Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 19th July
The magnet on her car asks, “Ready to Make a Difference?” and that question centers most of Michele Chalice’s life philosophy. A former landscape architect living in Keene, NH, Michele began renovating her home in 2017 with a goal to “live more lightly on the Earth.” She created a duplex, had ReVision install a rooftop solar array, and enlisted NH SAVES to perform a whole-house energy audit. The duplex, originally built in the early 1900s, needed a lot of weatherization, and she blew out some interior walls so that she could install air source heat pumps for maximum efficiency.
Michele went from using 4 tanks of oil every winter to half a tank; her electric bill is now only the connection fee, $13.82 a month to Eversource. These were terrific choices, she says, “I’m using dramatically less oil and feeling fabulous about utilizing solar,” but even more dramatic are the life changes Michele was able to make. Because of the financial savings and reliability of her utility bills, Michele has been able to commit time and money to her new business, Healthy Home Habitats.
“These energy efficiency choices created a pretty powerful result,” Michele says. “The monthly savings let me have a part time job and build this business, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I had to pay for all that oil and energy like I used to.”
Michele credits ReVision Energy with helping her launch this new lifestyle; her 27-panel rooftop array powers most of her home, including her air source heat pumps. She says she was initially drawn to the mission-driven aspects of the company.
“[ReVision is] a B Corporation, and employee-owned. Those were huge factors for me,” Michele says, “I was able to have my dollars speak strongly to my values and I feel great about that.”
Michele started Healthy Home Habitats in 2019, offering people creative options that she believes can collectively help to heal the world right from their own home. Her website offers blog posts on topics like lawn spirals, window shades, and rain collecting. You can also book her as a consultant on home resource efficiencies, family gardening strategies, and regenerative garden design, or take on the full Healthy Home Challenge – a long-term plan to fully shift clients’ homes and lifestyles.
“I came to understand that this is what I have to share. I’m offering more ecologically sound and healthy ways for people to manage the landscapes outside of their homes, and also more efficient ways of living inside their homes – solar panels and heat pumps are a start, but also a whole lot of other efficiency measures.”
Michele’s business model is unique in that she doesn’t install her landscape designs, but instead works with her customers to create and implement these changes themselves. It’s important to her that people really engage with nature and put their hands back into the dirt.
“Reconnecting to our soil and resources is a critical piece of our sanity, peace of mind, and our survival on the planet.”
One of her services is called co-gardening. Michele provides advice, lessons, and design ideas in person, and then is available for questions as time goes on. It’s a very collaborative program, and Michele works with the customer to identify their goals and lifestyle, determining what plants are appropriate based on their lifestyle, shading, soil types, pollinators and local animals, and more.
“We figure out what brings them joy, and then help them have more of that in their lives at home.”
To learn more about Healthy Home Habitats, as well as learn valuable tips to improve your own lifestyle, explore their website: https://healthyhomehabitats.com/