This Electric Life

Meet Brett & Trillium: Building an All-Electric Home

orcas coupleBrett Bartmasser and Trillium Swanson are building their home in Eastsound with the goal of an all-electric house and as many efficiency measures as their budget can bear.  Brett, who grew up on San Juan Island, is an electrician who does solar-electric installations with Rainshadow Solar.  Trillium provides youth-centered programming and grant management for the Funhouse Commons and is a licensed mental health counselor. They share their new home with Rocky, the cat.

Our dream is to live somewhat simply and mostly happily.”

Rocky the cat

The new home is heated with a ductless heat pump, which they financed through OPALCO’s Switch it Up! program. Other efficiency measures include a heat-pump dryer (super-efficient closed-loop system) and a nifty electric induction cook top that Trillium says boils water 30%  faster, modulates well and “makes mute the argument for cooking on gas.”


Brett focused on air sealing for the biggest bang for the buck (since he could do it himself). He taped all the plywood seams, used blown-in fiberglass for wall insulation and a packed R-60 insulation into deep parallel trusses in the roof. While big windows look out on the view to the north, the roof is built with a sweeping southern exposure for future solar panels. Going all-electric was a priority for good indoor air quality and efficiency – and simply for the ease of one source, one bill. “Electric is the future,” said Brett. “It’s where everything is going.”