Join us at the Common Ground Fair

September 19th, 2014 by ReVision Energy

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With the Common Ground Fair coming up (Fri – Sun, Sept 19-21) we thought it was time to re-share with you this video behind-the-scenes of our installation of an 11.7 kw grid-tied solar electric array on their lovingly restored historic barn. You can see the installation in person if you park at MOFGA’s south parking lot and enter the Fair through the Pine Gate.

Our roots are in the Liberty area and the Common Ground Fair feels like homecoming each year, when over 60,000 people come to little ol’ Waldo County to enjoy demonstrations, exhibits, talks, vendors galore and of course tons of delicious food! You’ll find us, per usual, in the Energy & Shelter tent, as well as with MPBN showcasing “The Booth” – our solar powered collaboration with public radio.

The Booth is a StoryCorps-inspired portable recording booth, and will be located next to MPBN’s display at the media area of the fair. You can enter the Booth and record a story, opinion, or viewpoint, which might later be heard on MPBN Radio. While you’re there, you can meet MPBN hosts, talk about your love of public media, and see a little bit of solar at work! The Booth is powered by a 75 watt solar panel and battery provided by ReVision Energy.


Solar a “No Brainer” for Builders at Benjamin and Company

September 15th, 2014 by ReVision Energy

Brunswick, Maine - Solar
A super efficient home built by Benjamin & Company for a homeowner in Brunswick, Maine.

We spoke with builder Ben Hemberger of Benjamin & Company about his high quality, energy efficient custom timber-frame home building business. We’ve collaborated with them on numerous projects where solar was integrated with the home design, and wanted to get a sense of what is drawing people in to build their homes better and when and how solar enters into the discussion.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background? How did you get interested in solar?

My father was an architect so I’ve been around the industry my entire life. I learned from my father that the carpentry trade is as much about building personal relationships and trust as it is about building houses. After exploring general carpentry, boat building and even architecture, I became interested in timber framing and went out and started my own business. We do a variety of high-end custom homes and timber framing, sometimes near net zero or passive homes but usually just looking for a ‘pretty good house.’

I’ve always been interested in energy efficient homes, starting out with solar in the mid 2000s though the technology wasn’t quite there yet. Flash forward to 2011, and I worked with ReVision for a home in Brunswick where we installed solar PV, solar hot water, and an integrated solar thermal heating system. Every home since has had solar PV. Today, it’s a no-brainer.

Can you tell us about a typical discussion with a prospective homeowner? Do you have to convince them solar is a good idea?

Our clients tend to come self-educated to a large degree: they already understand the value of solar and I don’t have to ‘sell’ it to them. Instead, we talk about the latest technology improvements, which is generally how affordable it is to generate your own electricity supply on-site with renewable solar energy, and then use that electricity to meet your heating and cooling needs with heat pumps. Once they look at the numbers, it’s a clear no-brainer.

Do people feel they need to make a trade-off between comfort and energy efficiency?

People know that solar and efficiency saves them money and is the right thing to do for the environment. What they often don’t realize, at first, is that it also results in a much more comfortable home to live in. An energy efficient house is more comfortable year-round and has higher indoor air quality. You don’t get surprise energy bills that are financially burdensome. You pay a little bit more upfront but enjoy a lifetime of peace of mind.

What one piece of advice would you give to people considering building a new home and trying to wade through all the options available to them?

Build as small and simply as you feel you can to save on energy and maintenance. It’s very popular to build bigger homes, but the reality is that the simpler you get, the easier it is to do all of this.


200 Year Old Barn Receives Sustainable Upgrades by a Custom Shoemaker

September 15th, 2014 by kimry

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For the past 40 years, Robert and Barbara have shared a love affair restoring this wonderful barn. To prepare it for solar, they pooled their resources together with the talents of their son, Eben, who grew up heavily influenced by working alongside his parents during their restoration efforts. Now a highly skilled craftsman and professional restorer himself, specializing in antique barns, he’s able to add his own preservation expertise. “He was very helpful in analyzing the structural condition of our barn and preparing it for the photovoltaic panel installation. By using vintage timbers, repairs were made to the frame without them being noticeable,” says Barbara, reflecting on the project, “It has been wonderful for us to work with Eben on this project, which has been a goal for many years, and we couldn’t have done it without him!”

Many old barns were built to take advantage of passive solar opportunities, since many might otherwise lack an alternative source of heat and light. A large roof expanse and south facing orientation are common ideals for a solar system. The Mathews barn in particular, is oriented opposing the quaint little road it lives on, so one might have to look closely to see the solar array as they pass by.

Their collective efforts entailed re-roofing nearly 2,000 square feet with metal before a 7.8 kilowatt solar electric array was mounted at the south facing center. This system is designed to offset their entire electric load for both the house and business, producing over 9,500 kilowatt hours annually, thus removing almost 7,000 pounds of CO2 emissions every year.

Their passion for sustainability began during Jimmy Carter’s Energy Program in the 80’s, where they installed a solar hot water system. They continue to garden organically and heat primarily with wood cut from their land. “We have three grandchildren, with a fourth due at Thanksgiving, so we are thinking about the world we will be passing on to them. With all the concern about the environment and climate change it’s hard not to want to help in some way,” says Barbara.

A little about your hosts, Robert and Barbara Mathews:
Robert began his career at an early age, deeply influenced by the traditions of his shoemaking family. Today he works closely with his wife Barbara, who contributes her talents for color and design. Together they have created a unique business, all while raising a family and restoring this antique farmstead.

“Custom Shoemaking is all about our clients”, says Barbara, whose process includes a deep understanding of the needs of people and their feet, since many clients are looking for shoes to accommodate a wide range of foot issues. “We work with each individual client to fulfill their personal fitting requirements and design ideas and find it especially gratifying to help people with foot problems be comfortable and happy in their shoes, often for the first time in their lives.” Other clients simply seek a high quality, handmade shoe with special leathers or colors. And then there are those who have all of these goals for their shoes. ”Being able to create something with our hands that contributes to the well-being and satisfaction of others is the inspiration for our business.”

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ReVision Energy is honored to collaborate with The NH Preservation Alliance*  for an open house scheduled for Thursday, September 18th from 5-7pm. Light food and drink will be served, followed by a session on solar energy and tour of the barn.

Please RSVP for address to Kimry at 603 679 1777 or kimry@revisionenergy.com.

*The Preservation Alliance is New Hampshire’s non-profit, membership-based organization committed to the preservation of historic landmarks, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy.


Carbon Standards Will Fight Pollution, Add Jobs

September 8th, 2014 by christine

ReVision Energy co-founder, Phil Coupe recently submitted this editorial to the New Hampshire Business Review, it appeared in the September 5, 2014 issue of New Hampshire Business Review.

Although the United States emits the highest per capita carbon pollution in the world (40 percent coming from power plants), we are lulled into complacency because these harmful gases are tasteless, odorless and colorless. It’s hard for any society to combat an invisible enemy.

That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency finally released new draft carbon standards for power plants this summer. The new standards immediately came under attack from fossil fuel industry lobbyists, conservative politicians and other “deniers” who, despite overwhelming scientific data proving that the carbon pollution from 7 billion people is warming the atmosphere at an unsustainable rate, are saying we don’t have a problem.

Read the full article here: http://www.nhbr.com/September-5-2014/Carbon-standards-will-fight-pollution-add-jobs/


ReVision Named #25 in the Nation for Rooftop Solar

September 8th, 2014 by ReVision Energy

Solar installer on Roof in NHWe already have told you about our ambitions to be on the Cover of Solar Pro magazine, but we received a more immediate honor this past month in being named top #25 in the country for rooftop solar installers in Solar Power World’s Top 2014 Solar Contractors, and #148 overall (of 400). This distinction is specifically related to amount of solar energy installed, but, our marketing efforts were specifically highlighted in a follow up story on solar companies who use marketing well.

Given that this was a national report, with no adjustment for geographic location, size of market or local rebates, we are immensely proud! We have an incredible team of installers who get out onto the rooftops every day to safely and efficiently install solar energy systems. Our office team prides themselves on legendary customer service, and we have YOU to thank as well for being a supporter of our company as we have grown from a tiny shop run out of the Liberty area to a multi-location outfit with close to 80 employees. Oh, and did we mention we’re still hiring?

Solar Power World Top 2014 Solar Installers