Bipeds of Brookland: Andrew Knox
Andrew Knox has worked hard to eliminate environmental emissions from his home. “The basic idea of Net Zero is, we make as much energy from our solar as we use in a year, but over the course of a day right now we’re probably pushing some of our extra electricity out to the grid. On some cold nights we pull from the grid, but over the course of the year, it nets out.”
He explains that most Net Zero house are new structures built to be efficient, but Andrew was interested in the challenge of converting an existing house to become Net Zero. The challenge included improving insulation as well as installing solar panels for electricity, a solar water heating system, and a geothermal cooling and heating system. The geothermal system uses a network of pipes to send liquid 180 feet underground, where the constant temperature is 54 degrees, to regulate air temperature in the home. He also bought an electric Chevy Volt. “We’re a few weeks away from being net zero on both the house and cars. We don't know of anyone else who's done that.”
Andrew used his financial training to work in cost benefit analysis of energy systems. He now works for the US Navy. He saw his house as a professional challenge. “Can I really meet all of our energy needs? This is important to us: the situation of the planet and protecting the environment.”
In 2010 he married and moved into the house his wife had bought in Brookland. They now have four children and their oldest just began attending nearbyChristian Family Montessori School.
Knox says, “I don’t think I have ever lived anywhere where I knew so many of my neighbors. Brookland is warm and welcoming, and feels a little less urban in the sense that there's not a bunch of high rises but you're still really close to the city, a short walk to the metro, sort of the best of both worlds.”
Bipeds of Brookland: A bi-weekly series introducing the people who make Brookland their home, one step at a time.
Article and photo by Tom Sabella.