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2 Huntsville Green homes were featured.  We met at each house & saw, up-close, real houses using Green Energy and the latest conservation features for the average homeowner.

ASA Solar Tour of  Homes 2018   Oct 6

Permaculture is a holistic approach to landscape design and human culture. It is an attempt to integrate several disciplines, including biology, ecology, geography, agriculture, architecture, appropriate technology, gardening and community building.  Part of their commitment is to ‘teach others’.


AEC (Alabama Environmental Council) awarded her this honor for, not only her energy efficient construction & use of green energy, but her influence in promoting other energy-smart projects.

Michele lobbied Huntsville Utilities which led them to participate in the TVA Solar Energy Buyback program.  This paved the way for others to use renewable in Huntsville.  She also influenced college students.
Aside from many interested individuals, Michele has welcomed touring groups to her home to share the green ideas demonstrated by her home.


She uses water conservation as well as electricity & energy conservation to reduce her carbon footprintEnergy and resources were also conserved during construction - local sources of building products were used as much as possible to decrease carbon footprint and construction waste was 75% less than standard.

if you are even thinking about buiding a new home, check out all the photos, current & past years.


Also see Gary Hasemeyer 2017 ASA public meeting presentation for green building construction with ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) walls and the Mudgett's 2016 ASA public meeting presentation for green building construction with tilt-up ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms) and SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)

Michele Sneed's house won the

2016 POWER-UP Alabama Conservation Award.






Michele Sneed house

Michele is a Perm Culturist. Perm Culture is a way of living where you give more back to the earth than you take.  She researched this home and its construction for 5 years.  An experienced green builder, Walter Sasser, temporarily moved to Huntsville and collaborated with her to build this model green home.  It was completed in 2009. Michele explained :

   ~ construction finished in 2009, 1400 sf of living space

   ~ using 2" x 6" studs in the outside walls (instead of the conventional 2 x 4's) adds insulated

      buffering space from the outside weather  (The six inch-thick walls are sprayed full of
      soy-based foam insulation.)

   ~ inside walls are insulated with used denim

   ~ roof is insulated with 12" foam

   ~ passive solar architectural features:   orientation on east west axis / exterior reflective
      panels below clerestory windows to increase indoor light during summer/ silver metal
      roof minimizing absorbing

      heat/closed-sealed crawlspace

   ~ a Geothermal Heating & Cooling System saves energy and lasts 30 years :  28 EER (Energy
      Efficiency Rating) & 4.8 COP (Coefficient of Performance)

   ~ on very cold days, she uses an efficient "Vermont Castings" wood burning stove - EPA

   ~ Solar Hot Water System with electric backup & 80 gal. reservoir (with Solar Collectors to
      heat water on her roof) saves energy & money

   ~ 9 KW Solar Array -  42 PV polysilicon panels are manufactured by Kyocera 

                                     -  25 year warranty

                                     -  Michele says "panels have been flawless, however the utility meter has
                                        been replaced 3 times"

                                     -  TVA buys back the electricity generated from the system that's not
                                        used by her house at 12 cents over retail. 

                                     -  pay-back time was 6 years, now it makes her money
      The electricity produced is more than the house requires to operate, so the Utility company
      sends monthly checks to her.

   ~ gutters collect rainwater and divert it to an underground pipe which empties into her pond. 
      This fish-fertilized water is used for watering plants during the growing season.  Normally it
      would be wasted.

   ~ to avoid indoor air pollution (which can be 3 times greater than outside air)  all floors are
      hard wood or tile, all paints used contained no or very low volatile chemicals and no
      particle board was used in cabinets or construction to avoid urea formaldehyde exposure.

   ~ normal winter Thermostat setting remain between 65-67 degrees and between 75-78
      degrees in the summer.

   ~ "live roof" on the chicken house is now becoming popular in Japan

The Milly's house

Karen & Pete's 10.4 kW solar system went online in July of 2018 and provides a shaded parking space for their tractor. 

Featured at this house is

  1. a 10.4 kW grid tied solar system of 36 PV panels, which serves as a carport for their tractor

  2. Each solar panel is a 290w GLC Polysilicone panel

  3. The system has 18 APS YC500A micro-inverters.  Instead of Inverters on a 'string' of 6-10 panels, each pair of PV panels has a micro-inverter to maximize output.  {Remember, DC electricity does not "travel as well" as AC electricity - more DC electricity is lost "along the way".)  Micro-inverters are best suited for roofs that have shading or are oriented in multiple directions.  Because micro-inverters are more efficient than string inverters, a system that uses them will produce slightly more power than a similar system with a string inverter.  With micro-inverters, if a malfunction does occur, the loss is isolated to a single or pair of panels and does not cause the entire string of panels to stop producing power. The cost is more but this is quickly gaining popularity & might be a trend in PV's.

  4. generates about 3/4 of the electricity the house uses (Pete is still collecting data)

  5. Expected pay back for this system is 7 years.

  6. See ASA Public Meetings 2017 webpage - Pete researched, bought & built, himself, a 3KW (12 panel) roof mounted, off-grid solar system as a self-teaching project to produce electricity for critical dedicated circuits (refrigerator & lights) daily, as well as during power outages.  It was dismantled but he expects to rebuild a small off grid system to cover power outages.

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