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Public Meetings 2016

ASA has Speakers every Month at our
Public Meetings

Why Solar ?

  • Renewable 

       - the energy source, sunlight, is
         unlimited (esp. in Alabama)    
       - clean / good for the environment

  • Reliable    
     - panels are guaranteed for 25 years    
     - actually will last 30 to 40 years, with
       very little  maintenance

  • Independence     
     - from foreign sources     
     - from utility prices

  • Good Investment     
     - the electricity generated will make 
       you money    
     - adds to the property value of your

2016 Presentations at the ASA Monthly Public Meetings

"Solar Hot Water Heating"  

Feb 16 by Tom Tyler of Solar Thermal Systems

  • Federal Hot Water Heater Efficiency Standards (April 2015)

       -Energy Factor comparisons between non-solar (Electric, Gas, Tankless) & Solar Thermal :  highest non-solar Energy Factor is 2.05, whereas Solar is over 10

  • Making Hot Water with Sunshine 
    – Types of solar energy and collector
       1) Flat Plate Collector  - best for N. AL  
    - 2 flat plate collectors provide 80% of hot water needs for family of 4
       2) Evacuated Tube Collector  
    - used when higher H2O temp is required
       -Heat Pump Water Heater – NEW
     decrease cost to heat water 50% - 80%   – Solar Hot Water System Configurations

  • Financial Analysis of Solar Hot Water
       - Solar Thermal Water Heater life span is 40 yrs

       – added value  at home appraisal time
       - typical savings is equivalent to 50% to 80% of annual water heating bill
       - payback in 10 to 15 years

       – 16 benefits to install Solar Hot Water in new construction

       – Solar Thermal Combi‐systems improve ROI
       combines domestic hot water & space heating into 1 system

  • Legionella in hot water systems
       - is the new MOLD

"Take Five campaign"

Mar 15 by Robin Cox of of Operation Green Team

  • Huntsville is 1 of 50 cities competing in the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) Competition ( to develop a cleaner, more efficient energy future

  • the prize, $ 5 million, goes to the competing city that decreases their energy consumption / person (municipal & residents) the most in 2 yrs

  • out of 50 cities, Huntsville is now #1

  • Take Five is public awareness campaign that will promote energy efficiency in the home, workplace & schools by challenging people to Take Five actions to reduce energy waste:

  1. change 5 most-used lights to LED

  2. unplug it, when not in use

  3. set thermostat to 78 F in summer & 68 F in winter

  4. take a 5 min. or less shower

  5. Keep it closed (close garage doors & seal windows

  • Take Five: Huntsville Energy Everywhere Fair (April 2016 – May 2018) for 4th graders in all Huntsville City schools will teach kids about energy basics now, clean energy & the climate

  • Green Team, Huntsville City Schools, Huntsville Utilities & Energy Huntsville will supply materials to students

"Energy Storage"  Jan 14       by Morton Archibald & Tom Tenpenny

  • Why - Storage is the key to practical use of renewable energy.   

  • Batteries, ice, hydro, capacitors, and more

  • May be huge or tiny

  • May be simple or complex

  • Don’t overlook old technologies.

  • Can be added to existing grid-tied PV system to make it ‘smart’ to choose, based if the grid is up, pass through to grid, isolate from grid OR charge the battery

  • Ice, the ideal energy storage - Couple with a solar array to make ice during the day (when sun is shining) and use to cool the house at night.

How Does a Solar Panel generate electricity?

The silicon wafer is the basic component in each solar cell.  This silicon wafer is processed with one side charged + and the other side charged - .  When light hits it, in the form of photons, electrons are "excited" & flow to the other side.  This creates a current.  This current is then transferred to electricity in your house. 

Most solar panels are garanteed for 25 years with only a 20% degradation in efficiency.

Gov. & Utility Incentives

to Install Solar Panels

- 30% Federal Tax Credit

- Accelerated depreciation

- $1,000 TVA connection credit

- TVA green Power purchase

- 30% (up to $3,000) Federal Grant

"Energy Efficiency Program"

Apr 19 by John Holley & Jerry Adams of Calhoun Community College

"Ground Source Heat Pumps" 

May 17 by Keith Key, P.E. of Geothermal Solutions

  • almost 2/3 of electricity on your utilities bill is from heating, cooling & hot water

  • Geothermal/Ground Source Heat Pump uses the constant temperature (65-67 degrees) in the ground to exchange heat in winter & cool in the summer with your indoor air

  • in winter, it doesn’t create heat but collects it from the earth via loops & transfers/moves it into your house

  • traditional H/C returns $1 of heat for every $1 spent on electricity while geothermal returns $5 of heat for $1 of electricity – it can save you 70% on your electric bill

  • no condenser or Freon needed - only moving parts are the pump & blower, this means less maintenance & longest life span of any H/C system

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps are rated in EER, not SEER :  16 SEER = 13 EER

  • has been around since the late 1940’s

  • treated water is run through underground pipes are called a loops :  closed loop 1) vertical 2) horizontal (100-400 ft) & pond (coiled on bottom of pond) and open loop, well water system

  • residential federal energy tax credit expires the end of 2016

  • initial costs are about 3
    times more, but all

    expenses recouped in
    5 years

"A Solar Community in ALJun 21

by  Bill Stevenson

  • every October for Solar Month some residents in Blountsville, AL in Blount County (about 40 min S of H’ville)  open their super green homes to the public

  • inspired by the conservative nature & “closer to nature” culture of the Quaker’s

  • the architecture of all 3 homes is passive solar  

  1. Glazing on south side window

  2. Deep overhangs above windows

  3. Deciduous trees, vines

Guesman’s Coverted Yurt

  •  yurt - refers to its round outline / framework , rather than traditional square, for greater energy efficiency
     off-grid 12 panel solar farm

  • wood burning stove, no AC, special electric super efficient refrigerator, solar oven

  • passive solar - deciduous vegetation to block sunlight coming in windows in summer

  • no AC, special electric super efficient refrigerator, solar oven

  •    Solar Hot Water Heater on Roof

Bergquist’s Clerestory House

  • on-the-grid,  PV’s, Solar Hot Water Heater on Roof

  • cupola for ventilation & outside doors across from each other for cross ventilation

  • has AC, passive solar heat & lighting from architecture

Brindle’s Straw Bale House

  • straw inside walls serve an insulation, 20 PV solar farm

  • Custom Built Basement Refrigerator

"Energy Efficient Building Construction" Jul 19

by Rosemary Mudgett

  • energy efficient goal of any house - minimize air infiltration by sealing & good insulation

  • the Mudggets used tilt-up ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) and SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) to construct their house instead of traditional construction (Stick frame) - SIPs were used for foundation

  • their house uses half (46%) the electricity to heat & cool than other houses of this size in the same zip code - R28 exterior walls and R41 roof

  • Higher initial material cost (1-5%) more than offset by lower construction labor cost & lower utilities cost

  • structure of house, on-site, built in 3 days – set with crane in gravel, then panels grouted & concrete slab poured inside

  • walls are solid, no need to find a stud to hang heavy objects

  • ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) Pros

      - Continuous concrete pour reduces air infiltration

      - Will not promote rot, mold, or mildew OR burn

      - Very strong especially with ICF roof

      - Not a food source for insects or small animals

      - Good sound barrier

  • SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) forms made from 85% recycled EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) with 15% cement

  • SIP differences from ICF

      - Usable below grade  (Insects cannot burrow through)

      - Better fire resistance

      - Concrete fill grid pattern may allow more air infiltration

  • SIP Pros

      - High R values

      - Very low air infiltration

      - Various panel thicknesses available

      - Quick shell installation

      - Good sound barrier

      - No 2x4 studs to miss when hanging drywall, cabinets, and pictures

      - 20-30% stronger than stick framing

      - No place for mold and mildew to grow

  • Industry trend is towards SIP

"AL Center for Sustainable Energy" Aug 16

by  Daniel Tait

  • ALCSE (Alabama Center for Sustainable Energy) is a non-profit organization with the Mission Statement: “Accelerating Alabama’s transition to sustainable energy

  • ALCSE plans to do this with 1) Education 2) Advocacy & 3) Technical Assistance   

  1) Education

  • Educating the next generation at Schools and Sci-Quest

  • OLLI and LearningQUEST

  • Now, professional development

  2) Advocacy

  • PACE legal in Alabama

  • Additions to appraiser’s manuals

  • Local energy justice coalition

  • TVA advisory committee

  3) Tech Assistance

  • Huntsville Better Buildings Challenge

  • Mission: Net Zero - Net Zero Energy:  The amount of energy provided by on-site renewable energy sources is equal or equivalent to the amount of energy used.

  • ALCSE increases community awareness motivating the community to take the collective action necessary to change our energy model & educates individuals to make smarter decisions when using energy

"H Fuel Cell Cars" Sept 20

 Keith Key, P.E. of Geothermal Solutions

  • fuel cells qualify for the 30% Residential Energy Fed. Tax Credit

  • the ‘fuel’ is compressed H gas

  • a Hydrogen fuel cell is NOT a battery, but uses the energy released from the chemical reaction of compressed Hydrogen with Oxygen to power a car

  • 2H2 + O2 → 2H2O    Hydrogen molecule reacts with Oxygen creating water and Energy

  • 1 Kg Hydrogen = 1 gal gasoline in energy

  • since it’s not a combustion engine, but a chemical reaction – less moving parts

  • 2 models out now:  equivalent to 50 mpg,
    130 -150 HP, tank
    distance is almost 300
    miles, around $60,000

  • about 20 H2 stations,
    ALL in So. Ca

"One Approach To Energy Efficient Residential Construction"

 Oct 18  by  Gary Hasemeyer

  • Gary acted as his own contractor on his house built 15 years ago

  • key features - 1) strong ICF walls &, 2) Radiant Thermal Barrier, 3) Geothermal Heating and Cooling with Energy Recovery for Hot Water 4) metal shingle roof, 5) R-13 windows

  • he wanted to prevent tornadoes collapsing walls on his family

  • his house is more than 90% more efficient than av. house

  • elevated slab to isolate interior from ground temp. changes

  • Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Walls built by many blocks of 5” foam insulation with 6” of concrete poured into each, on site – cost about 20% more than traditional

  • 2nd floor additionally supported/braced

  • triple-pane (R-13) casement windows from Canada

  • Geothermal HVAC system, 3.5 Ton, 2000’ of copper tubing with water soak system, 4 –zone programmable controls

  • Thermos Bottle - Radiant Thermal Barrier inside walls & roof – “the heats stays in OR the heat stays out

  • metal shingle roof, 50-year life, reflects heat from sun,  looks like but costs 2x asphalt shingles

To extend the life of
your Lead batteries, k
keep them at least
50% charged.

"AC Coupled Battery Backup Sys."

 Nov 15  by  Morton Archibald

Grid Parity

When electricity from alternative energy is equal to or cheaper than the price of buying it from the power company

R&R talk on construc
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