Downeast Maine Solar HomeAnn Logan and Chris Eccles left England in 2006 to build a new home in Maine. Ann, a US citizen with family ties to Maine knew that Maine had attractive sunny summers, but that winters could be long and cold. Building a home with energy efficient systems in place would ensure low energy costs for years to come.

“Concerned about the effects of global warming, US dependence on fossil fuel and volatile fuel costs, we decided to build a solar home,” Ann says.  “We wanted to live a modern lifestyle in a value for money home that consumes less energy than the typical US household.”

The home was designed to be passive solar, utilizing the natural energy from the sun for heating purposes. The home is well insulated with good windows to provide for minimal heat loss. There is a wood burning stove that supplies some of the heat load when burning.

The homeowners have installed a solar active hot water and heating system, designed and installed by ReVision Energy, with a high efficiency propane boiler acting as the backup. They use energy efficient appliances and plan to install a solar electric system that is grid-tied in the near future.

The solar hot water array is made up of (3) 30 Apricus evacuated tubes heating a 160 gallon Stiebel Eltron solar hot water tank. This system generates enough hot water for all of the domestic hot water needs.

Excess heat from the system can go into the radiant floor heating system providing some of the space heating needs of the house.

This is most effective in spring and fall when modest heating is required, but even in winter it can contribute. On a sunny summer day, the system can heat 160 gallons of water from cold up to about 170 degrees F. In winter, it can reach about 115 degrees F in a day, which is more than hot enough for a shower or bath.

To learn more about the steps Chris & Ann took to build themselves an energy efficient home, visit their website: www.downeastsolarhome.com.