MARQUETTE - Ginnie Killough and her family are beginning to put the finishing touches on an earth-friendly home that's been 21 years in the making.
"I've been interested in energy conservation for a long time and when we constructed the house, we had it built with that in mind," Killough said.
The latest addition to the home, tucked away on Harbor View Drive in south Marquette, is a set of six solar panels installed on the roof.
Pictured is Ginnie Killough’s home in south Marquette. Solar panels were installed on the roof of the home this week as a part of the BetterBuildings project run through the city of Marquette and the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
The panels should be fully operational next week, Killough said, and will be able to power much of her home.
Whatever energy isn't used by the Killough family can be sold back into the grid.
"During the summer and high sun days, the meter works both ways, so I either draw energy from the electric company like I do now, or, if I collect more than I use (with the solar panels), then I'll sell it back," Killough said. "It's really exciting. When I did it, it was hard to visualize what (the panels) would look like, but I really like the way it looks. I'm excited."
The panels, along with a new furnace and water heater, were purchased with the help of the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust and the city of Marquette through a program called BetterBuildings for Michigan.
The program provides low-cost energy-efficiency to Marquette city residents by offering loans at little to no interest.
SWP Program Manager Natasha Koss said that efficiency can come in many different forms including doors, windows, insulation and with energy-efficient appliances.
"We're hoping that people see, "Oh, OK, this is pretty affordable,'" Koss said. "(The solar panels) certainly offset a lot of the cost of electricity."
Currently, the program is only offered to residents in south Marquette, however, Koss said the program will move to North Marquette later this year.
Killough qualified for a zero percent interest, 10-year loan through the BetterBuildings program. The loan paid for the solar panels as well as the new furnace and water heater.
"I'm really glad we had these opportunities, and when I found out about the program, I tried to tell everybody that I knew in south Marquette about it," Killough said. "It's just an incredible program. It's very affordable and it feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.