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(CBS2Chicago.com)   Zero energy solar homes: If the meter arrow points left, you're sending power - if it points right, you're buying it   (cbs2chicago.com ) divider line
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16526 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Sep 2008 at 2:36 AM (8 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2008-09-13 03:17:20 AM  

Calcasieu: Imagine if part of your 'property value' was based on your electric 'bill' being an asset instead of a liability.

It's easy if you try.


Calcasieu: I know we're a long way from making it affordable and reliable, but I can dream, can't I?


Stop putting hopeful music in my head, damn you...
 
2008-09-13 03:19:32 AM  

pedobearapproved: I think he was talking about storing the solar engery in a battery and operating a regular water heater from that, instead of actually using the sun to heat the water directly.


That seems to be a rather roundabout way of doing things when coverting solar flux directly to heat is somewhere around 60% efficient, which is way more than photovoltaic could ever hope for.

Homepower magazine (new window) has a good overview of solar hot water systems for those interested.
 
2008-09-13 03:19:41 AM  

pedobearapproved: Fellows: nashBridges: makes me laugh a little bit. Our house is 120 years old, and it still has the original pine wood floors throughout. Pine is a soft wood, but when it's taken care of and cut thick enough it lasts forever. We still have to re-wax it every year, no biggie. New bamboo floors are cut to less than a quarter inch thickness - they won't last. Whatever pine trees died a century ago to make our floors - they're still contributing.

The point is, those 120-year-old pine trees aren't here anymore so that's not an option.

The house we lived in/remodeled a few years ago had original pine hardwood floors. Beautiful floors that would last another 50-100 years if properly taken care of, but you can't get that anymore.

Here's a photo of the floors right before we sold it:

The great thing about trees is they grow on trees! The more you buy the more people plant.

And how can you not get PINE? You get lumber out of pine trees in 10 years. There is a pine forest specifically for building materials growing right by my house. It was clear cut about 7 years ago and they'll come back and clear cut then replant it again in 3 to 4 years.


are you stupid?
do you know how much wood we use every year?
I like your username though
 
2008-09-13 03:21:46 AM  

Calcasieu: ecmoRandomNumbers:
The environment isn't a partisan issue. We all breathe the same air.

May I quote you on that? I really like it.

/seriously


You go ahead. Most people hate me. :)
 
2008-09-13 03:29:20 AM  
Just close the stargate once you're done sending stuff through it. Zero point modules aren't cheap.
 
2008-09-13 03:56:58 AM  

IronTom: it's gonna get cheaper, thank you early adopters. It is the way of the future.


That's what they said about electric cars.
 
2008-09-13 04:02:05 AM  
Yeah, it's pretty crappy cost-wise and effort-wise now, but at some point in the near future, the average cost of powering your home with solar will hit that critical break-even point and solar panels will be popping up all over the place.

That will also coincide with mass adaptation of solar power plants. I just hope it's in time to prevent World War 3 breaking out over scarce fossil fuel.
 
2008-09-13 04:21:14 AM  
I'm one of those early adopters with the cars. I was happy to pay more because I knew if enough eco-anoraks like myself purchased the cars, the cars would be more maintainable (more cars = more shops willing to fix them) and possibly more affordable. People told me the car would be un-maintanable and a hazard in general and they thought I was on crack to pay so much for a car until CA offered the carpool stickers and the price of gas went up to $4 a gallon.I've had the car for 7 years now and the batteries are still good and the thing runs. I get 44-48 MPG, depending on the season.

As for the solar panels, they are already past the early adopter stage. They're popping up everywhere and prices are still falling.

If you don't want to invest, you can do something simple. Put your TV set and computer monitor on power strips and turn those power strips off when they're not in use. (I know some folks like to keep the TiVo on to record. You don't need the TV set itself on to record.) I put my entire entertainment center and computer on power strips and turn them dead off for 22 hours a day. My power bill dropped. Cheaper than solar. Also, if you live in AZ, make sure the curtains are closed on the south side of the house during the day.
 
2008-09-13 05:33:00 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers:

You go ahead. Most people hate me. :)


Thanks. Most people hate me too, but I'm old and I don't give a shiat.
 
2008-09-13 05:43:22 AM  
Leave it. It's got a terrible payback, and the choice of conspicuous consumption will have moved on from solar panels to something else. Maybe it makes sense in Arizona, but in Chicago?

A friend of mine here in the UK is in the insulation business and told me that you have to get the panels cleaned every year or 2, and because of safety regulations, that means someone putting up a scaffold, which then costs hundreds of pounds. It basically nullifies any savings, irrespective of the massive initial cost.

You really want to save energy? Put more insulation in your roof, buy cavity wall, and next time you replace your windows, get something energy efficient. Cavity wall in the UK has a return of about 3-5 years and lasts for decades.
 
2008-09-13 06:45:48 AM  

Fellows: Here's a photo of the floors right before we sold it:


It took me a while to recognise that the bright area was reflection obscuring the next room. At first glance it looks like the bottom of a floor-to-ceiling curtain sitting in the space that's actually an archway.
 
2008-09-13 06:58:28 AM  

sojourner: Fellows: Here's a photo of the floors right before we sold it:

It took me a while to recognise that the bright area was reflection obscuring the next room. At first glance it looks like the bottom of a floor-to-ceiling curtain sitting in the space that's actually an archway.


The floor-level windows would have been interesting.
 
2008-09-13 07:32:03 AM  
I've got a speedometer in my VW Bug that says if I'm going 140mph.
 
2008-09-13 07:55:10 AM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: IronTom: it's gonna get cheaper, thank you early adopters. It is the way of the future.

Thank you for the reasonable response.

I still wonder, in this solar hell-hole we call Arizona, why new homes aren't equipped with solar panels on the roof, if nothing else but to run the air conditioner. I have friends who pay over $350 a month to cool their homes to a balmy 78-80 degrees. I can't sleep in that kind of heat.

I live in an apartment building with a central chiller and don't pay utilities. My AC is cranked from April to October. I love the nice, big comforters and blankets on my bed in July.


78 is hot? Where the fark did you grow up, Canada?
 
2008-09-13 08:06:14 AM  
Having just stayed at a zero impact ecolodge for my vacation I can safely say eat my ass hippies. Nothing destroys a vacation like living in an ecofriendly building that doesn't have potable water, the shower is hand pumped to a solar heater, that keeps the water warm for a few hours a day. My vacation was alternating between sweating out the nights next to a single DC lightbulb and freezing in the cold no pressure shower that I had to hand pump.

Thanks enviros, but if you're practical proof of concept units make me wish I was at work, no way in hell am I going to let any of that tech on my house.

Maybe in a decade when the tech's grown up some I'll try it again. Till then, give me my domestically produced coal that keeps the showers hot and the house cold.
 
2008-09-13 09:06:09 AM  
We had a solar h20 system installed 2 yrs ago. Cost 5k with 1200 back feds and 500 back from state of Florida. Our electric bills dropped $100+ per month.
 
2008-09-13 09:16:28 AM  
finally, someone got something right. No matter what the logistics, THAT IS AWESOME.
 
2008-09-13 09:21:28 AM  
Remember - you still need a place to BUY the electricity from! How is THAT generated - using what kind of fuel?
 
2008-09-13 09:32:24 AM  

fanbladesaresharp: They're one HELL a lot more efficient than anything built 100 years ago. Give it time. Technology progresses. Just don't have expectations that we'll see the 22nd centrury tech by Next Tuesday.


THIS. The insulation alone blows anything a hundred years old out of the water.

If you install a natural-draft furnace in a new house, you have to go through all kinds of fun to provide proper ventilation so it doesn't backflow carbon monoxide into your house. Why? Modern houses are pretty much sealed, so the suction effect of the draft creates a vacuum in the furnace room that can suck flue gases right back into the house if something clogs. This is why most builders (up here at least) just put in more-efficient forced-draft furnaces. The draft air comes from a pipe, not the room, so they don't have to jump through nearly as many hoops.

Throw a natural-draft furnace into an old farmhouse and it's no big deal. They leak like sieves, so ventilation is no problem.

FTA: The thick walls are filled with solid Styrofoam that insulates to an incredible R-40.

Holy shiat. Most houses are in the range of 15-19. R-30 is mostly for additional insulation in unfinished attics. R-40 is NICE.
 
2008-09-13 09:37:25 AM  
ninjakirby [TotalFark] Quote 2008-09-13 12:02:42 AM
This sort of thing really should be mandatory for new homes being built.


Agrees 100%

/Luckily this year my AC has hardly been on.
 
2008-09-13 09:39:46 AM  
My dad built a passive-solar, earth-sheltered house. No panels, but it was set into a south-facing hillside and had a greenhouse. It was cool in the summer without A/C and warm in the winter with only a small wood stove. Not only that, but the construction cost was about half the cost of a normal house.

nashBridges: New bamboo floors are cut to less than a quarter inch thickness - they won't last. Whatever pine trees died a century ago to make our floors - they're still contributing.

Houses today AREN'T built to last. I know of people who bought a brand-new McMansion on the top of a hill. In the very first windstorm the house shifted so much that it cracked three of their windows.

\Owns a 105 year old house
\\Uses less than half the electricity of the average house
 
2008-09-13 09:40:27 AM  

farkeruk: You really want to save energy? Put more insulation in your roof, buy cavity wall, and next time you replace your windows, get something energy efficient. Cavity wall in the UK has a return of about 3-5 years and lasts for decades.


This. Triple-pane e-coated windows and the highest R-rating you can get in your exterior wall insulation will do more to save you money than almost anything else. So will cutting down on the number of windows.

Do a Manual-J on your house sometime with R-15 exterior walls and double-pane untreated glass, then do it again at R-19 and triple-pane treated. Then see what happens when you add an R-30 layer (whch you can do in a day with the pink fiberglass stuff) to your attic. You will save thousands of BTUs per hour.
 
2008-09-13 10:14:42 AM  

pedobearapproved: The great thing about trees is they grow on trees! The more you buy the more people plant.

And how can you not get PINE? You get lumber out of pine trees in 10 years. There is a pine forest specifically for building materials growing right by my house. It was clear cut about 7 years ago and they'll come back and clear cut then replant it again in 3 to 4 years.


Pine harvested today from tree farms is not the same as the pine used to build homes and flooring 100 years ago.
 
2008-09-13 10:24:57 AM  
I've looked into this. The bottom line is that you simply cannot generate power for cheaper than what you can buy it from the power company for. The costs of installation and maintenance of whatever alternative source you build/buy, averaged out by KwH, outweighs the cost of just going with the local utility.

Of course there are exceptions, like if you live in BFE or expect energy prices to rise substantially, or if you're really into being green (but this is a business perspective).

Until then, just isn't worth it.
 
2008-09-13 10:27:38 AM  
ecmoRandomNumbers: True, but a lot of people actually have a philanthorpic streak in them that causes them to spend insane amounts of money as early adopters. They're not nuts, elitists, or assholes.

Of course. I own an HD-dvd player. Early adoption can bite you in the ass :)

I'm not really worried about the money we're spending beyond making sure it's possible to break even. Even then, my concern isn't isn't so much about the initial outlay but about how it affects the property value. If we can't get a break even return on the investment then a solar grid would be a negative should we ever have to sell the property.

And my reasons are aren't necessarily philanthropic - they're more practical. We're far out enough that power outages are a common occurrence and since we're a low population density area we are usually the last to get fixed. We have a real need for alternative power sources around here, and generators are noisy and a pain to maintain. If we had enough wind I'd gladly put a turbine on the property.
 
2008-09-13 10:33:19 AM  
knbber2 2008-09-12 11:50:48 PM From what I've read and heard, one of the main problems with this type of system (applies to wind energy as well) is that the electric company charges you about 10 times the cost of what they give you for each kilowatt/hr you give them.
===============

Hell a lot don't give you anything, you have to check beforehand. Remember, you're their competition. Enough people get solar/wind and the price goes up for everyone else because you're taking away a lot of their money. Usually competition is good, but not in this case.

Still, having a cheap or near-$0 energy bill is awesome.

The new solar panels coming out from places like nanosolar are only a buck a watt. Stick a 3-kw system on your place for $3000 and it'll be paid off in only a couple years. Less if you live in a desert.
 
2008-09-13 10:36:27 AM  

The Icelander: \Owns a 105 year old house
\\Uses less than half the electricity of the average house


I own a 95 year old house. Love it. Have good insulation and good windows. Pay about $120 a month in total utilities for 1450 sq ft.
 
2008-09-13 10:39:42 AM  

Al Zeimer: IronTom it's gonna get cheaper, thank you early adopters. It is the way of the future.

Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner. When oil is $20 a barrel, there's no point in investing in solar. With oil where it is now, investing in solar makes perfect sense.

There is no need for a federal government energy policy. People will invest in alternative energy when it makes sense. When it doesn't make sense, there's no point in taking our money to give to those who bribe congressmen. That's not to say that I'm against a Pigovian tax on carbon-based energy, for example, but the hairshirts need to get the respect they deserve, which is none.


One thing I am a huge fan of is the non-profits that are actually taking donations to pay for installation of these systems on houses owned by low income people. I consider that a complete win-win situation. The increased utilization helps improve the eventual cost and people who can least afford high electricity bills benefit.
 
2008-09-13 10:40:56 AM  

helix400: Right now, zero energy homes are an extremely expensive niche. Nothing more.


At one time, so was indoor plumbing.
 
2008-09-13 10:42:51 AM  
If your against this, you may want to examine your logic for some knee jerk anti-environmentalist feelings...which is fine, and even good for the country. But Solar panels are really a no brainer. If you live in an area with enough average solar exposure to warrant it, there are not a lot of down sides to getting electricity from solar. Every watt you can trap in a solar panel is one less watt beating down on your shingles and heating up your home in the summer.

The real problem with them is one that will be solved by time, when they reach a certain level of efficiency they will be very economical.

Your not going to be able to run your ac and electric water heater from them though.
 
2008-09-13 10:43:09 AM  

knbber2: From what I've read and heard, one of the main problems with this type of system (applies to wind energy as well) is that the electric company charges you about 10 times the cost of what they give you for each kilowatt/hr you give them.


Most companies, by law, are required to provide you compensation in the form of credit (usually up to a certain amount) at the rate that it costs them to produce the power.

Now, depending on where you live, and who you get your power from, this can vary from what they charge you, the consumer. In some states, where regulation is still present (Thank god Kentucky is one of them), they can't really charge you much more than it costs them to produce it. In states like California, that have been deregulated, you are looking at a huge difference.

That said, power companies hate this. Not because it may put them out of business, but because it makes load prediction (and as such, generation prediction) extremely hard. They still have to produce enough power to feed your house under the assumption that the net metering isn't present, because in case something screws up, they're still required to make sure you have power. This causes some pretty large overgenerations, which can cause some problems on the grid if nobody wants to buy.
 
2008-09-13 10:48:37 AM  

jake3988: knbber2 2008-09-12 11:50:48 PM From what I've read and heard, one of the main problems with this type of system (applies to wind energy as well) is that the electric company charges you about 10 times the cost of what they give you for each kilowatt/hr you give them.
===============

Hell a lot don't give you anything, you have to check beforehand. Remember, you're their competition. Enough people get solar/wind and the price goes up for everyone else because you're taking away a lot of their money. Usually competition is good, but not in this case.

Still, having a cheap or near-$0 energy bill is awesome.

The new solar panels coming out from places like nanosolar are only a buck a watt. Stick a 3-kw system on your place for $3000 and it'll be paid off in only a couple years. Less if you live in a desert.


My power (from the power company) is $0.06 per kilowatt hour. A dollar a watt would have to run 1000/0.06 or 16,667 hours before it broke even (not including installation or maintenance costs). If you live in a sunny place and average 10 hours a day per year, it would be 4.5 years. That's a best case scenario.
 
2008-09-13 10:50:20 AM  

jake3988: knbber2 2008-09-12 11:50:48 PM From what I've read and heard, one of the main problems with this type of system (applies to wind energy as well) is that the electric company charges you about 10 times the cost of what they give you for each kilowatt/hr you give them.
===============

Hell a lot don't give you anything, you have to check beforehand. Remember, you're their competition. Enough people get solar/wind and the price goes up for everyone else because you're taking away a lot of their money. Usually competition is good, but not in this case.

Still, having a cheap or near-$0 energy bill is awesome.

The new solar panels coming out from places like nanosolar are only a buck a watt. Stick a 3-kw system on your place for $3000 and it'll be paid off in only a couple years. Less if you live in a desert.


Actually, that's incorrect. They are required, by law, to provide you with compensation for generation.
 
2008-09-13 10:55:44 AM  
Meh. Wrote an article about this one years ago when I was a magazine writer.

/old news is so exciting!
 
2008-09-13 11:13:06 AM  

archichris: But Solar panels are really a no brainer.


I'd like to point out that germanium is pretty rare, and if we tried to replace fossil fuels with solar panels, we'd probably run out of germanium really quickly.
 
2008-09-13 11:13:52 AM  

safeinsane: /old news is so exciting!


Yes, it is. The more "old news" stuff like this becomes the better, IMO.
 
2008-09-13 11:20:21 AM  
You want to get the price down and availability up get HUD to mandate it on all new housing that gets a govt. backed loan.

You would have to do it in small increments such as higher R value insulation first, solar panels in certain areas first. But it would drop the price pretty fast.

All of the cookie cutter house builders build to conform to VA and other loan program inspection standards.

They need to mandate any house up north have either a back up power or back up heating source. Most houses up in the Dakotas don't have any way to stay warm if the power goes out in a blizzard.
 
2008-09-13 11:41:14 AM  
wee I did some consulting for solar energy companies so I'm getting a kick out of these replies.

As it stands, solar can be paid back typically in 15+ years depending on location, tax credits etc. Much smarter is solar hot water heaters, price wise electritcy counts for about 15% of an average home owners bill. and water heating is 35% with space heating taking up the remainder and a tiny sliver for cooking.
Therefore the pay back period on a solar water heater can be fast sometimes as small on average about 2-5 years. Not to mention the designs are proven and very simple http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_hot_water and vary depending on local climate etc.

Finally what's emergent in europe along with some good cost analysis and finally some available units is Micro Combined heat and power.

the main purpose of a convention internal combustion motor is mechanical energy which can be turned into electric energy. In fact many buisnesses etc already have back up generators, the largest source of inefficiency in a motor is the tremoundous amount of heat it gives off.

the main purpose of a furnace is to produce heat. If you couple these two together you create an overal very efficient system. When ever your house demands heat instead of simply burning fuel to raise air temperatures the heat is used first to generate electricy via different types of motors and then the waste heat is used to heat the building. An average home sized unit can produced between 1-3Kw of electricty while providing the same heating capacity as a modern furnace.

The offset is a slightly higher furnace cost, but I've seen realistic payback on the order of 4-8 years depending on energy buyback etc of the area http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_CHP

finally for those trully entripid the consulting work i was doing was on solar thermal energy. I.e a client that had some interesting work in medium temperature solar thermal collectors that could be used to provide electricity space heating and air conditioning via absorption http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy however this technology is most likely not appropriate for single user homes due to scalability and investment cost. Save for maybe space heating. This system I was working on was a parabolic trough design and I believe the working fluid would reach 600-800 deg f. I'm a welding engineer and was called in to help with high temperature metallurgy and welding, as well as some general welding and fabrication guidance.

Interesting system, the numbers are there is just a matter of R&D and public interest
 
2008-09-13 11:56:27 AM  

knbber2: From what I've read and heard, one of the main problems with this type of system (applies to wind energy as well) is that the electric company charges you about 10 times the cost of what they give you for each kilowatt/hr you give them.


Depends.

If you have 'net metering', then the electric meter can run forwards and backards. If you use more then you produce, it turns forward. If you produce more then you use, it turns backwards. If, at the end of the month, it ends higher than where it started, you pay them for the difference. If it ends even, you pay nothing. If it ends lower, either you loose the excess or they pay you (usually a pittance).

On the other hand, in some places, they make you get two meters, one for production, one for use. They charge you retail rates ($) for use, and pay wholesale rates ($)for production. This is usually around the '10 to 1' ratio you mentioned.
 
2008-09-13 12:19:18 PM  

goethe_helen_hunt: If you don't want to invest, you can do something simple. Put your TV set and computer monitor on power strips and turn those power strips off when they're not in use. (I know some folks like to keep the TiVo on to record. You don't need the TV set itself on to record.) I put my entire entertainment center and computer on power strips and turn them dead off for 22 hours a day. My power bill dropped. Cheaper than solar. Also, if you live in AZ, make sure the curtains are closed on the south side of the house during the day.


I bought myself a kill a watt meter from amazon for $20. Link (new window)

With it, you can measure how much power every individual appliance uses. I've heard many times before how appliances often use a decent amount of power when off, or in standby. At least based on what I found, this is much overhyped. My TV, Wii, PS2, X-box 360, receiver, and VCR combined use ~ 10 watts in standby. Throw in my 2 Ethernet switches, cable modem, and my wireless router and I am about 20 watts.

20 watts costs me under $20 for a whole year. I'd never notice a difference in less that $2 a month in my electric bill.
 
2008-09-13 12:39:00 PM  

moothemagiccow: 78 is hot? Where the fark did you grow up, Canada?


I find 78 too hot to sleep in too. My favorite 'sleeping weather' is when it gets into the 40-50's outside and I can open my window and cozy up under my down blankets. In the winter I turn down the heat to 60 degrees before I go to bed.

Good thing I don't live in AZ if 78 degrees is considered good sleeping weather.

But then again, I bet your snot doesn't freeze in February the way mine does when I go outside.
 
2008-09-13 12:44:57 PM  
Chuck Wagon,

Get a few older appliances of the type you mentioned and it can go off the charts. (The newer ones have to meet new federal energy standards in stand-by mode.)

I have some connections to an energy auditing and energy efficiency consulting business. (I'm actually in the middle of creating a new one by expanding an existing business with some new partners.) The first thing we do with our clients who express an interest in solar (PV) is to do an energy audit which often allows us to recommend replacing appliances and other energy hogs in the home. (You wouldn't believe all the "crap" that some people have plugged into their outlets which produce little, but which use a significant amount of electricity on a day in, day out basis. One guy had some kind of supposed "bug" repeller and had about 15 installed throughout his house. They were the equivalent of having fifteen 75 watt light bulbs running non-stop in terms of energy use. Just getting him to pull the plug on all but 2 of those, saved him about $80/month because the extra usage was forcing him into a higher energy "bracket" based on his "peak-hours" usage.)

Typically, we can get rid of about 20-30% of the energy demands of say a 3 bedroom/2 bath type house, simply by replacing the washer/dryer and refrigerator/freezer with newer, much more energy efficient models. When you stop and think about it, what this really means is that often you can "offset" about $6000-$8000 dollars worth of solar panels, simply by spending about $3000 on appliances. (realizing a net savings of at least $3000 when installing a solar PV system.)

As others have mentioned, solar hot water is where the current "efficiency" lies. Even passive hot water systems, which basically just "pre-heat" the water before it enters your regular water heater, can knock off about 30%-30% off your utility bill every month and the payback time is usually under 4 years, when calculating the rebates and tax incentives. Not to mention that it improves the value of your home and in California, that increase in value is tax-exempt.

BTW, Hawaii just became the first state to mandate solar hot water in all new construction beginning in 2009. They are also offering some pretty nifty incentives for those how retrofit their current houses and businesses for solar hot water so about 60-70% of the cost of a system is covered by federal and state tax rebates. It would not be surprising to see ROI terms as low as one year under those conditions for passive hot water units and under two years with "active" systems.
 
2008-09-13 01:01:45 PM  
pedobearapproved

There's a REAL big difference between yellow pine and white pine.
 
2008-09-13 01:27:30 PM  
lawboy87

Thanks for the informative post. From what I've read, PV generation of electricity is a long way from being worthwhile; much better to cover your roof with passive heat collection.
 
2008-09-13 01:43:43 PM  
lawboy87: As others have mentioned, solar hot water is where the current "efficiency" lies. Even passive hot water systems, which basically just "pre-heat" the water before it enters your regular water heater, can knock off about 30%-30% off your utility bill every month and the payback time is usually under 4 years, when calculating the rebates and tax incentives. Not to mention that it improves the value of your home and in California, that increase in value is tax-exempt.

My dad built a solar hot water preheater out of a 50 gallon barrel, some foil-backed foam insulation, a pane of glass and black paint. Solar hot water heating is probably the cheapest way to solarize your house.
 
2008-09-13 01:53:37 PM  

ecmoRandomNumbers: I'm willing to bet that 99.994% of the middle class doesn't even have 20k in their savings account to put down on a $100,000 house.


You'd have to be cranially dented to keep 20k$ in a savings account.
 
2008-09-13 02:17:29 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: You'd have to be cranially dented to keep 20k$ in a savings account.


That's about how much I like to keep on hand in my savings account. Well, it's a MMA, not traditional savings. And right now, it's outperforming most of my investments, but that's kinda to be expected in this market. If you have more than $10K, it goes in a MMA. Less than $10K, it goes in savings. Keep about $20K in your MMA, put everything else into a balanced portfolio of investments, and make sure to contribute as much as possible to your investments.

//No, I don't have debt.
 
2008-09-13 02:24:27 PM  
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category_6970_77​0399

if you need some ideas.
 
2008-09-13 02:32:53 PM  

Al Zeimer: ninjakirby This sort of thing really should be mandatory for new homes being built.

Yep. Anybody who builds a new home should have to pay a much higher rate for energy than the rest of us. That's exactly what the US needs right now, another way to harm the construction industry.


I know, I can hear all of the people wanting tougher building standards for houses in the Galveston and Houston area. Builder should be able to build any kind of crapshack that want with no government oversight.

Look how well it works in China!
 
2008-09-13 04:18:22 PM  

rocinante721: This again?

These houses at this point are prototypes & super-expensive, even with gov't rebates.

From an engineering standpoint, it's cool as Hades. What IS doable is buying a solar-powered water-heating system. Where I live, they are both federally & locally rebatable. No clue on how expensive maintenence/replacement is, though.


Not true. I know a man in Iowa who built his house into a hillside and set it up for solar energy collection. He built the actual house decades ago, added energy collection over time, and is not wealthy by any standards.
 
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