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Old 11-21-2021, 07:43 PM   #21
TCD
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The system heats the house without any booster.. There is a electric heater built in the water furnace, it has never been used, except when we return from vacation and are bringing the temp from 50 degrees up to 70 quickly. I think they filled the closed loop with ethanol, I am not concerned with a leak it is very sturdy. It seems a no brainer to us.
Antifreeze is Ethylene Glycol; that's probably what they used. (Note, very different chemical from Ethanol!)

I like all these ideas. My location is challenging (High Peaks region, north facing heavily wooded property at 1800') so most of this would not work for me. But if you can get a valley location, south facing location, and pull out all the stops (geothermal mass, earthen berms, south facing construction, lots of high transmission glass, heat pump, ideally your own pump storage facility, etc.) you might be able to make it work. It's just going to cost an awful lot up front!
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Old 11-21-2021, 07:51 PM   #22
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Antifreeze is Ethylene Glycol; that's probably what they used. (Note, very different chemical from Ethanol!)

I like all these ideas. My location is challenging (High Peaks region, north facing heavily wooded property at 1800') so most of this would not work for me. But if you can get a valley location, south facing location, and pull out all the stops (geothermal mass, earthen berms, south facing construction, lots of high transmission glass, heat pump, ideally your own pump storage facility, etc.) you might be able to make it work. It's just going to cost an awful lot up front!
I hope it's not EG! I think Ethanol would be sufficient and much safer if there was a leak.

North facing is going be an issue especially on a mountainside.

Woods can be worked with - I truly think you could skip AC and use passive cooling with tree shading. The solar panels would be on the roof so that is clear anyway, and in all seasons they absorb most of the thermal energy as well!

Yes, cost is an issue. Updating an existing house... eh... I don't know? I really think passive solar and massive thermal mass and insulation are going to be key for this area.

I think on new houses it could be cost effective within a few years, or at least based on numbers I've seen on how cost is coming down. If you don't have the budget up front, spend it on insulation, design and windows and use the grid connection, then add solar as you can afford it later. Adding solar to existing houses is the less fruitful reality we're going to deal with.
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Old 11-22-2021, 10:23 AM   #23
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The idea of a 'green' house is very interesting for sure. I lived in a passive solar house in Maine till I was 15 and someday if I get the chance to build a house I would want to make it passive solar too. One thing in your writing that made me wonder is a clothes dryer. When I was a kid we had one but used it maybe only 2-3 times a year, and for the last 20 years I haven't had access to one at all. They are energy hogs. We hang laundry outside when the weather is suitable, and in the winter or on rainy days hang it inside. In the winter it dries very fast due to the dry air in the house, but in the summer it can take 2 days to dry jeans inside. We try to do laundry on dry days spring through fall for this reason.
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Old 11-22-2021, 12:59 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=Zach;287792]The idea of a 'green' house is g inside if it is too damp outside, but rarely.
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:48 PM   #25
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The idea of a 'green' house is very interesting for sure. I lived in a passive solar house in Maine till I was 15 and someday if I get the chance to build a house I would want to make it passive solar too. One thing in your writing that made me wonder is a clothes dryer. When I was a kid we had one but used it maybe only 2-3 times a year, and for the last 20 years I haven't had access to one at all. They are energy hogs. We hang laundry outside when the weather is suitable, and in the winter or on rainy days hang it inside. In the winter it dries very fast due to the dry air in the house, but in the summer it can take 2 days to dry jeans inside. We try to do laundry on dry days spring through fall for this reason.
Awesome!

As far as the dryer, I only mention it because I didn't know about heat pump dryers previously. There's no reason you need to have one, but a traditional electric dryer is a HOG, and probably not feasible with solar power. Gas or propane dryers exist, but the idea is to minimize or eliminate that altogether.


Unfortunately I think the majority of people who are lucky enough to have the money to build a new home want a McMansion and not something sensible.

The rest of the NY is either in crumbling slums, or trying to maintain aging houses from the "Boomer" era.
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Old 11-22-2021, 03:55 PM   #26
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I agree to your last paragraph in particular Montcalm, but don't leave out the old houses, pre boomer. It is to bad the overall condition is not great. Around here they build or cover existing with that ZipR - so maybe improving. Just wish they'd put siding on the ZipR as it seems to remain for years.

Great thread!
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Old 11-22-2021, 07:22 PM   #27
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Right Bill LOL - I was including the historic homes in the crumblers unless you happen to own one and be well off enough to keep it in historic condition. Not for everyone.

I grew up in one from the late 1800s. It was probably better off as a memory.


I have a post-WWII "Boomer" house now. No idea what to do with it. Not even close to anything I've been discussing or want it to be, not worth the money to update. Best it can hope for is a few solar panels (I have a nice low-angle south facing roof) and maybe a gas range and dryer. We have NG in abundance here - I don't want to use it, but I don't see much other choice that's affordable. The wiring from this era is terrible and gutting are re-wiring isn't cost effective, unfortunately. I see so many homes from this era, and they probably all have the same issues.

Last edited by montcalm; 11-22-2021 at 07:37 PM..
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:03 PM   #28
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Partially restored, partially rehabbed two old houses - 1889 in New Haven and 1904 in Oak Park. Now in a 1994 soulless house but my wife likes it. For first time thinking of very modern modifications, and ones with good resale value. Odds are I won't live here 30 years like last one - I'd be 100.

Good thing about this house - good insulation!
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:05 PM   #29
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Don't get me wrong - I love old houses... but you need a certain character and good bank roll to keep them going. I don't think our old house even had insulation!
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:29 PM   #30
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Back when I was growing up every house had a clothes line. And just about every kid that was tall enough could relate to the phrase "getting clothes-lined". Now, it's rare to see a clothes line, unless it's at an Amish or Mennonite home.
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Old 11-22-2021, 08:32 PM   #31
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They were rare when I was a young kid in the 80s. Some people used them.

My grandparents used them, but only at their camp in ADKs because it didn't have a dryer. I think eventually dryers and electric became cheap/widespread enough that everyone adopted them.

It wouldn't have been a cheap upgrade for most older homes - adding an extra 220 circuit for electric.



Actually I bet the real reason for more people using dryers is more women in the work force...
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