That’s the title of the talk I am going to do at the NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) conference in Boston in March 2012. The conference, BuildingEnergy 12, will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston on March 6-8. There are 10 different tracks of workshops on “renewables and high performance buildings”. Check it out. You can get a ton of information at this conferences.
I was very excited to have my presentation selected. All the work we’ve been doing on the renovation of my building has been well documented and I will have a years worth of real data and results by then. I applied to present at this conference last year but my project schedule slipped and my move-in date was too late to get any real feedback as to the performance of the house, so they asked me to re-apply this year.
Ok… so the good news is that I was selected for presentation. The bad news is that the house isn’t performing as well as it should at this point. There are things we are actively analyzing and debugging. So when I got the news that I was on the schedule, I called the session chair to discuss some of the issues and see if they wanted to retract their offer. “Not at all”, I was told. “We expect an audience that understands how difficult it is to achieve zero net energy and we learn more from the problems than the successes”. She assured me that presenting the results with details about issues would be a good session.
So, as I pull together data, information, pictures for this talk I will also put it out there on this blog. It would be great to get some feedback before the conference so I can be ready for the hard questions.
There were 4 goals for this renovation:
- Zero Net Energy Building
- LEED-H certification
- No Combustion, no fossil fuels
- Attention to Historic Preservation
You can get more details on these goals by clicking on 78 Main St – Renovation.
I’ll start addressing the 3rd goal in this post since it has been very easy to measure: This house has no fossil fuels. I don’t have an oil tank or oil bill, no propane tank or gas bills, no fireplace, wood stove or wood bills.
But — This house is on the grid and I DO have an electric bill. My electric company is National Grid. Their electricity is made up of about 36% natural gas, 15% coal, 26% nuclear, 10% oil, and 13% other fuels (mostly renewable). So that is not good. My intention is to offset all the electricity we use with local solar PV panels. Right now I am measuring the electrical use so I can design the right size array. The good news is that weather data and insolation (how much sun we get here in NH) from the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) is pretty accurate so I will be able determine the size of the array based on my use. I didn’t want to put the array in place, though, until I have a good estimate of electrical usage. More on that in an upcoming blog.