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282RE: [hreg] More on Solar House

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  • Steve Stelzer
    Aug 11, 2000
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      Kevin: I appreciate your comments, because a project like this will be
      difficult. But this will be a test of the mettle of this group. I like the
      combination of a member wanting to build the house and members with a common
      goal to efficiently utilize renewable energy. So we have a client with money
      (maybe not a lot, but enough to cover the basics of a house), then with
      enough group energy we could go after the extras and see what happens. I
      agree that Charlie would be facing a daunting challenge to take this on by
      himself in this town, and even working with us, he has the lion's share of
      the work. So it makes sense that he is trying to get some idea of
      commitment from the group. What do you all think?

      Steve Stelzer

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Kevin L. Conlin [mailto:kconlin@...]
      Sent: Friday, August 11, 2000 1:53 PM
      To: hreg@egroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] More on Solar House

      Hi Charlie, This is in response to your solar house idea. I think your
      ideas are good, but are you aware that award winning solar demonstration
      homes have already been built in Houston? Not PV powered, but with
      appropriate technology. You will have to find a progressive builder to
      cooperate with you on the project, but more importantly, how will you fund
      it? I think you will find there is a very distinct chasm between peoples
      interest and their financial support. Also, if you were expecting the
      professional members of the HREG to contribute their time and expertise,
      you're basically asking them to work for free, and I don't think that will
      be well received. It will be up to you to make this happen, your will and
      perseverance, your vision, and your money. As for public interest, this is
      not a solar conscious town, nor is it particularly interested in
      environmentally friendly technologies. You would have a better chance of
      gaining public support and funding in Austin. I know many in this group will
      disagree, but we are the exceptions, not the norm. I'm not trying to throw
      a wet blanket on your idea, but I think you need to be realistic, think it
      through, develop a house plan and business plan, and approach it like you
      cannot fail. Try to think in terms of how the technology you utilize could
      be transferred and valuable, for example, could you build a prototype prefab
      cottage that could be replicated in the eco-tourism industry? Something
      that could be shipped anywhere in a shipping container and erected in
      minimal time with little technical savvy? This is just one angle, try to
      take advantage of an emerging trend that can benefit from what you want to
      build. I realize my response is more philosophical than technical, but I've
      seen a lot of "solar demonstration homes" in my career that have not been
      successful, the biggest reason being that this is the most difficult part of
      the country to utilize solar technologies in residential construction.
      Combined with an apathetic populace, well, you've got your work cut out for
      you. Good luck. Kevin Conlin

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <ChasMauch@...>
      To: <hreg@egroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, August 11, 2000 8:18 AM
      Subject: [hreg] More on Solar House

      > The email yesterday was kind of "off the top of my head". I'm so tired of
      > trying to find the "right" place to live that when the thought came
      along -
      > why not just build one? - it was kind of exciting and I sent it out before
      > trying to work out any details. I have had some further thoughts and would
      > like to share them too.
      > Just researching what all should go into such a house would be a real
      > but since we have lots of experts here, we could probably do that pretty
      > easily. Some of you guys may even have some pretty complete stuff on this
      > available from your files and previous studies. It sould also be a great
      > project we could all work on together and maybe even generate some
      > for HREG.
      > Of course the big hurdle would be cost. If you include everything - energy
      > efficient applicances and lighting, thermopane glass, filtered air to
      > all allergens, a water purification system, etc. - I assume it must be
      > prohibitively expensive; otherwise why doesn't anyone build such houses?
      > not sure how much more it would cost. Maybe someone has a guestimate? Half
      > again the cost of a regular house? Twice as much?
      > Anyway, I was wondering - why not make it a demo house for manufacturers,
      > contractors, etc who are interested in this kind of thing? I could offer
      > have open house - say every other Sunday from 10am to 6pm or whatever for
      > year or two - and let them put out their literature and bring prospective
      > clients by. Hopefully they would give a sizeable discount on their
      > and services in return for showing how their stuff really looks in
      > with someone living there. If this were a really first class job with lots
      > media coverage, it might be worth a lot to them.
      > Or it might be a duplex with one side a demo and me in the other.
      > customers could spend a few days living there just to see how they liked
      > or some other member of this group might want to live in the other side
      > we could alternate making our units available on Sundays as a public demo.
      > I could go on with this kind of stuff but don't guess there's much point
      > until I see if there is much interest. So far Steve Stelzer has responded
      > positively. Sure would appreciate some feedback - pro or con - from
      > else.
      > Charlie Mauch
      > Charlie Mauch
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