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Old 04-06-2022, 09:47 AM   #201
John H Swanson
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I think new construction, for me, is out on many levels. The market is far too insane for me - even as a 5 year plan I'm not so sure. I did a lot of number crunching and it's really out of my realm for what you end up with in the end.

I thought maybe about some new construction (full house) where I am in western NY, and maybe that's more realistic but honestly not all that enticing to me. Not sure I'm into developing more land, either.
There are many design features that I would really like in a house. I often think that the only way to get them is to build, but frankly I'm not sure if I want the hassle. I think the next best option would be to keep an eye out for a house that more closely matches my desires.

Concerning energy conservation and the implementation of more green technology, no surprise there has always been challenges. Even with incentives, its been tough to justify based on $. When I consider the climate situation, IMO, we could make so much progress if the government offered extreme incentives.
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Old 04-06-2022, 12:30 PM   #202
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Frankly I kind of feel like the current incentives for solar are pretty extreme. That's why I can't figure out why more people haven't already adopted it.

I did contact a local solar installer, and they were quite aggressive and seemed a little greasy, but I have to be honest, I feel like every home contractor I've contacted in recent years has been super greasy. HVAC and plumbing companies seem particularly brutal, but I guess that's what it takes for them to survive? Anyway, maybe it's just me, but it almost always makes me want to DIY.
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Old 04-06-2022, 02:07 PM   #203
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If new construction, Steeper slope.
How steep?
Here is a new (2019) construction 10/12 pitch roof camp after a light snowfall in the winter of 2020 in the western Adirondack region. The relatively light snow pack easily and often slid off during much of the 2020 season, especially when the temperatures warmed slightly, obviously.

However much deeper snowfalls and colder temperatures during the winter of 2021 had piled up a depth of snow and ice layers to reach above the level of the chimney support rods so much that they were bent into hoop shapes, pulling the chimney toward the roof peak. Snow did not slide off this roof for much of the entire 2021 season. I learned my lesson and made sure to rake away any snow depth loads from the vicinity of the chimney supports in 2022, which had similar snow depths to that of 2021.
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Old 04-06-2022, 02:25 PM   #204
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I think if you have panels, and you want them to work, you're going to need to clear them.

That's why I was thinking perhaps the ground mount stands are better. What sucks about that is you need to clear some extra trees. Roof is nice because it's up higher and you've probably already cleared some trees away from the house. But practically speaking I think someone needs to invent something to keep them clean in the winter.

I like the idea of mounting them on a south facing wall with an adjustable tilt - although I think most people will find them too ugly for that.
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Old 04-06-2022, 04:05 PM   #205
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How steep?
I was thinking about my avalanche awareness course. The critical angle where snow accumulates and then avalanches is about 40-45 degrees. They said that greater than 60 degrees the snow usually just sloughs off.

So without any science or data, I would be exploring an asymetrical roof like a saltbox design where the short roof faced south. The angle I'd consider would depend on the latitude. I'd consider the solar angle for Nov and Jan. You can see the similar type of design used in the arctic design in the link I posted on page 11 of this thread. I apologize that the link starts a download. I also like the south wall concept.
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Old 04-06-2022, 04:26 PM   #206
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I've seen a number of buildings, particularly earthships which have an ~60 deg roof on their south facing wall. I've seen a number of other "modern" home designs with this - a lot of times the adjoining roof is flat, or has a very low pitch - not ideal for the NE, but still.

I guess perhaps a saltbox is the traditional model that serves this asymmetric roof, but the actual homes I've seen built in this style don't really resemble them much.

The only issue, as I see, is capacity. And of course this is a new construction deal.


Although I like talking about the theoretical aspects, my practical life right now is limited to a 6-8/12 symmetric roof, which still doesn't have enough area to meet my full needs. There are all sorts of different home designs around (and around NY), but they all have similar pitches - in the north country I tend to see more steeper pitches and metal roofs. In the rest of the state its more common to see lower pitches and shingles.

Herein lies an issue - but, as of now we seem to be mostly ignoring it and assuming we'll meet winter demands with other sources.

And then, mooregm's previous point comes up (he's been a mile ahead of us on this) is that how much will a solar kWh be worth in the summer in the NE?
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Old 04-06-2022, 04:38 PM   #207
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My crazy thought right now is perhaps, in the future, the best system might be a heated panel.

This would be a pretty specific thing, but mainly for the NE - I wonder if anyone has looked at the value equation to see how much energy we could recover vs. the extra cost? This is what I'd want to know. I'd definitely need more data, but my logic here is that if you can burn a few watts melting/sublimating snow DURING a storm, that you could easily offset the energy by the amount you'd gain from having clear panels between thaws. Even if it were a few days lost, I think perhaps the benefit would be there.

It'd be great if it were an automatic system that had a sensor to detect the opacity of snow, and only turn on when a layer formed on them - the it would quickly melt it off, if it kept snowing, it would keep running and never let more than a half-inch or so accumulate.
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Old 04-07-2022, 02:26 PM   #208
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My crazy thought right now is perhaps, in the future, the best system might be a heated panel.

This would be a pretty specific thing, but mainly for the NE - I wonder if anyone has looked at the value equation to see how much energy we could recover vs. the extra cost? This is what I'd want to know. I'd definitely need more data, but my logic here is that if you can burn a few watts melting/sublimating snow DURING a storm, that you could easily offset the energy by the amount you'd gain from having clear panels between thaws. Even if it were a few days lost, I think perhaps the benefit would be there.

It'd be great if it were an automatic system that had a sensor to detect the opacity of snow, and only turn on when a layer formed on them - the it would quickly melt it off, if it kept snowing, it would keep running and never let more than a half-inch or so accumulate.
Certainly seems like that shouldn't be hard to add - much like that heat wiring that can be put along the edges of roofing to keep ice from forming and making water back up into the house. Even easier, actually, considering that a solar panel already has the electrical infrastructure that a regular roof wouldn't have.
You shouldn't have to actually melt the snow completely, as I have seen it slide off those panels on a day with strong sun hitting them, so just enough heat to soften the bottom layer and the whole thing slides off the edge.
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Old 04-11-2022, 07:43 AM   #209
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Frankly I kind of feel like the current incentives for solar are pretty extreme. That's why I can't figure out why more people haven't already adopted it.

I did contact a local solar installer, and they were quite aggressive and seemed a little greasy, but I have to be honest, I feel like every home contractor I've contacted in recent years has been super greasy. HVAC and plumbing companies seem particularly brutal, but I guess that's what it takes for them to survive? Anyway, maybe it's just me, but it almost always makes me want to DIY.
Do you own a small business in NY? If so how much do you pay in health insurance? Liability Ins.? Disability Ins.? Payroll Taxes? How much payed holidays do you have? Payed sick leave? Personal days? 401k? Other employee benefit programs?
How much risk is there for every job you do, who pays when something goes wrong? Does it come right out of your pocket or does some other entity protect you?
How much do you pay your accountant, lawyer, financial advisor?
How much for advertisement?
With all the extra money you are making I am sure you have a continuing education program.
Maintenance and repairs?
Office expenses and supplies? Telephone, utilities?

Just to list a few that those grease balls must contend with.

Yeah so DIY, its easy. Especially if you have a job that grants you the time and energy to do so.
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Old 04-11-2022, 08:32 AM   #210
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I feel like perhaps I struck a nerve...

By greasy I mean dishonest. There's really no excuse for that. I understand it's a fine line to walk, and perhaps many people don't catch what I do, but I don't much care for it.

I feel like maybe I grew up and witnessed the end of an era when trades people used to have to rely on a reputation to stay in business - that died sometime in the 80s, early 90s. Now it seems you're just lucky to get anyone to even quote you and beyond that it's very difficult to get them to do what you need without cutting corners or throwing in some hidden costs.

Also, it's very much a skewed market. I could go on in great detail about how people in high dollar neighborhoods are the target market while people in lower middle class or poverty are forced to deal with situations on their own because they cannot afford these contractors or they will just give a ridiculous quote so you'll reject them. It's a function of our division of wealth, and I could give a million examples of why our system is broken.

Also, since everyone needs roughly the same types of services from our government, we see a huge imbalance between rich neighborhoods and poor. Poor neighborhoods pay astronomical property taxes with very low property values while those of in rich neighborhoods pay high taxes too, but in terms of % of their assessed or market value, it's incredibly lower. These towns are also able to control their schools much more rigorously and pay their teachers less for higher quality education. Some of the richest towns/school districts have the lowest paid teachers in the state. Actually if you want a high paid job in teaching, you're going to be working in the city where there is the highest need and the worst performance from students.

For example in this city, it's not uncommon for someone to pay $5k on property/school tax on a 100k home in a lower middle class neighborhood while someone in an upper middle class neighbor might pay $6k on a 250k house.

And for those people who have a 100k home which they pay $5k in taxes on, do you think they have a lot of extra money to spend on home improvement or energy upgrades? I would say in those neighborhoods, I see probably 6/10 houses degrading, whilst in the higher income neighborhoods, housing tracts and McMansions I see constant waste on superficial nonsense. Also those people can afford expensive contractors when something breaks in their home, where others need to take out home equity loans just to keep their house from falling to the ground.

I could go on at length... with 1000's of examples.
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Old 04-11-2022, 09:12 AM   #211
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Also FYI, I do own a LLC. I could never make any money with it, not in a million years. I only own it to give myself liability protection.

But that brings up a bigger issue, in that Americans can't afford their own labor. It's really the same issue that is going on with trades.

I saw it happen working for a big corporation. I saw the dissolution of the UAW in this city. I saw what it was like to work at a failing corporation, despite all measures to export labor, move HQ to avoid taxes, and cut important jobs all while maintaining an ugly, fear-ridden environment of blame. It's not a pretty picture. America has been failing miserably on every front but somehow there seems to be a class of rich who can never fail.
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Old 04-11-2022, 02:34 PM   #212
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I feel like perhaps I struck a nerve...

By greasy I mean dishonest. There's really no excuse for that. I understand it's a fine line to walk, and perhaps many people don't catch what I do, but I don't much care for it.

I feel like maybe I grew up and witnessed the end of an era when trades people used to have to rely on a reputation to stay in business - that died sometime in the 80s, early 90s.
I disaggree for my area. In my town I would say more people than not use contractors for typical home projects. There is a town specific mom's facebook group and a dad's facebook group. Most of the posts are people looking for a reputable contractor for a specific task. When a post is made there are usually 3-6 responses. These contractors enjoy the benefits of a steady stream of work all for the simple task of being professional and reputable. Unfortunately, the very popular ones sometimes get overwelmed and dont always return calls.

These groups also get inquiries for doctors, accountants, lawyers, gyms, etc. Anything that's legal. We also have local freecycle and buy nothing with high volume traffic.
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Old 04-11-2022, 02:48 PM   #213
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I'm not saying that's not entirely true - there are reputable contractors, but they come at a premium, and as I said in the following paragraph that creates a large division between neighborhoods - and of course the contractors are going to go for the higher dollar jobs in expensive neighborhoods.

I was talking more about the "group" contractors though - mechanical industries like HVAC and plumbing. They seem to be dominated now by them rather than single individuals. There are some good reasons for that, but I also rate them about as car dealerships in terms of honesty. I've never worked for one, but they do work on similar premises except they come to your home. I have worked for a car dealership before, and I'll say this for certain, they take advantage of a lot of people and still don't do well financially.

Last edited by montcalm; 04-13-2022 at 09:10 AM..
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