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Old 03-30-2014, 10:11 AM
 
10 posts, read 13,134 times
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Hi everyone Looking to build a somewhat passive solar home--on a budget you would surely laugh at (on my own land). Need some help:

1) Latitude of 44degrees 11minutes--how do I plug this into an equation to find the right pitch for a roof (metal) that will have optimum sun exposure if I decide to get solar panels in the future? (and be relatively snow-maintenance free)

2) How much of an overhang do I need on each side of the home?

3) If I were to build a home 20x30 feet, two stories and a walkout basement, how many windows on each side (is it 7%?) and where to place them? --Or a 25'x52' home

4) Where is the cheapest place to get building materials and (I have heard there is a liquidators in Bradford?)

5) Is a 20x30 walkout basement *that* much cheaper than say, a, 25'x52' walkout basement?

6)Any suggestions on how to cut costs is much appreciated--I'm looking for a box-like structure with a porch that will be relatively easy to assemble for my friend (from Landmark Kit homes)

--I'm interested in a large living-room and three bedrooms. I have no idea if two bathrooms are necessary. And if anyone wants to compose a rough sketch--that'd be awesome!

--Any recommendations for clearing 3 acres, septic, dug well, and someone to put in the basement in Central Vermont (and please say why.)
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:28 AM
 
7,280 posts, read 9,990,609 times
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How about posting in the "homes" forum since most of the information you are looking for has little to do with solar or green anything and mostly about building the house?

Also, you can visit your local code enforcement agency and they can provide you with some of the information you need.

A simple search at the Vermont public service site reveals:

http://www.state.vt.us/tax/pdf.word....ions_solar.pdf

You can contact that agency and get plenty of help.

Last edited by Mack Knife; 03-30-2014 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:37 AM
 
4,715 posts, read 9,628,068 times
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To the OP - you have alot of work ahead of you. And you need a "Vermont" home builder or person that deals with buildings there. Anything I know won't help you as I am in Florida. I second Mack Knife's suggestions...

Regarding the one thing you touched on for "Green Living" Forum, here is the best advice I can give you for things to consider or look into regarding PV. (Besides looking into your states/local areas rebates to make sure whatever you do qualifies)

The BEST in terms of efficiency for PV Solar systems actually track the sun throughout the day. Some systems are passive in doing this, in that they do not need electricity to move the array. This depends on how much up front costs you are able to afford. You also didn't say how big of a solar array you want, so a roof mounted system may not be the best idea. If you have 3 acres, I would consider an easier to maintain system that is closer to the ground. But if you want a large array then a roof mounted system may make more sense. Are you also aware that some roofing materials can be solar panels as well. Since you obviously will be putting on a roof from scratch - might be something to look into. I don't have any first hand experience with anything other than a few traditional panels - so I can't attest to how well they the different panels, shingles, and thin film voltiacs work or hold up. Just things I looked at and considered. Since I know that I am not in my "forever" home I am waiting until I move and then I will research what is out there all over and make my decisions then.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:43 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,785 posts, read 17,174,949 times
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I prefer solar PV on posts instead of the roof - that way you can sweep the snow off of them without climbing up and add a cheap seasonal adjuster to the pole for max gain at any given time. Plus the roof doesn't require special engineering beyond what code is for your area.

Passive solar is an interesting field and you'll find a lot of architects who claim to do it have no clue how it works. In 2006, we interviewed maybe 8 architects who all claimed to design passive solar and decided only one of them knew what he was doing and that for the money, as two engineers, we could figure it out ourselves.

This is a great reference:
BuildItSolar: Solar energy projects for Do It Yourselfers to save money and reduce pollution

particularly this one:
Plans for Passive Solar Homes
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:33 PM
 
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...not sure why you don't consider passive solar 'green living' (?) Anyway, thanks for the info. I live in a town without zoning, so that helps a lot. --Man, I wish I was in Florida--it snowed here yesterday, lol. I will post in 'Homes' and see what they have to say. Thanks again
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
33,364 posts, read 54,787,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW-type-gal View Post
I prefer solar PV on posts instead of the roof - that way you can sweep the snow off of them without climbing up and add a cheap seasonal adjuster to the pole for max gain at any given time. Plus the roof doesn't require special engineering beyond what code is for your area.
I agree. Our solar array is on posts away from the house.

Putting them on the roof totally defeats any attempts to Passive Solar heat.

You can put Solar-Thermal panels on a roof, but those are Active and not Passive.

Passive-Solar homes I see in this area rely on lots of Southern window exposure.



Quote:
... Passive solar is an interesting field and you'll find a lot of architects who claim to do it have no clue how it works. In 2006, we interviewed maybe 8 architects who all claimed to design passive solar and decided only one of them knew what he was doing and that for the money, as two engineers, we could figure it out ourselves.
Good observation. Best to stick with folks who live in Passive Solar homes. I have friends that live campus at UMaine-Orono. Their home was built as a Passive Solar project home in the 80s. It started with a good design, but when it was handed to the contractor, he knew nothing about Solar, and he made a series of changes in the envelope. The result was a house that is impossible to heat.



Good
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Tucson, AZ
3,714 posts, read 8,976,767 times
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I have nothing to do with the link below, but they have a wealth of info and ideas on passive solar homes. Some of the posters above mentioned photo voltaic solar panels - PV panels are not the same topic as a passive solar home which the OP is asking about. Passive solar homes are mainly heated by clear glass windows along a wall that faces direct south.

https://www.thenaturalhome.com/passivesolar.html
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Old 04-03-2014, 07:56 PM
 
4,715 posts, read 9,628,068 times
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I love that link recycled... And yeah - I realize now I missed the true question.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Port Charlotte
3,927 posts, read 5,688,785 times
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Rather than going "passive solar" high efficiency is a better, more economical alternative.

High efficiency construction (insulated panelized construction, etc), will save you much more in the long run. For example, you will not recover your costs on solar cells over their life. Same with windmill power. If you try to do exotic things (solar heating of masonry walls or water storage areas) your cost far exceeds the return.

We are appraisers and had the opportunity to examine a "demonstration home" constructed in conjunction with the US Dept of Energy. The cost of the various "energy efficient" items far exceeded the economic return. As a result, the homeowner lost money on the home.

Remember that you must build on the assumption that 1) you will at some point sell the home, 2) that your costs do not exceed the market return. If you are trying to get a loan, it doesn't matter that you are trying to be "green". All the bank will care about is if the loan is supportable by the Market Value of the loan.
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