Archive for the ‘Residential Projects’ Category

Mt. Vernon Couple Powers Heat, Business, and Life with Solar PV

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Wayne Davis Solar Powered Heat Pump

Wayne Davis with his solar powered heat pump!

When Wayne Davis and his wife Christine bought an old village garage in 2003, solar wasn’t part of their grand renovation plan.

The garage / service station, perched on the northwest shore of Minnehonk Lake in Mount Vernon, ME, had been abandoned for many years… and had seen better days. “It took me a year and a half to make it livable, and another year and a half to fix it up,” says Wayne, a retired professor of marine ecology and current course leader with Landmark Worldwide.

Twelve years later, their home is also their business, The Lakeside Loft. “Our vision was always to have this place be a lure for friends and family,” says Wayne, and with many repeat guests arriving year after year to enjoy the swimming, kayaking and canoeing right outside Lakeside Loft’s door, that vision is assured.

The Road to Solar

Wayne met ReVision for the first time in 2013 at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, ME, and had a positive experience from the start. “It’s obvious that ReVision is committed to creating a better future, that they’re here for the long term. With solar, it’s about much more than energy – it’s about stability and independence as well.”

A few months later, Wayne committed to an on-site evaluation with ReVision system designer Hans Albee. According to Wayne, “Hans answered all of my questions, was very helpful and accessible, but he also deepened my education about solar. He gave me good advice and left room to ask questions, and I was allowed to make decisions that were right for me.”

After conducting a shade analysis and learning more about his site, Wayne learned his standing seam metal roof could handle twice as much solar electric as he would need to offset his CMP bill. With that in mind, Wayne looked into offsetting his oil heating costs with air source heat pumps.

Now Wayne and Christine’s rooftop is covered with 33 Canadian Solar panels, each rated at 255 watts, and have three heat pumps within the building – one in their primary residence and two to heat and cool their guest rooms. Thankfully, Wayne has also taken care to keep track of his solar production!

Solar PV Generation - Wayne Davis

The Future Depends on Today

“Our installation team, especially Ryan (Herz, master electrician), was very knowledgeable,” says Wayne. “I’ve been so happy with ReVision’s extraordinary customer service. I can trust in the product and the people. One of the key elements to a successful business is happy employees – if you don’t take care of the people who take care of the customers, it’s apparent – with ReVision, you can see happiness on everyone’s faces.”

When asked about the future of energy, Wayne is optimistic. “Our saving grace is that the next generation will be so capable – they’ll have a great capacity to handle the things we can’t. The future is in development right now, and we’re waking up to what we need versus what we really don’t, especially as resources are shrinking.” Wayne calls to mind a memorable quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: “‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’ The truth is that it’s cost effective to live as brothers, and it’s also an imperative.”

The Lakeside Loft is ready to welcome you in 2015! Learn more about Wayne and Christine’s guest house at http://www.thelakesideloft.com/.


An energy-efficient, solar-powered home in Canterbury

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

mcguinn-smith-house-canterbury-nhPowered by the sun and heated with not one drop of fossil fuel, Ruth Smith and Beth McGuinn’s home reflects their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency—and a passion to share their knowledge and home with others.

The two-story, 1,800-square-foot saltbox-style home, called FeatherLeaf Farm, has been opened to the public during several home and garden tours hosted by church, community and green building groups—both during and after construction.

“We wanted to build a green, energy-efficient home that would be accessible to people,” she says. “We want to show this is a house anybody can build. We didn’t want it to be a complicated science project.”

Full article available here: http://www.nhhomemagazine.com/March-April-2015/An-energy-efficient-solar-powered-home-in-Canterbury/


Near Net Zero on a Community Scale

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

belfast cohousing solar
In December 2013, an ice storm caused an extended power outage in Maine, leaving many residents scrambling to keep their pipes from freezing. But even with no utility electricity for five days, below-freezing temperatures, primarily overcast conditions, and no supplemental heat, the homes at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage (BC&E) lost only 2°F a day, on average, for a total drop of 8°F to 10°F. Nearby homes, by contrast, were below freezing after 24 hours.

Although the homes aren’t certified, the Passive House Institute US standards guided the design process. A southerly orientation; generous south-facing glazing; triple-pane windows and doors; lots of insulation; airtight construction; and a compact footprint resulted in a 90% reduction in the energy used for space heating compared to the average house. The homes share walls, reducing the exterior surface area and heat loss to the outside.

Full article is available here: http://www.homepower.com/articles/home-efficiency/project-profiles/near-net-zero-community-scale


Durham natives provide low-cost solar energy

Monday, December 29th, 2014

sunraise-logoSunRaise Investments, a solar energy financing company started this year by Durham natives, eventually will save an estimated $60,000 in electricity costs for The White Mountain School in Bethlehem.

The deal is based on a long-term energy contract, called a power purchase agreement, in which the school agrees to host the 43kW solar array on its roof and purchase the electricity being produced. SunRaise then provides the school with below market electricity that insulates the school from volatile price spikes associated with fossil fuels.

“The dialogue has changed in a wonderful way. It’s no longer just the right thing to do, it’s also the cost-effective way to source electricity,” says Jackson.

SunRaise partnered with ReVision Energy, a local solar energy company to install the system. ReVision has installed almost 4,000 residential solar systems in New Hampshire and Maine as well as dozens of commercial systems, advancing solar in the region for more than 11 years.

Full article available here: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141229/GJBUSINESS_01/141229519/0/SEARCH


Retired Mill Worker Invests Solar to Further Self-Sufficiency

Monday, December 15th, 2014
Bob & Bonnie Morrison of Norridgewock Go Solar

Bob and Bonnie Morrison stand in front of their pole-mount solar electric array by their home in Norridgewock, Maine

For Bob Morrison of Norridgewock, solar was something he’d dreamed of for decades. Upon retiring in 2011 after working for nearly thirty years at the Sappi Fine Paper Mill in Skowhegan, he decided to take self-sufficiency to a new level. In addition to having an enviable garden, various apple trees and a knack for canning and freezing, Bob and his wife Bonnie can now harvest sunshine for their energy needs.

Their first step toward an energy-smart home was to install a TED (The Energy Detective), a small monitoring device that can tell homeowners how much power is being used and where. With the help of this tool, the Morrisons cut their energy use in half from roughly 600 kilowatt hours a month to just over 300. “We consolidated our freezers, put appliances on timers, and cut back on using the dryer – we use the clothesline whenever we can,” says Bob. “I must look at the TED twenty times a day.”

Knowing that the costs of solar had come down substantially in recent years, Bob did some online research and was soon in touch with John Luft from ReVision’s Liberty branch. The reduction in their electric usage meant that Bob and Bonnie’s first solar array – a 7 kilowatt rooftop system featuring twenty-six USA-made solar panels installed in winter of 2013 – not only covered their household electric usage, but also allowed them to power their Chevy Volt using solar energy.

“I was able to get the $2,000 (Efficiency Maine) rebate before the program expired, so my first installation cost roughly $13,500 after the rebate and federal tax credit,” says Bob. After combining his CMP savings from solar with the gasoline saved with their electric car, Bob figures his first solar installation will pay for itself in roughly six and a half years. “I consider myself an investor – I’ve invested in stocks and now I’ve invested in solar.”

Expanding Solar to Heat and Cool

Norridgewock, ME Solar - Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF

This pole-mounted solar electric array will provide plenty of electricity to power these two electric cars, the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF

ReVision is currently working with Bob and Bonnie to install two pole-mounted arrays for another 7.2 kilowatts of solar capacity. In addition to protecting themselves against anticipated CMP rate hikes in early 2015, Bob and Bonnie will now have homegrown kilowatt hours to power their mini-split heat pump and heat pump water heater, as well as their second vehicle, a Nissan LEAF, further reducing their need to purchase fossil fuels for their vehicles or their home. As Bob says, “Whether or not you believe in climate change, why defile the only planet you can live on?”

And though natural gas lines go right by their house, the Morrisons decided not to hook up, citing volatile and uncontrollable costs. “Natural gas appears cheap now, but it won’t be for long,” says Bob. “And as long as the sun comes out, we’ll have solar energy right here.”

Now every time the sun shines, the Morrisons can take heart that regardless of what happens to fuel and electric prices, they’ve locked in costs for years to come. “I don’t have a fuel bill,” says Bob, “not for my house or my cars. I’m a Mainer – I like to be self-sufficient. For me, solar is a no brainer – I only wish I could have done it sooner.”