, just south of Prince Albert.
Here is Laurie’s Winning Recipe
Haskap Berry Crumble
8 cups of Haskap berries (drained, see below)
1/2 cup sugar
teaspoon of lemon juice
2 TB cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger
8 TB butter
Heat oven to 350. Mix up the filling. Adjust ingredients to your taste. Put in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Mix up the topping and crumble it over the filling.Bake about half an hour.
Haskaps are one of the world’s SuperFruits and this one is super juicy! So drain the Haskap berries before you add them to the recipe. I set them in a strainer over a bowl and weighted it down for a few hours. I took one and a half litres of juice out of my berries before I baked and they still had amazing flavor and nutrition. Drink the juice, or freeze it into ice cubes to add to smoothies, homemade ice cream treats, or your glass of water. Yum!
In Ontario you can sell excess energy generated by your solar panels back to the grid. As of today (Aug. 2, 2014) Saskatchewan has a program like most provinces where you generate power that goes to the grid that you can use later. Basically just lowering your future electricity bills.
Travel & cohousing… Do the two go together? From where I’m sitting, on this red rock at the shoreline where the Gulf of St. Lawrence kisses the white sand of Prince Edward Island, cohousing and travel are perfectly matched.
We are here for a two week vacation with family and friends. Others of the Prairie Spruce community are at home in Regina, hosting information sessions, staffing our booth at the Farmers Market (stop by for a visit), getting the word out about this wonderful new adventure that is taking place in Regina. Others are at their cottage at the lake, one household is traveling in Denmark and one household is traveling and Sweden. In cohousing we share in the play and the work, that’s what a community is about.
An additional bonus of cohousing is the international community. Membership in a cohousing community allows you to visit other cohousing communities across the globe and book the guest space. Check out the locations of a few cohousing communities around the world: