October 5

10:00:00

Throughout Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts

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Join ReVision Energy in touring Maine,  New Hampshire and Massachusett’s green homes during NESEA Green Building’s Open House!  This event allows you to visit a variety of homes with eco-friendly features, ranging from insulation improvements, to renewable heating systems and of course lots of solar. As in years past, many ReVision customers are on the tour and welcome you to visit their home between 10am-4pm on Saturday, October 5th!

Southern Maine
Midcoast/Downeast Maine
New Hampshire & Massachusetts

Southern Maine

Sanford, ME Solar Home
Cliff Babkirk
65 Sand Pond Road ~ Sanford, ME

In 2011 the Babkirks installed thirty-five 235 watt Conergy P solar electric panels to their roof to total 8,225 watts. The system utilizes thirty-five Enphase micro-inverters ( one under each panel) which produces on average 10,281 kilowatt hours of clean, renewable electricity each year or 856 kilowatt hours a month. By reducing this amount of electricity taken from the utility grid the Babkirk’s are offsetting their carbon footprint by over 10,000 pounds a year!

Russell 363 House
Jessica & Todd Russell
363 Deering Ave ~ Portland, ME

How do you design a home that…

  • Fits the small-space requirements of an in-town (Portland, Maine) lot,
  • Meets the needs of not just any family, but that of your daughter’s family, consisting of the husband/wife, infant son and two large dogs?
  • Meets exacting accessibility standards, since your daughter is a quadriplegic?
  • Is near net zero to boot?

These challenges might scare off many architects, but not John Gordon, who met this challenge with enthusiasm! The home is all electric, using an air to water heat pump for radiant heat powered by solar energy. There is a 7.2 kilowatt grid tied solar electric array, which will produce roughly 8,830 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. The home also features a solar hot water system consisting of two Wagner solar hot water collectors and a Caleffi solar storage tank with electric backup. All told, the combination of aggressive air sealing and efficient systems should equal very small operating costs for the Russell family – the energy model predicts total annual costs for the home to be about $300 annually.

McDonough Family with Solar Electric System

Deb & Jim McDonough
6 Minuteman Drive ~ Scarborough, ME

This home was built in 1994 with a standard energy profile and is now carbon neutral.
The conversion began in 2007 with the installation of a 60-tube Apricus solar hot water heating system which allowed the boiler to stay off through the summer. Later on, another 40 Apricus tubes were installed to feed heat into the radiant floors in the kitchen and reduce the boiler load further into the spring and fall. In 2012 the purchase of a fully automated Okofen pellet boiler eliminated the oil tank for good! Then a 3.3 kilowatt solar electric array was installed in 2009 with an additional 2 kilowatt in 2012 to cover the total annual electric usage for this family of six (their newly purchased all-electric Nissan Leaf may send them back for a few more solar panels). Every project is projected to pay for itself through energy savings within the lifetime of the equipment – some projects generating net savings much more quickly.

King house with solar
Claudia King
160 Woodville Road ~ Falmouth, ME

The house was originally built in 1975, using passive solar features & a wide variety of salvaged materials, including posts and beams from a 19th century mill building. Low indoor comfort due to poor shell insulation and high air infiltration eventually led to a renovation project: a deep energy retrofit to drastically reduce energy needs, with Net Zero as the goal. The renovation project included new exterior rigid foam insulation, windows and cladding, while reusing or keeping the original salvaged materials used when the house was built. This home produces over 7,000 kilowatt hours of clean, solar electricity each year and their domestic hot water is provided by solar evacuated tubes with back up to the hot water coming from electricity. The primary heating is provided by low energy air source heat pumps, with supplemental heat coming from a wood stove. Deep eaves and slatted sunshades help prevent overheating in the summer, while allowing winter solar gain. The home’s extensive use of LED lighting is expected to reduce the lighting load to about a third of the usage of a conventional home.

Sanford Home with PV and Solar Hot Water
Robin & Rob Sanford
92 Mosher Road Gorham, ME

This Gorham home has both solar hot water and solar electricity offsetting its energy loads. There are forty solar evacuated tubes heating the domestic hot water for this home. The tubes provide heat for a well insulated, German-made tank with backup coming from the existing oil boiler. The hot water collectors allow the boiler to remain off all summer long so these home owners don’t need to hear the boiler come on during the hot summer months! Also installed are twelve solar electric modules, each with its own micro-inverter. The micro-inverters are ideal for applications where shade might pose as an issue during different times of the day. Since this system is grid-tied with no batteries, excess electricity feeds back into the utility grid whenever the panels make more electricity than the home is able to use.

Ledman House
Paul Ledman
62 Cumberland Ave ~ Portland, ME

This four-story apartment project in Portland’s Munjoy Hill neighborhood is one of the most high-tech buildings in Maine. It produces 9,600 kilowatt hours of solar electricity annually, uses air source heat pumps, a heat recovery ventilation system, and solar thermal hot water. With three units and over 4,500 square feet, there is no furnace required. This is a net zero home designed and built by Portland’s Kaplan Thompson Architects and Mike White of Island Carpentry. The building is very air tight; the outside walls are more than 9 inches thick, keeping the heat in for the winter and the hot air out in the summer. The building’s air source heat pumps provide heat in the winter and cool air in the summer months while the ninety hot water tubes on the roof of the building, provide hot water to three hot water tanks (one for each unit) and the back up to the hot water tanks is solar. Since the solar electric panels offset all the building’s electrical needs, there is no oil or natural gas in this building (the only propane used is for the kitchen stoves, a personal preference of the building owners).

Kedel Pellet Boiler
Melanie Collins
257 Middle Road ~ Falmouth, ME

Melanie is dedicated to environmental issues and wants to educate and support clean energy sources. This year, Melanie installed both a solar hot water system to provide for all her hot water needs and a Kedel wood pellet boiler to replace her oil boiler completely. There are two Wagner flat plate hot water collectors on the south facing roof providing for the domestic hot water load which is stored in a tank in the basement. This tank is 80 gallons and well insulated, whenever the sun is not able to provide enough energy for the tank the pellet boiler will do the rest. These Kedel pellet boilers are fully automated and require no backup, providing a simple and elegant solution to reduce your home’s heating costs by 40-50% and lower CO2 emissions by 90%. Imagine having a pellet delivery vehicle come to your home in the winter instead of the oil truck!

Mikula House
Tom & Kathy Mikulka
6 Arrow Point Road ~ Cape Elizabeth, ME

Tom and Kathy have been long time passionate environmentalists. They were looking to explore how they could offset some of their propane consumption and in early 2013 invested in a solar hot water system. The solar hot water system consists of two Wagner flat plate collectors connected to a 52 gallon indirect solar tank. This tank pre-heats water that feeds into their already existing hot water tank to have a total of just over 100 gallons of solar heated hot water at their disposal for showering, dishwashing, laundry, etc. The propane is connected to the tank to provide heat when the solar is not able to keep up with the demand, always ensuring a constant supply of hot water at the tap.

Roger Normand House
Roger Normand
18 Edgewater Lane ~ Saco, ME

This newly constructed home has been built to Passive House standard, a standard that builds 90% more energy efficient than U.S. code. There are only 200 or so homes currently in the United States built to this rigorous standard. Sited to perfect southern orientation and with views of the Saco River, the exterior has an additional 4″ EPS/Roxul insulation, factory built double stud exterior walls spaced 14″ apart, factory built roof trusses, with special attention to air sealing and thermal breaks. In addition, there is a 6 kilowatt solar electric system on the roof, which will provide enough energy for all of its consumption, making this a net zero home.

LaChance Solar Home
Aaron Lachance & Brigitte Kearney
6 Temple Street ~ Westbrook, ME

Aaron & Brigitte’s single family ranch in Westbrook is heated with super efficient ductless heat pumps. Their family’s open concept home utilizes two Fujitsu RLS2 air source heat pumps; one 15,000 btu and one 12,000 btu unit. Previously, they were heating with a kerosene monitor and resistive electric. Now their two heat pumps handle the majority of the heating load. If the temperature falls below -5°F, the resistive electric system kicks on to provide backup heat. By making the switch, their heating bills for the year are less than $565 saving them over $850 per year.

Midcoast/Downeast Maine

Arrowsic, Maine - Solar Hot Water and Solar Power

Al Heath
37 Stonetree Road ~ Arrowsic, ME

Al’s Cold Climate Home features sixteen Suniva American-made solar electric panels added this year to compliment his super-insulated home. He’s had solar hot water working for several years eliminating his need to use oil in the summertime to heat his water, now his home is close to net zero thanks to clean solar electric generation.

Steve Seekins with his solar roof

Homeowner, Steve Seekins with solar electric panels installed on his roof

Steve Seekins
18 Tyler Lane ~ Clark Island, ME

Along the mid-coast sits an incredibly efficient and beautiful home overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Clark Island, Maine. Along with a on-site wind turbine, this home uses insulated concrete form for the structure and the walls are well insulated, equivalent to R-40. The heat and domestic hot water comes from a 75kBtu Rinnai combination boiler with radiant heat on the first floor, garage floor and later for the planned enclosed porch. A Fujitsu mini-split heat pump to provides for additional heating and cooling on the second floor and also acts as a dehumidifier to help protect their library collection. Last winter, a 7.5 kilowatt solar electric system was installed, utilizing a SMA Sunny Boy inverter. The homeowner makes all the electricity they use with clean energy technology.

Rammed Earth House

Sue Turner & Karl Karnaky
43 Bayview Drive ~ Bar Harbor, ME

Sue and Karl’s beautiful rammed earth house in Bar Harbor features 24-inch thick rammed earth walls, a 5.3 kW grid-tied solar electric system, a solar hot water system and electric heat, bringing them close to achieving net zero! The rammed earth walls are made of a soil mixture excavated from the basement area, crushed stone, sand and Portland cement rammed with backfill tampers – a technique used in building part of the Great Wall of China. Also, to keep the house super insulated, there is 4 inches of polyurethane foam insulation and triple glazed windows. Currently, this is believed to be the only known rammed earth home in New England!

You can learn more here: http://www.energysage.com/project/6646/rammed-earth-house/

Horch PV Roof Close-up

Fred & Hadley Horch
44 Pleasant Street ~ Brunswick, ME

Fred and Hadley Horch have both solar hot water and solar electricity on their home, systems that they installed almost exactly one year apart from one another. The Horch’s decided to reduce the energy they were using for their domestic hot water first and in 2012 installed 60 solar evacuated tubes on their south facing roof to provide for their domestic hot water. Whenever there is not enough sun to keep up with the domestic hot water load, the back up electrical element will come on to heat the tank. In 2013, the Horch family installed fourteen 240-watt SunPower panels connected to one SMA grid tied inverter which will produce close to 4,000 kilowatt hours of clean electricity each year.

Sensinig Solar Home
Doug Sensinig & Jenny Bell
32 William Glen Drive ~ Camden, ME

Earlier this year Doug and Jenny installed twenty 260-watt Suniva solar electric panels with a 5,000 watt SMA inverter, predicted to produce close to 6,000 kilowatt hours of clean electricity for their home each year. The solar electric system is grid-connected and will feed excess electricity back into the grid anytime they produce more electricity than they are able to use. The excess electricity shows up in the form of a credit on their bill, which they are able to use for up to twelve months.

Maple Hill Farm Bed & Breakfast Inn & Conference Center with solar

Maple Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast Inn and Conference Center
11 Inn Road ~ Hallowell, ME
Note: This site is available for viewing from 10am – 3pm only.

In 2007 Maple Hill Farm flipped the switch to what was at the time Maine’s largest solar energy array; one hundred, twenty-six 120-watt Evergreen solar electric panels were installed to total 15 kilowatts of solar energy. This system will produce on average 16,000 kilowatt hours of clean electricity each year. The solar electricity works in conjunction with a 10 kilowatt wind turbine to provide the Inn and Conference Center with a good portion of their electrical needs. A solar hot water system was also installed to heat large hot water storage tanks. There are 200 evacuated solar tubes on the roof providing enough hot water for the guests to shower, use the whirlpool tubs and for the needs of the kitchen facilities. Back up to the hot water comes from an efficient oil fired boiler. Maple Hill Farm, located on 130 acres neighboring our state capital, has earned a reputation as an environmental business leader. They were the first property in the state to receive the Green Lodging Inn Certification from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Fun fact: In 2013, the largest solar electric array in Maine is now 10 times the size of the system at Maple Hill Inn. Thomas College in Waterville has over 700 panels on their roof totaling over 170 kilowatts.

New Hampshire & Massachusetts

Sopher House with solar
Marc & Michele Sopher
38 Grove Road ~ Rye, NH

In 2010, in an effort to reduce fossil fuel dependence and CO2 emissions, Marc and Michele Sopher decided to install a geothermal heating system and a grid-tied photovoltaic array in their newly constructed home.

The four-ton, ground source geothermal heat pump uses naturally stable underground temperatures to produce heat at relatively high efficiency, compared to resistive electric heating. But as a “renewable” technology this large heat pump is only as green as the considerable amount of electricity that is needed to power its pump and compressor. The Sophers were aware of this tradeoff while designing their home, and made the conscious decision to use solar electricity to help power the geothermal system. The home was designed to be near net zero. It also incorporates efficient building materials that are non-toxic and of sustainable origin. Insulation levels are R40 in the walls and R60 in the ceiling to ensure minimal heat loss during the cold New England winters

Sanders House
Steve & Sheila Sanders
4 Cedar Lane ~ Londonderry, NH

Be sure you do not miss this incredibly efficient home, with so much going on!
There are 180 solar evacuated tubes on the south facing wall of the home to provide for domestic hot water and space heating within the home. The solar hot water system heats a 900 gallon custom-made tank which is backed up by a Tarm wood boiler and provides for all the domestic hot water as well as some heat for the spring and fall. The wood boiler is a gasification wood boiler, burning at incredibly high temperatures with an efficiency rating of 85%. On their south facing garage roof, there are 16 solar electric panels which produce close to 4,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. There is also a solar 24 panel tracking array installed in a field, which allows the solar panels to follow the direction of the sun through out the course of the day. In one year, the array produces 40% more electricity than a stationary system of its same size. In addition, this home will have it’s electric vehicles on display and will even be giving demos through out the day!

Parker Solar House
Heather Parker
101 Mill Pond Way ~ Portsmouth, NH

This home’s design is based generally on the European passive house model. It is highly insulated, south facing and as air tight as possible. There is a heat recovery ventilation system which lets in fresh air while the solar hot water panels provide for the domestic hot water load and the solar electric panels provide close to 5,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. While most of the home is heated by the sun, stored in thermal mass of the concrete floor, there is a heat pump in the small apartment and the main house has a small propane fireplace. This incredibly energy efficient home utilizes sustainability in it’s yard as well. The yard is half vegetable, flower, butterfly shrubs and small fruit gardens.

Smith's Solar Home
Mike & Jeanne Smith
32 Pulpit Rock Road ~ Chester, NH

The Smith’s recently installed twenty-six 255 watt solar electric panels to the south facing roof of their home, utilizing Enphase micro-inverters  (one inverter is placed directly underneath each panel). The main benefit to using the micro-inverters is to maximize production when there is shade on the roof during different times of the day. The homeowners were able to take advantage of both the New Hampshire state rebate and the federal tax credit paying for more than 30% the cost of their system. This system is expected to produce an average of 7,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. The homeowners expect to offset 50-75% of their annual electrical consumption with solar panels!

Whitely Solar Home
JoAnn & Ray Whitley
121 Main Street ~ Salisbury, MA

In November 2011 the Whitley’s decided to take control of their energy future and installed a 6.9 kilowatt solar electric array onto their roof. There are thirty 230-watt SunPower panels feeding electricity into a 7,000 watt inverter. The electricity then feeds directly into the home’s load center. Whenever there is more electricity being produced than the home is using, the excess back feeds into the grid and a credit is stored to be used at a later time. This system is expected to produce over 8,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy each year, making sure over 11,000 pounds of CO2 emissions never enter our atmosphere each year!