Ok folks, lets do some dreaming. My wife and I decided that we're going to move and this time we'll build new. Once we find the acreage that we want (no less than 5 acres, and probably no more than 10 because of the cost) we'll start put our little hobby farm up for sale and start to build. We're in central Minnesota about 70 miles north of Minneapolis. Here's some challenges. I hate to pay utility bills, my wife likes to turn on anything and everything without having to think about it. I like hot water heat, but still want air conditioning. She wants a traditional cottage style house (two story, 3 bedrooms on the second floor and full wrap around porch, blocking out the sun!), and I like what's most energy efficient. Whatever I want to do regarding solar or wind cannot be seen as you drive up to the house. She also dosen't want any type of open fire inside the house, in other words, no inside wood stove or fireplace (her fear of house fires). So, here's what I would do. 6" walls (that's a code requirement here), double pain windows, grid tied electric but a few solar panels on a tracking system set away from the house, and a small wind plant (we have good wind around here). The panels and wind plant would just be to offset some of the electric since we'll be using around 1100-1500kwh per month. We'd use all energy star rated appliances and a 98+ efficient boiler. I'm torn right now between an outside wood boiler or just having solar panels to provide hot water to the in floor heat. Since the house will be fairly air tight and I'd be using an efficient boiler, I'm not so sure the $8000 to install an outside wood boiler, plus deal with the wood is really worth it. I also want to do solar water pumping into plastic storage tanks in the basement of the house, the use a 12v pump to pressurize the house water system. I'm also thinking of some kind of outdoor water storage and collection (rain run off) for lawn and garden watering. So, given the housing requirement and restrictions from my spouse, what would you do? Cost is somewhat of a factor, we're not the Rockefeller's, but we can afford to put in a few extras as long as at some point during the ownership it'll pay for itself.