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Greg’s Near Zero Energy Solar Upgrade of a New Mexico Home

Greg used a well thought out combination of insulation upgrades and a solar space and water heating system to cut his space and water heating energy use of his all electric home to nearly zero.  
Greg’s NM near net zero remodel — collectors to left.
The house has been foamed and then plastered over the entire exterior.

This project shows that you can live within the limitations of an existing home and still make dramatic reductions in energy use within a reasonable budget.

Greg did most of the work himself, and goes through the details of planning and installing the upgrades.

The 2000 gallon heat storage tank stores heat for a couple days of cloudy weather.

Greg used a balanced approach consisting upgrades to the home’s thermal envelope to reduce heat loss, and then the addition of a solar heating system sized to meet the remaining heat loss.

The thermal envelope upgrades consisted primarily of adding external foamed in place insulation, adding attic insulation, and  thermal window treatments.  These upgrades reduced the home heat loss to the point where a reasonable size solar heating system could heat the house.
The solar heating system consists of four large ground mounted solar water heating collectors.  The solar collectors provide heat to to a large and very well insulated fiberglass tank that is sized to store heat over cloudy periods.  Both the collectors and tank have been carefully added in such a way as to preserve the good looks of the home.
A hydronic heat distribution system was added to distribute the stored solar heat to the home as required.  The hydronic systems replaces the electric baseboard units that came with the all electric house.
Four large solar water heating collectors provide space and water heating.
With the insulation and solar heating upgrades, the home is now totally self sufficient on space heating and water heating energy use.
Greg plans to add a PV array on the roof to meet the remaining small electrical demand.  When the PV array is completed, the house will be a net zero energy home.  Net zero energy use is very difficult to achieve even for new construction homes, so it says a lot about Greg’s design that he was able to achieve this zero energy use on a remodel and within a reasonable budget.
Central control.

Thanks very much to Greg for taking the time to document and send in the project!
Gary
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Growing Potatoes in a Bag

In this episode, Jim shows you a few things about growing potatoes in pre-made bags. You can apply the same principles to growing them in the soil, a container or an old potting mix bag. It's easy and it takes up very little space. Why not give it a go?
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249
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Time:
07:39
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The Backyard Farmer update. Fixing a problem and showing you how I do it.

www.thebackyardfarmer.net My new koi fish keep escaping the surge tank and entering the sump tank via a common line. I show you how I fix this situation with just a water bottle.
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562
3
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Time:
03:42
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The Backyard Farmer video update. Duckweed beds, bio filter, worm motel, and compost bin

www.thebackyardfarmer.net In this weeks video I show you how I created a safer place for my duckweed to grow and it seems to be working well. I bought two new koi fish and placed them in my surge tank where my kids enjoy looking into. After putting the koi in place I worried about ammonia problems in that area so I installed a biofilter. I also give updates on the Worm Refuge, worm bins, and the 3 bin composter.
Views:
990
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Time:
14:30
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Solargraphy, Windmill Water Pumpers, and Solar Air Floor Heat

Just catching up on  a few new entries at Build-It-Solar.


New Solargraphy pictures from Kevin
Kevin’s Solargraphy “cans” have been taking pictures for the last few months with some really nice results.

A 4 month exposure Solargraphy picture

All the details on how to do your own Solargraphy pictures…

Some Ways of Distributing Solar Heated Air to Floors
Most solar air heating collectors just distribute the solar heated air directly to the living space, but here are a couple ways to do radiant floor heating with solar heated air….

Scheme for heating a slab floor with solar heated air.

Updates to the Windmill Water Pumping Section
Added a link to the very nice Ainsworth site on water pumping windmills as well as a link to the Vintage Windmills News — a good newsletter on restoring wind pumpers.

From Vintage Windmills News

Also added a link for the  Airlift Windmills — on these windmills, the wind turbine drives a compressor which provides compressed air for a bubble pump.

If you have not taken the time to look at some of the pictures in this section of the beautiful old wind pumpers, you are in for a treat!

The windmill water pumping section…

Gary

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Building a Raised Bed

In this episode, we show you how we built Jim's raised beds. Materials used: 3m ACQ (CCA Alternative) treated pine sleepers (www.epa.gov (Bed dimensions 3m x 1m) 100mm galv batton screws (to bind the sleepers) 50x50x600mm hardwood surveyencing pegs (to pin the two layers of sleepers together & to secure the bed to the ground) 75mm outdoor suitable wood screws (to pin the sleepers to the pegs)
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707
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Time:
08:22
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The Backyard Farmer update. Bad news for the duckweed and chemistry test on the water

www.thebackyardfarmer.net I present some bad news about the growbed I planned on using for duckweed and I walk you through a set of my chemistry tests on my fish tank
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2682
12
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Time:
12:41
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