Solar and Wind Power for your Home
Welcome to the world of solar power, the clean source of power that comes for free from the sun every day, even on cloudy days. The best part of solar power is it requires minimal maintenance since it has no moving parts (just electricity) and it makes a direct impact on your electric bills every day. All our homes start with 2.5 kw of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof, enough to power an estimated 30-100% of your electricity needs depending on your energy use profile and the size of the home. The really cool part of this system is that it comes with a web based monitoring system that lets you see how much energy your system produces each day, week or annually. This same system also lets you know if there are any problems with the solar power system automatically via email, so you can quickly solve the problem (many times its’ as simple as blowing the leaves off the panels).IMPORTANT NEWS: The federal government now offers you a 30% TAX CREDIT based on the cost of the solar PV system making our solar homes even more affordable (contact us for details).
Become a part of the energy crisis solution, start generating your own power with a Solar Village Home.
Passive Solar Design
The most important feature of a Solar Village Home is that it takes advantage of the benefits provided for FREE by mother nature: sun, shade, breezes, thermal mass and natural features of the homes location.
This is called Passive Solar Design…
at a much higher level than a typical home:
The following sketch gives you an idea on how to properly orient a Solar Village Home:
- All Solar Village Homes are designed to keep the summer sun out of south facing windows via the homes roof overhangs, awnings, and other features that are part of the home. It is nearly impossible to keep the western sun out of the house without using trees (see next bullet).
- Plant deciduous trees on the south and west sides to shade the home from the summer sun and let in the winter sun when the trees are leaf free.
The way to heat or cool a home for free is to take advantage of thermal mass. Thermal mass is comprised of materials like concrete or gypcrete, tile, granite, drywall, water tanks, etc… The benefit of thermal mass is that it stores the heat coming in through the proper amount of southern windows in the winter and if you keep the sun out in the summer it creates a naturally cooling effect. The same effect you feel in basements because of thermal mass in the concrete walls. Passive heat and cooling is free and is naturally comfortable when compared to cool or hot air from ducts. All our homes come with a 1.5 inches of lightweight gypcrete under the 1st level flooring and 5/8” drywall on the walls for thermal mass. Depending on the floor coverings, interior wall finishes, and counter tops chosen, additional thermal mass can come from tile, slate, stone, and quartz or tile counter tops (some of these options may be upgrades to our base specification).
Kick back and enjoy your free heat and cooling in a Solar Village Home!!
Healthy Indoor Air
There has been an epidemic of respiratory ailments in the USA (a 300% increase over the last 10 years), due in part to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) in homes!
Without a proper ventilation system, the amount of fresh air that enters a home is largely a matter of chance. “Natural ventilation” – the kind you get by opening windows – just doesn’t do the best job, because it tends to provide either too much or too little ventilation. Because a Solar Village Home uses construction techniques and materials that make our homes extremely air tight – proper ventilation is even more critical (and required by most building codes). A Solar Village Home avoids ventilation problems by combining tight, well-insulated, leak-free construction with an energy-efficient mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system.
The HRV system quietly provides a continuous stream of fresh outdoor air to all living areas of the home, 24 hours a day. At the same time, it maintains a balance in the home’s air by removing an equivalent amount of stale air from the kitchen and bathrooms, where humidity and odors occur. The ventilation system typically has the capacity to change all the air in the house every 20 minutes and may eliminate the need for noisy inefficient bathroom fans.
In addition, the system includes a heat recovery device that uses heat captured from the exhaust air to pre-heat or cool incoming fresh air. This makes continuous ventilation much more cost-effective. Typically, an HRV system recovers 70 to 80 percent of the heat or coolness in the exhaust air, ensuring that homeowners have fresh air and low energy bills. Unlike natural ventilation which can bring in extremely hot (and humid) outside air in the summer or extremely cold air in the winter which you have to pay to remove with your HVAC system.
Solar Village homes take IAQ even farther by using low toxicity paints, finishes, cabinets and healthy insulation in all our homes to minimize the indoor air pollution found in typical homes. A new home smell is unfortunately a sign of a toxic home. As example, cabinets are the biggest source of indoor pollution in most homes which is why our cabinets have been certified by the Environment Stewardship Program to reduce toxicity and smells.
The bottom line is a Solar Village Home is one of the healthiest homes available on the market.
Solar Hot Water
Instead of electricity, a solar hot water system generates hot water. This hot water comes courtesy of the sun and is used to meet an estimated 60-80% of your domestic hot water needs, resulting in a major reduction of your costs.
As an optional upgrade, Solar hot water collectors on the roof would create hot water around 120-180 degrees depending on the amount of sun that day. This freeze protected water is then pumped to a heat exchanger that heats up a hot water tank . This water tank is your source of domestic hot water and it includes a backup electric heating element if the solar hot water system didn’t get the water hot enough for your homes needs.
IMPORTANT NEWS: The federal government now offers you a 30% TAX CREDIT based on the cost of the solar hot water system up to a maximum of $2000, making our solar homes even more affordable (contact us for details).
This system is very simple, proven over the last 40 years, and it results in real savings.
Heat travels through a wall or ceiling in 3 different ways, via heat conduction, air convection and solar radiation. Typical homes only care about heat conduction (R-value) and completely ignore air convection and solar radiation, leaving a huge gap in the homes performance.
A Solar Village Home attacks all 3 ways heat moves using
the following two systems:
Foil faced rigid foam:
The outside of a Solar Village Homes’ exterior walls are completely sheathed with a foil faced rigid foam. The foil face minimizes solar radiation heat losses in the winter and radiant heat gain during the summer (the reason your car interior is warm even on a very cold but sunny day). The rigid foam reduces conductive thermal bridging at the wall studs where there is typically no wall insulation (wood has an R-value around 3). Since studs make up 20-25% of most walls this is a major performance issue for typical homes, the rigid foam dramatically improves the walls performance.
Spray foam insulation:
The exterior wall and ceiling cavities are filled with spray foam that expands into each cavity to maximize R value, minimize conduction, and seal all wall and ceiling penetrations to minimize convective air movement. The typical home uses fiberglass batts only, which do nothing to stop convective air movement (can you say cold drafts). In fact testing by Oakridge National Labs shows that loose fill insulation like fiberglass can lose 50% of its effectiveness due to convective air movement (so an R30 ceiling performs like R15).
The ceiling and wall spray foam is covered with additional insulation to bring the R value to 49 in the ceiling and approximately R-23 in the walls, but remember that R-value is just one third of the story. The combination of the spray and rigid foam also makes the home extremely quiet, strong, and comfortable.
Solar Village Homes are made with some of the lowest maintenance products available on the market.
An example of some of the durable, long lasting products we use are:
- 50 year cementious board siding – the only siding with this level of warranty
- Solid wood interior doors – made to last
- Tile or slate floors – lasting durability
- Porcelain tile or upgrade to quartz or Paperstone® countertops – meant to last a generation
- Durable cabinets
- Fiberglass windows/doors – the most durable window/doors available, no painting ever required
- 30 year roof shingles – upgradeable to 50 year shingles
- Solar PV system – warranted for 25 years, typically last 35+years
- Solar Hot Water system – typically lasts 25+ years
- Premium HVAC system – with warranties on equipment ranging from 5-10 years
- Icynene insulation – never sags, shifts, or loses effectiveness like fiberglass
Spend your weekends in the mountains, on your bike, or doing what you love best instead of being a slave to your home.
SOLAR VILLAGE HOMES CASE STUDIES BELOW 1/4/2011
Solar Village Redwood
With the building envelope sitting adjacent to wetlands areas, this home had a responsibility to its surroundings from the initial conception. Every aspect of the home was considered in regard to its overall impact on the environment. Special care was taken from the digging of the foundation to the final sustainable interior finishes selected to a make a truly one of a kind eco home.
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Solar Village Custom Zephyr – Buena Vista, Colorado
This home is at 8,000 ft in the rafting and peak climbing capital of Colorado, Buena Vista. The home was designed to take maximum advantage of its location right on the beautiful Arkansas River, with views of the river from most rooms and a private river side patio for summer entertainment. Heat is provided by the the countries first Thermal Storage Window that stores heat from the sun all day and radiates the heat indoors at night, for FREE heat in the winter. Supplemental heat comes from a high efficiency (95%+, 2-stage) furnace and a high efficiency (98%) tankless water heater.
Other unique features are hand made natural plaster showers and sinks in the 2 bathrooms, cork flooring in the kitchen/family room, and pine beetle kill wood flooring in the great room. The exterior is cedar stained cementious siding and metal wainscoting that will last a lifetime. The great rooms’ fireplace is the first clean burn rated open wood fireplace available in the USA.
Solar Village Custom Zephyr – Silverthorne, Colorado
This home is at 9,000 ft in a pristine Summit County location (Home of Breckenridge and Keystone Ski Areas). The home was designed to show that a ski town home can have the high end features and stunning views without the usual high energy costs. With radiant floor heat supplied by solar hot water, solar PV power, and a super insulated structure with passive solar design, this could be one of the most efficient second homes ever built. This home also has an internet based thermostat system which allows the owner to track the homes temperature from anywhere and raise it up to a comfortable setting from an ultra-efficient setting so they always arrive to a comfortable temperature.
Solar Village Stratus – Alma, Colorado
This home is at 10,000 ft in a pristine location near the ski town of Breckenridge. The home was designed to appeal to the ski town resident looking for a “green and efficient” alternative to the typical ski town home with high heating costs.
Why I chose a Solar Village Home…
by Alan Cogen, owner
“I chose a Solar Village Home because I wanted an energy efficient home that also utilized space in a creative way. I was impressed in how other Solar Village Homes I checked out before purchasing mine were so spacious, creative in using natural light and most importantly affordable.”