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Re: www site? specifications? Re: E-M:/ Solar Home Tour

Enviro-Mich message from Lowell Prag <lprag@mail.msen.com>

Hello Tom,

I am posting this back to the E-M list, as some of the points below may be
of general interest to the group.

Thanks for the contacts below on the solar home tour but I was hoping for
a www site with in-depth technical details and contacts in Michigan not
for me, but for the general public.

I think that is necessary to build public interest, as most people don't
have a clue as to what is possible with alternative energies and how to
proceed with utilizing those energies to power their homes, businesses,

I first became interested at least 30 years ago when I read about the
beginnings of the superinsulation program in Canada (the R-2000 program).
>From there, I progressed to reading Ned Nisson's "The Superinsulated Home
Book" which was the first effort at a builders manual explaining the
principles of superinsulation to reduce heating/cooling loads by 90%. 

This superinsulation only adds about 10% to the cost of the project 
and as you can extrapolate, the payback is very rapid.

Once you achieve that 90% reduction of heating/cooling loads, using
alternative energy to take care of that last 10% of the load to get
the structure entirely off the energy grid, becomes fairly simple.

Until the public builds to those necessary high r values and low levels of
air infiltration, selling private, on-site electric power generation via
photovoltaics, wind, hydro, etc. is difficult, as the loads they are
expected to carry are too high and thus, the systems are too expensive.

I think the best place in the USA which stresses this, is the Energy
Efficient Building Association (EEBA), "http://eeba.org/";, and I think
Michigan needs something similar, where the public and contractors can go
to learn the basics and proceed from there.

Also, if you visit their bookstore, they carry builders manuals which are
far more advanced in explaining energy efficient building practices to
reduce heating/cooling loads by 90%, than the original effort by Ned
Nisson in his manual mentioned above. 

They offer four builders manuals: Cold Climate Builders Guide, Mixed
Climate Builders Guide, Hot Dry Climate Builders Guide, Hot Humid Builders

Michigan falls in the cold climate category and there is much more
detailed information at the publisher, Building Science Corporation:

Climate Specific Building Details
See the Hygro-Thermal Regions Map.

It explains the various climate zones. In additional, there is a wealth of
other information on energy efficient building design at this site which
is not directly available at the above EEBA link.

In short: 

there has to be a centralized facility in Michigan, which deals with all
aspects of energy efficient building practices and alternative energies to
then generate on-site electric power using the "free" energy that Mother
Nature provides with the sun and wind, not just bits and pieces of the
"how to" explanation or otherwise, the learning curve is too difficult for
both the general public and contractors, architects, etc.

Maybe your college would take on this educational task and also consider
setting up sub-sites, similar to that of Michigan State University with
their agricultural extension services in the various counties.


Lowell Prag

On Thu, 26 Sep 2002, Tom Huber wrote:

> Lowell,
> In re-reading your letter, I noticed that I didn't reply to your question of
> who to contact regarding the components of the homes.  Of course, the owners
> are who you'd contact, but in Barry Co., I would recommend Bob Brown
> (269-945-4354) and Richard Orawiec (Fennville) (269-236-6179).  They have the
> most technical knowledge about the various renewable energy systems in place
> at the homes.  And, as you can guess, they are the subscribers to Home Power.
> Richard put up the solar arrays at his home, Pearl School, and Maynard
> Kaufman's house.  He also put up the wind generator at the Kaufman's.  Kevin
> Lockhart is a HVAC guy and he did all the installation work at his home.  His
> phone number is 269 674 3035.  Bob Kildea in K-zoo can be reached at 269 372
> 2496.
> tom
> Lowell Prag wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > Is there a www site with specifications for each of the homes?
> >
> > i.e: something similar to Home Power magazine with technical descriptions
> > of the systems used and contact persons for the various components?
> >
> > Are you familiar with Home Power magazine?
> >
> > If not, it is dedicated to detailing homes that are partially and
> > completely off the energy grid and technical explanations of the systems
> > used:
> >
> > http://www.homepower.com
> >
> > I am sure that they would be interested in running articles on the homes
> > listed on your tour.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Lowell Prag
> >
> > On Thu, 26 Sep 2002, Tom Huber wrote:
> >
> > > Please share with other enviro-folks who might be interested in learning
> > > more about solar homes, energy efficiency and conservation, and home
> > > power renewable energy systems.
> > >
> > > National Solar Home Tour Featured Locally in Southwest Michigan
> > > Saturday, October 5th, 10 AM - 4 PM
> > >
> > > The tour this year includes two exceptional homes in the Hastings area,
> > > and a machine tool shop (also in Hastings) that is powered by 3,000
> > > watts of solar and wind energy.  A passive solar home in Kalamazoo with
> > > an 1800 watt solar array is new to the tour this year as is a home in
> > > Lawrence with a solar water heater and 900 watt wind generator.  The
> > > Fennville area will feature an active solar home and an alternative high
> > > school, which has a 1 kW solar array. A beautiful, new off-the-grid home
> > > in Bangor features passive solar design, masonry stove and a 1 kW solar
> > > array and wind turbine.  There will also be a passive solar home in
> > > Watervliet which features permaculture design principles, stone and
> > > cordwood masonry.
> > >
> > > For more information and map, contact Tom Huber at Southwestern Michigan
> > > College at 1-800-456-8675, EXT. 1211 or by email at tjhuber@swmich.edu.
> > >

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