What is the Natural Balance Home that was built in Washington?



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    The Natural Balance Home on San Juan Island is currently in its last months of construction, and will be a retirement home for Glen and Deb Bruels. This home will attempt to achieve five major green building certifications. It will contain features including, but not limited to, solar hot water heaters, salvaged wood flooring, and non-toxic paints and finishes. The most impressive feature about this house is its rainwater collection system. Over 47,000 gallons of water will be collected by its roof in a year and stored in a 19,500 gallon cistern to be used for drinking, bathing, washing, and toiletry purposes. 

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      Hi, Valerie! Thanks for the answer. I’m Deb Bruels, co-owner of the Natural Balance House. Just a couple of corrections: the house is NOT a vacation home…it is our permanent residence. As of today, we have achieved LEED platinum but still need the final report(s). As of nine days ago, we are moved in! It is everything we expected, and more. The quality of construction and adherence to all the certifications we strove for has made this house not only a place we love but also a clean, energy-efficient, nearly self-sustaining residence. Even with the recent spate of cold, damp weather, we have not had to raise the thermostat over its original setting at 65 degrees.

      The house will be open for tours every Saturday in May from 11 to 4, and each weekend will be themed; i.e., Architect’s Day, Builder’s Day, Art Day, etc. Hope you can come! Pass the word, OK? For further info, go to: http://naturalbalancehouse.com.


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      Oh my goodness. I can’t believe you actually responded to my answer! I am very astonished and delighted. 😀 Unfortunately, since I live in San Diego, I do not believe I can make it to the events that are going to be taking place there in May. However, I would love to come sometime! I also sorry for any inaccuracies in my answer; I may have been misled by my sources when I called it a vacation home. It sounds like a wonderful place to live and I hope you can continue living there for a long time! 🙂 If you guys need someone to help you out in any capacity, please let me know!

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      LOL! Actually, I had a Google Alert set up for Natural Balance House, so this page popped up!

      I used to live in San Diego: 1963 thru 1981, grew up in Clairemont. It was a great place to be a kid and young adult!

      As far as a visit, our emails are on the website so give a shout if you happen to be up this way.


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      Hi, Valerie! I thought I would give you an update on the NBH’s status. Two weeks ago, we had our builder/crew/sub Thank-You Party. Most of the crew and their significant others attended. It was beautifully catered by an island chef, and we bought our beer and wine at Costco on our way back to the island from Seattle! It was a great party, and very moving to see how PROUD our guys/gals were of their hard work. We did a raffle for a week at our Puerto Vallarta condo + airfare. The guy who won was one of the FIRST to work on the house…he was responsible for the entire excavation!

      Today, May 7th, we had our first “open house” which was pretty well attended: 25 people who asked a lot of good questions about all facets of the house, including the artwork we’ve collected over the years. We expect a larger turnout next Saturday because today was the opening day of the “Boating Season.” We met a lot of new people! Again, check out the website at http://www.naturalbalancehouse.com for schedules for the next three open houses.

      Next weekend, we are featuring two of the artists we commissioned to create/install glass creations. One is made out of recycled glass and dichroic accents…salmon swimming around a curved wall, set in lightly tinted slump glass with painted “eel grass” within! The other is a sea-form sculpture made in three different styles: mouth blown, lampwork, and slump. It stands about 5 feet tall, showing a seabed with urchins and starfish, then up through “eel grass” with salmon and eels “swimming” around, then topped with “floating” kelp leaves. It is lit from within, so at night it is incredibly beautiful. Both of these artists were “finds” on the Internet and neither of them had done large installations like this. We love the fact that we are able to help them become better known!

      The following Saturday, our master gardener will be speaking about the entire outdoor planting schematic, as well as how he was able to salvage nearly 80% of the plants which were removed during excavation. He transplanted these into pots which lived on a raised platform for nearly two years. They now are part of the landscaping and green roof.

      The last one on May 28th will feature our architect, Michael McNamara, from Hornby Island, BC, Canada. We “discovered” Michael nearly 10 years ago from a timberframe book we purchased. It was very soon after the purchase of the lot when we met with Michael the first time in Victoria, BC, and immediately realized he was totally into the concept of going as “green” as possible without sacrificing his artistic leanings…we got along great. It was an awesome collaboration between Michael, Ravenhill Construction, and us.

      So, I really hope you can make it up for one Saturday open house!


      Deb in San Juan

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      And last, but not least, when we were back in DC for meetings, we ended up purchasing a Chevy Volt (Google it!). We had it shipped to Seattle a couple of weeks ago, and we absolutely love it! Since we knew we were going to get an electric car, we had already installed the power station to plug it in. Thus far, we’re getting about 65 MPG using both the 100-mile electric radius and then the gas supplement for anything over 100 miles. Not bad! 🙂


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