discussion on using renewables in Vermont. I'm glad to see solar heating and renewable wood fuels being looked
at. Some observations I might add:
--All of us
seem to agree that an Agressive energy conservation plan is
essential. Spend the first $1000 on sealing the basement and attic air
leaks with expanding foam, etc. Add cellulose insulation to the building
envelope that is accessible (usually the attic...) Next time you update /
renew siding or drywall -- insulate the walls where you have access. Get a
thorough energy audit with blower door testing and perform all
the recommendations. This process and steps mentioned below may take years
and $$ to accomplish but will yield amazing results.
your windows when possible. If old and leaky , change them. If
newer, perhaps you can caulk / seal around mouldings inside the
house to prevent air leaks around the window frames. Adding storm windows
to upgrade insulated glass windows to triple glazed can be done.
--The idea is
to minimize the heat / energy loadsI that renewables can help
lived with an efficient , clean wood stove for over 30 years and can't imagine
living without it. Wood pellets are certainly cleaner and easier to store
/ handle than cords of firewood.. Someday there may be residential deliveries of
wood pelletts similar to the way coal was delivered years ago -- delivered
into 'bins' at low cost for use in stoves or automated furnaces.
--Wood stoves that require electricity for
fans, pellet augers, etc won't be available during a power outage (just
like most heating systems in use...)
--Wood stoves / furnaces can also be
installed with coils to heat the domestic hot water during the heating months --
This accessory to the wood heater would be worth looking into..
--I like the
way the homeowner has surveyed the south side of their house.
Sloping unshaded roof areas can be used for solar panels: I would first
recommend domestic hot water (you get to use these 12 months of the year --
solar heating panels only in the winter...) When the time comes -- solar
electric might be your option.
--Keep the landscaping in control,
no trees on the south that bring shade. Even deciduous trees will
significantly shade the solar panels and / or windows on this side.
--Think ahead to the installation of solar
panels on the roof, Are there areas where pipes / wires can be run
through the house to connect south facing roofs with the basement? If
remodeling rooms, you can even install piping or electrical conduit that will
later be used to simplify a solar installation. Consult with some
installers first to assess the specifics...
--Has any one
mentioned Passive Solar ? Your south wall can be a great
solar collector. Is there more space for larger windows? You must be
specific when getting glass for passive solar design: The standard
Low E glass used by most window manufacturers (Marvin, Pella,
Andersen, etc etc) is mostly designed to minimize solar heat
gain. (for airconditioning climates) You may need to get premium
windows that offer maximum 'Solar Heat Gain Factor' with high R-value.
(perhaps triple glazed? ) Insulated window coverings can also help
but can get expensive. Attached sunspace / greenhouse can get you winter
solar gain yet allow you to isolate / close off the space at night. More
money, but the extra space, greenhouse growing, is the payoff.
solar hot water installers responded with ideas on the original query?? I
hope to hear more from them too.
Hope these suggestions are helpful.
It's great to see the discussion progress.
Dennis Bates, Vermont Sun