House 7
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House #
House Style
Size Ft2
Year Built
Cost/Ft2
7
Cordwood and stick frame
3300
1987
NA
Architect/Designer
General Contractor
Sub-contractors (significant) & Type
Kyle Foreman & owners Kyle Foreman The owners did much of the work.
Primary E-Design Factors
Significant E-Products Used
Results—Positive/Negative
Cordwood construction
Extensive off-grid PV and wind power systems 1.6KW, 24V now and being expanded
Tracking PV
On demand hot water
Used rough cut 2x6’s for second floor
Wind turbine (400W) “Aire-X”
PV system—Tracking
Zomeworks Tracker
Wind Turbine-"Aire-403" 400w
Trace Inverter- working 24/7 for ten years (turn it off during electrical storms)
Hardiplank siding

On-demand hot water tank by Bosch

Owners feel that the solar tracker gives significantly more power than a roof model, and is easier to clean of snow. Wind power is the additional power source.

Solar power works!

This house is a cordwood masonry design with 18 inch thick walls on the first floor, and stick built frame with dry 2x6 rough cut studs and plates (which saves wood waste and can make for slightly thicker walls) on the second floor. Cordwood is warmer in winter and cooler (not over 70 degrees) in summer. The wood is cut in 18 inch lengths, stacked on it's side, and held together with masonry concrete plaster. One uses a lot less concrete to build a house with cordwood technique. The owners have lived in this off-grid house for over ten years, and have considerable experience with larger scale, tracking, PV systems; they have had no significant difficulties with their system (the PV system is being expanded to have dedicated panels, etc. for a well pump).They have learned to make the batteries last as long as possible, which is the weakest link in an off grid system because of the cost of battery replacement.They originally started with 12 battery units to run their solar system, but now use 4 battery units at a time. This number is more practical and affordable to keep in working order. Propane is used for cooking, instant hot water, and clothes drying (only in winter). A Kenmore energy star refrigerator from Sears, keeps the energy budget low, and works well. A centrally located wood fireplace is all that is needed to heat the entire house. The house was made with wood from the property, saving a lot of money and embedded energy costs. The house was built with propane lighting, but the owners use low energy fluorescent lights. Cordwood is highly insulating and brings an esthetic of it's own. It is interesting to be able to see and touch the wood that keeps the house warm. There are nice skylights that bring in outside light, therefore using less electrical lighting energy. The owners replaced the wood siding on the second floor, with hardy plank, a long lasting concrete based siding, because the woodpeckers were eating through their wood walls. The Hardiplank is protecting the walls thus far.

This house functions independently from the grid. It allows for the freedom of low maintenance and will be durable and warm for the long term.

Owners Advice: We have no utility bills..."We are the utility company!" You do not have to do with less to go off grid. But do not put solar panels on the roof, in this climate. It is easier to brush the snow off of them on a ground set tracker panel.

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