Daily Archives: April 18, 2011

Experimenting and sharing the results

“I built a [solar thermal heating] system that I subsequently figured out didn’t make the most sense – why can’t others discuss the shortcomings of their experiments? People must like story-telling more than science.”
— Mark Sevier, PE (our “neighbor”)

From article:
Using Sand to Store Solar Energy
Assessing the controversial claim that solar thermal heat gathered in summer can be stored in sand for winter use

Go Mark! I think also, people are busy, and so after they have built a house, and perhaps it doesn’t work as well as hoped for — in terms of being 100% solar, or zero-energy, or meeting the passivhaus standard (or pick your criteria) — then people are loath to brag/blog about that. But I think it’s certainly useful and will help others learn from our experiments and/or mistakes.

Our house is *pretty much* working as expected I think, but I don’t think quite as well as the PHPP perhaps estimates, and certainly there are lots of things I would advise people to do differently, but that’s ok! (*”Pretty much” as in… our heating bills are VERY VERY low — like maybe 1/5th or a 1/10th of typical house of this size?) We are on target to use approximately 10,000Kwh total for all purposes for the year (june2010 thru may2011) I think. That’s heating, hot water, electricity, lawn mowing, etc). But that’s minus car use, buying stuff, food, etc. We could be living much greener! We’re working on it!

See also:
Mark’s House — a 14 HERS house in Sudbury, MA
Other comments from Mark at GBA
Builditsolar.com — favorite Solar Homes section
Solar heated buildings of North America: 120 outstanding examples by William A. Shurcliff
Edision: The experimenter’s journal

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Filed under about the house, erik-green, experiments, heating with wood, simple, solar, zero energy home