I recently got a call from someone who is building a new house and wanted to know what kinds of things they should consider to be as self-sustainable and as fossil fuel free as possible.
This was the third person I’ve talked to in the last couple of weeks so I thought it was a good topic for a blog post. Also, I’m hopeful that this means the economy is starting to turn around and people are finding the money to invest in their homes.
Green Living Journal published the story I wrote entitled “One Woman’s Journey to a Zero Energy Building”. I like how they advertised it on the cover (My Zero Net Energy Home) and put it out in Left Field
Click here if you would like to read it. I added some pictures in the blog post version. They didn’t have room for many pictures in the journal.
I’m very excited to report that the Business New Hampshire Magazine has chosen Energy Emporium as the winner of the 2012 Lean and Green award in the Green Building category!
They award businesses in 3 major categories related to sustainability and energy efficiency: Green Buildings (what the business has done with its building to reduce energy use), Green Products/Services (business products or services that provide energy efficiencies), or Sustainability Champions (internal business processes geared towards energy efficiencies and sustainability in the workplace).
Living with a solar energy system will raise your awareness of the sun’s presence to a new level. Now that I am living in a solar powered home (78 Main St renovation), I can provide way too much information on how many days the sun peaked out in December, how much of the energy of the sun still comes through on a cloudy day, and how powerful the sun is on a cold, but bright sunny day in February.
I have a good selection of monitoring and measuring devices for my solar systems, so I am able to determine exactly what are the “perfect” days for peak energy production. It might not be what you expect…
Due to the fact that I am a chronic procrastinator I typically find myself doing smaller loads of laundry. When most people are thinking about getting to bed on a Sunday evening I am often just realizing that I don’t have a clean shirt for Monday morning. At this point in time I am too tired to bother with sorting out an entire load, I just want to throw in what I absolutely need to get by.
I’ve had some good discussions on heat pumps with friends, family and customers over the last few months and I wanted to jot down some notes on where I think these systems can save money and energy. Comments are encouraged!
The basic function of a heat pump is to move heat from one point to another. The components include a motor, a condenser and an evaporator. What’s pretty cool is that the same machine with all the same parts can be used to heat a space, and by reversing the flow, it can cool a space.
I was recently introduced to a new website that helps individuals with their energy planning — monitoring, conservation, creating renovation projects, ideas for new construction, and finding companies to help them with these projects.
It is called MyEnergyPlan.net. There are 4 main sections to this website: the Personal Energy Planner, the Energy Notebook, the Energy Project Connector, and the Green Homes Tourist.
On March 31, 2011 I got the occupancy permit for the residential section of our building at 78 Main St
! And I moved in last weekend. There is still some work to do on the commercial side (Energy Emporium’s future home), but I’m hoping to finish that and move the store in by the end of this month.
It has been a lot of physical, mental and emotional work, a lot of red tape (from permits to loans), and some interesting tweaking and modifications of the solar powered heating system to get to this point… but it came out really well. A lot of thanks goes to my general contractor, Don Roberts, who has been great to work with even while I changed things at the last minute to meet LEED (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design) and ZEB (zero energy building) requirements.
Houses that are taking advantage of good insulation and that are effectively sealing out air leaks need to be ventilated to ensure good air quality for the occupants. These ventilators come in two basic types today: HRV (heat recovery ventilator) and ERV (energy recovery ventilators).
An HRV will preheat the incoming air with the out-going air, which can make the ventilator very efficiency and minimizes the extra heating required when the outside air is very cold. An ERV preheats the incoming air just like the HRV, but can also maintain the humidity levels. ERVs are generally used when the house or business uses air conditioning in the summer as well as heat in the winter. If you plan to open your windows for the summer (no air conditioning), then the added humidity control won’t be helping your home.
I had a great opportunity to visit the manufacturing facility of a US based wood furnace last week — Woodmaster
, in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota.
In New England (as with many other parts of the states) we have figured out how to farm wood sustainably, so what could be better than to be able to burn it as cleanly as possible to provide heat. Most of our older wood stoves and wood furnaces burn wood with emissions in the 20+ grams of smoke per hour (g/h). The new EPA mandatory smoke emission limit for wood stoves is 7.5 grams of smoke per hour (g/h) for non-catalytic stoves and 4.1 g/h for catalytic stoves. Non catalytic stoves only have to be 68% efficient to meet the EPA guidelines. Catalytic stoves must be 72% efficiency.