Progress last week included polishing and densifying the concrete floor with a lithium based densifier and beginning the install of the kitchen:
1610 N Honore is now officially for sale. More information can be found at:
With the recently updated satellite images on Google Earth/Google Maps, The “Greenest Garage in Chicago” announces its presence to the world-wide audience:
Google Maps: Link
At the West end of the property you can see the 40 solar manuals atop the garage canopy. The building image shows the standing metal roof about 50% complete when it was installed this summer.
Elemental Building, and the “Greenest Garage in Chicago”, were selected to be a Supersite for the upcoming National Solar Tour. The tour is held annually the first Saturday in October (this year it will be Oct. 2) and is sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).
The ASES National Solar Tour is the world’s largest grassroots solar event. This event offers you the opportunity to tour innovative green homes and buildings to see how you can use solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies to reduce monthly utility bills and help tackle climate change. More than 160,000 participants will visit some 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities across the U.S.
Now in its 15th year, this event is coordinated nationally by the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society in collaboration with dozens of outstanding partner organizations.
For more information about the Illinois chapter tour, click here.
As a Super Site, Elemental Building will be listed as a suggested starting point, and a docent from ISEA will be on hand to help answer questions about solar PV and solar thermal. The day starts at 10 am. All are invited to attend. 1610 N Honore, Chicago Il. 60622.
One of the more novel approaches we using in the building is the process of heating and cooling the space with radiant mats in the ceiling. The mats have a more narrow diameter than the typical radiant tubing used in radiant floors (as seen below), but they work just the same. In the floor, the tubing is encased in finished concrete.
In the ceiling the tubing will be encased in plaster. Both will create a ‘thermal mass’ and radiate heating and cooling up and down into the space. The system works with a closed loop process, and hot water is pumped through the tubing in the winter and cold water is pumped through during the summer.
Heating water (to run through the tubing) is more efficient than heating air, so the system will use less energy to provide the same amount of heat. It will also be an even heat (making it more comfortable). And because it is not a forced air system it will reduce the amount of contaminants and allergens blown around the space.
Because the overall system is solar-based, the majority of heating will be free heat from the sun. The set-up of the solar system is also novel in that it maximizes efficiency in a way that most solar systems do not. The concept was initially implemented and shared with me by another green builder – Timothy Heppner.
Below are two typical solar set-ups:
The downside of the above set-ups is inefficiency. In the first example, the requirement is that the 100 gallon tank always maintain a certain temperature (ie 120 degrees). So if the sun is not shining then either a gas or electric element heats the tank water- Even if there is no demand for hot water. In the second example, there is no continual heating of the tank water (which helps efficiency), but if the tank water is not hot enough to supply heat to the forced air furnace, then the gas burner kicks on in the furnace and doesn’t use any of the solar heated water.
In the system we’ve installed – the “Tim Heppner model”, the system is efficient because if there is no demand for hot water no fossil fuels are used. If there is a demand, and solar production is sufficient then no fossil fuels are used either. And finally, if there is demand and solar production is existent but insufficient, fossil fuels are used only to make up the difference between what is needed and what the solar panels can produce.
Above, Wally Shah from Radiant Cooling explains the system.
John Caravette and Jerry Bradford from Earth Wind and Solar are finishing up the solar install this week. The 6 solar THERMAL panels (not to be confused with the 40 solar PV modules on the Garage which produce electricity) will provide approximately 60% of all the heating needs of the home. That includes domestic hot water for showers, faucets and such as well as the heating system which is a radiant floor and radiant ceiling system (and will be the subject of future posts).
Before the panels were installed though we Arthur with a little help from Superman installed the metal roof. I found this nice description of why a metal roof on another green home’s blog – the equinox house. In addition to the reason’s below, the standing metal roof has the bonus of not being made from petroleum.
Why Metal?:lasts longer (50 year warranty) is lighter weight higher wind resistance fireproof fully recyclable saves energy (keeps roof cooler) sheds water and snow faster