solar

Making water line connections in the attic

I have to make connections in my attic for the 3/4" copper pipes that do the supply and return runs for my solar thermal collectors.  I'm NOT looking forward to soldering amoung the blown-in insulation.  Someone recommended SharkBite non-soldering connectors (http://www.sharkbite.com).  The appear to have a high enough ratings (certified to 200 PSI and 93 degrees C) but I'm concerned about how they will stand up given the extreme temperature changes in the attic.  Has anyone used these connectors?  Does anyone have any experience with SharkBite fittings and solar thermal systems?

Ken 

Passive Solar Design

 PassiveSolar

(MCNZH concrete floor being bathed by sun through a 9’x6’ window)

The most important design considerations for cold climate building are insulation, building envelope, and passive solar design. Given our lofty goals for the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH), we pushed hard to maximize our return on every one of these fronts.

The MCNZH collects 54% of its annual space heat through passive solar design – that’s 8747 kWh or 31.5 Gigajoules. It does so by:

  1. having huge south windows that are specially manufactured to maximize solar heat gain
  2. containing a large amount of thermal mass to absorb the solar heat when the sun shines
  3. having movable solar awnings that allow 100% of the sunlight to hit the windows during the heating season (the awnings are strictly speaking not a passive part of the solution).

I’ll discuss the first two bullets on this list, given that I’ve already described the movable awnings at length.  read more... »

Gordon Howell

This is Gordon Howell (www.hme.ca). He is Alberta's (Canada's!) leading guru on solar electricity.  He is my first choice for a series that I'm writing on Edmonton's Green Leaders. 

Gordon has been working tirelessly on the issue of solar electricity (among other solar-related topics) for as long as I've been paying attention. He lectures often in the city, and his talks are always full of topical, relevant information. The man is thorough, too. His information is always very accurate.

Gordon is a key member of the Riverdal NetZero Project, and he has worked on my own Mill Creek NetZero Home.

If you're interested in learning more about how to live greener in Edmonton, I highly recommend going to one of Gordon's talks. Better yet, email him (ghowell [at] hme [dot] ca) and find out when he'll next be teaching his multi-day solar energy course.

Like many of the true leaders in our city, Gordon has contributed countless unpaid hours. He has added tremendously to the public knowledge and discourse regarding solar energy. I for one am very grateful for his contribution.

To learn about renewable energy applications in our city and province, visit Gordon's website today.

Solar Retrofit - Part 3: Looking for Installation Help

As mentioned in my previous posts, I've signed a contract with Taylor Munro Energy Systems from BC for a solar thermal system to help provide space heat and domestic hot water.  My contract is for system design and
major component supply - it does not include installation.

I wonder if anyone familiar with the solar industry in Edmonton could put me in touch with local installers that could help me get my collectors installed on my house.  This is the proposed south elevation:

 

And the proposed east elevation:  read more... »