Steven and Lee Hindrichs in their Henlyn Drive home in Sooke.

It’s OK to be living green

Ecohome tour offers ideas on how to create a green-friendly home.

Steven and Lee Hindrichs always had a dream of owning a rammed-earth home.

Dreams, however, are sometimes preempted.

So, they did the next best thing to their wish of living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle: work with what they already owned.

Over the last nine years they’ve turned their 1983 bungalow into an environmentally sustainable home and saved money in the process.

The Hindrichs’ home is one of seven that will be featured in this Saturday’s (Oct. 8) Sooke Ecohome Tour presented by Transition Sooke.

“It was not an all or nothing solution,” said Steven. “It’s little bits here and there that make a difference.”

Lee pointed out that when they bought their Henlyn Drive property in 2007 there was “nothing special about it,” but they’ve turned their yard into a unique eco-system and reduced their environmental footprint in the house by adding renewable energy features.

“Part of what we did was try to work with what already existed,” Lee said.

“We looked at the areas of what we have control over. What are the things we can do that will address those problems, given that we didn’t have a clean slate to work from? We did, though, have an existing slate to work from.”

The first thing the Hindrichs did was begin planting gardens around the property that was followed by harvesting rainwater, setting up a grey water irrigation system, composting, raising chickens and solar panels.

But they didn’t stop there.

The food they can’t grow, they buy from local growers and stores.

They also ensure they keep  pesticides and herbicides out of their yard and use only green cleaning products.

“It’s working with the resources you have , working with nature around you and working with the community around you,” Steven said.

Stops along the 19-kilometre Sooke Ecohome Tour circle route include Harbourside Cohousing on the Sooke waterfront, the cob cottage at ALM Organic Farm, a work in progress rammed-earth home on a forested acre in Otter Point, a cozy and functional tiny home made largely from found and recycled materials, and a trio of private residences – two with solar rooftops.

Tickets are available on Oct. 8 only at the Stick in the Mud and the Sooke Country Market (corner of Eustace and Otter Point roads) from 9:30 a.m. to early afternoon. The price is $5 per person,, $10 per carload or free to cyclists and pedestrians.

The Sooke Ecohome Tour is sponsored by the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. with funding support from B.C. Hydro and the District of Sooke.

For more information, please go to the Transition Sooke website at transitionsooke.org.