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Old 06-28-09, 08:56 PM   #1
ldjessee
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Hello,

I am dreaming of my ultimate home, with solar panels, solar water heating, earth bermed or earth sheltered.

When I lived in Korea, I really got to like radiant floor heating. It just makes so much sense.

I also am trying to convince the wife we need to replace all of the incandescent lights.

LDJ

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Old 06-29-09, 06:29 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site LDJ. We here have similar dreams. Do you have any projects planned?
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Old 06-29-09, 09:13 AM   #3
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There are so many things I want to do, but the house we currently have is not really suitable to do some of them. I am torn between putting time and effort into this one, or just waiting and then building a house from the ground up.

Also, if there is a project that needs to be done, it is our main bathroom. The tile (oh how I hate them) in tub/shower has started to come off the wall. Looks like normal drywall back there. Needs to be gutted, correct backing put up, then the tub/shower redone. I am thinking of Swanstone (Swanstone Products). If I had my way, the bathroom walls, floor and ceiling would be sealed with a big drain in the center and I could hose off the whole bathroom, but my wife thinks that a bit extreme.

Our home is not that bad off and there are some things I am considering.

Advantages: Walkout basement (ie, basement is surrounded on 3 sides by dirt), longest sides face almost directly south/north, vinyl replacement windows.

Disadvantages: Needs insulation in attic space, very tall trees in the lot to the west of mine, some tall trees to the east, not enough overhang to shade windows in the summer, the almost the same number of windows on the north as the south, windows are not well sealed (draft in places).

Things I am considering:

Replace all bulbs with CFCs and LEDs (LED for task lighting, due mostly to expense, then try a more general light replacement). The basement has long tube Fluorescent light fixtures, but they are older (near 15 to 20 years), not the newer, more efficient ones, but would have to buy new fixtures or atleast new ballasts.

Cleaning out the loose blown insulation and having closed cell foam insulation put in, both on the rafters (the underside of the roof) and on the joists (the top of the ceiling). Need to look into it some more.

Photovoltaic panels & Solar hot water. More so if I can get some of the trees topped/cut on the lot next to mine so I can get more of the evening sun.

I am really tempted to make a solar hot air box to go just outside the south facing windows and feed the air in through the partially open window. It would have to look neat/clean enough to get the wife's vote.

Last edited by ldjessee; 06-29-09 at 09:14 AM.. Reason: grammar and finishing my thoughts.
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Old 06-29-09, 10:08 AM   #4
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The CFLs are definitely a good and very easy thing to do. When I installed CFLs throughout my house when I first got it, my electric bill dropped 40%. The other plus is if you get rid of the house, you can take them with you

The other things are larger projects you'll have to see if they are worth it for you. Just keep us in the loop. We love that kind of stuff.
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Old 06-29-09, 11:29 AM   #5
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Changing the ballasts in the Fluorescent light fixtures is pretty easy and is a big improvement (not necessarily in energy usage but in comfort). Buy the electronic ballasts. They turn on instantly and don't buzz. They do take a slightly different bulb though (32w vs 40w I think).
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Old 06-29-09, 02:48 PM   #6
ldjessee
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Thanks!

If I go with the electronic ballasts, doesn't that mean I can put dimmers and such on them? Or is that something else?
If I can get more information on the fixtures I have, I will post it.

LDJ
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Old 06-30-09, 10:31 AM   #7
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I didn't even think that dimming ballasts were available except for compact flourescent tubes. I did a quick search and found that they are.

Lutron Electronics, Inc. - Lutron Electronic Fluorescent Dimming Ballasts
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Old 07-18-09, 11:29 PM   #8
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Got a solar survey the other day, but getting new roof (or atleast resurfaced) will have to happen first.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:33 AM   #9
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Sent information to the roofing company, still have not heard back from them. Found out the roof is leaking so this has become a priority.

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