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Archive for 'Solar'

Interview with a Green Homeowner

Interview with a Green Homeowner

Posted on 09. Jan, 2011 by .

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About a year ago, we published an article about an exceptional Title 24 project – an astonishing 50% over compliance – and now we present an interview with the homeowner who commissioned the design. The single-family home, designed by Klopf Architecture, is currently under construction by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders (As an aside, we’ve done design interviews with both Klopf and Mat-Pel on our sister blog, The Architect’s Take.)

Many residential architects would like to design homes as energy-efficient as this one, but without client buy-in, it’s usually not possible to go beyond a certain point. Over and over, we have heard that client commitment to sustainable principles is THE key to building green! So, here we have a green homeowner and design client who’s willing to discuss – anonymously – why he’s doing as much as he is, and why it’s worth doing.

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SolarClover: Plug and Play Installation

SolarClover: Plug and Play Installation

Posted on 22. Feb, 2010 by .

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With the solar industry booming, manufacturers and installers are racing to improve their products in every conceivable way: more efficient PVs; better inverter technologies; remote control, sensing, and automation; better energy-use reporting; smarter appliances; open systems integration; and a proliferation of grid-tied and off-grid configurations. One area that hasn’t gotten quite as much attention is the installation, which takes special training, and can be as much as 30-50% of the cost of the system.

Bay Area startup Armageddon Energy has a new angle with a patented product that GreenTech Media has dubbed “The Ikea of Solar”. The SolarClover snaps together in cute little 3-panel modules, each with its own inverter. Lightweight and easy to handle, these modules can fit “almost anywhere” as they say. That includes small areas of roof, or uneven roofs that wouldn’t accommodate larger arrays. Three of them (9 leaves), make a 1-kW system that’s enough to power most major appliances for an efficient household.

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Designing For Solar: What Every Architect Should Know

Designing For Solar: What Every Architect Should Know

Posted on 18. Jan, 2010 by .

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While researching solar technologies, we at Green Compliance Plus heard from solar installers  who all seem to think that architects are hard to work with. So, we spoke with Fernando Valenzuela of Alter Systems in Berkeley about how to design a solar-ready home. Note that only about 5-10% of Alter Systems’ customers are owner/architect teams. Usually it’s the homeowners approaching them directly because they want to “go solar”.

So… why are architects hard to work with? “They have a groupthink… they like design, the look, but they don’t understand systems. They ask questions like ‘why can’t we use this roof’ without realizing that you can’t split up an array. Their projects aren’t always quick, either, and rebates that were designed for may be gone by the time the project gets through approval.”

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Solar Retrofit for Affordable Housing: Case Study

Solar Retrofit for Affordable Housing: Case Study

Posted on 22. Dec, 2009 by .

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One of our Title 24 clients, Okamoto Saijo Architecture, recently completed a  $50M retrofit that included creating a 900-kW PV system that is currently one of the largest affordable-housing solar installations in the world. We interviewed one of the principal architects, Eric Saijo, about how the Crescent Park project went from his perspective. He was actually quite happy with the outcome, and after 4+ years of budgeting, negotiating with utilities, the project is completed.

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Net Zero Homes in Northern California

Net Zero Homes in Northern California

Posted on 20. Jul, 2009 by .

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Net zero energy buildings produce more energy than they consume, and while they can function autonomously from the grid, they aren’t necessarily disconnected from it – they can use the connection to sell excess energy back to the utility companies. Sounds too good to be true? Can you really get paid to solarize your home? Well, David Knight from the Monterey Energy Group just might be able to help you get there. His take as an experienced engineer on which of these technologies really makes sense should carry a lot of weight with both designers and their clients.

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Qualifying For Solar Incentives With NSHP – Case Study

Posted on 22. May, 2009 by .

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A principal in a local architectural firm approached us for T24 on a new house in Sonoma County that he was designing for himself and his partner. They needed Title 24 documents for their permit submittal, but beyond that, he wanted to qualify for solar rebate credits through California’s New Solar Homes Partnership Program (NSHP). He also wanted the house to be as “green” as possible, just because.

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Solar Hot Water, Simplified

Solar Hot Water, Simplified

Posted on 18. May, 2009 by .

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It’s relatively easy to let the Sun make hot water for us. Yet, for many contractors, architects and developers, Solar Heated Domestic Water (SHDW) is one “low hanging fruit” that is largely ignored. […]

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