Solar Champion Stories

The Greenoughs Enhance Passive Solar with Solar-Powered Heating & Cooling

Don and Lucia Greenough's home in Ipswich, Massachusetts was designed with passive solar principles in 1984. With an additional warmth from the rock-bed heat storage system underneath their home, they've been happy through many winters with a simple wood stove to provide extra comfort - occasionally using propane for supplemental heat on bitterly cold nights.

In 2017, ReVision installed a solar array and heat pumps for the Greenoughs. Don, in his early sixties, laughed, "You get to a certain point and realize that carrying two cords of wood in over the course of the winter may not be the best thing for your back or shoulders."

ReVision Stands Out

Don and Lucia had been interested in solar since the 1980s, and the time was finally right to go for it. When ReVision's North Andover, MA branch opened in 2017, they scheduled a solar evaluation right away - already aware of ReVision from time spent in Maine. "We have a little camp up in Northern Maine," Don explained. "We noticed the signs on solar projects we saw while driving. We did a little research and were impressed not only by the types of projects that you were doing, but the way your business was employee-focused."

The Greenoughs are very satisfied with their combination of solar + heat pumps. In roughly a year, they have produced almost 12 megawatts of solar electricity, which helps power their heat pumps all year round. In the winter, solar-powered heat pumps operate at a cost equivalent to paying $1.50 per gallon of fuel oil. In the summer, the heat pumps will work as air conditioners, cooling their home twice as efficiently as a window unit.

Simplified Comfort

Their two heat pumps cover the first floor living space and the master bedroom, and have been very reliable. Do they miss the rustic charm of their woodstove? Don stated simply, "There is no thermostat on a wood stove. So, there's a great benefit to being able to set a thermostat and have a steady temperature as opposed to being blazing hot and then having it die off over the course of the night...we've both enjoyed waking up to a warm house."

With solar-powered heating and cooling covered, Don is looking forward to adding the next stage of energy independence: battery storage. "I'm looking forward to battery prices continuing to fall the way solar prices did," he adds, "Battery storage would allow us to better weather power outages during severe storms and make the most of our solar electricity."