Desuperheater & More Hot Water

Last heating season I learned that short ground source heat pumps (GSHP) run times produce almost no hot water.  I adjusted the thermostats so that they would only call for heat once per hour.  While this helped some, by making each cycle a little longer, we – never – got truly “hot” water. 

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association - NESEA - Open House - Oct. 2nd, 2010

The 2010 Northeast Sustainable Energy Association - NESEA - Open House is Saturday, October 2nd, 2010.  We are one of nearly 400 residences and buildings in the Northeast that will be opening its doors to the public.  Our house will be open from 11:00AM-4:30PM.  You will be able to see our geothermal system, solar hot water, and energy recovery ventilator in action.  Our house is located at 100 Perry Street in Douglas, MA.  I will be here to answer questions and hope to see you here.


New Elementary School in Douglas, MA

Melissa (my wife) and I have been given a very unique opportunity… the chance to help the town of Douglas, MA build a new elementary school and renovate two older school buildings. 

With all that we have learned with our home building project over the past few years, we are excited to be able to give something back to our community.  If the town can realize a fraction of what I believe is possible, we will have a great school with manageable operating expenses.


What Would I Change? Would I do it Again?

I am frequently asked two questions about our house:

1 – Would you build this way again?
2 – Is there anything you would change?

Other SIP / Modular Options

With the demise of Penn Lyon, I was afraid we'd never see another modular house with R40 SIP walls.  Luckily, it seems other companies are now starting to offer this. 

Be warned... I know nothing about the following companies.  I mean it, nothing.  I am not certain if they can or will build you a modular house with structural insulated panel walls.  I am listing them here now because I have been told they will.  Since Penn Lyon is out of business, I am hoping that someone will build a house like this for you.

What’s Gouin on 1/29/2010?

Well, there is not much new to post this month.  It is currently 17F and sunny outside.  The interior of the house is 71F and the heat has not been on since approximately 10AM.  We are making hot water, albeit less efficiently than usual because the panels are 90% covered with snow.

What’s Gouin on 1/1/2010?

Happy New Year!  I begin 2010 with a slightly failed experiment…  I have been doing a little research on the energy savings achieved by using the setback feature built into Energy Star thermostats.  While some studies show little to no benefit to lowering the temperature of the house at night, and while unoccupied, others have shown a savings of up to 30% by dropping the temperature set point by 10 degrees for 8 hours per day.  Last night, while waiting for the ball to drop in New York’s Times Square, I decided to try a little experiment of my own.  I turned the thermostat setback fea

Desuperheater Update

I wanted to let everyone know that changing the thermostat cycles per hour (CPH) from “3” to “1” has had a positive impact on hot water production from the desuperheater.  Previously, the best we had ever gotten was ~90F water in the tank.  This morning the tank storing water heated by the desuperheater is at 105F.

So, if our groundwater is coming in at 47F and we heated it to 105F, how much energy did we essentially get for “free”?

What’s Gouin On 12/17/2009?

It is currently 14F outside.  The sun shining brightly and there is a stiff wind.  I have come to expect some neat things from this house…

1 – The heat last went on about 20 minutes ago.  It will not come on again until the sun goes down.
2 – We’ll have 80 gallons of 100F+ solar heated hot water by the end of the day.

How great is that!

Our Superinsulated Home

What is a super insulated home?  A house with super-insulation generally far exceeds insulation levels required by building code.  While there is no hard and fast rule that draws a line between a “normal” home and a super-insulated home, Wikipedia states that R40 walls, and an R60 roof are typical (  Our house combines R40 polyurethane SIPs (structural insulated panels) with an outer layer of R5 rigid foam board.  Add in the R-value of the other materials in the walls (wall board, house wrap, and siding), and most of our exterior walls reac


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