Archive for the ‘Residential Projects’ Category

Coastal Cohousing Community Wins North American Copper in Architecture Award

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Salt Marsh Cohousing
The decision to use copper extensively on the Coastal Cohousing Community project was a carefully considered one, as low maintenance and long durability were high on the owners’ list of priorities.

The ease of adapting copper to a variety of conditions and configurations allowed the architects to design all eaves, rakes, dormers and chimneys entirely in copper. This was both performance-enhancing and an aesthetic benefit. The result is a contemporary interpretation of the classic New England building form.

Full story is available here: http://www.copper.org/applications/architecture/awards/winners.html


Another New Solar Electric Installation in Andover

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Outdoors-Solar-Installation-0129
Revision Energy of Exeter installed another photovoltaic array in Andover last month.

The 18 panels should provide about 5.4 kilowatts of electricity over the course of a year, enough to power the entire household. Any excess power goes into the New Hampshire Electric Co-op’s grid for other NHEC customers to use. Revision recently announced a new program that lets qualified homeowners add solar with no money down.

Full story is available here: http://andoverbeacon.com/index.php/12934/another-new-solar-electric-installation-in-andover/


Solar Q&A: Dr. Ron Davis, Professor Emeritus at UMaine Climate Change Institute

Monday, August 4th, 2014
Ron Davis Ground Mount Solar, Orono, ME

Dr. Ron Davis with ReVision Energy Master Electrician Ryan Herz in front of Davis’s ground-mounted solar electric array in Orono, Maine

Professor Ron Davis served at UMaine’s climate school for over 30 years before retiring, and in the decade since has improved his home and lifestyle to the point where he and his wife consume almost no fossil fuel.  He is also an avid bird photographer and took time from a recent trip to Nome, Alaska, to talk to us about his solar efforts.

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

I’ve been in Maine since the 1950s.  I taught at Colby for 10 years before moving up to UMaine at Orono to join the (then) just-starting Climate Change Institute. I worked there for over 30 years before retiring in 2003. My focus was on paleoecology, reconstructing past ecosystems by analyzing pollen and other remains in lake sediment and peat. These deposits offer us clues about the ecosystems and environments of the distant past and the living conditions of the ancient peoples. Of course, all this helps us to understand climate change and what is normal and what is outside the norm.

The understandings I acquired in my teaching and research have had an impact on how I act as an individual living on this planet. As a scientist, I believe in the scientific process and what scientists are saying about climate change, especially as I have evaluated the findings of climate scientists from my own critical point of view.  My wife, Lee, is also a scientist and shares this point of view.  Through that lens, we feel a powerful sense of responsibility in regards to our personal consumption of fossil fuels on this planet, and we set out to do something about it.

So what pushed you to go from solar enthusiast to solar customer?

When I retired in 2003 we invested some of our savings into a series of renewable energy projects. We started with a solar hot water system, which provides nearly all of our home’s domestic hot water use, continued with a geothermal heat pump for all our home’s heating and cooling, and finally added a large (11kw) ground-mount solar photovoltaic system for all of our household need for electricity. When we planned the size of the solar electric array, we included enough capacity to power an electric car for all of our local transportation.  We were finally able to buy that car last November, a Nissan LEAF, which we have named ‘SUNCAR.’

With the LEAF, we find we hardly ever need to use our regular car (a Toyota Prius) except for when we go on long trips. Overall, we have gone from quite a substantial carbon footprint for our household and local transportation to almost none.

How’s the solar life? Anything else on the horizon?

We are excited that our work has inspired others in our community and we are now working with a local (Orono-area) group to discuss progressive issues ranging from environmental justice to peace-making. We’ve opened up our home for others who wish to see how they can combine all of these technologies together to save money and greatly reduce their burden on this planet.


Solar is Patriotic for Retired Army Captain

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Marcus Therrien - US Army Capt Goes Solar

Retired US Army Capt Marcus Therrien, who served as combat medic and Army Nurse, outside his home in Southern Maine

Retired Army Capt. Marcus Therrien served in Iraq as a US Army Nurse and combat medic, but those days seem long behind him now on a warm sunny day at his suburban home in Southern Maine. Marcus now works full-time for his own building company, Wood Cove Builders (“The first time I’ve worked one job in my life,” he jokes) and enjoys spending his free time with family and friends. While he misses his Army brothers and sisters, he feels that having served as an Army Nurse, he has already worked the best job anyone can work.  Now, Marcus feels he’s made the best investment anyone can make: solar.

The Therrien’s home boasts a solar hot water system that on a good sunny day will have his domestic hot water supply at 150 degrees Fahrenheit before lunchtime. His 5.6 kw photovoltaic array generates most of the electricity consumed in his home, and allows him to enjoy guilt-free creature comforts, such as his Jacuzzi, knowing his power does not come from fossil fuel sources.

Preventing Another “War for Oil”

“I saved up the money from my deployment checks and put them into solar,” Therrien says, “It’s my part to do what’s right for our country and the planet, and it’s a lot easier to do than most people think. We’ve all got to do our part so we don’t get into another war for oil.”

Marcus also takes pride in the sense of independence that solar gives him. He heats his home mainly with wood, so with domestic hot water and electric loads taken care of, his home’s utility bills are next to nothing. This gives him a powerful peace of mind as he approaches retirement. “When electricity gets 3x what it is now, I won’t have to work extra or go out of retirement,” Marcus says. “The solar is as good as money in the bank.”

“Really, it’s a dream come true,” Marcus added. “I don’t want to live in a McMansion or anything crazy like that. We all need to smarten up, and conserve what we’ve got. I’ve seen what it takes to protect our oil interests and don’t want to be any part of that anymore. The government – and all of us – should be pushing as hard as possible to get this technology adopted on as large a scale as possible. We know we can do it, I’ve seen Fort Dix which has solar panels all over it. We just need to stop thinking it’s so hard and make it happen.”

Proudly Helping Veterans Go Solar

ReVision Energy is proud to count Marcus and many other veterans in our clientele, and we would like to express our deepest thanks for their service to the United States.  For the month of July, we are offering a special incentive – veterans of all conflicts are eligible for a $300-$500 discount on solar photovoltaic systems (depending on system size), $300 on solar hot water, and $200 on heat pump systems. The discount applies to both financed and cash purchased systems. The veterans discount overrides any other discounts available.  Contact us to learn more.


NH Homeowner: Solar is “The Best Thing I’ve ever Done”

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Solar home in Dover New Hampshire

A proud “Conservative card carrying member of the Sierra Club,” Mark Boren has a passion for protecting the environment that derives from a College Civics class. “The professor told me, ‘If you take one thing away from this class, it’s this – if you care about something, do something about it,’ and for me that was that something was the environment,” Mark says. “But it took a lot of years and buying my own home before I could do something big.”

Something big, in this case, was a triumverate of systems: solar hot water, solar electricity, and air source heat pumps, which combine to evict oil from the Borens’ home and nearly eliminate their electric bill.

“I think a lot of people want to do the right thing, but they always have an excuse – it’s too hard, it’s too expensive, what different will it make?” Mark says. “I guess I was sort of that way – I thought solar, how can I ever afford that? – until I came across one of your lawn signs in front of a neighbor of mine who was going with one of your systems. I called you guys up and I found out that the system was a lot more affordable than I thought it would be and would save me a lot of money.”

Renewable Energy Trio

Mark’s home in suburban Dover, New Hampshire had ample south-facing roofspace to handle two flat plate solar hot water collectors and seventeen photovoltaic (PV) collectors. The solar hot water will provide 80% or more of his family’s domestic hot water from the sun alone, while the PV collectors will provide roughly 5,779 kWhs of electricity annually. The heat pump, a ductless Fujitsu unit, is capable of producing 15,000 BTU per hour and can operate in temperatures as low as -20°F. It can run in one mode for heating, or in the reverse to provide cooling.

The new generation of high-efficiency heat pumps has lead to a beautiful synergy with solar electric technology, which has declined in cost by more that 50% in the last five years. In many homes, it may not be practical to completely remove an oil boiler, but the heat pump can providing comfort-level heat in most of the home, allowing the oil system’s thermostat to be set to a much lower temperature. Even a single heat pump can save hundreds of gallons of oil, and 2-3 units can comfortably heat many homes. Solar panels combined with heat pumps provide heat for a home for the equivalent price of under $1/gallon for oil.

Solar Changed My Life

For Mark’s part, the system has a lot of fringe benefits besides saving money. “It may sound corny,” he says, “But solar has changed my life. Anytime it’s a sunny day, I have an extra smile on my face. It’s maybe the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Next on his horizon? An electric car. “We pay almost $400 a month on gasoline,” he says, “I’d like to see that bill disappear too.”