In progress photo of Browne home in Rockport, Massachusetts. Great solar orientation and a tight, well-insulated building envelope makes it possible for this home to heat and cool 100% from solar electricity.

Mason & Joan Browne of Rockport, Massachusetts, tell their story of working with ReVision in their own words:

My wife and I purchased a large, very sunny, undeveloped lot in Rockport, MA. Given the trend towards building more energy efficient houses, plus the related trend to minimize the use of fossil fuels, we decided to build (what we hope to be) a net-zero energy house that uses no fossils fuels.

We asked ourselves: Given these design constraints, was such a house even practical or feasible to build? – Our architect [Treehouse Design] suggested we talk with ReVision Energy.

After speaking with several solar companies, we realized that most solar companies only install solar panels. However, we needed a more comprehensive service. Not only did we need to know how much power various solar panel configurations would produce, we also needed to approximately match that production output to our projected total energy demands to heat, cool, light, and cook. Without that knowledge, we wouldn’t know if we could realistically meet our net-zero energy, all-electric goals.

In an all-electric house, the largest energy use is associated with the heating and cooling systems. ReVision suggested the ideal solution would be to heat/cool the house with an air-source heat pump system that was paired to a solar system. Since we had limited knowledge of what such a system was, ReVision provided a tour of one of their recently completed solar and heat pump projects so that we could ask the owner questions and get comfortable with the products, especially the air-source heat pumps. ReVision also proactively worked with us and our architect on optimal roof dimensions, provided electric power supply/demand forecasts for the house, plus answered various code questions we had about solar design, system placements, etc.

This is especially true given the number of federal, state, and regional incentive programs to encourage the building of these more energy efficient, ‘low carbon’ houses. These incentive programs are quite confusing and ever evolving. Good luck trying to figure them out by yourself! However, ReVision guided us through this incentive morass, and helped us in applying for our credits.

Thank you, Mason & Joan! We look forward to checking in on this system after a few months of solar production and heating bills have come in, so we can provide a more in-depth case study of the process we use to analyze solar production and square it with the needs of a heating system.

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