Solar power–both passive and active–have added up to Platinum Earth Advantage certification for an Oregon timber frame home. The house, designed by New Hampshire-based Davis Timber Frame Company, was designed to be entirely off the grid.
Homeowners and independent representatives for the company worked together on the design, which was created with the intention of maintaining comfortable indoor temperature based largely on the house’s structure and orientation (i.e., passive solar), while relying on renewable energy for its power needs. A solar hot water system supplies radiant heating through the floors to augment heat provided directly by the sun, as well as domestic hot water for inhabitants. Back-up power–as well as the juice for cooking food and drying clothes–is provided by propane (less than 500 gallons a year).
The house is also off-grid, getting its electrical needs supplied from batteries powered by photovoltaic panels. The broad side of the home and the majority of its windows face primarily south for optimum solar exposure for winter heating and photovoltaic electricity generation.
Taking all of this into consideration–as well as the renewable and/or recycled materials used in construction–the Earth Advantage Instute of Portland estimated that the energy needed to operate the Smith’s home was one-third that of a conventionally constructed home, giving it a carbon footprint just one fifth that of the average US house. The home also earned the 2009 Green Building Award from Central Oregon Builders Association.
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