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N08 Journey to Sustainability & Approaching Net Zero

We will tour you through our home and explain the extensive remodel including solar hot water and solar electric systems, energy upgrades (windows, insulation, etc.), and electric vehicles that are powered by solar. We are also happy to share how we restored the original 1908 look of the home using almost all reclaimed materials. Our rain water recovery system is of interest to many and you are welcome to tour the garden and visit our chickens.
N08 Journey to Sustainability & Approaching Net Zero

Location

Seattle, WA 98107

Puget Sound Solar LLC

We will tour you through our home and explain the extensive remodel including solar hot water and solar electric systems, energy upgrades (windows, insulation, etc.), and electric vehicles that are powered by solar. We are also happy to share how we restored the original 1908 look of the home using almost all reclaimed materials. Our rain water recovery system is of interest to many and you are welcome to tour the garden and visit our chickens.

Puget Sound Solar Baker Ave - FinOur home, built in 1908, has been upgraded to high energy efficiency while retaining the vintage architectural details.  Energy efficiency and solar energy has reduced the energy use of this home by 86%.  Here are some of the features:

  • 6.2 kW grid-connected solar electric system
  • 1.4 kW grid-connected solar electric system with back-up power
  • 30-tube Thermomax solar hot water system
  • Off-grid solar landscape lighting system and e-bike charging
  • Super-insulated walls to R-30, R-34, and R-40
  • PSS05R-60 attic insulation
  • Extensive air-sealing (leakage reduced from 2,150 cfm50 to 1,250 cfm50)
  • Reclaimed low-E argon-filled windows
  • High efficiency washer/dryer combo
  • (2) EV’s, powered by solar
  • Chicken coop, edible landscaping, and onsite composting
  • Rainwater recovery system for irrigation
  • Extensive use of reclaimed building materials and furnishings

 

Puget Sound Solar Water BarrelsThe landscape has been changed from lawn and junipers to drought tolerant and vegetable plantings. Rainwater is gathered in (24) 55 gallon recycled food waste drums that are integrated with rain-gutter system and then used in the garden.

In the spring of 2006 we purchased a 1997 Solectria Force electric car on ebay.  The car gets 3.3 miles/kWh going to the battery charger and has a 30 mile range.  It will go 65 mph on the freeway with four people in it.  1,000 watts of PV will run this car for 3,600 miles per year.  If gasoline is $3/gal. the electricity used for the car is worth $0.30/kWh. In 2011 we purchased a Nissan Leaf.

Puget Sound Solar 5308 Baker Ave NW Garage LeafWe are convinced that electric cars are a perfect compliment to PV systems anywhere.  Why?  Consider this:

An internal combustion engine is 15% efficient at best, including idling.  To get the fuel to the car requires the expenditure of lots more energy.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every one unit of energy available at the fuel pump, 1.23 units of fossil energy are used to produce gasoline.  This means that you are getting just 16% of the energy that began its journey to your car as oil, and for every pound of pollution that it produces, probably more than a pound has already been produced.  This doesn’t include all the energy expended by the DOD and the defense industries.

Contrast that with the electricity coming from a PV array.  It goes through an inverter  & wires where it loses maybe 10%, then to the car’s battery where it loses another 20%, and then to the electric motor.  In our case our 31 kW motor is about 91% efficient, so we are getting about 66% of the energy that began its journey to our car as PV electricity.  No armies required.  Furthermore, we can get all the energy we need for the car from our rooftop in Seattle!

N08 Journey to Sustainability & Approaching Net Zero
Baker Ave Before Construction
N08 Journey to Sustainability & Approaching Net Zero
Baker Ave After Construction
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