net zero energy house

Solar Awning (Part 2)

MCZNH Solar Awnings (summer and winter positions)

The Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) will have a ground-breaking solar awning installed on its south face (introduced in Solar Awning Part 1). Essentially, it's a movable awning made out of photovoltaic (PV) modules. It will serve two functions: to shade the south windows in the summer and fall, and to tilt the modules so that they are always at an optimum angle to the sun. An analysis of the solar awning's net energy benefit follows.  read more... »

Solar Hot Water

**EDIT, March 2011 **

The modelling that we did with WATSUN (and upon which this blog post was based) was completely inaccurate. It hasn't been near 100%. In January our tank sits at 20 degrees, and it fluctuates between 25 and 40 during February. Not even close to what the software promised us.

I'm not sure what happened, but modelling with WATSUN was a complete waste of time for me.

Our solar fraction is probably in the range of 60%-70%.

The Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) will collect solar energy in three different ways: using passive solar design, using photovoltaic (PV) modules, and using solar hot water (SHW) collectors. The SHW collectors are the ones that heat water - they are the black ones at the top of the above picture.

According to a recent article in Home Power magazine (Oct/Nov 2008, p.40), SHW collector efficiency is 50%-70%. That's pretty good when you consider that the best PV module is about 17% efficient.

I've been contemplating the design of the MCNZH's SHW system for months now. The pieces started to fall into place once the federal government released a crucial tool: The  WATSUN 2008 SHW System Simulator.  read more... »

Locally Made Light Pipes

Andrea from Edmonton-owned website/marketplace raisingspaces.com recently informed me that Edmonton has it's very own local manufacturer of light pipes: Sunscope Natural Light Systems. We'll be considering their product first for the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) because buying locally helps to create the vibrant local, green, living economy that we need.  read more... »

MCNZH - Progress (part 3) - windows, front porch posts

James Howard Kunstler says that we need to start building spaces that are worth caring about and living in. When we put up cheap, ugly buildings, as we so often do in Edmonton, we make our communities and homes less worth respecting and cherishing. Reinforcing this idea is Susan Susanka, author of the much acclaimed book The Not So Big House, who says that "a house that favors quality of design over quantity of space satisfies people far more than...those characteristics in  reverse."  read more... »