Check out the October 2016 issue of Saratoga Lifestyle Magazine
The inside cover features a full page Under the Sun ad . . . and on pg. 30-31 a great article about Zero Energy Homes, consultation services, and future plans for Under the Sun.
After careful planning and consultation, a solar array has been installed on our south-facing roof. Our new ENERGY STAR certified, DOE Zero Energy Ready home is now a ZERO ENERGY HOME, producing ALL of the energy it requires - - PLUS. Our future utility bills will be less than or equal to $0.00.
There are many solar installers out there, but Lampros Solar, LLC from Cambridge, NY was our ultimate choice. Tom and Keith, together, have decades of knowledge and experience in the solar, electrical, building and engineering industries. Kevin assisted and brought the builder's perspective to the project. Our installation was professionally completed, with careful attention to detail at every step in the process. Even the building inspector recognized the high level of quality and neatness of the finished product.
We selected 300w modules from SolarWorld - a quality German panel manufactured in the United States - with a 25-year warranty. Our inverter is an SMA Sunny Boy 6.0 and includes a built-in DC disconnect with integrated wireless monitoring.
Although the house was modeled for net zero (HERS 0) with a 7.5kW grid-tied solar array - - 25 modules in landscape, with 5 rows of 5 - - further discussion with the installers reduced roof penetrations by 32 by installing the modules in portrait - - 27 modules, with 3 rows of 9. This new configuration has given us an 8.10 kW array (HERS -0). Less the current state and federal tax incentives available to home owners, our new system will pay for itself in less than 6 years.
We selected quality products for the house interior that were aesthetically pleasing and affordable.
The kitchen cabinets are Medallion Designer Gold plywood construction in Central Park West style and Seagrass paint; Top Knobs pulls and knobs in black. Kohler large single bowl stainless steel sink and pull down faucet, with soap dispenser. The countertop is Cambria quartz from Stone Creations in NH. All appliances are stainless steel, American made and ENERGY STAR rated- - GE Profile induction range and coordinating venting mcirowave, GE dishwasher, and Maytag bottom freezer refrigerator.
The flooring is Bruce engineered hardwood in harvest oak, over a foam underlayment. The masterbath and laundry floor is a no-slip Armstrong luxury vinyl tile in slate blue.
All of the walls were finished in bull nose bead, so there are no sharp 90 degree corners anywhere in the entire house. The wall color is autumnal equinox, with glass slipper in the master suite. All doors and trim are drifting snow. The paint is Benjamin Moore Regal Select Eggshell.
Solid core Masonite Safe n Sound interior doors; hardware is brushed nickel throughout, with Kwikset Ashfield handles and locksets in rustic pewter.
Master bath and powder room vanities and matching mirrors are Bertch with Cambria quartz tops, porcelain sinks and Delta fixtures, accessories and grab bars. Wall sconces are Potterybarn Mercer in satin nickel and chrome. .8 gallon Niagara Stealth chair height commodes.
100% LED lighting - - Philips Lightolier 2700K in ceilings; Lithonia Versi Lights 4000K in all closets and garage. Bulbs in wall sconces and outdoor fixtures are all LED. Hunter ceiling fans are ENERGY STAR rated.
Our energy rater Matt Evans and colleague Jamie Lyons from Newport Ventures were here on Tuesday to perform our final blower door test. We are delighted with the results: .98 ACH Pascals (cfm50), far exceeding ENERGY STAR's current standard of 4 ACH Pascals or less. Our first ENERGY STAR certified/DOE ZERO ENERGY READY home is a great success!
Bull nose bead is everywhere, including around all of the windows and sliding glass door. The bedroom 3 bath window is trimmed with Restoration Millwork, a green PVC product that has a waterproof finish. The rear porch and carport headers are trimmed in cedar, to frame the outdoor natural surroundings. Exterior lighting includes Baselight warehouse lights (front) and vapor jar (carport) - - each with LED bulbs and made in the USA - - and low profile 2,000+ lumens flood lights on the east and west corners of the house. The mini split compressors have been neatly installed on the south wall, using durable Rectorseal brackets; the line sets are also covered. And finally, on October 24, we said good-bye to our pink flamingo friends and the 05 Desert Fox, which is currently for sale.
The final electrical inspection certificate was awarded on October 14. Jacki calculated the design load for the house, laid out the service panel, and kept a detailed notebook of all electrical diagrams and circuits. Kevin made all of the final connections in the service panel. There is a whole house surge protector and a transfer switch for a generator, in addition to 1" conduit and ample space for a future solar inverter. The house has 100% LED lighting, inside and out, and there are plenty of receptacles on each wall. Cardboard secured with Frog tape is an excellent way to protect freshly painted walls from being marred by switches dangling from the box.
The Fujitsu heat pump ductless mini splits and Lunos eGO and e2 (all equipped with DC motors for energy efficiency) will provide all of the heating, cooling and fresh air ventilation for the entire house. The Luno HRV's are the "lungs" of the house and bring in fresh, filtered and tempered air by direct, through-the-wall installation (no ducts). The units are also designed to reverse every 70 seconds to expel stale air. The mini splits heat, cool, dehumidify and filter indoor air. Because the compressors are located outside, the units are extremely quiet and are remote controlled. We were able to acquire the newest model of the Fujitsu AOU9RLS3H, which is the most efficient on the market.
The soffit allowed us the option of venting the third bedroom bath fan out the wall instead of through the roof. Using a section of flex duct in the attic helps to quiet the exhaust and allows for an easier sweeping turn using rigid thinwall PVC for the powder room fan. Kevin used Zip tape to attach the flex duct and PVC and applied fire retardant spray foam around the fan unit in the attic, and also around the penetration through the wall and ceiling.
Under the Sun Building and Remodeling, LLC
Our mission: To build and retrofit quality, energy efficient homes that are healthy, safe, and affordable.