April 2009

In April, we spend 2 weeks in Germany, the main aim being to attend the Passivhaus Institut’s Tagung (Conference) in Frankfurt. Marvellous to be able to meet others engaged in the same work as ourselves, and to learn from them. Also to visit the associated suppliers’ exhibition and see products in real-life, such as windows, which to date we had only read about on the internet. En route, we visit Freiburg, the ‘Sun City’, and have a conducted tour of the Sonnenschiff, the development established by Architect Rolf Disch. Amazing to learn that the residents can sell back their surplus electricity generated by the solar panels which form the roofs, and make a healthy profit. One set of costs show the owner saving about EUR3000 per year on electricy use compared to his previous house of a smililar size, plus an income of EUR3000 from the sale of electricity.
While we area away, our very dear friends Bill and Ruth in Risan keep an eye on the plants and make sure that they are watered regularly. On our return, we are excited to find a tortoise wandering around. We call it Alex. as at this stage we know nothing about tortoises. More research reveals Alex to be a female Hermann’s Tortoise, the most common type in the Balkans.