Are you considering building an addition or new structure and thinking  about installing solar panels? Would you like to offset your electricity use with on-site solar? Are you ready to help alleviate the environmental impacts of coal-generated electricity? If you are asking yourself these questions, then attend the inaugural 21 Acres Solar Home Design Course, offered six consecutive Tuesdays beginning May 8th, and learn how to use the sun for heat, power, and comfort.

The six sessions and topics covered include:

  • Session 1: Solar 101-The Basics of Residential Solar Use; Cut through the chaos and get focused on a specific project
  • Session 2: Passive Solar Strategies for Residential Design and applications; Learn about heating, cooling and daylighting – system types and characteristics
  • Session 3: Sizing, Performance, Costs and Benefits; Get answers to questions: What capacity should I consider? How many solar panels do I need? Plan a system to meet everyday needs. Recoup the investment with long term savings thru Washington State’s cost recovery system
  • Session 4: Solar Thermal from A-Z, Design Construction and Operation; Explore residential and backyard farming applications, (i.e. options for greenhouses, residential hot water, passive thermal collection)
  • Session 5: Photovoltaic PV systems A to Z, Design, Construction, Operations; Covers engineering, resources, approved contractor lists, smart sourcing of supplies, and, info re who to call next after the class
  • Session 6: Off Grid System Types and Operations (urban and rural); Learn about irrigation, water capture and pumping, garden features. Covers small panel independent system set-up. Good for ponds, fountains and outdoor lighting.

Course faculty are Jeremy Smithson and Chris Herman. Smithson, CEO and founder of Puget Sound Solar, is a NABCEP Certified Solar Thermal and Solar PV Installer and a WA State Certified Electrical Ad-ministrator. He is a popular lecturer and teacher on sustainable energy. Herman, Owner, Winter Sun Design, has been consulting on and designing/drawing plans for complete, green, solar homes for 25 years in the Pacific Northwest. He is regularly called upon to create systems and developed Snohomish PUD’s Solar Express Incentive Program which is widely recognized as a model.

With a non-profit school dedicated to teaching people how to grow, eat and live sustainably, the new 21 Acres School located in the newly green-built Center for Local Food and Sustainable Living, kicks-off the spring season with this new course along with several others to be announced soon. Continuing education classes focus on principles of sustainable agriculture, including those related to not only food and food systems, but also home energy and water conservation, tools for local economic development and quality of life improvement for our community.

Upcoming courses in the Growing/Eating/Living series include Creating and Maintaining Toxic-Free Home and Garden Environments; Backyard Farming Part II; Cooking Fundamentals with a Sustainable Approach; Practices for Living Sustainably and several more throughout the year. Get your name on the wait list for early notification.

A new certificate program, the Sustainability & Stewardship Certificate, is available to students who complete studies in one or more sustainability fields.  Enroll now and the fee is just $45 for a two-year period. Enrollees receive advance notice of class availability and occasional special discount offers. Early Bird registration fee, prior to May 1, is $195. Standard rate, after May 1, is $225. 21 Acres member discounts apply.

Interested students may enroll and register one of three ways:; phone: 425-481-1500; e-mail:

21 Acres is  located in the lower Sammamish River Valley at 13701 NE 171st Street, Woodinville, Washington. For more information on the 21 Acres School visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter @21acres.

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