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  1. #1
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    Default Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    An interesting and inspiring article from the latest issue of Solar Today.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Great read, thanks Dan.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    The article stated that MA code now requires that hot roofs have 40% of their R-value in foam if fibered insulation is used.

    Has anyone run into such a requirement elsewhere?

    They did some creative design planning for the Needham ZEH, and brought it in for a reasonable price. But they could do that because of free solar hot water installation and a $25,200 rebate for the PV system. I particularly like the combination PV/DHW panels.

    The envelope upgrade costs were just under $4,000 - which is pretty impressive for the result of 0 HERS.

    The mechanicals cost them almost $15,000 extra, but they got a lot of payback for that investment.

    The completed cost came to $158.44 per square foot. Without the rebate, it would have been $178.90. Though, it sounds as if the building team subsidized this price-limited home. Their future ZEH projects are expected to be between $185 and $198 a square foot. Still not bad in today's market for such an efficient house.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    It does seem to be quite affordable and I wonder what the builder charged for doing the project? Rebates for PV are far lower here, maybe a quarter of what they got. Still a cool project and something I would definitely like to do.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
    The article stated that MA code now requires that hot roofs have 40% of their R-value in foam if fibered insulation is used.

    Has anyone run into such a requirement elsewhere?

    They did some creative design planning for the Needham ZEH, and brought it in for a reasonable price. But they could do that because of free solar hot water installation and a $25,200 rebate for the PV system. I particularly like the combination PV/DHW panels.

    The envelope upgrade costs were just under $4,000 - which is pretty impressive for the result of 0 HERS.

    The mechanicals cost them almost $15,000 extra, but they got a lot of payback for that investment.

    The completed cost came to $158.44 per square foot. Without the rebate, it would have been $178.90. Though, it sounds as if the building team subsidized this price-limited home. Their future ZEH projects are expected to be between $185 and $198 a square foot. Still not bad in today's market for such an efficient house.
    I calculated about the same Robert,

    Nonetheless great post Dan!

    Now let's start talking about building homes to sell power back to the utility companies! Seriously, Im currently trying to do this as we speak(or write whichever you prefer)
    JASON

    "The measure of success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom"

    George S. Patton

    www.jmsbuildersandremodelers.com
    (shameless plug for the google bots)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Splitting hairs, maybe, but selling power back to the utility only works if few people are doing it. There's no reason for a power grid if people aren't drawing power from it. If the MA has storage batteries I missed that part.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by David Meiland View Post
    Splitting hairs, maybe, but selling power back to the utility only works if few people are doing it. There's no reason for a power grid if people aren't drawing power from it. If the MA has storage batteries I missed that part.
    Ahh but let's think of all the many folks in the U S of A it is only a few David even if it's only 100,000 its a few, even if it's 100,000,0000 it's only a few. And belive me the utility companies are interested i'll try to look up the ling Green Building sent recently, it is possible, not for decades but possible now.

    Also the grid powers government, the city lights, buildings, and hospitals, ect the grid is necessary for transportation of the energy not for the actual production of energy. If we aid in the production are we not greener? are we not doing our part to sustain non renewable resources? Are we not building more efficient homes?

    There is a cap as if on anything there is a carp, we are far from reaching it. I for one would think this may get some heads turned to the issue at hand and hopefully put policies in place that would actually benefit the human race.
    Last edited by JMS BUILDERS; 12-30-2008 at 05:26 PM.
    JASON

    "The measure of success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom"

    George S. Patton

    www.jmsbuildersandremodelers.com
    (shameless plug for the google bots)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Jason, believe me I'm all in favor of selling the utility as much power as possible. Theoretically, if 25% of people start doing it, the need for the grid will be gone in most places, during whatever hours local generation is happening, so I would expect the utilities to stop buying power.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by David Meiland View Post
    Jason, believe me I'm all in favor of selling the utility as much power as possible. Theoretically, if 25% of people start doing it, the need for the grid will be gone in most places, during whatever hours local generation is happening, so I would expect the utilities to stop buying power.
    They wouldn't stop, they would ask for a Bailout :)
    JASON

    "The measure of success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom"

    George S. Patton

    www.jmsbuildersandremodelers.com
    (shameless plug for the google bots)

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    David, I think you're perhaps a bit vague on this whole "selling power to the grid" thing... as a rule, people still use more than they make. You never get to where the utility's sending you a check instead of a bill, you just offset your consumption. And you still get that basic charge, every month, for using the distribution grid.

    The Long Island Power Authority only has a very few actual power plants; mostly it buys power from other utilities, which is an expensive way to go about it... and how much of New York's power is generated up in Quebec? So the idea's just to cut down on outside purchases. For them, it's actually a good deal.

    The whole idea, is simply to use the grid as a giant battery, when you're producing more than you're using. But it'll never net out, the typical American lifestyle would require more PV panels than you can fit on your roof and your yard.

    I'm all for decentralizing power production as much as possible. A lot of the environmental problems with hydro, for example, dissappear when it's micro-hydro-power. Solar is inherently decentralized (decentralizing?), it makes more sense to have it at the consumption point than in big solar plants. Ditto wind turbines.

    Only coal & nukes are better done centralized; and IMHO, they're best done, as little as possible.
    Francois


    Truth is just one man's explanation for what he thinks he understands. (Walter Mosley)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Frenchie, no doubt I'm unclear about many things including this, but I have read more than once references to the likelihood that utilities only want to have a small fraction of their customers selling power. If PV becomes widely utilitized then local storage will be necessary.

    Let's bet on how soon Seibert shows up to condemn PV. I say within ten posts of now. You on?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Currently my neighbor (Mr. Divosta's son) has an array of 21 panels and a transfer switch (or the like) of some sort mounted on an exterior wall next to his meter.

    He spent about 30K. That includes paying to get an engineer's stamp for the bracket design (we are in the hurricane from heck zone).

    He chose not to maintain a battery bank with trickle charge. Rather he pumps his home made juice back through the meter during the day when all are at work. His meter actually spins backwards. Then in the evening he uses regular old 600volts (or the like) to run the house as we all do. Claims his power bill is about $50 per month (mine is $275.00 + or - ).

    He also maintains a 20k stand by generator for when power goes down completely.

    I would love to maintain my own system just to watch my meter spin backwards. It would take 9 years to pay for.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    Quote Originally Posted by David Meiland View Post
    Frenchie, no doubt I'm unclear about many things including this, but I have read more than once references to the likelihood that utilities only want to have a small fraction of their customers selling power. If PV becomes widely utilitized then local storage will be necessary.

    Let's bet on how soon Seibert shows up to condemn PV. I say within ten posts of now. You on?
    I'm offended that you think I'd be that much of a sucker. Of course it'll take less than 10 posts! The only real question is: will he also tell us to buy stock in it now, since it's the next bubble?
    Francois


    Truth is just one man's explanation for what he thinks he understands. (Walter Mosley)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    OK, well then...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Good piece on zero energy home in MA

    ... I'm gonna run up the post count a little here.

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