2012 Tour of Solar Homes
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Homes from the 2013 Tour

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

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Home 2 (withdrawn from the tour)

Home 3
I have been greening my home for several years and my net energy consumption (as measured by utility bills) is 1/4 that of others for a house my size, partly because of my solar systems and Tempcast masonry wood burning stove, partly because of my spartan ways. I have tried to achieve green living with beauty and creativity. Among the solar/green aspects in my home are a 1.4 kW grid-tied PV with an additional 0.6 kW off-the-grid to run a SunFrost refrigerator. I also have evacuated tube solar water heating with a tankless gas backup system. Other features include inflectors on some windows and skylights, window quilt, mini-split AC in 3 rooms, passive ventilation with venting skylights.

Home 4
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.

Home 5
Designed and constructed to meet the Passive House standard this 3400 sq. ft. home's super air tight shell (0.455 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure (ACH 50), cellulose super insulation (R-90 ceiling R-40 walls), and EPS foam (R-40 floor) below grade uses so little energy that it is heated and cooled with suitecase size heat pumps which are designed to heat and cool a single room in a standard home. The house's focus is a passive solar 2 story dining room. Extremely modern in design but with a classic character, the space's natural lighting is superb. Due to the airtightness of the shell a snorkel has been provided for fresh air which includes an always on ERV with a tempering ground loop. Windows are triple glazed multipoint locking, and shading has been designed to take advantage of solar gain in the cool seasons and to exclude it when hot. The building's hot water is provided by heat pump and lights are all LED.

Home 6
The homeowners had Standard Solar install a 5 kW PV system, and they drive an electric vehicle.

Home 7
Two solar panels serve to trickle charge a bank of batteries in the garage for emergency power availability. The backup is instantaneous and supplemented with a 6.5 kW natural-gas generator (converted by homeowner from gasoline). There is a 1600-gallon water tank that receives water from the roof; the water is used for lawn and garden purposes and relies on a pump for pressure. The lawnmower is charged from the solar panel system.

Home 8
This home is highly energy, cost and resource efficient (both the building of 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 beautiful garden (includes a retention pond, overflowing into a bog, with a rain garden around the corner, ending with pervious pavers on our driveway).

Home 9
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 by using energy efficient lighting and appliances. We heat our house 100% with our high efficiency Vermont Castings catalytic wood stove with salvaged local wood. With nearly 400 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, pear and fig trees, blueberry bushes, hardy kiwi and raspberry, concord grapes, shiitake mushroom logs, 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 10
We have thirty-two 240 watt Kyocera solar panels across two rooflines and two Solar Edge inverters which produce approximately 8,500 kWh annually.

Home 11
My 8 kW PV system has been fantastic! Recently, I received a check from PEPCO for my over production. Just knowing I am helping the environment with my system and saving money at the same time is extremely rewarding.

Home 12
The owner designed and built this home to be passive solar and geothermal. With a greenhouse and 445 sq. ft of south glazing, the sun heats 722 tons of thermal mass built using 12 tons of rebar recycled from cars. The home is earth-sheltered and the owner used low-pollution materials. Water is heated using an evacuated tube solar hot water system. Back up heat is supplied with a wood-burning stove. The 5 kW PV system provides plenty of electricity. Bay-friendly, this site has no surface water discharge.

Home 13
A 3.7 kW solar array is installed on the front roof of the house. The grid-tied panels made in Germany and installed by Sungevity have reduced 9345 pounds of carbon. Energy efficient appliances, CFL and LED lights and a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.

Home 14
5.8 kW solar PV system. Home features energy saving LG washing machine, CFL lighting, water saving shower heads, super insulation in the attic and fireplace. Electric vehicles include a 144-volt Ford Escort, 2008 Prius, electric jr. dragster, GE Elek-Trac lawn tractor and electric scooters and bikes.

Home 15
Owner has driven electric vehicles since 1999. Current ride is a Tesla Model S. A south facing roof is almost competely covered with a 6.4 kW solar system installed by Astrum Solar with microinverters. Owner also doubled home supply dropline to 400 amp, and had a generator switchover panel installed. USA Insulation has injected the walls with expanding foam insulation, then returned the following year to blow in 28 inches of insulation in the attic, which made a far larger improvement than the wall insulation provided. During blackouts, the solar panels provide most of the home's power with the rest supplied by a generator.

Home 16
A custom design by Ruhsam Building and Design, completed May 2012. Stonework inside and out, the great room stone (slate) floors and 360 sq. ft. of south-facing windows capture heat during the day and floor remains warm overnight. The 33 panel solar array (7.9 kW) is sufficient to generate more power than used some months. An LP gas generator provides power during outages. A geothermal system mitigates weather temperature extremes, lowers heating and cooling costs and provides hot water to the residence. All appliances are low energy, CFL lighting where possible. Porous driveway minimizes runoff. Window quilts over the solar windows prevent heat loss in winter at night and shade the great room.

Home 17
We have thirty-two 240 watt Kyocera solar panels across two rooflines and two Solar Edge inverters which are anticipated to produce in excess of 8,000 kWh annually.

Home 18
Our 6.6kW solar array was installed on our home by Vivint Solar. Each of the twenty-eight Trina modules includes a microinverter that converts DC current to AC current efficiently and safely. We can monitor our solar electricity generation on our computers—and our system has already generated over 4.5 MWh of energy!

Home 19
Ours is a 1986 contemporary which we have been gradually transforming into a low impact but extremely enjoyable home. We started with carefully protecting our trees, which, with extensive use of ceiling fans and directed ventilation, provide us with almost zero use of AC in the hottest summers. We have been working inside and out to make our house as sustainable as possible. Efficiency is one of the highest priorities when appliances need replacing. All erosion-prone lawn has been replaced with carefully contoured (as well as beautiful) gardens. With the recent addition of PV, we are now close to net zero use of energy through most of the year.

Home 20
Our 4 bedroom 2 bath Cape Cod is small enough to make it possible to generate over 100% of our electricity needs even with our EV car using our 7.4 kW (40 185-watt Westinghouse) PV system. Triple-pane, double low-E Krypton-filled windows provide daylighting and reduce energy loss. The owners drive a Think City electric car and have energy efficient appliances and lightning. The original owner had insulation blown into 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 kneewall area to the vents at the peak at the roof. The current owners installed a double-layer roof for ventilating the attic and used foil-backed foam insulation under the siding. To construct the double-layer roof, the owners removed the shingles from the original roof, attached 2X2's, and a second plywood layer. This allowed airflow from the vented soffets 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 blueboard insulation significantly increasing the overall R value of the exterior walls.

Home 21 (withdrawn from the tour)

Home 22
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, the start of a food forest, 2 rain barrels, and 2 compost piles. There is also an aquaponics system in the basement.

Home 23
We have taken our ordinary town home and over the past 2 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 and has consistently supplied 80% of our home's electricity needs. 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 installed low-flow, dual-flush toilets, upgraded our attic insulation, sealed air leaks, and use CFL lighting.

Home 24
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 straw bale 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 accomplish 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, (purchased electricity from 100% wind), 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 25
The 21st century farm house at Red Wiggler Community Farm was the UMD Solar Decathlon entry in 2005. Installed on the Ovid Hazen Wells Park in 2008, the 51 panels on the Solar House have 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 26
The pole-mounted PV array uses both net-metering and battery backup. The homeowner designed solar thermal system so that all the domestic hot water and heating (baseboard radiators) is supplied by solar using a multi-energy tank. The excess heat generated by the system during the non heating season is pumped back in to the pool extending the period that the outdoor pool can be used.

Home 27
North Gate Vineyard's tasting room and production facility was built to LEED Gold specifications. Our 96 panel solar array is one of the largest installations in Loudoun County, and enables us to be net zero in power consumption over the course of the year. Besides the energy efficient features, we have used recycled, reclaimed or local products whenever possible. Our tasting room is designed around our recycled glass top bar, faced with reclaimed barn wood and surrounded by bamboo flooring. All coatings and adhesives were low VOC. A special CO2 monitoring system helps to guarantee peek indoor air quality at all times. During the construction phase, all waste was sent to a sorting facility, where over 85% of our construction waste was recycled or reused and diverted from land fill. Our daily operations include using recycled paper products, eliminating the need for paper towels in the restrooms, eliminating the use of disposable plates and cups, and single stream recycling of all glass/plastic.

Home 28
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.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6

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
Straw bale house rebuild completed in spring 2010. The south wall is insulated passive solar design with blown in cellulose insulation. Straw bale construction in other three walls with deep overhangs to protect lime plaster from the elements. 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 ground floor for radiant floor heating and thermal mass for passive solar heat. House-mounted trellis keeps summer sun from reaching concrete slab. A 3.5 kW photovoltaic system is grid-tied with battery backup system. Permaculture landscape design in progress. Farm in Agricultural Preservation program. Chickens and goats.

Home C
Original 1920's gable frame house was gutted and retrofit with straw bales. A timber frame addition was added to one end of the house and infilled with straw bales for insulation. A small load bearing straw bale guesthouse was built by Builders Without Borders using lime and earth plasters and was 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 straw bale 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 chain saw. Lots of experiments in local reused materials, and timbers, trees, and found objects. Key themes are local natural materials, do it your self, low cost, and non-manufactured.

Home D
Vivint Solar installed a seventeen-module solar system on our southern-facing roof, which maximizes the prime sunlight hours that harvest the most solar electricity. It's a 4.1kW system with Enphase microinverters that enables each module to operate independently.

Home E
This contemporary, 2950 square feet, frame structure has 83% south-facing windows and skylights. A solar-powered greenhouse fan distributes heat into the house in winter and exhausts heat in summer. A vertical closed-loop geothermal system and a high velocity air-to-air system provide heating and cooling. An efficient Finnish fireplace allows the owners to enjoy a fire. Insulation includes R19 fiberglass bats in the 6 inch walls, R13 fiberglass bats with R3.8 polystyrene in the 4 inch walls, and R30 fiberglass bats in the ceilings. An air-lock foyer entry, Tyvek wrap, and foam caulking reduce air infiltration. Windows are of low-E thermopane glass. Skylights and a Solatube provide daylighting, and the electric lighting is fluorescent. Clerestory windows allow natural ventilation. Other energy-savers include a timer on the water heater and low-flow shower heads. This may be the last chance to see our 20+ year experiment before being bought out by developers and the house is demolished to make way for McMansions on one acre lots.

Home F
Home of the DIY. The early pioneering energy efficiency progression of this house has attracted much attention, from the gas company (is your meter broken?), to a newspaper article on the super insulation, to Fairfax county inspectors (We have not seen such an actual Solar Hot Water design/installation), to a half hour TV program. The owners who live in ultra comfort refused to move to a newly built but less efficient home upon retirement. The house sported an Energy Star Rating of 9.8 even before the Solar Electricity was installed. The house was 3 years old when purchased in 1975. (3000 sq, Feet). The homeowners immediately began to retrofit for super insulation. Insulation was completed in 1983 at which time the furnace was turned OFF. Furnace not needed until 1990 when they became Empty Nesters. Their problem is no central furnace OR AC made, even apartment size, is small enough. 2006 Solar Hot Water. 2012 - Solar Electric. Total energy bill for 2012-$593.

Home G
This 2250 sq ft Ryan home, built in 1981, has achieved a carbon-neutral footprint with a combination of a grid-tied, 13.3 kW PV system, solar heated water, geothermal heat pump, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting, Tesla Model S EV, and upgraded insulation. The original 1850 sq ft home sports a 2011 addition which has high efficiency windows, 2x6 R27 walls and R63 ceiling insulation.

Home H
Designed and constructed to meet the Passive House standard this 3400 sq. ft. home's super air tight shell (0.455 air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure (ACH 50)), cellulose super insulation (R-90 ceiling R-40 walls), and EPS foam (R-40 floor) below grade uses so little energy that it is heated and cooled with suite case size heat pumps which are designed to heat and cool a single room in a standard home. The house's focus is a passive solar 2 story dining room. Extremely modern in design but with a classic character, the space's natural lighting is superb. Due to the airtightness of the shell a snorkel has been provided for fresh air which includes an always on ERV with a tempering ground loop. Windows are triple glazed multipoint locking, and shading has been designed to take advantage of solar gain in the cool seasons and to exclude it when hot. The building's hot water is provided by heat pump and lights are all LED.

Home I
This home has a 2.7 kW PV grid-tied, net metering system and 160 gal. solar hot water system to provide electricity and hot water for the family. Programmable thermostats help the zoned high-efficiency (17 SEER) Carrier Infinity HVAC system provide comfort where needed with lower energy use. Low-e Andersen replacement windows lower energy loss while providing daylighting. The homeowners also have planted 25 trees and bushes on the property and an organic vegetable garden which they water with water runoff collected in rainbarrels, and feed with compost. Toto low-flow toilets also decrease water use. This home was featured in a Washington Post Real Estate cover story in May 2006.

Home J
Our home is an electrically heated colonial built in 1978. We built an addition to our kitchen in 2010 and at the same time added solar panels to the roof to harness solar power to produce electricity. It has reduced our electric bills considerably.

Home K
This 1920s Sears kit home was retrofit in 1985 and again in 1993 and 2013 to incorporate several solar features including solar water heating and a 3.5kW polycrystalline and thin film photovoltaic system on the upper roof and a .5kW of new solar electric peel and stick PV roofing shingles on the metal roof on the front porch as well as a solar attic vent fan.  The solar charges a large 24 gel cell glassmat (AGM) battery bank.  A rear sunroom adds passive solar heating and Virginia's first electrochromic glass.  The newest addition to the home is a direct-exchange ground-coupled (geothermal) heat pump.  An office building behind the house has 1 kW of solar electric roofing shingles along with a .5 kW small wind turbine and a new 2 kW hydrogen fuel cell for back up power all charging a smart, web-enabled battery bank.  The office building has an efficient ductless heat pump, the newest R 7-9 windows, and incorporates CFLs and bundled LED lighting, a solar daylight tube, and a solar-driven ceiling fan.  VA's first see-thru nanotechnology solar pv films on an awning between the two buildings power LED lights. The site also boasts of four commercial solar generators and water purifiers, a new solar 2010 Prius with PV, and a newly retrofit education van with high-performance PV, 1 kW fuel cell, new gel-super capacitor battery bank, powering an all-weather large video screen.

Home L
This 1914 row home has 16 SunTech 175 watt PV panels (2.8kW) with Enphase micro-inverters on the standing seam metal roof without penetrating the roof. From installation in Sept. 2009 through July 2013 the panels have generated more electricity than the homeowners have used. In a home remodeling 14 inches of celluose was blown into the attic crawl area saving nearly 40% on the owner's heating. Exposed side wall was firred out 3" to add cellulose. Clothes centrifuge gets anywhere from 1 - 2 qts of water out of a load of clothes making it possible to dry clothes on the line even in the winter. Homeowners have also installed energy-efficient windows.

Home M
The rowhouse was built in approximately 1890 and is 12 ft wide with two floors over a crawl space, for a total of 870 sq. ft. 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, double-hung, wooden windows (double-hung, wooden 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: rainwater collection system, composting, vegetable 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 N
1908 Queen Anne Victorian rowhouse renovated by an architect couple from 2002-2006. Renovation included reuse and restoration of original heart pine flooring and American chestnut doors and trim. The owners have 3.23 kW PV system (15 Sanyo panels with Enphase micro-inverters monitored via the web with the potential to add more panels and a solar hot water system in the future. The spray foam attic and recycled blue jean insulation as well as the motorized roller shades, cool roof, and waste-heat recovery reduce energy loss making their high-efficiency gas furnace require less energy to keep the home comfortable. Radiantly heated cork floors keep feet warm in the winter. The homeowners also collect rain and condensate from the AC into rainbarrels for watering plants and have permeable paving.

Home O
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 (10+3). The panels generate about 3 MWh/year, covering 98% of electricity consumption with grid-tied net metering. The backup system supplied electricity to critical loads during four grid outages in 2011 and 2012. By improving energy efficiency, annual electricity consumption was reduced from 6 MWh in 2010 to 3 MWh in 2011. Closed-cell no-VOC foam insulation was injected into exterior walls by USAinsulation.net and significantly reduced AC usage for cooling (only 31 day in 2012) and natural gas for heating. All lights are fluorescent; electronic devices are on switched power strips; appliances are Energy-Star. The 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, which consumed only 300 kWh total in 2012. Roof and attic overheating in summer is reduced by Solaris reflective shingles, reflective foil in the attic, ridge vent, and solar fan to maintain good air circulation. Showerheads are low-flow, and Cimarron toilets are highly efficient. For objective measurements, we use Kill-a-Watt, humidity and temperature meters, and Black-and-Decker thermal leak detector.

Home P
Our home was built in 1937 and still has its original slate roof. Our panels are a ground mount installation because the slate roof cannot accommodate the weight of the panels . The system provides about one-third of our electricity and reliably produces more power than we use when it's sunny and we're not running the air conditioner. A retractable awning provides shading when needed, and the owners also decrease their load by using Energy-Star appliances. The PV system has been maintenance free, and the owners expect a 5-6 year return-on-investment (ROI).

Home Q
The home, built in 1951, is a 2500 sq. ft., two-story rambler that has been upgraded with a 3.8 kW PV system and an 80-gal solar-heated water system to be energy efficient and produce its own energy. The solar-heated water has a gas, on-demand back up system. The energy improvements took place over a 25 year period. Most of the lawns have been replaced with gardens and planting beds.

Home R
Our 4 bedroom 2 bath Cape Cod is small enough to make it possible to generate over 100% of our electricity needs even with our EV car using our 7.4 kW (40 185-watt Westinghouse) PV system. Triple-pane, double low-E Krypton-filled windows provide daylighting and reduce energy loss. The owners drive a Think City electric car and have energy efficient appliances and lightning. The original owner had insulation blown into 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 kneewall area to the vents at the peak ot the roof. The current owners installed a double-layer roof for ventilating the attic and used foil-backed foam insulation under the siding. To construct the double-layer roof, the owners removed the shingles from the original roof, attached 2X2's, and a second plywood layer. 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 blueboard insulation significantly increasing the overall R value of the exterior walls.

Home S
30 PV panels for a total of 7kW were installed in two separate stages. We were so happy with our initial output, we finished the roof on the back of the house to add the second set of panels. We are now at full capacity allowed by BGE and are very happy with our Green Brilliance relationship. The panels work fantastically and we receive compliments on the house all the time.

Home T
A 3000 square foot, two-story, wood-frame house built in 1996 in a suburban development north of Baltimore occupied by a family of four plus two large dogs. After concerted effort to reduce our electricity usage, we now consume less in spring and fall and consume more in summer and winter than the 18 grid-tied photovoltaics produce (5000 kWh annually).

Home U
Victorian Home with 2.8 kW roof mounted solar electric system which provides 1/3 of the home's electricity. The system is grid tied with battery backup. The remaining electricity is purchased as wind power from our local utility. Monthly electric bill for this 4000 square foot house including the fully used basement, is $100. 16 batteries provide 24 hours of backup in any weather for garage, basement, kitchen & family room, virtually unlimited with sun shining. A 2 rack Thermomax evacuated tube solar hot water with 2-80 gallon tanks provides 80% of hot water from solar, and the rest by propane backup. The electrical load is decreased by use of Energy-Star appliances, and 95% of the lighting is from fluorescent bulbs. Low flow toilets and faucets. Grasstrac and grassblock permeable driveway. No septic system; Incinolet toilet. Bio based spray foam insulation. Detached air conditioned garage is straw bale load bearing construction, with green roof and solar radiant heat combined with passive solar garage door. Garage stays over 60 degrees for all but 5-10 days per winter. Backup heating/cooling with portable propane/AC unit.

Home V
Providing an atmosphere like no other, Sunset Hills Vineyard shares spectacular mountain and sunset views, pastoral old-world style farm grounds and a stunning Amish restored historic barn. We are dedicated to making fine wines and doing it in a way that is gentle on the land. That's why we're using Virginia sunshine twice, first to ripen 20 acres of Virginia grapes and again with our 154 solar panels to produce enough electricity to power our winery and winemaking operations. Production combined with a green roof, high-efficiency HVAC, Energy-Star appliances, thermal windows/doors, super insulation, earth-covering, use of recycled materials, and a programmable, zoned thermostat make this winery very gentle on the earth.

Home W
North Gate Vineyards tasting room and production facility was built to LEED Gold specifications. Our 96 panel solar array is one of the largest installations in Loudoun County, and enables us to be net zero in power consumption over the course of the year. Besides the energy efficient features, we have used recycled, reclaimed or local products whenever possible. Our tasting room is designed around our recycled glass top bar, faced with reclaimed barn wood and surrounded by bamboo flooring. All coatings and adhesives were low VOC. A special CO2 monitoring system helps to guarantee peek indoor air quality at all times. During the construction phase, all waste was sent to a sorting facility, where over 85% of our construction waste was recycled or reused and diverted from land fill. Our daily operations include using recycled paper products, eliminating the need for paper towels in the restrooms, eliminating the use of disposable plates and cups, and single stream recycling of all glass/plastic.

Home X
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 Y
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. A 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 twice the energy needed for commuting in the BMW Z3 Roadster electric car. LED and CFL lighting throughout the home decrease the electrical load. Edible landscaping includes figs, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, apples, pears, elderberries and walnuts.

Home Z
This house has functioned as the model home at EcoVillage of Loudoun County Virginia. Designed by Greg Franta, one of the cofounders of the American Institute of Architectures Environmental Committee, it has a variety of passive and active solar features as well as other environmental attributes. A drive through the subdivision reveals many green features including gravel roads with benign dust suppressants, clustered homes with preserved forest and meadow areas, streams, springs and a pond. The common area is organically certified and the lots in the community are organically managed. The house benefits from a south sloping lot which supports the two-story structure with a one-bedroom apartment basement; all built in the vernacular Virginia style. Multifunction rooms, 9ft. and cathedral ceilings, enhance the feeling of space. The north, east and west facing sides of the house contain fewer and smaller windows. Ecovillage homes feature energy-efficient designs using passive solar, active solar, geothermal heating and cooling and many Green building materials.


 

 


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