Solar and Wind Power for your Home

If you could generate power for your home, Free, day in and day out for 30+ years, would that grab your attention?

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…
The following facts describe why a Solar Village Home performs
at a much higher level than a typical home:
HOME ORIENTATION
All Solar Village Homes have been designed to have one side of the home face south towards the sun.  It is very important to have the southern elevation for each of our models match up to the southern aspect on your desired lot.  Some of our models can be mirrored to accommodate additional home orientations (contact us to discuss your lot).

The following sketch gives you an idea on how to properly orient a Solar Village Home:

Shading

Solar Village Homes keep out unwanted summer sun to minimize the need for cooling and allow in winter sun to naturally heat the house.  Shading is done in two ways:
  • 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.

Thermal Mass

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.

Ultra-Efficient Insulation

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.


Overview:


 

Location Square Ft Bedrooms Bath When Built
Awards
Boulder, Colorado 3200 3 2.5 2008 n/a

 





Bathroom: View Larger Dining Room: View Larger Kitchen: View Larger

The Facts


Energy Features
  • Passive solar design
  • Drywall acting as thermal mass
  • 3.5kW grid-tied PV system
  • Space heating and cooling provided by a hybrid heat pump
  • Heat-recovery ventilation
  • Large-capacity tankless water heater
  • CFLs
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Blown-in insulation in walls and ceiling, and rigid foam board insulation
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Energy star appliances
Green Features
  • Green Points: 112
  • Advanced framing techniques
  • Use of engineered lumber
  • Fiber-cement exterior siding
  • Bamboo flooring, wool carpets,
    marmoleum
  • Natural quartz countertop material
  • No-VOC paints, low-VOC varnishes and glues
  • Eco-cabinets, FSC wood doors
  • Humidifier and advanced filter

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.


Overview:


Location Square Ft Bedrooms Bath When Built
Buena Vista, Colorado 2470 3 2.5 2010

Thermal Storage Window heats the home for FREE, Colorado's first
Front porch
Natural Plaster sinks - hand formed based on ancient techniques
Natural plaster shower, river rock base, solatube natural lighting
Inside view of Thermal Storage Window
Kitchen - Hickory kitchen cabinets, Eco Cosentino countertops, Cork flooring
Soaking tub with Natural Plaster hand formed surround
Outdoor shower - just like the beach!

Built Green

  • Passive solar orientation & design
  • Super-insulated Icynene walls & ceilings
  • Thermal Storage Window
  • High efficiency (95%) gas Furnace – 2 stage
  • 98% efficient tankless water heaters
  • Clean burning wood fireplace
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)
  • Super-insulated ICF concrete foundation
  • Solar Tubes for natural light
  • Dimmable energy efficient lighting
  • Energy star appliances
  • Water sense toilets & faucets

Sustainable Materials

  • Cementious 50 yr cedar colored siding
  • Efficient & maintenance free fiberglass windows and doors
  • Eco countertops (recycled glass)
  • Durable slate floors
  • Cork flooring in kitchen & family rooms
  • Pine beetle kill wood flooring
  • Natural plaster in baths
  • No VOC paints
  • Low VOC cabinets
  • Metal siding and roof elements
  • 40 year roof shingles

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.


Overview:


Location Square Ft Bedrooms Bath When Built
Awards
Silverthorne, Colorado 3200 3 3.5 2009 n/a

5 panel solar hot water system for radiant floor heat, 2 kw of solar PV
50 year low maintenance siding, no maintenance TREX deck
See-Thru Fireplace divides dining and living rooms
Custom tiled master bath, air jet soaking tub, granite counter
Back Solar: View Larger Side: View Larger Fireplace:
View Larger
Bathroom : View Larger

Built Green

  • Passive solar orientation & design
  • Super-insulated Icynene walls & ceilings
  • 1.5″ thick gypcrete floors for thermal mass
  • Solar Hot Water assisted radiant floor heat & DHW
  • High efficiency gas boiler
  • Clean burning see-through gas fireplace
  • 2 kw Solar PV electric panels
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)
  • Internet connected thermostats
  • Super-insulated concrete foundation
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Energy star appliances
  • Low 1 gallon per flush toilets

Sustainable Materials

  • Cementious 50 yr cedar colored siding
  • Efficient & maintenance free fiberglass windows and doors
  • Durable slate floors
  • Cork flooring in kitchen
  • No VOC paints
  • Low VOC cabinets
  • Metal siding and roof elements
  • 50 year roof shingles

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.


Overview:


Location Square Ft Bedrooms Bath When Built
Awards
Alma, Colorado 1700 3 2 2008 n/a





Living Room : View Larger Kitchen: View Larger Bath: View Larger Bedroom : View Larger

Built Green

  • Passive solar orientation & design
  • Super-insulated walls & ceilings
  • 1.5″ thick gypcrete floors for thermal mass
  • 2.5 kw Solar electric panels
  • Natural ventilation cooling
  • Insulated concrete foundation
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Energy star appliances

Sustainable Materials

  • Hardi-plank 50 yr siding
  • Efficient windows and doors
  • Durable tile floors
Testimonial:

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.”
Water Features
  • Xeriscape and low-water lawn
  • Drip irrigation
  • Pervious pavement
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  • Re-Use/Salvage Features
  • Utilized construction & demolition waste
  • Most furniture is recycled or made from recycled materials
Downloads

Full Home Profile (PDF 261k)