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Re: Living Off The Grid

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  • Gary Beck
    *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200 cents).* Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do so.
    Message 1 of 29 , Feb 8, 2011
    This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200 cents). 
     
    Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero energy in annualized energy consumption.
     
    It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar array.  
     
    To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg). 
     
    In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
     
    Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber’s February 6 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'.  This is big news.  I hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
     
    This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!  They have let them off the hook by providing the ‘facts’ that the trendiest of trends is towards smaller smarter homes.  Whew! No they can start designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it - http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)

     

    In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned from Molly and Kathy’s article.   These points are worth repeating.

     

    Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers consistently, indicate that –

    o   Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget- and environmentally conscious

    o   Smaller, smarter rooms

    o   Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.

    o   Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose. It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties!).

    o   "People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties – she gets it!)

    o   Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square feet is suddenly desirable.

    o   Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.

    o   Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a media-filled gathering space.

    o   People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so home offices are an asset, too.

    o   "We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff,"

    o   A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists, and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work space by day.

    o   The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen

    o   Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area.

    o   A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home buyers request two dishwashers."

    o   Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features.

    o   "Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet,"

    o   "Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."

    o   There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap them up like postage stamps."

    o   Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics - woven into the house,

    o   Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all the household products she buys in bulk.

    o   Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high on priority lists.

    o   Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time."

    o   Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to fire and weather.

    o   Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge.

    o   The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV. Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.

    o   Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"

    o   Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't.

    o   People will be able to clean their own houses."

    o   The era of the McMansion is over.

     

    Way to go Molly and Kathy!

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  • Jay Ring
    Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary. I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts: Bigger isn t better, even if you can afford it.
    Message 2 of 29 , Feb 9, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.

      I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:


      Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.

      Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.

      It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better.  There is a "right size" that depends on each person/family.

      Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it.  You should love your house.  Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you never use.  Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists for a purpose, not just added on without thought.

      Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners

      Disagree with some exceptions.

      I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms.  You spend too much time setting up and breaking down.  It's much more convenient to set it up and leave it that way.

      In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a work space.  That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home, that is a nightmare.  I have several computers, soldering equipment, electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc.  The solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table.  I also like to garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints heading to the outside.  These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized space, with everything set up and ready to go.  While any one persons specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of cases.

      In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes, while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special events.  But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong. 

      I agree with most of the other stuff.  Good food for thought.




      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck <ecoegr@...> wrote:
      >
      > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
      > cents).*
      >
      > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
      > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
      > energy in annualized energy consumption.
      >
      > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
      > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
      > array.
      >
      > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years
      > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
      > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
      >
      > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and
      > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can
      > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
      > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
      >
      > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February 6
      > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
      > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
      > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
      > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
      >
      > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!
      > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the trendiest
      > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
      > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
      > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
      > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
      >
      >
      >
      > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
      > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
      >
      >
      >
      > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
      > consistently, indicate that – *
      >
      > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
      > and environmentally conscious*
      >
      > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
      >
      > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
      >
      > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
      > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner
      > Properties!). *
      >
      > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
      > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner
      > Properties – she gets it!)*
      >
      > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
      > feet is suddenly desirable.*
      >
      > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
      >
      > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
      > media-filled gathering space.*
      >
      > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
      > home offices are an asset, too.*
      >
      > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
      >
      > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
      > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
      > space by day.*
      >
      > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
      >
      > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
      > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
      >
      > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
      > buyers request two dishwashers."*
      >
      > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
      >
      > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
      >
      > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
      >
      > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
      > them up like postage stamps." *
      >
      > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
      > woven into the house, *
      >
      > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
      > the household products she buys in bulk.*
      >
      > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
      > on priority lists.*
      >
      > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
      > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
      >
      > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
      > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
      > fire and weather.*
      >
      > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
      > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
      >
      > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
      > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
      >
      > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
      > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
      >
      > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
      >
      > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
      >
      > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
      >
      >
      >
      > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
      >
    • Gary Beck
      Breaking it down also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about daily conversions or a Transformer house. Not rocket science - just designing to
      Message 3 of 29 , Feb 9, 2011
      • 0 Attachment

        'Breaking it down' also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about daily conversions or a 'Transformer' house. Not rocket science - just designing to the task.  

         

        I don't think many people plan to solder and re-pot plants in their kitchen.  Maybe some seedling, but not the ferns.  But they could do each in a multitasking garage with a well-designed in work area.  Multitasking happens in every room of every house.  It would work much better if each room or area were designed to do specific multitasks better.

         

        Good designers know It is more about understanding flow and also placing things where people need them to be. This might be a nook desk in the kitchen area for all the tasks we need to do associated with and during food preparation. Plus it is a place to set up 'junior' to do homework while parents cook. Maybe it is placing a floor plug to connect into a 'wired' kitchen table so it has an outlet under a nicely decorated flush brass plate to plug in a wok or plug in a laptop without tripping over the cables,… or a reading nook designed into a stairwell landing, or a bathroom that detects high humidity and vents it…the list goes on and on. 

         

        The point is that if you choose to design a sleek good looking super insulated smart operating smaller (not tiny!) home, you can create the opportunity to go net-zero energy on an annualized basis.  If you design a large home, the simple kW/sf will quickly get you off that net-zero possibility.    

         

         

        From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay Ring
        Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:21 AM
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid

         

         

        Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.

         

        I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:

         

         

        Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.

         

        Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.

         

        It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better.  There is a "right size" that depends on each person/family.

         

        Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it.  You should love your house.  Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you never use.  Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists for a purpose, not just added on without thought.

         

        Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners

         

        Disagree with some exceptions.

         

        I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms.  You spend too much time setting up and breaking down.  It's much more convenient to set it up and leave it that way.

         

        In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a work space.  That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home, that is a nightmare.  I have several computers, soldering equipment, electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc.  The solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table.  I also like to garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints heading to the outside.  These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized space, with everything set up and ready to go.  While any one persons specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of cases.

         

        In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes, while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special events.  But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong. 

         

        I agree with most of the other stuff.  Good food for thought.

         

         

         

         

        --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck <ecoegr@...> wrote:

        >
        > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
        > cents).*
        >
        > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
        > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
        > energy in annualized energy consumption.
        >
        > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
        > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
        > array.
        >
        > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years
        > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
        > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
        >
        > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and
        > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can
        > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
        > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
        >
        > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February 6
        > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
        > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
        > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
        > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
        >
        > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!
        > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the trendiest
        > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
        > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
        > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
        > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
        >
        >
        >
        > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
        > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
        >
        >
        >
        > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
        > consistently, indicate that – *
        >
        > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
        > and environmentally conscious*
        >
        > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
        >
        > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
        >
        > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
        > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner
        > Properties!). *
        >
        > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
        > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner
        > Properties – she gets it!)*
        >
        > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
        > feet is suddenly desirable.*
        >
        > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
        >
        > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
        > media-filled gathering space.*
        >
        > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
        > home offices are an asset, too.*
        >
        > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
        >
        > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
        > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
        > space by day.*
        >
        > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
        >
        > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
        > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
        >
        > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
        > buyers request two dishwashers."*
        >
        > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
        >
        > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
        >
        > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
        >
        > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
        > them up like postage stamps." *
        >
        > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
        > woven into the house, *
        >
        > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
        > the household products she buys in bulk.*
        >
        > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
        > on priority lists.*
        >
        > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
        > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
        >
        > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
        > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
        > fire and weather.*
        >
        > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
        > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
        >
        > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
        > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
        >
        > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
        > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
        >
        > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
        >
        > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
        >
        > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
        >
        >
        >
        > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
        >

      • Jay Ring
        I am not saying that your previous points are wrong for you. Only that they are not necessarily true for everyone. A house is a very personal thing. If it
        Message 4 of 29 , Feb 10, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          I am not saying that your previous points are wrong for you.  Only that they are not necessarily true for everyone.  A house is a very personal thing.  If it works for you, that's great.  It doesn't work for me.

          It is not the case that large houses can't be made net-zero.  A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof.  A 4000 square foot house has 4000 square feet of roof.  It's the ratio of roof space to living space that affects your ability to offset your energy use (assuming PV).

          What kills your ability to get to zero is adding a addition levels.  Extra levels add square feet of living space without adding extra roof space.  Even then you could use pole mount PV outside.



          --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Beck" <ecoegr@...> wrote:
          >
          > 'Breaking it down' also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about
          > daily conversions or a 'Transformer' house. Not rocket science - just
          > designing to the task.
          >
          >
          >
          > I don't think many people plan to solder and re-pot plants in their kitchen.
          > Maybe some seedling, but not the ferns. But they could do each in a
          > multitasking garage with a well-designed in work area. Multitasking happens
          > in every room of every house. It would work much better if each room or
          > area were designed to do specific multitasks better.
          >
          >
          >
          > Good designers know It is more about understanding flow and also placing
          > things where people need them to be. This might be a nook desk in the
          > kitchen area for all the tasks we need to do associated with and during food
          > preparation. Plus it is a place to set up 'junior' to do homework while
          > parents cook. Maybe it is placing a floor plug to connect into a 'wired'
          > kitchen table so it has an outlet under a nicely decorated flush brass plate
          > to plug in a wok or plug in a laptop without tripping over the cables,. or a
          > reading nook designed into a stairwell landing, or a bathroom that detects
          > high humidity and vents it.the list goes on and on.
          >
          >
          >
          > The point is that if you choose to design a sleek good looking super
          > insulated smart operating smaller (not tiny!) home, you can create the
          > opportunity to go net-zero energy on an annualized basis. If you design a
          > large home, the simple kW/sf will quickly get you off that net-zero
          > possibility.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
          > Ring
          > Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:21 AM
          > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.
          >
          >
          >
          > I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.
          >
          >
          >
          > Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.
          >
          >
          >
          > It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better. There is a
          > "right size" that depends on each person/family.
          >
          >
          >
          > Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it. You
          > should love your house. Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you
          > never use. Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists
          > for a purpose, not just added on without thought.
          >
          >
          >
          > Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners
          >
          >
          >
          > Disagree with some exceptions.
          >
          >
          >
          > I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms. You spend too much time
          > setting up and breaking down. It's much more convenient to set it up and
          > leave it that way.
          >
          >
          >
          > In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a
          > work space. That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home,
          > that is a nightmare. I have several computers, soldering equipment,
          > electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc. The
          > solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table. I also like to
          > garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints
          > heading to the outside. These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized
          > space, with everything set up and ready to go. While any one persons
          > specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of
          > cases.
          >
          >
          >
          > In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes,
          > while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special
          > events. But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down
          > again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong.
          >
          >
          >
          > I agree with most of the other stuff. Good food for thought.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck ecoegr@ wrote:
          > >
          > > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
          > > cents).*
          > >
          > > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
          > > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
          > > energy in annualized energy consumption.
          > >
          > > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
          > > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
          > > array.
          > >
          > > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few
          > years
          > > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
          > > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
          > >
          > > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced
          > and
          > > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You
          > can
          > > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
          > > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
          > >
          > > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February
          > 6
          > > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
          > > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
          > > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
          > > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
          > >
          > > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG
          > favor!
          > > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the
          > trendiest
          > > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
          > > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
          > > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
          > > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
          > > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
          > > consistently, indicate that - *
          > >
          > > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
          > > and environmentally conscious*
          > >
          > > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
          > >
          > > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
          > >
          > > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
          > > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha
          > Turner
          > > Properties!). *
          > >
          > > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
          > > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha
          > Turner
          > > Properties - she gets it!)*
          > >
          > > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
          > > feet is suddenly desirable.*
          > >
          > > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
          > >
          > > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
          > > media-filled gathering space.*
          > >
          > > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
          > > home offices are an asset, too.*
          > >
          > > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
          > >
          > > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
          > > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
          > > space by day.*
          > >
          > > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
          > >
          > > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
          > > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
          > >
          > > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
          > > buyers request two dishwashers."*
          > >
          > > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
          > >
          > > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
          > >
          > > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
          > >
          > > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
          > > them up like postage stamps." *
          > >
          > > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
          > > woven into the house, *
          > >
          > > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
          > > the household products she buys in bulk.*
          > >
          > > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
          > > on priority lists.*
          > >
          > > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
          > > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
          > >
          > > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
          > > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
          > > fire and weather.*
          > >
          > > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
          > > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
          > >
          > > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
          > > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
          > >
          > > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
          > > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
          > >
          > > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
          > >
          > > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
          > >
          > > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
          > >
          >
        • Al Source
          I am interested in finding a complete off the grid system design including bill of material.  Please let me know a good and reasonable source. Any help will
          Message 5 of 29 , Feb 10, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            I am interested in finding a complete off the grid system design including
            bill of material.  Please let me know a good and reasonable source.
            Any help will be highly appreciated.


            From: Gary Beck <ecoegr@...>
            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tue, February 8, 2011 9:24:50 PM
            Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid [1 Attachment]

             

            This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200 cents). 
             
            Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero energy in annualized energy consumption.
             
            It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar array.  
             
            To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few years ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg). 
             
            In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced and sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You can quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
             
            Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber’s February 6 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'.  This is big news.  I hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
             
            This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG favor!  They have let them off the hook by providing the ‘facts’ that the trendiest of trends is towards smaller smarter homes.  Whew! No they can start designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it - http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)

             

            In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned from Molly and Kathy’s article.   These points are worth repeating.

             

            Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers consistently, indicate that –

            o   Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget- and environmentally conscious

            o   Smaller, smarter rooms

            o   Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.

            o   Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose. It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties!).

            o   "People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties – she gets it!)

            o   Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square feet is suddenly desirable.

            o   Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.

            o   Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a media-filled gathering space.

            o   People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so home offices are an asset, too.

            o   "We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff,"

            o   A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists, and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work space by day.

            o   The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen

            o   Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area.

            o   A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home buyers request two dishwashers."

            o   Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features.

            o   "Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet,"

            o   "Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."

            o   There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap them up like postage stamps."

            o   Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics - woven into the house,

            o   Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all the household products she buys in bulk.

            o   Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high on priority lists.

            o   Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time."

            o   Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to fire and weather.

            o   Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge.

            o   The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV. Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.

            o   Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"

            o   Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't.

            o   People will be able to clean their own houses."

            o   The era of the McMansion is over.

             

            Way to go Molly and Kathy!

             
             
             
             
             
             
             
             

          • Robert Johnston
            If your only constraint on PV is roof space, your net worth must dwarf mine! ;-) For me, smaller makes a lot of sense. Robert From: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            Message 6 of 29 , Feb 10, 2011
            • 0 Attachment

              If your only constraint on PV is roof space, your net worth must dwarf mine!  ;-)

              For me, smaller makes a lot of sense.


              Robert

               

              From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay Ring
              Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2011 9:14 AM
              To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid

               

               

              I am not saying that your previous points are wrong for you.  Only that they are not necessarily true for everyone.  A house is a very personal thing.  If it works for you, that's great.  It doesn't work for me.

               

              It is not the case that large houses can't be made net-zero.  A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof.  A 4000 square foot house has 4000 square feet of roof.  It's the ratio of roof space to living space that affects your ability to offset your energy use (assuming PV).

               

              What kills your ability to get to zero is adding a addition levels.  Extra levels add square feet of living space without adding extra roof space.  Even then you could use pole mount PV outside.

               

               


              --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Gary Beck" <ecoegr@...> wrote:
              >
              > 'Breaking it down' also sounds a little drastic. We are not talking about
              > daily conversions or a 'Transformer' house. Not rocket science - just
              > designing to the task.
              >
              >
              >
              > I don't think many people plan to solder and re-pot plants in their kitchen.
              > Maybe some seedling, but not the ferns. But they could do each in a
              > multitasking garage with a well-designed in work area. Multitasking happens
              > in every room of every house. It would work much better if each room or
              > area were designed to do specific multitasks better.
              >
              >
              >
              > Good designers know It is more about understanding flow and also placing
              > things where people need them to be. This might be a nook desk in the
              > kitchen area for all the tasks we need to do associated with and during food
              > preparation. Plus it is a place to set up 'junior' to do homework while
              > parents cook. Maybe it is placing a floor plug to connect into a 'wired'
              > kitchen table so it has an outlet under a nicely decorated flush brass plate
              > to plug in a wok or plug in a laptop without tripping over the cables,. or a
              > reading nook designed into a stairwell landing, or a bathroom that detects
              > high humidity and vents it.the list goes on and on.
              >
              >
              >
              > The point is that if you choose to design a sleek good looking super
              > insulated smart operating smaller (not tiny!) home, you can create the
              > opportunity to go net-zero energy on an annualized basis. If you design a
              > large home, the simple kW/sf will quickly get you off that net-zero
              > possibility.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jay
              > Ring
              > Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:21 AM
              > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: [hreg] Re: Living Off The Grid
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Thanks for the article, and for your comments, Gary.
              >
              >
              >
              > I thought I would chime in with some of my own thoughts:
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Bigger isn't better, even if you can afford it.
              >
              >
              >
              > Somewhat agree, but disagree in the general case.
              >
              >
              >
              > It's not universally true that bigger or smaller is better. There is a
              > "right size" that depends on each person/family.
              >
              >
              >
              > Even when a room exists only to provide luxury I am not against it. You
              > should love your house. Just don't have a bunch of empty rooms that you
              > never use. Be sure that everything was intelligently designed and exists
              > for a purpose, not just added on without thought.
              >
              >
              >
              > Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners
              >
              >
              >
              > Disagree with some exceptions.
              >
              >
              >
              > I don't like the idea of multi-tasking in rooms. You spend too much time
              > setting up and breaking down. It's much more convenient to set it up and
              > leave it that way.
              >
              >
              >
              > In the article, they use the example of a dining room that they use as a
              > work space. That may work for them, but for the type of work I do at home,
              > that is a nightmare. I have several computers, soldering equipment,
              > electrochemical etching, an oscilloscope, signal generators, etc. The
              > solder in particular, can destroy a dining room table. I also like to
              > garden, this means buckets of dirt, packets of seed, and muddy footprints
              > heading to the outside. These tasks cry out for dedicated, specialized
              > space, with everything set up and ready to go. While any one persons
              > specific activities may vary, the concept remains the same in a variety of
              > cases.
              >
              >
              >
              > In the general case, some rooms should be set up for specific purposes,
              > while others should be general purpose and reconfigurable for special
              > events. But if you are setting up and a space and then breaking it down
              > again every day ("multi-tasking"), you are doing something wrong.
              >
              >
              >
              > I agree with most of the other stuff. Good food for thought.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Gary Beck ecoegr@ wrote:
              > >
              > > *This is a good topic for adding my 2 cents (or by the length of it 200
              > > cents).*
              > >
              > > Even if you can not get completely off the grid, it is good to plan to do
              > > so. Maybe the worse you can do is be grid connected while hitting net-zero
              > > energy in annualized energy consumption.
              > >
              > > It starts with design to get the energy signature as low as possible. Then
              > > buy the right appliances, HVAC, and lighting, and stir in a nice solar
              > > array.
              > >
              > > To simplify one design concept I suggested adopting a 'GSF' term a few
              > years
              > > ago in an residential low energy design presentation (you can still see it
              > > on Youtube at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e59RJHLbbg).
              > >
              > > In that presentation I defined 'GSF' as Green Square Feet, to be priced
              > and
              > > sold by builders and realtors, in lieu of 'old and out of touch' SF. You
              > can
              > > quickly see the concept in the attached image - nothing complicated - sort
              > > of like your grandmas farm house built by George Jetson.
              > >
              > > Then on this past Sunday I read Molly Glentzer and Kathy Huber's February
              > 6
              > > 2011 Houston Chronicle article about how big name Realtors like Martha
              > > Turner and Builders like David Weekly actually confirming that today's
              > > knowledgable 'buyers prefer smaller smarter homes'. This is big news. I
              > > hope Martha starts promoting 'GSF'.
              > >
              > > This mainstream article has done Architects and Home Designers a BIG
              > favor!
              > > They have let them off the hook by providing the `facts' that the
              > trendiest
              > > of trends is towards smaller smarter homes. Whew! No they can start
              > > designing instead of just drawing bigger and bigger McMansions! (Here is a
              > > link to the Chronicle article in case you missed it -
              > > http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7411740.html)
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > In case you the link does not work, here are the key bullet points gleaned
              > > from Molly and Kathy's article. These points are worth repeating.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > *Houston real estate agents, builders, architects and interior designers
              > > consistently, indicate that - *
              > >
              > > o *Want a casual, comfortable, convenient lifestyle that's both budget-
              > > and environmentally conscious*
              > >
              > > o *Smaller, smarter rooms*
              > >
              > > o *Bigger isn't better anymore, even if you can afford it.*
              > >
              > > o *Compact square footage with rooms that can serve more than one purpose.
              > > It's environmentally friendly and less tax," (Martha Turner of Martha
              > Turner
              > > Properties!). *
              > >
              > > o *"People have realized that all the space in the world isn't the answer
              > > to happiness, nor is it prudent." (again from Martha Turner of Martha
              > Turner
              > > Properties - she gets it!)*
              > >
              > > o *Where 10,000-square-foot homes are common. In that arena, 5,000 square
              > > feet is suddenly desirable.*
              > >
              > > o *Rooms need to multitask, just like their owners.*
              > >
              > > o *Buyers are more likely to want that square footage devoted to a
              > > media-filled gathering space.*
              > >
              > > o *People are more likely to work from home at least some of the time, so
              > > home offices are an asset, too.*
              > >
              > > o *"We were just trying to have a simpler life, with less stuff," *
              > >
              > > o *A downstairs seating area doubles as exhibit space for local artists,
              > > and the dining area, with a table that seats up to 14 people, is a work
              > > space by day.*
              > >
              > > o *The smartest room of all these days in many new homes is the kitchen*
              > >
              > > o *Large, open kitchen-family room is a "must-must-must," with a corner
              > > for kids to do their homework and an informal dining area. *
              > >
              > > o *A conventional range and a convection oven are mandatory, and some home
              > > buyers request two dishwashers."*
              > >
              > > o *Free-standing tubs and showers with myriad water features. *
              > >
              > > o *"Every person who can afford it wants a separate toilet," *
              > >
              > > o *"Water closets are a real premium, even if you have a shared bath."*
              > >
              > > o *There's no end to the number of TVs people want in the house, They slap
              > > them up like postage stamps." *
              > >
              > > o *Integrated technology - Wi-Fi, special lighting and other electronics -
              > > woven into the house, *
              > >
              > > o *Garage and pantry storage are also important. "Costco closet" for all
              > > the household products she buys in bulk.*
              > >
              > > o *Energy efficiency is both a budget and environmental issue. It's high
              > > on priority lists.*
              > >
              > > o *Upgraded insulation cost more up front but reduce energy costs
              > > long-term, she said. The key phrase is "over time." *
              > >
              > > o *Better sealing, better insulation, tankless water heaters, metal air
              > > ducts, solid core windows and doors and exterior materials impervious to
              > > fire and weather.*
              > >
              > > o *Trading indoor square footage for large outdoor living spaces. Outdoor
              > > kitchens, pools and fireplaces may seem like a splurge. *
              > >
              > > o *The ideal space for many includes a covered area for a flat-screen TV.
              > > Families like them as a place to play games like Wii together.*
              > >
              > > o *Tile and wood floors now over carpeting. "They're easier to keep. Wood
              > > wears and matures; carpet wears and gets dirty,"*
              > >
              > > o *Expect homes to continue to shrink - because prices and taxes won't. *
              > >
              > > o *People will be able to clean their own houses." *
              > >
              > > *o The era of the McMansion is over.*
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Way to go Molly and Kathy!
              > >
              >

            • Ariel Thomann
              Jay wrote: A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000 Sort of; it s only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all
              Message 7 of 29 , Feb 11, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                Jay wrote:
                "A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000"
                Sort of; it's only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all roofs flat - perhaps valid at the equator?
                Around here, for PV purposes, roofs should be slanted about 30 degrees.  A 40 x 40 ft house (1600 sq ft footprint) would have about 1840 sq ft of roof (without overhangs).  If you built such a
                40 x 40 ft house at 90 degrees latitude, your ideal PV roof would be vertical and veeeeery tall.  Yes, it can get ridiculous.
                Peace
                Ariel


                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              • Lynden Foley
                Thank you, that is priceless. No offense, sometimes I feel like I live in a two dimensional world. Congratulations to the people of Egypt. Lynden
                Message 8 of 29 , Feb 11, 2011
                • 0 Attachment
                  Thank you, that is priceless. No offense, sometimes I feel like I live in a two dimensional world.
                  Congratulations to the people of Egypt.

                  Lynden

                  Jay wrote:
                  "A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000"
                  Sort of; it's only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all roofs flat - perhaps valid at the equator?
                  Around here, for PV purposes, roofs should be slanted about 30 degrees.  A 40 x 40 ft house (1600 sq ft footprint) would have about 1840 sq ft of roof (without overhangs).  If you built such a
                  40 x 40 ft house at 90 degrees latitude, your ideal PV roof would be vertical and veeeeery tall.  Yes, it can get ridiculous.
                  Peace
                  Ariel


                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                • Jay Ring
                  Well, yeah. I was ignoring that for simplicity, and just talking about it from the top, the way it would appear on the floor plan. But you are, of course,
                  Message 9 of 29 , Feb 11, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Well, yeah. I was ignoring that for simplicity, and just talking about it from the top, the way it would appear on the floor plan. But you are, of course, absolutely correct.

                    At 90deg latitude you are on the north pole. The sun is permanently up during summer and permanently down during winter. The angle will be a problem, but properly sizing your battery will be the real nightmare... well, that and getting groceries... hehehe


                    --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Ariel Thomann <ajthomann@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Jay wrote:
                    >
                    > "A 2000 sq foot house has 2000 sq feet of roof. A 4000 square foot house has 4000"
                    > Sort of; it's only valid in a two-dimensional world, with all roofs flat - perhaps valid at the equator?
                    > Around here, for PV purposes, roofs should be slanted about 30 degrees. A 40 x 40 ft house (1600 sq ft footprint) would have about 1840 sq ft of roof (without overhangs). If you built such a 40 x 40 ft house at 90 degrees latitude, your ideal PV roof would be vertical and veeeeery tall. Yes, it can get ridiculous.
                    > Peace
                    > Ariel
                    >
                    > - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    >
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.