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Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans????? - and MORE

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  • Bashir Syed
    No doubt about what you say, as I learnt from the Inter-Solar Conference/Exhibition, held at Freiburg, Germany last June, 2005. But as the saying goes,
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 5, 2006
      No doubt about what you say, as I learnt from the Inter-Solar Conference/Exhibition, held at Freiburg, Germany last June, 2005. But as the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention," and scientists just don't stay put or become complacent when such events occur. Of course the scarcity of Silicon is causing Module shortage and price hikes, yet there is light at the end of the tunnel. The alternate PV technologies are evolving, such as Copper-Indium-diSelenide, Conducting Polymer PV Solar completely flexible materials, Dye PV materials, and Quantum Dots technology, etc. Thin Film technology and the Sliver Cells from Australia made headlines at the Paris Solar Energy Conference in 2004. The three Nobel Laureates, Alan Heeger, Walter Kohn, and Richard Smalley are devoting a great deal of time to push the envelope for Polymer Solar Cells, which hold a great promise to meet the Silicon Shortage causing serious supply and demand issue till mid 2007. We are setting up a PV Assembly plant overseas, and had a hard time to negotiate the avaialbility of Silicon Solar Cells, and got a small consignment from one the largest manufacturer in Germany for the time being. 
      Another factor creating a bottleneck for the shortage and price hikes is the fact that giants, like SHELL, BP, and General Electric foreseeing coming energy crisis put their eggs in the Renewable Energy Basket to buy out most (almost 85% of the companies dealing with Solar PV equipment, to line themselves up before the Oil/Gas shortages hit the world to control and dictate prices in the future. But the reality is that there is a great future for the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation technologies business for sustainable existence.  
      Bashir A. Syed
      Houston, TX
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 7:39 PM
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans????? - and MORE

      There have been a lot of new players jump into the solar module industry in the last two years.  The problem right now for all of them is the lack of silicon suitable for solar module manufacture.  That issue is not showing any short solutions and will impede production this year.  Solar modules will remain in short supply, high demand and you can expect prices to go up.
      Steven Shepard
      SBT Designs
      25581 IH-10 West
      San Antonio, Texas 78257
      (210) 698-7109
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 1:25 PM
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans????? - and MORE

      Dear All:
      The current issue of HOME POWER Magazine on its cover has list of articles, and the top one on this list is titled: "Insulate Yourself - From High Heating Bills - Best Options for Efficiency & Comfort (page 44), and many more goodies!
      Also, anther news item: HONDA enters the PV Market to build a factory to mass-produce solar cells at a car plant in Kumamoto prefecture, which will start operating in 2007, and produce at its full capacity of 27.5 megawatts of cells per year. Honda projects the plant will earn revenues of US $40 million  to $70 million  annually, as reported in IEEE's Spectrum Magazine, February 2006. Right now Japan is the largest producer of Slicon PV Cells and Panels in the world. And Plastic Solar panels made of Conducting Polymers are not a dream any more, but might soon be seen in most imagineable outer-wear. Even on page 20-21 of this magazine there is a picture of surfer on his surf-board using a PC  in wireless environment to send and receive his email, powered by a Solar PV Panel mounted on the Surf board by Intenl, and it's claimed that such a PC for surfers continues to work after one year using Intel's Centrino wireless technology.
      Bashir A. Syed
      Vice President R&D
      EnerTech Enterprises, Inc.
      1120 NASA Parkway, Suite 220W
      Houston, TX 77058
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 12:39 PM
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????

      The washer is a front loader - both water and energy efficient. We don't do the loads we used to now the kids are gone, but it cleans better, too.
      I can echo the blinds comments. I had good success with the honeycomb shades in Minnesota - properly sized and installed, they create an insulating layer of  dead air. The nice thing about the orientation decision is that with the South side facing the street, we get the appearance and energy benefits of full plantation shutters - but only need them on the street side. Ordinary 2-inch blinds on the north side give us privacy and access to opening windows.
      Waiting for the new tech makes a lot of sense - I will discuss with the boss ("She Who Must Be Obeyed").

      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John and Mia
      Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 12:10 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????

          thanks for the info... my house is the same way... the best orientation
      as far as the sun is concerned kit, BK, Living room and Master bath all on
      north side bottom story... so the back of the house where most of my windows
      are constantly in the shade. we just enjoyed breakfast outdoors in the shade
      and after 6 years of living in an apartment it's a great thing to enjoy your
      own home... is your washer one of the front loading ones?  I like the
      programmable thermostat in my home as well it's so high tech with a touch
      screen but my favorite setting is off with cool fresh air coming into the
      house thru open windows... I'm taking advantage of that while the weather is
      still so favorable... I love Houston, Texas winters... I'd consider waiting
      on downsizing as the technology is really improving in the Houston area in
      the building industry... more and more builders are changing to a Green
      Building program which re-engineers every single aspect of building homes to
      benefit both the environment and make homes more energy efficient... you
      wouldn't have to worry about sealing anything in these homes as that is a
      standard consideration in this program..that's what we plan on doing with
      our next home... I'd love to buy a "zero energy green building" in the next
      5 or so years... I also think it's great you have other similar homes where
      you can talk to your neighbors to compare results... see how much more they
      are paying... and then feel good when you take the difference and throw it
      to your mortgage to build more equity instead of giving it to the power
           my wife and I looked into Lennar homes when we were looking into
      building a home but couldn't find a model or location that we were both
      happy with... I think it's a mixed blessing on how they offer "everything
      included" into their homes which can be good but also limiting... especially
      considering that builders mark up everything they install atleast 35% so
      they profit in everything that's included which really adds up... and if you
      are a do it yourselfer you can save a good amount of money by installing
      your own fans and blinds among many other things... I worked as a
      vendor/outside sales for a blinds company for  4 years and if anybody is
      curious as to which types of blinds/ window coverings are the most effective
      in keeping  heat out of a home here is my list from personal experience.
      from best to worst:
      1. Plantation Shutters (they are pricey but add elegance to a home normal
      blinds can't and block heat as nothing else can)
      2. Vertical Blinds (they block almost all light and heat very effectively
      but I don't think they look as good as horizontal blinds)
      3. 2" Horizontal blinds ( by far the most popular... in every house I've
      ever installed blinds in, and that is many hundreds of homes, once I put
      these blinds in a closed them I Instantly felt atleast a 10 degree
      difference in the room)
      4. Plastic redi-shades I put these in the windows where my showers are as
      they have no metal parts which can be damaged by very high humidity (rust is
      an ugly thing to deal with in your shower)
      5. Mini blinds (they are cheap and the plastic ones are a joke... the metal
      ones block light but are no where near as good as the above mentioned blinds
      use as a last resort)

      also available are "honeycomb" shades which vary in thickness and ability to
      block light and heat... I have not installed many of these so I didn't put
      them on the list a I don't have enough experience with them to properly rate
      them especially since they are so customizable in thickness but I'd say they
      are atleast as good as the 2" horizontal blinds...

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Karl Rabago" <krabago@...>
      To: <hreg@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 8:11 AM
      Subject: RE: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????

      Thanks John.

      My house was built by Lennar/Village. The windows are double pane, but not
      filled. The insulation is good, but I wish I could have come round before
      the sheet rock went in with a can of expanding foam - not the tightest house
      in the world.

      I found an aftermarket provider for the barrier - it was "Radiance," I
      think - paint with fine aluminum mixed in. The brochure said 75% effective
      (compared to 95% for the perf foil). Was advised against touching it - would
      reduce reflectance, they said. (I don't know, but I don't have much reason
      to touch it anyway.) They said my performance would be ok, but not as good
      cuz the house is well insulated. I think I note a diff and have lower bills
      than any neighbors (only 4 models in our subdivision all built within a year
      or so of each other, so we have a good data set).

      My big savings come from chosing a house with good orientation - kitchen and
      living and MB are on the North side - cool and comfy in the summer. MB down
      is easier to cool. House is way too big for us, we know. We are starting to
      look for downsizing, but not in a real rush.

      And I have CFLs everywhere - includng the floods.

      Also, got the LG horizontal axis washer - it is great!

      And I am a fiend about keeping my programmable thermostat programmed!

      We don't have beer fridge, but do have a small chest freezer.

      I will look into the fans - and the tip on the air leaks is a great one!

      -----Original Message-----
      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com on behalf of John and Mia
      Sent: Sat 04-Feb-06 9:31 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????

          this is John and I'm the one who recommended the soffit or ridge vents
      or both... the soffit and ridge vents along with the plastic round or square
      domes (the big or little plastic things on top of your roof which replaced
      the metal spinning things) are all passive devices are the minimum
      requirements for builders to install... they only work when there is a
      breeze or alot of heat in the attic and they work on the principle that hot
      air rises while cold air sinks... so, they only passively remove heat from
      the attic which can accumulate very rapidly as you well know about Houston
      area heat... I've seen the solar powered attic fans at Home Depot available
      with the solar panel for around $150 which moves around 1250 feet of air per
      minute which would be the equivalent of the entire air content of your attic
      every 2 or 3 minutes (there is no way to match that kind of performance with
      any passive device that I know of ) I would think that getting that much air
      flowing by using a solar powered fan would really help out especially
      considering how much electricity is going up... a 40% increase for me in
      Katy within 2 weeks... that would really suck if prices stayed so high
      during the summer and would really justify spending money on such
      investments but hopefully as natural gas prices are going down so will
      electric... just my .02
          one thing I highly recommend for you and everyone else is to look for
      air leaks in your house that can really increase the amount of money spent
      to heat homes in winter or cool homes in summer... one real easy way to do
      this is to go around your house and feel with your hand your electric plugs,
      light switches and your windows especially around the sides of the windows
      this works best when there is a good temperature difference between inside
      and outside and if there is a breeze... when it's cold and windy then you
      can really feel air coming thru these areas... try to figure out where the
      air is coming in thru and plug the hole... in my 2005 Energy Star home I've
      found over 21 areas where air comes in unimpeded which really make a big
      difference in trying to keep my house warm in the winter... a bunch of
      little holes add up to one big hole... just because your home is energy star
      certified doesn't mean you don't have a good amount of air coming thru
      different areas... and it's not considered a warranty defect unless it
      causes your home to fail the door blower test used for EnergyStar
      certification... some things I plan on doing are caulking the entire back
      and side of my house where the hardiplank boards overlap to help prevent
      outside air coming in and using the child safety plugs on every single
      electric outlet to stop air from coming in from outside...
          Karl, just out of curiosity, what type or brand of radiant barrier did
      you have sprayed in? I plan on doing that soon and am looking for good
      feedback from actual people who have tried different brands... also out of
      curiosity, which builder built your McMansion? I've worked as a vendor for
      new home builders for 4 years all over Houston and my wife currently works
      for a Homebuilder... we built a Plantation Home and are pretty happy with
      it... not as big as yours at 2359sqft but plenty of house for us...
      another thing I've done to lower my electric bill was to switch to compact
      fluorescent lights... they give the same brightness but only use about 25%
      of the energy as regular light bulbs... the prices have really gone down...
      you can get great bulk deals on eBay compared to buying them in packs of 5-6
      at Home Depot of Lowes... hope this helps. John
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Karl Rabago
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 7:40 PM
        Subject: [hreg] Soffit Vents AND Fans?????

        This discussion is creating a question for me - Robert said "I'd recommend
      soffit or ridge vents or both along with a solar powered attic fan(s)"

        I considered adding one or two solar attic fans for my 2004 Energy Star
      3,600 sq ft, 2 story "McMansion" in The Woodlands.

        I have BOTH soffit and ridge vents.

        But I talked to some folks who said that the fans would not be worth it -
      they wouldn't move enough additional air (given the soffits and ridge vents)
      to justify the cost.

        I did have a radiant barrier sprayed in - couldn't afford to go back in
      with the perf foil stuff. It has helped.

        And I don't want to create a semi-conditioned space up there (and can't
      afford it, either).

        SO - what is the right answer for making my house envelope as energy
      efficient in these matters as I can ?

        And thanks for the great dialogue - I am new to the list but really
      learning a lot!


        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        Karl R. Rábago
        19 Birchwood Park Pl.
        The Woodlands, Texas 77382
        home tel: 281.298.6429
        cell: 832.723.7443
        eMail: rabago@...

        "Thus, the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to
      think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees"


        From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John
      and Mia
        Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 6:15 PM
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [hreg] Southern Oklahoma architects/desigers/contractors

        this is for Robert Johnston,
            Robert... I've been studying the Green Building Initiative which is
      the next level above Energy Star (it's a new way of homebuilding that
      re-engineers every step of home building to be more energy efficient and
      environmentally friendly) as I'm looking into getting a career in that field
      and while I don't know of any specific professionals in your area but from
      my research, almost anything else is better compared to paper and rock
      shingles which doesn't reflect the heat but absorbs it... I'd recommend
      soffit or ridge vents or both along with a solar powered attic fan(s) and
      many places on the internet offer good deals on radiant barriers... I don't
      think you need an architect per say but any good roofer should be able to
      install a radiant barrier,  and install a good roof with adequate
      ventilation.... you don't need to re-engineer a roof as in change the slope
      of the roof unless it has inadequate pitch for water to run off...
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Robert Johnston
          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 3:26 PM
          Subject: [hreg] Southern Oklahoma architects/desigers/contractors

            My sister recently moved to the Ardmore, OK area from Washington
      state.  They've bought a house that will need a new roof, and while they are
      at it they want to increase the energy efficiency of their home.  What they
      need is an architect or other professional that can advise them on (a) the
      roofing system, including venting, insulation, radiant barrier, metal vs.
      shingles, etc.; (b) other energy improvements they can make to their house,
      possibly including solar water heater.

            Do any of you know reputable people that can do that kind of thing?

            Do any of our architects travel that far?

            John Miggins, do you know anybody in that area?  (and do you serve
      that area with your water heater business?)

            Robert Johnston

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