Sunset Hill House Goes Back to the Future With Solar Hot Water
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For over 100 years breathtaking views and refreshing mountain air have attracted travelers to Sunset Hill House, nestled in the heart of Franconia Notch and the White Mountains. Over the decades it has seen both travel and travelers change – from an era of regal vacationing that lasted all season long to the advent of motoring, day-trips, and now eco tourism.
Since buying the inn in 2000, innkeepers Lon and Nancy Henderson have sought to maintain the historic charm and amenities of the inn while making thoughtful improvements. Many of these reflect an environmental conscience – putting a conservation easement on 70 acres of land, switching over to green cleaning products, introducing recycling and now: harnessing sunshine to produce solar hot water.
“Investing in solar was a win-win for us,” says Nancy. “We were able to further our Environmental Champion status within the state of NH and are doing our part to support the natural beauty of this region, all while keeping our costs under control.”
A 26% federal tax credit, 25% NHPUC cash rebate, and considerable fuel savings all helped make the economic case for solar as strong as the environmental case for Sunset Hill House.
Heating water is one of the greatest energy loads of inns, and Sunset Hill House is no exception, with 22 rooms with private baths and a fine dining restaurant. Since the greatest need for hot water corresponds with the height of the summer season, solar hot water was a natural fit.
ReVision designed a system consisting of fifteen American-made flat plate solar hot water collectors which heat a custom-fabricated 650 gallon storage tank. On a bright summer day, the system will produce over 420,000 BTUs of clean solar energy, enough to provide close to 100% of the Inn’s domestic hot water demand for showering, laundry, dishwashing, etc. Backup hot water is provided by a Phoenix direct fired propane hot water heater.
With a predicted fuel savings of $7,360/year, the system is expected to pay for itself within 4 years after Sunset Hill takes advantage of all state and federal incentives. Meanwhile they will be saving over 79,000 lbs of CO2 each year!
“I love this system,” says Nancy, “It’s great to walk in in the morning and see that the tank temperature is 145°… for free! And when the temperature coming off the roof is 198°, I just grin all day..”
More Photos from Our Commercial Solar Photo Gallery:
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