solar thermal

Observations (Part 02)

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Mill Creek NetZero Home, December 15, 2009, 14:00.

As we approach the winter solstice and the three-month anniversary of our moving in, we continue to learn about our new house. These observations are mostly qualitative, because we don’t have the rest of our solar modules up, and we haven’t set up monitoring equipment yet. We are tentatively planning to remove the door of our wood stove on July 1st, 2010  and then monitor the house’s energy use for a year.  read more... »

Observations (Part 01)

Mill Creek NetZero Home - living room

Mill Creek NetZero Home Living Room - finally some autumn sunshine!

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you move in to a solar house the sun stops shining? It’s been overcast since the beginning of October here in Edmonton – since just after we moved into the Mill Creek NetZero Home – and the fact that Edmonton has as many hours of sunshine as Miami has seemed hard to believe at times. Finally we have the return of sunny days, and the house is great to be in right now.

So what have we learned so far?

  • the transition to living on concrete floors has been painless for us. They are much warmer than I thought they would be, and since we were already in the habit of wearing Crocs around the house, I really haven’t noticed the different floor surface. We have been encouraging guests to put on a pair of Crocs from the box in the front entrance.
  • the house makes us much more in tune with the solar cycle. The above picture was taken at around 1 o’clock. I enjoyed sitting in the sun for a while before lunch, but now that I’m using the computer the sunny areas of the house aren’t appropriate anymore. Solar houses should have non-sunny areas, and the occupants must be willing to flex with what is going on outside.

Mill Creek NetZero Home - second floor library

the library area on the second floor is bathed in sunlight on a sunny day – luxurious at times, and to be avoided at others  read more... »

Solar Retrofit Part 6: Roof Reinforcements

The solar collectors on my house will not be parallel to the roof but will stand up at an angle of approximately 40 degrees.  With some of the recent wind storms around Edmonton and other places in Alberta I've been quite concerned about my house if one of those storms hits again after the collectors are up.  read more... »

MCNZH - Progress (part 7) - stucco, hardwood, moving in

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The Mill Creek NetZero Home is substantially completed.

The stucco is finished on the outside. We went with a cement-based stucco because of its looks and durability.

Peter Amerongen built a brick wall behind the wood burner. We used the bricks from the foundation of the house that used to be standing on the property. This wall adds more thermal mass (to capture both solar and wood heat) to the house, as well as a bit of history.

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