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Like other families, these homeowners have seen energy costs in California continue to rise. In an attempt to offset some or all of these costs, they installed two solar panel systems. One system powers their boiler, which provides hot water in general and also for their radiant heat system. The second system collects regular power. Extra power generated through the summer is put back in the grid and credited on the couple's energy bill. In the winter months, they use up those credits when pulling energy from the grid. Last year they paid an average of $10 a month.
Given the cost of electricity in California, their solar system (including rebates) will pay for itself within 5 years.
When the morning dawns, our natural instinct is to open the window and let the sun shine in. Many people would agree that natural lighting throughout our homes is preferable to, but natural lighting is often overlooked when designing a home.
Seizing the oportunity, these homeowners chose to use multiple skylights in their home's design. Their skylights serve two purposes. First they allow natural lighting into their home for a more pleasant atmosphere. Second they open and let in the cool night air which circulates through their timber frame home. If it should start to rain, these smart skylights will shut themselves.
The HVAC system you choose will affect many aspects of your home. Poorly designed systems can leak and cause both discomfort and a higher energy bill. A more sophisticated systems can keep your energy envelope sealed and provide continual comfort from room to room.
This California couple chose a combination of radiant heating and evaporative coolers. The radiant heat system is very efficient and provides the highest level of comfort in their home. Their choice of two OASys Indirect/Direct evaporative coolers provides them up to 3.5 tons of cooling each, while using less than 600 watts. Not only do they have a lower energy consumption rate, they are also more comfortable in their home.
The California couple installed high-efficient windows and doors which helped to seal their home's energy envelope. They replaced the existing water pumps in the orchard with pumps that only turned on when needed, instead of remaining on all of the time. They also added extra insulation between levels of their home.
Not only did this forward-thinking couple add green finishes to their new timber frame home, they donated the structure that previously stood on the lot to Habitat For Humanity, who sold the wiring, plumbing and other fixtures to fund new home construction.