Zero net Energy Buildings

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Often a homeowner walks into Energy Emporium who is just starting their plans for building a new house. They are doing their research and want to make sure they are siting the home for the best solar access. They are usually thinking about the energy efficiency and they hope to keep the operational costs of living in the home down as much as possible.

Solar Powered Bolt

Solar Powered Bolt

I have been anxiously awaiting the day when I could both afford and justify an all electric vehicle. So, I was very excited when our second household car came to the end of its life very soon after the Chevy Bolt had recently begun shipping. What timing!

First on the affordability – Tesla has been the only electric vehicle that had a decent size battery that you can use for more than just going to the local grocery store and back. But their cars have generally been upwards of $60,000 to purchase.

Solar Snow Anxiety

Snowed in solar

If you have a solar PV (electric) system and have just been through the deep freeze of many days back to back below 0F degrees — then you may be experiencing ‘solar snow anxiety’.

I define ‘solar snow anxiety’ as the unsettling concern that you need to remove the snow on your solar panels the minute the storm stops. The worry is that you will be missing some important kilowatt hours of energy once the sun comes back out.

Can I make a difference?

Government PolicyFor many years I was told that if I don’t like a bill or policy that is being discussed at the federal level or at the state level, that it is important for me to call or write my representatives to make my voice heard.

For the most part I have shied away this advice because I’m really not interested in politics. I don’t understand how the system works, I don’t like that money seems to be able to buy votes or sway politicians, and I don’t like all the money that goes into lobbyists and Political Action Committees.

Wood, Electric, and Propane! Oh My!!

I live in a 1000 square foot house which has three different means of heating: wood, propane, and electric. I currently heat the house primarily with the wood stove and use the electric as backup source. I think the advantage of using the electric as back up is that I can set it to a much lower temperature than my propane wall heater and I can keep it on only in locations where I am concerned about pipes freezing. I’m not 100% it wouldn’t be better to use the propane as back up but that’s a topic for another post.