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100% Solar Home

We designed (George T. Farnum and I), built (Simon Burke-Lipiczky and I) and recently moved into (patient wife, 2 kids and I) our home that does not use a drop of fossil fuel for space heating, water heating, cooking, lighting, etc. – not a drop. Plus, we expect to get over 10,000 miles in an Electric Vehicle from the excess electricity it will produce when fully implemented, to further reduce our carbon footprint!

The first objective was to build a super-insulated and airtight envelop. We did that by using:

  • Quad-Lock ICFs for the basement (R-40)
  • Double framing the walls and insulating with a combination of spray-in-place foam and dense packed cellulose (Correct Energy, R40+)
  • Rafter framed roof with 4” polyisocyanurate above the rafters and 10” of spray-in-place foam between the rafters (R-60+)
  • Triple-paned insulated glass (Accurate-Dorwin) with a U-value of .20 or lower (R-5) and solar heat gain coefficient of .44 to .52 for south facing windows
  • We sealed all cracks not sealed directly with spray-in-place foam and all penetrations for an infiltration rate of ~ .6 ACH50 (very close to Passive Haus standards).

The second objective was to use as little energy for all the house functions: heat, hot water, cooking, entertainment, lighting, etc. To accomplish this objective we employ a variety of energy efficient products (Air-Source Heat Pump, Ed Bishop; Jotul Woodstove, Woodburning Warehouse), energy conservation policies and practices, and will seek to make the best use of the sun as possible with a variety of passive and active solar strategies.

Next summer we will add solar thermal for heat and hot water (Pete Skinner). This winter we heated the entire house for the month of January with a single electric space heating radiator, typically putting out 3000 BTU/Hr! We have since started using a second radiator to heat the entire basement – office, kid cave and storage.

Our house will be on the October, 2014 Solar Tour. You can get details on how we built this 100% Solar House from my blogs on Our Energy Independence Community.


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