Solar in Shady Valley
Ted and Lissa’s dream of having a high-performance, solar home goes back decades. Planning and executing started from the ground up. We knew we were going to retire to the mountains of northeastern Tennessee. Working with SunPlans in 2006 and 2007 to design a passive solar home, time and effort and attention to details brought a two-year project into being. This 3,300 sf, two level (plus a full basement) naturally lighted and cooled house has been a joy to live in for the past twelve years. Our cabin was constructed with ICFs (insulated concrete forms), tile and stone in the southern exposure main floor, an atrium with windows some 30 feet above main level (for natural cooling), along with a geothermal HVAC system coupled with an energy recovery ventilator. A couple of years ago we added 10 kW of photovoltaic panels that are grid-tied to our local electric cooperative. Though living in a warm, humid climate, we have not run the air conditioner (reversed the ground-source heat pump). With a $0.10/kWh credit for the power generated (ranging from 20 to 45 kWh/day), we have been running about a $600-800 credit on our monthly electric bill (use ranges from 15 to 35 kWh/day). Even though we generate more electric power than we consume, we are not carbon neutral. To further drive down our carbon footprint, we look forward to owning totally electric vehicle(s), powered by the sun here in rural Shady Valley.