Michel Saint-Sulpice is a gentle soul who takes his responsibility for the planet seriously, and always has. Growing up in France, his family was careful with resources, and he has carried forth that strong environmental ethic into his adult life as a Santa Barbara architect.
Michel aspires to be fossil fuel free by the end of 2012, and he’s well on his way. Solar panels provide his home with electricity, and he’s been driving a Toyota Prius since the second generation first hit the market. He completely removed his lawn to make room for a beautiful drought tolerant landscape. Greywater and collected rain water (with back-up well water) will soon irrigate a “food forest.” On the drawing board is a geothermal system that will heat the entire house (with cooling option), all his domestic water and his swimming pool year round. Since Michel produces all his electricity, his carbon footprint will be zero, and he will not be paying electric and gas bills any longer. He has taken these measures to express his deep appreciation for nature and beauty.
by Barbara Hirsch & Michelle Kitson
Recently, however, Michel took his environmental commitment to a new level, after attending a screening of “Revenge of the Electric Car,” co-sponsored by CEC in October. He was so inspired by the film and the subsequent panel of speakers (the director, two of the film’s stars, a Chevy Volt owner and a Nissan Leaf owner) that he went out and bought an all-electric Nissan Leaf the next day! Before seeing the film, Michel had done his homework and knew he wanted to take advantage of the current government incentives to promote electric vehicles. But that night, he knew the time was right. The added bonus for Michel is that when he plugs in his new electric vehicle at home, he has enough solar panels (63 of them!) on his roof to power his home and the car. In fact, Michel is part of a growing group of “early adopters” who are driving around town in cars powered by sunshine instead of oil. One hour’s worth of the sun’s rays hitting earth could supply all of earth’s electricity needs for a year. Only if it could be captured, that is. Michel captures as much of that sunlight as he can, to power his life and energize his spirit. He envisions a future where all households are run efficiently and powered by the sun. Part of his life’s pleasure is working towards achieving this himself, and extending his grace (and extra energy) towards others.