2016 Tour of Solar Homes
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Homes on the 2016 Tour

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Home 1
This Shady Side home built in 1993 is an ongoing experiment in living lightly or sustainably on the earth. The main features of the house are lots of insulation, low emissivity windows, a wood pellet stove, a solar cooker, nesting osprey, passive solar heating and cooling, photovoltaic power, a wood cooking stove and lots of fans instead of ducts to circulate heat. The treed living room, located on the waterside of the house, is a passive heated solar sunspace that is used as a heat source for the rest of the house. More important than these parts is the way these parts are integrated into a whole, the management practices which make it all work to create significant energy savings and the lessons learned which were carried on to my work on Passive House and Net Zero Energy designs.

Home 2
This home, completed in 2011, is off-grid with a 10 kW photovoltaic system. Heating is by a bank of 9 flat plate panel solar thermal collectors and radiant floor system.  On cloudy days, this is supplemented by a two-ton geothermal heat pump, and in the worst weather, a Navien tankless water heater, all through automated optimizing controls. Cooling is accomplished through a unique geothermal in-floor radiant cooling system aided by 2 air handlers.  The home is of timber frame and SIP panel construction with R-44 walls, passive solar engineering, an insulated precast foundation, and Serious/Alpen quad pane windows.  While the home is off-the-grid, it has all of the comforts of a typical home with washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc.  A plug-in electric hybrid vehicle charging station was installed in 2012-- available to visitors on sunny days.

Home 3
Strawbale house completed in 2010. Strawbale construction in three walls with deep overhangs to protect lime plaster from the elements. The south wall is insulated passive solar design with blown in cellulose insulation. Earthen plaster interior finished with homemade (zero VOC) clay paints and alises. Site harvested trees create primary exposed support columns and beams. Extensive use of site harvested/milled timber used for both structural and trim features. Concrete countertops. Wood burning stove. Geothermal system for heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. Acid-stained concrete slab on ground floor for radiant floor heating and thermal mass for passive solar heat. House-mounted trellis keeps summer sun from reaching concrete slab.  A remote 3.5 kW photovoltaic system is grid-tied with battery backup system. Permaculture landscaping with multi-fruit orchard, mushroom cultivation. Sculpture garden with 45 works by artist Pat Monk. Farm in Agricultural Preservation program. Chickens and goats.

Home 4
Original 1920s gable frame house was gutted and retrofit with strawbales. A timberframe addition was added to one end of the house and infilled with strawbales for insulation. A small loadbearing strawbale guesthouse was built by Builders Without Borders using lime and earth plasters and as featured outside the Capital building for almost a year. A small studio using a modified infill system was built and finished in local clay plasters. A variety of strawbale and plastering techniques were used in the structures from low to high-end.  Boards, timbers and posts were obtained locally and milled using our sawmill or chainsaw. Other features include a Woodmizer Sawmill, composting toilet, woodheat, round firewood stacks, a pollinator garden, stone foundation, greywater wetland and pond, native plants. Lots of experiments in local reused materials (bells made from gas cylinders, tire planters), and timbers, trees, and found objects. Key themes are local natural materials, do it your self, low cost, and non-manufactured.

Home 5
We have utilized a number of features. One is an 8.64 PV kw ground mount system (36 panels). To this we have added a two panel solar hot water roof system. In addition we have an outdoor wood burning furnace that heats water running into a copper coil system into the air handler giving us central heating with wood. This same system heats our domestic hot water through a heat exchanger on the water heater. We also have a few solar night lights for walkway lighting.

Home 6
Built in 2000, this single family home has been upgraded over the past 8 years, starting with an energy audit, and includes the following: attic insulation upgraded to DoE recommended R49, recessed light sealing, along with high efficiency AC upgrade.  Lighting upgraded to 95% LED. 2200+ sq ft of strand bamboo flooring. Energy Star appliance replacements installed as needed and automatic lighting controls help ensure lights are off when not in use. Finished basement multi-purpose room & bath showcases energy & water efficient fixtures with sustainably sourced materials throughout. The home boosts a 69 panel net-positive solar installation handling over 100% of the household & Electric Vehicle needs. The installation consists of two solar panel arrays: a 12.5kW 52 panel array leased in 2013 and a 4.2kW 17 panel array bought in 2014, both grid-tied. A Nissan LEAF Electric Car and a Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Car complete the picture. The homeowners have been driving electric since 2011. Extensive data collection on the solar array energy production and electric car usage is available for review.

Home 7
This Must-see is a summer camp and environmental education facility with 2 residences on 115 acres. It features a 10 KW Bergey wind turbine. A newly constructed highly efficient conference center with sips panel construction, geo-thermal heating and cooling and utilizing water saving composting toilets. A residence heated with  corn and having 5 KW of solar.  Other features include a skylite ridge on the roof, solar tubes, food production in a high tunnel,  extensive water mitigation with rain gardens a large Grey water leach field and 9 acres enrolled in the Conservation Reaerve Enhancement Program.

Home 8
Decathlon entry in 2005. Installed on the Ovid Hazen Wells Park in 2008, the 51 panels on the Solar House has generated more power than it uses year after year while being lived in continuously.  As a result Red Wiggler, a certified Organic farm, converted one of its low horse power tractors to electric to use some of the excess power. The 1947 Allis Chalmbers G with its new electric motor is now a working example of scale appropriate technology powered by the sun. The home also features solar water heating, triple-pane windows and doors, radiant in-floor heating, and used sustainably harvested wood and bamboo in the construction.  The home was designed by an interdisciplinary team of University of Maryland students in architecture, engineering and related fields, and built by students and partners.  The home took the "People's Choice" Award at the 2005 Decathlon and was donated to Red Wiggler by UMD.  The house is now a full-time residence for farm staff.

Home 9
Come join us for a weekend of questions, answers and a good time!  See how you can enjoy a $5 monthly utility bill and practically unlimited fresh veggies just steps away from your kitchen door or as we like to say in a real estate context, GROWING VALUE! The barn has radiant heat, passive solar heating, daylighting, and there is a garden with a hoop house for extended growing season. And there is a solar-powered electric fence. Alan is a real estate consultant with LEED AP certification and a MD Home Improvement license.  We will also have gardening, farming and permaculture experts and information available.  Hope to see you!

Home 10
Grace, beauty, and ecological integrity.  These are the principles embodied in the Earth Ministry Simple Gifts project at Dayspring.  This project explores ways of living more simply, justly and in harmony with the earth.  There are 2 small staff cottages and a solar strawbale greenhouse.  Each cottage is 1250 square feet and is designed to provide a well-crafted and energy-efficient home for a couple or small family.  The cottages accomplished this in different ways including passive solar heating and cooling, well-insulated walls and roof (structural insulated panels (SIP)/blown cellulose), top energy-efficient windows and appliances, insulating window shades, living roof, FSC-certified framing lumber, geothermal/radiant heating and cooling, grid-tied and grid-independent photovoltaic panels, (sufficient so that we use no net energy from the grid), solar hot water, masonry heater, oak and cherry trim from trees on the land, earth plaster and milk paint wall finishes, stained concrete slab floors, bamboo and linoleum floors, fiber-cement composite siding and trim, roof water collection, and landscaping with native plants.

Home 11
We have taken our ordinary townhome and over the past 7 years we have done nearly every energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrade we could.  The home features a 3.15 kW Suntech solar electricity system installed by Standard Solar and a 2 panel Schuco solar thermal hot water system.  The PV system was installed in 2009.  Our home also has new energy star appliances. (dishwasher, fridge, and washing machine) We installed a new high efficiency 16 SEER air conditioner, and a 95% efficient gas furnace in 2010.  In 2011 we had Standard Energy Solutions perform an energy audit, which identified $1500 worth of recommended energy retrofits, also completed by SES.  We use LED lighting throughout the house. In 2013 we leased a Ford Focus Electric car and installed a level 2 charging station in the garage. In 2016 we added a used Tesla Model S to our electric vehicle fleet.

Home 12
Originally, an 1800 sq ft home that utilized passive solar strategies,minimal footprint and recycled materials, the house received a timberframe addition 6 years ago. The addition added an 800 sq ft. shop with a new living room above, both under a planted green roof, a study tower with a  garden shed underneath  and greenhouse on top, added space to the upstairs bathroom and an airlock entryway. The addition applies passive solar/day lighting strategies and recycled materials much as the original home. Siting of the home north of many deciduous trees, an elongated east/west axis,  ample glazing facing due south and minimal glazing on the north and west elevations contribute to its passive solar abilities. The green roof, minimal footprint, low-impact, low maintenance landscaping (minimal lawn), and a semi-pervious bluestone driveway all reduce the impact of this construction on the local ecosystem.  An ultra-low-flush toilet was added this year to replace one of the existing low-flush toilets. The owners routinely compost and recycle materials. One owner works at home and the other within walking distance to the nearest metro station ( <2 miles.)

Home 13
Originally constructed in 2007 with an addition by Windmill Hill in 2014, the house is designed to be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible without compromising on architecture or functionality.  The concrete slab with SIP construction and the triple pane windows enable effective passive and active solar heating of the home.  The narrow  footprint of the home is designed for air movement, and the owners have used wood milled from the property, salvaged architectural pieces, recycled components and other environmentally friendly finishes.  Outside the environmentally friendly features include a living roof,  a native species yard, Audubon at home certification, a rain garden, and a hybrid car. The result is a beautiful home with many advanced technologies that keep the environmental footprint low.  The addition was designed by Peter Henry with passive house standards in mind.  Come learn from our decisions, successes, and challenges in design and function.

Home 14
The house is a 1926 Sears and Roebuck bungalow with a second story addition designed by the Owner/Architect. Grid tied solar panels are located on the high roof. A stand-alone system powers the porch using PV panels, a pair of deep-cycle batteries, and a controller. This off-grid arrangement furnishes light for the porch, refrigeration for cold drinks  and power to pump water from a 300 gallon rainwater harvest cistern.

Home 15
The homeowner has a 1600-watt grid-tied photovoltaic system (that is producing more electricity than is used), a solar air heater with solar-powered fan, two mini-split ductless heat pumps/air conditioners, a direct vent gas heater, a solar-powered attic fan, a solar light tube, 100% fluorescent or LED lights, cellulose insulation, a solar clothes dryer, no garbage disposal, a gas stove with no glow bar, and an organic fruit and vegetable garden with rainwater harvesting.

Home 16
This home is highly energy, cost and resource efficient (both the building and living in), as well as nurturing and healthful. Come see the simplicity, beauty and pleasure of natural building as well as many green/sustainable technologies, including straw bale, living roofs, biodiesel-fueled radiant floor heat (and a hand pump to fill our diesel cars!),  and a corn stove. Also, many parts of this home are from salvaged sources, creatively adapted. And as site work is as important as the building, there is an extensive storm water management plan, gracefully integrated into a lush beautiful garden (includes a retention pond, overflowing into a bog, with a rain garden around the corner, ending with pervious pavers on our driveway). All the aforementioned features are beautifully integrated into a soulful home.

Home 17
We are building an urban homestead, meeting most of our energy needs from local solar power.  We generate 100% of our electricity using our 4.4 kW solar panels, and we decrease our demand by using energy efficient lighting and appliances.  We heat our house nearly 100% with our high efficiency Vermont Castings catalytic wood stove with salvaged local wood.  With nearly 450 gallons of rainwater catchment capacity in 3 rain barrels, we are able to keep our water usage low.  We eat fresh produce from our property nearly 12 months a year, harvesting fruit from our persimmon, plum, cherry, pear and fig trees, blueberry bushes, hardy kiwi and raspberry, concord grapes, as well as our organic vegetable garden.  Most of Takoma Park is too shady for food production, but we enjoy an abundance of sunshine and take full advantage of it.

Home 18
Our home has a 6.02 KW photovoltaic system leased from Solar City.  There are 30 panels that are installed on two roof surfaces.  The panels can withstand up to 130mph winds due to the manner in which they are installed.  Each panel weighs slightly under 40 pounds which facilitated installation and meant that we did not have to reinforce our roof to support their weight.  The panels are configured so that if any one panel is in shade, that panel no longer generates power, but the rest of the system continues to generate power.  We drive two Toyota Prius hybrids and we are busy incorporating both edible plants into our landscape (blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, and herbs) and Maryland natives.

Home 19
This passive solar three-story was designed and pre-engineered by Acorn Deck House. House siting and design rather than manufactured devices captures the energy of the sun.  Large expanses of South-facing glass allow storage of winter sun heat in tile floors installed on concrete for storage mass. Light shafts to provide natural lighting for the ground level space pierce the front deck.  The South-facing roof is steep enough to provide for solar collectors in the future. Massive trees provide shade in the summer and shelter from winter winds. The site also "borrows" spectacular 8-mile views from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Dual dishwashers minimize the number of less-than- fully-loaded cycles and save water, electricity and detergent use. Closets on exterior walls provide additional insulation but require care to avoid moisture build-up.

Home 20
Owner designed and built. Passive solar geothermal. earth-sheltered, shaped like a truncated isosceles triangle. 445 sq ft south glazing with movable insulation. 12 in thick concrete walls extend 6 ft below floor. Thermal mass consists of 684,000 lbs of concrete, 536,000 lbs of rock, 200,000 lbs of earth (722 tons of thermal mass total), and 24,500 lbs rebar from recycled automobiles. Wood stoves provide backup heat. Summer cooling by passive thermal conduction to earth and dehumidification by conventional window air conditioner. Rock bin is outside of the house and under the berm providing 2,000 sq ft contact area with adjoining earth. R 35 walls, R 38 + R 50 ceiling insulation. Low pollution design by selection of building materials and by low pollution heating and cooling. 4 to 6 ft of earth buffer weather conditions 4 to 6 months out of phase. Air wells are used to harvest early fall ambient heat and early spring ambient coolness by pumping air into rock bin. Extensive use of glass, wood, rock, and metal. Low plastic, low formaldehyde house. Economics of putting earth over the roof for insulation did not make sense, so the house earth sheltering is done without earth over the roof. 100% battery electric car. Solar hot water heating is via evacuated tubes. No surface water discharge from site.

Home 21
The James and Anne Robinson Nature Center is a LEED Platinum facility, featuring solar panels, a geo-thermal heating/cooling system, pervious surfaces in parking areas, bamboo cabinetry, sunflower seed reception desk, and window stenciling to reduce bird strikes. The building was constructed into the hillside for insulation and has biofiltration stormwater management features, such as rain gardens and roof gardens, to capture and treat runoff.  The Center has one mile of wooded hiking trails with arboretum signs. It is a multi-award-winning nature education facility that offers numerous programs for all ages throughout the year.

Home 22
We have an 11 kW solar PV system that was installed in the spring of 2015.  A recent remodel of our master bathroom allowed us to incorporate a solar tube for natural lighting, dual flush toilet and energy-efficient lighting.  Our yard incorporates numerous Baywise practices.

Home 23
This suburban homestead features a 4kw PV array which helps to charge the Chevy Volt. Additionally it features solar hot water panels, rain barrels and 3-compartment compost bin. There is also a 9000 sq ft vegetable, pollinator, and herb garden with greenhouse.

Home 24
HCLS Miller Branch has water conservation features, energy efficient HVAC and lighting design, recycled and local materials, low VOC materials, and a sustainable site design. Through its materials and design, the building reflects the community’s historical roots (e.g., Bollman Bridge, Thomas Viaduct, Patapsco River, Ellicott City stone). Designed to capture the benefits of natural lighting and maximize energy efficiency, Howard County Library System Miller Branch is a LEED Gold facility. The branch also features rainwater filtering cisterns and a green vegetative roof to enhance the storm water management system of the building. The Enchanted Garden, an outdoor classroom, is a designated Monarch Butterfly Waystation. This building is on tour both days.

Home 25
This 1950s ranch house has solar PV, solar hot water, a cupola/solar chimney, solar daylight tubes, solar attic fan, solar sidewalk lights, south facing energy efficient windows, 2 highly efficient energy star minisplit heat pumps (26-SEER), a fireplace insert wood stove, exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), CFL/LED lighting, kitchen counter tops made from recycled glass, and recycled floor tiles in the foyer and basement. The yard has 2 rain gardens, permeable walkways, 3 rain barrels, and 2 compost piles. There is also an aquaponics system in the basement. New features this year: 1000 gallon cistern, extensive food forest and native meadow planting, and a Chevy Volt.

Home 26
This 4 bedroom 2 bath Cape Cod is small enough to make it possible to generate over 100% of our electricity needs using 40 185 watt solar panels (7.4 kW). In 2015 we added 19 280 watt panels to our garage making our total (12.7 kw). This extra capacity allows us to receive more SRECs and a larger check from BGE for the excess power we produce. In two years we hope to have a Tesla Model 3 which will replace the ICE car we keep for long trips. Our current EV, a Think City, has a realistic range of 65 miles. The home has radiant floor heating, CFL or LED lights, Energy-Star washer and dryer. The original owner had blown in insulation added to the walls and attic. While it made the house warmer in the winter the insulation impeded the flow of air in the summer from the knee wall area to the vents at the peak of the roof. After removing the shingles from the original roof 2x2s were attached and a second plywood layer was added. This allowed airflow from the vented soffits to the ridge vent. The attic stays much cooler in the summer now. The vinyl siding was installed over 1.5 inches of foil backed blue board insulation significantly increasing the overall R value of the exterior walls.

Home 27
This is a detached 1.5 story, built 2004; wood frame 2x6 frame construction, 5.5" fiberglass insulated sidewalls, vinyl siding; double glazed wood frame, Anderson double hung windows with exterior vinyl wrap;  HVAC by original ground source geothermal Water Furnace heat pump, and electric water heater with integrated heat recovery from A/C heat waste; 18 PV 250 watt roof mounted southeast facing panels added in 2015, total 4.5 KW DC system, Solar Edge Micro-Inverters and monitoring system installed by Solar City. This is one of 18 homes in a resident planned and developed cohousing community which embraces ecological sensitivity and energy conservation, a culture of friendliness, sharing, and self directed community management with decision making by consensus.

Home 28
This is a side-by-side duplex cape cod, 1.5 story, built 2000, wood frame 2x6 frame construction, 5.5" fiberglass insulated sidewalls; Anderson double glazed wood frame, exterior vinyl wrap double hung windows; full  reinforced concrete basement with fiberglass insulated wall wrap; HVAC by original ground source geothermal Water Furnace heat pump,  10 PV 290 watt roof mounted south facing panels added in July 2016, total 2.9 KW DC system, Solar Edge Micro-Inverters and monitoring system, installed by Trinity Solar.  This is one of 18 homes in a resident planned and developed cohousing community which embraces ecological sensitivity and energy conservation, a culture of friendliness, sharing, and self directed community management with decision making by consensus.

Home 29
This is a side-by-side duplex cape cod, 1.5 story, built 2000, wood frame 2x6 frame construction, 5.5" fiberglass insulated sidewalls; Anderson double glazed wood frame, exterior vinyl wrap double hung windows; full  reinforced concrete basement with fiberglass insulated wall wrap; HVAC by original ground source geothermal Water Furnace heat pump,  10 PV 290 watt roof mounted south facing panels added in July 2016, total 2.9 KW DC system, Solar Edge Micro-Inverters and monitoring system, installed by Trinity Solar.  This is one of 18 homes in a resident planned and developed cohousing community which embraces ecological sensitivity and energy conservation, a culture of friendliness, sharing, and self directed community management with decision making by consensus.

Home 30
This is a detached 2 story, built 2000; upper level is wood frame 2x6 frame construction, 5.5" fiberglass insulated sidewalls, vinyl siding; double glazed wood frame, exterior vinyl wrap casement windows; lower level is full  reinforced concrete, insulated concrete form (ICF)  with Styrofoam insulated inner and outer surfaces, resin epoxy stucco finished; HVAC by original ground source geothermal Water Furnace heat pump, and electric water heater with integrated heat recovery from A/C heat waste; 36 PV 255 watt roof mounted southeast facing panels added in Nov 2014, total 9.18 KW DC system, Solar Edge Micro-Inverters and monitoring system. House also has attached greenhouse for passive heat gain capture and forced air transfer into living areas through power vents, installed by Maryland Solar Solutions, Inc. (MSSI). This is one of 18 homes in a resident planned and developed cohousing community which embraces ecological sensitivity and energy conservation, a culture of friendliness, sharing, and self directed community management with decision making by consensus.

Home 31
The 1750 sq. ft. home was built in 1992 and has a 17.6 kW, grid-tied, ground-mounted solar PV system. Solar supplies all electrical needs that includes heating. Air-to-air heat pjmp and Central Air. The system has been on line since Oct 2013 and has generated 46 megawatts, approximately 25mW/yr. Calculated system payback is on track at 5 years of less. Using a Ted monitoring system for complete power monitoring of power use and generation. The farm tractors are augmented with waste vegetable oil. Other energy saving devides; Induction hotplates for canning and cooking, soaker hoses for watering organic garden with automatic water timers.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2016

Home A
This Shady Side home built in 1993 is an ongoing experiment in living lightly or sustainably on the earth. The main features of the house are lots of insulation, low emissivity windows, a wood pellet stove, a solar cooker, nesting osprey, passive solar heating and cooling, photovoltaic power, a wood cooking stove and lots of fans instead of ducts to circulate heat. The treed living room, located on the waterside of the house, is a passive heated solar sunspace that is used as a heat source for the rest of the house. More important than these parts is the way these parts are integrated into a whole, the management practices which make it all work to create significant energy savings and the lessons learned which were carried on to my work on Passive House and Net Zero Energy designs.

Home B
We have utilized a number of features. One is an 8.64 PV kw ground mount system (36 panels). To this we have added a two panel solar hot water roof system. In addition we have an outdoor wood burning furnace that heats water running into a copper coil system into the air handler giving us central heating with wood. This same system heats our domestic hot water through a heat exchanger on the water heater. We also have a few solar night lights for walkway lighting.

Home C
Solar water heating panels on a shed; the hot water is piped underground into the home. A timer withholds power to the electric water heater during night. The geothermal heat pump is much cheaper to operate than the previous propane system. Home automation turns off lights in idle rooms and outdoors. The solar PV arrays provide the energy needed for commuting in the electric cars (BMW Z3 Roadster, Leaf and a Volt). Edible landscaping includes figs, blueberries, peaches, apples, pears, elderberries and walnuts.

Home D
Gum Spring Hollow Homestead is a 2,500 sq ft Net Zero, Modular Passive home tucked on 3/4 acre in Brunswick, MD was designed by the Vasseur's and built by Finish Werks Custom Builders of Savage, MD. 60% more efficient than a house built to code, this house also qualifies for the U.S Dept of Energy Zero Ready Home Program. This passive solar home has solar panels, mini split efficient heating/cooling,energy efficient appliances including induction stove, permaculture designed landscape with swales, rain barrels, and compost.

Home E
In addition to the 69 solar panels other features include: Geothermal heating/cooling, Energy Star appliances, LED/CFL lighting, energy monitoring, an electric car, WaterSense low water use toilets, all electric outdoor tools including an electric lawn tractor, pervious surfaces in parking areas and bamboo cabinetry.

Home F
This Must-see is a summer camp and environmental education facility with 2 residences on 115 acres. It features a 10 KW Bergey wind turbine. A newly constructed highly efficient conference center with sips panel construction, geo-thermal heating and cooling and utilizing water saving composting toilets. A residence heated with  corn and having 5 KW of solar.  Other features include a skylite ridge on the roof, solar tubes, food production in a high tunnel,  extensive water mitigation with rain gardens a large Grey water leach field and 9 acres enrolled in the Conservation Reaerve Enhancement Program.

Home G
Come join us for a weekend of questions, answers and a good time!  See how you can enjoy a $5 monthly utility bill and practically unlimited fresh veggies just steps away from your kitchen door or as we like to say in a real estate context, GROWING VALUE! The barn has radiant heat, passive solar heating, daylighting, and there is a garden with a hoop house for extended growing season. And there is a solar-powered electric fence. Alan is a real estate consultant with LEED AP certification and a MD Home Improvement license.  We will also have gardening, farming and permaculture experts and information available.  Hope to see you!

Home H
Built in 2000, this single family home has been upgraded over the past 8 years, starting with an energy audit, and includes the following: attic insulation upgraded to DoE recommended R49, recessed light sealing, along with high efficiency AC upgrade.  Lighting upgraded to 95% LED.  2200+ sq ft of strand bamboo flooring.  Energy Star appliance replacements installed as needed and automatic lighting controls help ensure lights are off when not in use. Finished basement multi-purpose room & bath showcases energy & water efficient fixtures with sustainably sourced materials throughout. The home boosts a 69 panel net-positive solar installation handling over 100% of the household & Electric Vehicle needs. The installation consists of two solar panel arrays: a 12.5kW 52 panel array leased in 2013 and a 4.2kW 17 panel array bought in 2014, both grid-tied. A Nissan LEAF Electric Car and a Chevy Volt Extended Range Electric Car complete the picture. The homeowners have been driving electric since 2011. Extensive data collection on the solar array energy production and electric car usage is available for review.

Home I
The owners signed up for solar panels in April 2012, and they were installed in August 2012 and functioning in December 2012. The panels are leased from Solar City, and the homeowner pays a monthly rent/electricity bill.  The panels are grid-tied and net metered. In May 2013 when the panels produced more than the homowners used, they received a $14.35 refund from Pepco. In the heavier-use months of July, August, September and October 2013 their Pepco bill was $7.

Home J
This 1,900 SF loft style interior townhouse has two bedrooms and three baths and is located in an Active Adult community built around 2001.  A 2.5 kW solar PV system was installed on the back roof in 2010.  The home has been updated with Comfortrack cellular blinds with Side Tracks to reduce window air infiltration; R-55 attic insulation; and two SolaTubes for natural light.  The attic access hatch has an Energy Shield door tent with zipper access.  Attic knee walls have been weatherized by installing blue board on the attic side and sealing around all edges.  A jumper duct has been installed to improve cross ventilation of the upstairs bedroom.  In 2013, the HVAC system - furnace and A/C - was replaced with a 16 SEER A/C and 70,000 BTU furnace.  The south facing back of the home has been landscaped to reduce summer heat gain, and the sunroom, constructed in 2009, has a wide overhang on the south side for the same purpose.  Energy Star appliances and LED lights in most fixtures.  Combined monthly utility cost for water, gas and electric was just over $1000 in 2015.

Home K
12 electric panels with micro inverters,  6 drain-back solar collectors preheat water which is fed into a tankless gas water heater that monitors input water temperature and adjusts the flame depending on how much heat is needed.

Home L
Originally constructed in 2007 with an addition by Windmill Hill in 2014, the house is designed to be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible without compromising on architecture or functionality.  The concrete slab with SIP construction and the triple pane windows enable effective passive and active solar heating of the home.  The narrow  footprint of the home is designed for air movement, and the owners have used wood milled from the property, salvaged architectural pieces, recycled components and other environmentally friendly finishes.  Outside the environmentally friendly features include a living roof,  a native species yard, Audubon at home certification, a rain garden, and a hybrid car. The result is a beautiful home with many advanced technologies that keep the environmental footprint low.  The addition was designed by Peter Henry with passive house standards in mind.  Come learn from our decisions, successes, and challenges in design and function.

Home M
Net Zero Passive House.  This house was designed and constructed in 2013 to meet the Passive House standard.  The result was an all-electric house with very low energy requirements.  The addition of 18 solar PV panels provides more than the total annual energy used for heating, cooling and electrical use.  The shell of the house is very air-tight (0.55 ach50 blower door test result), the walls are insulated with dense-packed cellulose insulation to R-40, and the attic is insulated to R-90.  The house uses so little energy that it is heated and cooled with a small heat pump which is designed to heat and cool one room in a standard house but heats and cools all of this home's 3400 sf. The home's focus is a passive solar 2 story dining room. Extremely modern in construction but with a classic character, the space's natural lighting is superb. Fresh air is continually provided through an energy efficient ERV. Windows and doors are triple glazed and have multipoint locks to maintain a tight seal.  South side shading has been designed to take advantage of solar gain in the cool seasons and to exclude it when hot. The hot water is provided by a GE heat pump water heater.  All lights are LED.  Appliances are all Energy-Star efficient.

Home N
This 1920s Sears kit home was re-retrofited in 1985 and again in 1993 to incorporate R38 insulation, double-paned low-e glass, geothermal (direct exchange) heat pump, solar water heater, and various types of photovoltaics (including peal-and-stick pv) dedicated to a battery bank. The back office building has solar roofing shingles-small wind turbine-and a hydrogen fuel cell all  tied to a web-enabled battery bank with solar daylighting, super insulating glass and LEDs. Three drop-and-play solar units and a demo van with PV/wind and carbon, super-capacitor batteries.

Home O
The house is a 1926 Sears and Roebuck bungalow with a second story addition designed by the Owner/Architect. Grid tied solar panels are located on the high roof. A stand-alone system powers the porch using PV panels, a pair of deep-cycle batteries, and a controller. This off-grid arrangement furnishes light for the porch, refrigeration for cold drinks  and power to pump water from a 300 gallon rainwater harvest cistern.

Home P
I have been greening my home for several years and will have been off the grid since March 2016. Other features -- novel uses of pilot lights to recover energy for heating water and dehydrating food, Tempcast masonry stove, SunDanzer refrigerator and freezer, inflector panels on some windows and on 2 skylights, a reflective roof coating, a manual grey water recovery system for dish washing,one window quilt, mini-split AC in 4 areas, passive ventilation with venting skylights, and various measures to reduce electrical pollution. 

Home Q
The rowhouse was built in approximately 1890 and is 12 ft wide with two floors over a crawl space, for a total of 870 sf of habitable space. When initially purchased, one-half of the first floor was uninhabitable due to water and termite damage. It has undergone a complete green renovation, including the creation of a new stair and light-monitor/solar chimney with 2.16kW roof-top photovoltaic panels.  All the HVAC systems have been replaced with high efficiency units. The windows have been replaced with double-glazed, low-e wood windows that are double-hung as required due to a historic street designation.  Interior improvements include a new full bath, new kitchen, study, dining and living room with a direct-vent gas fireplace.  Sustainable materials include:  bamboo and cork floors, low voc paints, recycled glass tiles, and paperstone counter top. Back yard improvements include: swim spa, rainwater collection system, composting, container garden and patio space with permeable paving. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry– Metro DC Chapter selected the project for the 2008 Grand Award for Full House Green Remodel.

Home R
13 Sanyo HIT Power 215A panels (2.795 kW total) with Enphase microinverters and battery backup system were installed by Standard Solar in January and October 2011.  Backup system feeds critical loads during grid outages.  Solar panels generate 2.8 MWh/year, but we reduced electricity consumption to 2.3 MWh/year, so our meter today is lower than 5 years ago.  Closed-cell foam insulation, injected into exterior walls by USAinsulation.net, and thermal curtains reduce AC usage for cooling (only 15 days in 2013) and natural gas for heating.  Basement walls are insulated by spray-on foam, fiberglass bats, and fluted plastic.  Low-E windows are installed by Thompson Creek.  All lights are LED or fluorescent; electronic devices are on switched power strips; appliances are selected for highest efficiency rating at EnergyStar.gov.  A new kitchen fridge (GE) consumes 1/2 of the old one.  Summer humidity in a large basement is controlled by the super-efficient dehumidifier Santa Fe Impact XT (168 kWh total consumption in 2015).  Roof and attic overheating in summer is reduced by Solaris reflective shingles, reflective foil in the attic, and ridge vent to maintain air circulation.  Showerheads are low-flow, and Cimarron toilets are highly efficient.  We use Kill-a-Watt electricity meter; humidity, temperature, and CO2 meters; and Black-and-Decker thermal leak detector. 

Home S
Our home has a 6.02 KW photovoltaic system leased from Solar City.  There are 30 panels that are installed on two roof surfaces.  The panels can withstand up to 130mph winds due to the manner in which they are installed.  Each panel weighs slightly under 40 pounds which facilitated installation and meant that we did not have to reinforce our roof to support their weight.  The panels are configured so that if any one panel is in shade, that panel no longer generates power, but the rest of the system continues to generate power.  We drive two Toyota Prius hybrids and we are busy incorporating both edible plants into our landscape (blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, and herbs) and Maryland natives.

Home T
This passive solar three-story was designed and pre-engineered by Acorn Deck House. House siting and design rather than manufactured devices captures the energy of the sun.  Large expanses of South-facing glass allow storage of winter sun heat in tile floors installed on concrete for storage mass. Light shafts to provide natural lighting for the ground level space pierce the front deck.  The South-facing roof is steep enough to provide for solar collectors in the future. Massive trees provide shade in the summer and shelter from winter winds. The site also "borrows" spectacular 8-mile views from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Dual dishwashers minimize the number of less-than- fully-loaded cycles and save water, electricity and detergent use. Closets on exterior walls provide additional insulation but require care to avoid moisture build-up.

Home U
Our roof’s 5.8 kW PV was installed in April 2012 and provides about two-thirds of the electricity for the house. And on some days, producing more then we use. Home features energy saving washing machine, CFL lighting and super insulation in the attic. Other alt fuel features include a Prius, a 144 volt electric Ford Escort, electric powered dragster and a GE Elec-Trak garden tractor.

Home V
3.7 kW solar panels are installed on the front roof of the house.

Home W
The James and Anne Robinson Nature Center is a LEED Platinum facility, featuring solar panels, a geo-thermal heating/cooling system, pervious surfaces in parking areas, bamboo cabinetry, sunflower seed reception desk, and window stenciling to reduce bird strikes. The building was constructed into the hillside for insulation and has biofiltration stormwater management features, such as rain gardens and roof gardens, to capture and treat runoff.  The Center has one mile of wooded hiking trails with arboretum signs. It is a multi-award-winning nature education facility that offers numerous programs for all ages throughout the year.

Home X
HCLS Miller Branch has water conservation features, energy efficient HVAC and lighting design, recycled and local materials, low VOC materials, and a sustainable site design. Through its materials and design, the building reflects the community’s historical roots (e.g., Bollman Bridge, Thomas Viaduct, Patapsco River, Ellicott City stone). Designed to capture the benefits of natural lighting and maximize energy efficiency, Howard County Library System Miller Branch is a LEED Gold facility. The branch also features rainwater filtering cisterns and a green vegetative roof to enhance the storm water management system of the building. The Enchanted Garden, an outdoor classroom, is a designated Monarch Butterfly Waystation. This building is on tour both days.

Home Y
This suburban homestead features a 4kw PV array which helps to charge the Chevy Volt. Additionally it features solar hot water panels, rain barrels and 3-compartment compost bin. There is also a 9000 sq ft vegetable, pollinator, and herb garden with greenhouse.

Home Z
This 4 bedroom 2 bath Cape Cod is small enough to make it possible to generate over 100% of our electricity needs using 40 185 watt solar panels (7.4 kW). In 2015 we added 19 280 watt panels to our garage making our total (12.7 kw). This extra capacity allows us to receive more SRECs and a larger check from BGE for the excess power we produce. In two years we hope to have a Tesla Model 3 which will replace the ICE car we keep for long trips. Our current EV, a Think City, has a realistic range of 65 miles. The home has radiant floor heating, CFL or LED lights, Energy-Star washer and dryer. The original owner had blown in insulation added to the walls and attic. While it made the house warmer in the winter the insulation impeded the flow of air in the summer from the knee wall area to the vents at the peak of the roof. After removing the shingles from the original roof 2x2s were attached and a second plywood layer was added. This allowed airflow from the vented soffits to the ridge vent. The attic stays much cooler in the summer now. The vinyl siding was installed over 1.5 inches of foil backed blue board insulation significantly increasing the overall R value of the exterior walls.

 


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