We met Waidy Lee, a Los Altos Hills resident and passionate environmental advocate, through our solar NEM cash outs in April. Waidy’s home is a net producer of energy through its 25 kW solar panel system and sustainably designed structure. An early adopter of green technologies, Waidy also has a battery backup system that stores the renewable energy her home produces. She spoke to us about her electric cars at Energy Day in downtown Los Altos last month.
Waidy brought her all-electric 2012 Toyota RAV4 to the event and explained that the inside components of the car – the drive train, the management system, the battery, etc. – were all made by Tesla. Toyota partnered with Tesla in 2012 to release a limited number of second generation electric RAV4 models after the first generation came out in 1997. The 2012 model has a range of about 100 miles per charge. Waidy’s first EV was a 2002 Toyota RAV4, and she also has a 2011 Nissan LEAF and a 2012 Tesla Model S.
Waidy grew up in Hong Kong and moved to the U.S. for college. She worked as an engineer in Silicon Valley, and in the early 2000’s she became interested in environmental issues and decided to take action against climate change. “I started to read and be alert of things around me,” says Waidy. “This is how I got involved, because I just started to be alert.
In 2004 she began a complete remodel of her home in Los Altos Hills. She deconstructed the original building and created an energy efficient, passive solar designed home. The two-foot-thick walls are insulated with straw bales, keeping the home at an optimal temperature year-round. The windows are designed to take advantage of sunlight in the winter, and also keep the home cool in the summer. Water heating and additional space heating are powered by electric heat pumps, using the clean electricity produced by the home’s solar panels. She also has a living roof, which absorbs CO2 and insulates the home.