Passive solar house with solar hot water, pv 2 axis tracker, passive solar 6000 sf superinsulated shop, solar powered heat pumps in both buildings. Electric car. We have purchased zero electricity in 2 years, and are powering both buildings 100 % with solar as well as heating the buildings, operating a full time woodworking business, and changing the car for my wife’s daily commute.
Although we are grid tied, we have not needed to purchase a single kwh of electricity in 2 years. Our homebuilt 6.5 kw 2 axis tracker provides 100% of the electricity needed for a 2600 s.f. house and a 6,000 s.f. woodworking shop. The shop contains the usual mix of large machinery, as well as metalworking equipment and welders.
Our 6 panel flat plate water heater keeps a 120 gallon tank at 150 degrees, as well as storing surplus heat in a 1000 gallon tank under the greenhouse floor.
Both the house and shop perform well with no heating or cooling inputs. For a number of years I was working in NH and would leave the buildings unheated in the coldest weather, and neither would drop much below 40f. In the summer, both buildings hover around 70 degrees.
Both buildings are heated with wood, although the house has a small propane boiler which our insurer required. Last year we added a single 30,000 btu mini split to each building which provided all of our heat until Christmas, when we started burning wood. Each building used about 2 cords of wood over the remainder of the winter. In the house, we cook on the wood range when it is lit.
We are now also charging a 3 year old Nissan leaf, which is my wife’s primary commuting vehicle. We also occasionally fire a large electric pottery kiln.
Other features of note: a homebuilt blacksmiths forge, which burns either scrap wood or homemade charcoal, lots of recycled or repurchased building components in both buildings, a large inventory of sustainably harvested lumber, extensive use of natural lighting in the buildings, unique steel raised garden beds made from salvaged furnace oil tanks, glass block walls, unique wall construction, etc. The shop also has a unique thermal storage system integrated with a homemade wood stove.
All systems will be open for visitors to see, and people are welcome to try the electric car.