Taking a 20-Year-Old Florida House to Net Zero

first_imgSteve Larson, a builder and home energy rater in Florida, sent me an e-mail with his energy bills for February through July of 2012. When you subtract out the monthly service charges, he paid only $5.35 for electricity during those six months. That’s right — less than a dollar a month for electricty… and then $9.88 a month for the service charge.“Saving energy has been my passion for a long time,” Larson wrote. Since he added the solar electric system to the house in 2008, producing it has become a passion, too. Begin with energy efficiencyThe basic idea of net zero energy is having enough onsite power production to offset the energy consumption in the building. I discussed the topic a bit in my article about Amy and Matt’s net-zero-energy home in North Carolina. Lloyd Alter of Treehugger described one way to get to net zero energy: “In Net Zero, you want to generate enough power on site to heat, cool and light your house; it could be a draughty barn, but if you put enough green gizmos on the roof to generate enough green energy to feed it, who cares?” Just a touch of sarcasm there, eh? Larson chose the smarter path to net zero. He didn’t have onsite power production in the beginning, but he did start with a healthy dose of energy efficiency when he built the house in 1991-92. Here are some of the features that make it so efficient:It isn’t too big; it has 2,144 square feet of conditioned floor area.The building is oriented with its long axis aligned east to west.The walls are insulated with R-19 fiberglass batts for cavity insulation and R-3 of continuous foamboard on the outside.Advanced framing: 2×6 studs 24″ on center with insulated corners and T-walls.The ceiling is insulated to about R-50 (~R-30 blown fiberglass on top of R-19 fiberglass batts).There are few windows: none on the west side, only one on the east side, and south-facing windows are shaded by a 6-foot-wide porch.The 3-ton air conditioner is rated at 18 SEER.Air leakage rate is 3.4 ach50.Duct leakage is 2.7 cfm25 per 100 square feet of conditioned floor area.There is a solar water heater.If you have a feel for those numbers, you can tell it’s a pretty good house. Without the photovoltaic modules, the HERS Index for this house is 65.Remember: this house was built 20 years ago! A HERS Index of 65 means it’s 35% more efficient than the same home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), so it was 35% better than a code that came 15 years after the house was built! RELATED ARTICLES A PhD and an Architect Build a Net-Zero HomeA Net-Zero-Energy Home in Rural TennesseePodcast: Net-Zero Homes, Part 1Podcast: Net-Zero Homes, Part 2Podcast: Net-Zero Homes, Part 3An Introduction to Photovoltaic SystemsA Net-Zero-Energy House for $125 a Square FootMission Zero House: A Net-Zero Retrofit1970s Home Goes Net ZeroA Leaky Old House Becomes a Net-Zero ShowcaseNet-Zero For a Competitive Pricecenter_img Adding enough photovoltaics to get to net zeroIn 2008, Larson added a 5-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic (PV) system to the house. That didn’t take them all the way to net zero, though, because he also has a huge garage and air-conditioned shop. So he added a second 5-kW system in 2010, and that got them to where they are today, paying an electricity bill that’s just $9.88 per month in service charges, with rarely any charge for actual net electricity consumption.In case you’re wondering, the first 5-kW PV system cost $40,000, and they got $23,000 in federal, state, and utility tax credits and rebates. About $20,000 of the incentives came from the state of Florida. The second 5-kW system cost only $28,000, a 30% drop in just two years. Their total cost after incentives came to $37,000, giving them a payback period of about 14 years.The HERS Index of the home including the energy production from the solar modules is an impressive -14. A HERS Index of zero means that the home produces just as much energy as it uses, no more and no less. According to the HERS Index, their home exceeds the net zero energy threshold. “It has been a very comfortable home to live in for the last 20+ years, but the $9.88 electric bills have us in a very nice position. My wife is a very happy camper,” said Larson.According to the electricity bills he sent me, Larson’s electricity usage is generally in the range of 500 to nearly 1,000 kilowatt-hours, mostly toward the lower end. Some months they produce more electricity than they use, as you see in the meter readings below, and other months they use more than they produce. The snippet below is from their May 2012 electricity bill, showing that they used 490 kWh that month while producing 965 kWh. They generally run a surplus, as you can see in the bottom number, which is the running total of their electricity production versus consumption.Steve and his wife are helping to make Florida’s nickname — the Sunshine State — true in more ways than one. “We are pretty happy how far out in front of the running of the bulls we are,” Steve said. Of course, someone who’s been a HERS rater since 1994 is used to being out in front. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

#MeToo: Christian body assures fair hearing for Shillong sexual abuse victim

first_imgThe Congregation of Christian Brothers in India (CCBI) has assured “just and fair hearing” to a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy in Meghalaya capital Shillong almost three decades ago.In a statement issued on Tuesday, the CCBI said the “Christian Brothers stand in solidarity with and in support of any survivor of sexual abuse”. This followed a Facebook post as part of the #MeToo movement against one of its members.In her post a few days ago, 40-year-old Mary Therese Kurkalang had named two Catholic priests – Brother Francis Gale of St. Edmund’s School and Brother Muscat of Don Bosco – as having sexually abused her when she was a child.The CCBI statement did not make it clear which of the two Brothers the congregation has referred to.“We are committed to a just and fair hearing to both the complainant and the alleged abuser, through a formal process as laid out in our protection policy – Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults. This policy looks into all cases of abuse, past and present, so as to ascertain with compassion the truth and support the survivor towards achieving a peaceful closure while taking appropriate action against the alleged abuser, if found guilty,” the statement from Brother J. Johnson, society protection officer of CCBI’s Profession Ethics Commission, said.“Accordingly, a due procedure will be initiated as laid out in our said policy to take this serious allegation forward towards arriving at the truth and assisting the survivor with necessary help to attain due closure. Even as these internal processes are carried out, we stand committed to cooperating with the agencies of the law,” the statement said.Ms Kurkalang took to Facebook last week to write: “Three years ago, at the age of 37, I finally decided that I needed professional help and found a wonderful counsellor. Through the months of counselling, there is one session that stands out for me, where I felt literally like someone lifted this huge boulder lodged in my chest that was there since I was 5 years old.“What she said to me at that session was that as a child, from a broken family, an economically poor background, left to my own defences, I made the ‘ideal profile’ of the victim for a sexual predator. Even though as an adult, I understand and can differentiate that I was not responsible, it is hard to really feel and live that knowledge, to not blame myself. What my counsellor said to me that day answered the ‘why’ I have asked over and over again ‘why me’ and it gave me such huge relief to have finally found an answer that I knew to be true. It’s a long journey and an ongoing one to stay whole, balanced, sane as someone who was sexually abused through my childhood, age 5 till age 12.”She said she had attempted suicide thrice as a teenager and young adult, twice landing in hospital in a serious condition. “Through the years I have struggled to find comfort and sanity in spirituality, immersing myself in work, and later, in a close circle of friends I trust, these have helped me pull through. There will always be a part of me that is a big gaping hole of sorrow and darkness – of a childhood I did not know, of an innocence I never knew, of the fear and deep shame I have lived with for so long, and for not being believed, not being protected, and for the deep injustice I felt,” she said.She went on to name Brothers Gale and Muscat, recollecting the many ways in which they abused her.last_img read more

Alonso announces management move

first_imgXabi Alonso Alonso announces move into management Dejan Kalinic Last updated 2 years ago 12:11 26/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) XabiAlonso-cropped Bongarts World Cup After retiring at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, Xabi Alonso said he knew his next step would be into management. Former Spain star Xabi Alonso has revealed he is moving into management after retiring at the end of last season.Alonso, 35, retired after the 2016-17 campaign, having starred for Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich during his playing career.Bayern 6/1 to win CL with dabblebet Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. The former midfielder now knows the next step in his life – saying on Monday he was becoming a manager.”After 17 years in the game, I have considered the next step in my career,” Alonso said on Instagram.”I have decided to go into management. Find out [where] soon.”Alonso won two Champions League trophies, a La Liga crown and three Bundesliga titles, as well as the 2010 World Cup with Spain, during his playing career.last_img read more